If you're one of the millions of Canadians who wear eyeglasses or contact lenses, chances are you've considered getting laser eye surgery at some point in your life.
The fact is that laser eye surgery (also known as "refractive surgery") has become increasingly popular over the past decade. And while the technology has become safer and more sophisticated in recent years, the procedure still has certain risks associated with it. Below are a few things you should consider if you're thinking about getting laser eye surgery.
1. Should You Get Laser Eye Surgery?
When it comes to laser eye surgery there is no one-size-fits-all solution. In fact, there are a number of conditions that can prevent you from getting laser eye surgery, including severe dry eyes and corneal diseases. Speak to your optometrist or ophthalmologist first to find out if you're an ideal candidate for laser eye surgery.
2. Types of Laser Eye Surgery
Most people tend to think of laser eye surgery as a single procedure. In fact, there are multiple types of the surgery. Two of the most common are LASIK and PRK eye surgery (short for Photorefractive Keratectomy), both of which can treat nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism. With LASIK, a flap is cut into the cornea through the top layer, to access the treatment area, whereas PRK removes the top layer of the cornea, which then grows back in place over approximately 72 hours. A PRK variation called LASEK also involves removing a layer of cornea and then replacing it afterward.
3. Is Your Surgeon Qualified?
Despite now being widely available, laser surgery can only be performed by an experienced and licensed ophthalmologist. Be sure to ask your surgeon about their experience level, success rates, the risks involved, and what types of care they'll offer after your surgery. Your optometrist will have a history of your eyes and vision. They most likely know the area and can help you with a referral if they think you are a good candidate. You may also want to check out other patient reviews and referrals to ensure you're getting the best possible care.