If you’ve considered getting LASIK in Saint Louis, perhaps the following question has entered your mind: Can LASIK make you go blind? This is among the most common questions patients ask about LASIK surgery … and it’s a golden opportunity to put fears to rest.
It’s normal for patients to feel anxiety about any surgical procedure. Many patients are even more squeamish about vision correction because of how sensitive and delicate the eye really is. In fact, it is not unusual for patients to be more afraid of blindness than of other surgical injury.
That inherent fear is a testament to how much people rely on their visual acuity. The fear of blindness from LASIK complications keeps many a man and woman in glasses and contacts, unsure of whether laser eye surgery is the safe answer for nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism. Still, millions of patients willingly explore the option of LASIK eye surgery every year so they can ditch glasses and contacts for good. It’s well worth the risks, they reason.
So, what are the risks of going blind from LASIK?
What are the chances of going blind from laser eye surgery?
What’s the worst that can happen? Many patients fear blindness after LASIK; however, to date, there have not been any reported cases of blindness stemming from LASIK. On the other hand, there have been injuries reported from contact lenses.
LASIK eye surgery uses a very precise excimer laser to thin out or reshape the cornea. This corrects the refraction, or bending, of light reaching the retina to help light focus properly. A skilled LASIK surgeon can, in approximately 15 minutes, reshape corneal tissue to reduce or eliminate the need for glasses and contact lenses once healing occurs. Even though there have not been any reported cases of blindness stemming from LASIK, patients should still seek the best LASIK surgeon to reduce the risks of complications and improve results.
In the hands of the industry-leading St. Louis laser surgeons at Brinton Vision, we have had no serious, sight-threatening complications from LASIK. Dr. Jason Brinton and Dr. Steven Tersigni are top choices for patients seeking the best LASIK surgeons in Missouri. Both are leaders in the field of eye health and refractive surgery, performing LASIK plus all modern LASIK alternatives.
How can I reduce risks of LASIK?
Before you undergo any medical treatment such as laser surgery, it’s important to take certain steps to reduce potential risks. We asked our four doctors how they personally would approach choosing a LASIK surgeon for themselves or for those they love.
- Start the process by going to a qualified LASIK eye surgeon (an ophthalmologist, or eye MD) for a complete and thorough ocular exam with dilated pupils. Rather than a complete, dilated eye exam, many LASIK centers perform just a “LASIK exam” or “LASIK screening ” that evaluates only the cornea. The cornea occupies the first 0.5mm of a typical 23mm length eye, so a cornea-only exam evaluates barely 2% of the eye’s depth. It’s critical to consider the other 98% of the eye.
- It may seem counterintuitive, but go to a surgeon who both provides and charges for their in-depth ocular exam. Can you think of an instance where you received free care from a doctor? It’s true you get what you pay for. A free exam, out of necessity, will not be as thorough. At Brinton Vision we charge $120 for our Brinton Vision Ocular Analysis, ensuring you one of the most thorough eye exams you will find anywhere. Because our doctors and staff are paid for both exams and surgeries, we place patient care at the epicenter of any decision that’s made. There is no incentive to sell you a procedure to make up for a free exam – or for any reason other than the appropriateness of that treatment.
- Ask the prospective LASIK center if anyone at the center receives a financial incentive of any kind for booking surgeries. Centers are legally required to answer if you ask, but few places will disclose this up front. Incentivizing staff with bonuses, commissions and financial sweeteners to say you are a candidate, book more surgery, or hit a predetermined sales goal or number of “eyes” in a month compromises the integrity of care and the patient trust. Brinton Vision will never commission a staff member for calling you a LASIK candidate or convincing you to have surgery.
- Go to a place where the doctors work there full time. At many high-volume, big-box LASIK chains, surgeons fly in on surgery day and jet off afterward to another city for a round of surgeries in a different clinic. The surgeon is uninvolved in the days and weeks leading up to the surgery day and may never be present for the very important postoperative care. The doctors at Brinton Vision believe it’s important to have a relationship with the surgeon you choose for LASIK and are there with you every step of the way. Your surgeon should individually evaluate you to determine not just if you can have LASIK eye surgery, but if there are any underlying conditions that could affect your results or overall eye health. The last thing you’d want is for your eye surgeon and staff to get on a plane and depart immediately after eye surgery, leaving you to wonder where to turn if questions arise.
- Go to a place where the doctors do vision correction surgery full time. Imagine if you boarded an airplane and the pilot announced they only fly part-time. Wouldn’t you feel more comfortable with someone who flies that plane, with that crew, on that route full time? Most surgeons perform LASIK and vision correction surgery on a part-time basis, dedicating a majority of their practice to general eye care. Brinton Vision’s doctors devote 100% of their professional work to LASIK and vision correction surgery. And we don’t moonlight as pilots.
- Choose a specialist who can customize treatment to your unique eyes. There are six modern LASIK and LASIK alternatives available to correct a variety of vision problems, but most LASIK eye centers offer only LASIK and PRK. In fact, Brinton Vision is the only practice in the state of Missouri that offers all six modern vision correction procedures. That means your Brinton Vision doctor won’t be forced to recommend the “next best” option from a limited selection, but will truly offer the best treatment, considering every modern option available.
What questions should I ask a LASIK surgeon?
- Do you perform all six of the modern LASIK and vision correction procedures, or do you only perform LASIK and PRK?
- If LASIK isn’t ideal for me can you provide a LASIK alternative that is?
- Do your surgeons work full-time at your practice and location?
- Are your surgeons involved and in person at your facility with preoperative, day of surgery, and postoperative care?
- If my laser eye surgery does not go as planned, will my surgeon be on-site the next day to assist in correcting this?
- Do your surgeons regularly participate in FDA clinical research trials on the latest and most advanced LASIK and vision correction surgery techniques?
Brinton Vision will only perform LASIK on qualified candidates with healthy eyes in order to reduce any potential risks. The staff works with each patient to ensure they understand the risks and benefits, so they can determine if LASIK is right for them.
Do you still have questions about the benefits of LASIK? Schedule a consultation and thorough eye exam to see if you are a candidate for getting out of glasses for good. Call 314.375.2020.
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