USA: Lasik laser eye surgery - popular low cost alternative outweighs potential risks
Since the Lasik procedure emerged nearly two decades ago, millions of myopia and astigmatism sufferers have permanently tossed their glasses and contact lenses aside. The procedure costs between $1,000 and $2,500 per eye, and this price tag has made it a popular and economic alternative to the estimated $20,000 lifetime cost paid by an average 25-year-old contact lens wearer.
Lasik - laser in-situ keratomileusis - is a painless outpatient procedure that uses a computer-guided laser beam to reshape the cornea and ultimately correct people’s vision. The 15-minute procedure requires no incisions, no stitches and boasts rapid recovery times. In the United States alone, over one million patients have already undergone Lasik eye surgery.
While complications during the surgical procedure itself are generally rare—averaging one in every 5,000—the procedure does carry risks. Lasik has been linked to reduced vision, blindness and other eye injuries. A 2008 American Journal of Ophthalmology report found that 28% of eyes treated with Lasik required additional surgeries less than ten years after the initial surgery due to undercorrection, overcorrection, or regression. If detected early, however, complications can be fixed and proper vision can be restored. The FDA, which has investigated patient complaints over the procedure in recent months, has told doctors, clinics and others promoting the surgery to inform consumers about the surgery’s risks in their advertisements.
While Lasik does carry risks, many long-time glasses and contact lens wearers have accepted the surgery’s dangers in hopes of gaining the comforts of life without glasses or contact lenses, while shedding their costs.
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