Laser eye surgery is becoming incredibly popular. In fact, in 2015, 21 million LASIK eye surgery procedures were performed around the world. With so many people choosing to operate, lots of myths and misinformation can rapidly spread. Here, we’ve debunked a few common misconceptions about laser eye surgery, so that you and your family can make a better-informed decision about your vision and optical health.
- I’m too old/too young to have laser eye surgeryMany people have heard either side of this myth. Some tend to either think that the effects of eye surgery are not permanent, and so they should wait until they are older to have the surgery. Others, in contrast, think that eye surgery is not effective for older patients. Both of these myths are not true. Laser eye surgery has been successfully performed on patients over 90 years old and once performed, corrective surgery lasts a lifetime for most patients. While some people are not appropriate for laser eye surgery, like young children, in general, any age group is eligible. Your eye doctor will explain any individual reasons why the surgery may not be a good fit for you, but most often age is not a factor. Age-related eye problems, such as cataracts, may not be best treated by laser eye surgery but there are a variety of other surgical options available.
- The laser is hot and will hurtDoctors and surgeons take extreme care to prevent patient discomfort and pain. Patients are given anesthetic eye drops to completely numb the eye, so you won’t feel pain, or any other eye sensation, during the surgery. The laser is also not hot, contrary to what you may have seen in movies or heard from friends. In fact, the laser is “cold,” and if you do notice a burning smell, that is simply the laser releasing harmless carbon atoms.
- I could be blinded!Of the millions of laser eye surgeries that have occurred, there has not been one documented case of blindness as a result. While serious complications have occurred for some patients, these occurrences are extremely rare. Like any surgery, laser eye surgery has associated risks. Talking to your doctor will help you make the best choice for you.
Listening to rumors can make any patient wary of getting a procedure. With something as sensitive and delicate as your eyes, it is only natural to be worried. However, putting too much stock in frightening stories can prevent patients from getting the best treatment. Only trust your doctor’s advice — after all, taking care of your eye health is their passion and expertise!