Your Take 

Your Take: Was Lasik Surgery Worth It?

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Today the Your Take is a bit of a selfish question about Lasik, something I’m starting to consider more seriously again. I first wrote about this a few years ago when I considered Lasik eye surgery but never pulled the trigger (I went as far as to schedule just one consultation but was a little turned off at the “used car salesman” sales tactics).

If you’ve had Lasik, I’m curious if you thought the laser surgery was “worth it?” Everything I’ve ever heard from people has been positive, outside of the relatively high costs, and I’m curious to hear from people on both sides. Are there folks who were unhappy? How much did it cost and where was it performed? Are there folks who can be more specific about what they like about their experience? I’ll probably consider it next year, especially since it seems the liquid travel restrictions on flights won’t be lifted anytime soon, and was trying to gather more information.


{ 66 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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66 Responses to “Your Take: Was Lasik Surgery Worth It?”

  1. ctreit says:

    I have only heard good things about Lasik surgery from my friends, but I could never consider it myself since my eyesight has continuously deteriorated. I think you need to have a stable prescription for a while to have that option.

  2. Heather says:

    I had Lasik 3 years ago and it was absolutely worth it! The important thing is to find a doctor who understands that not everyone qualifies for Lasik and will walk through all the steps with you. There are a few different kinds, I had custom Lasik which 3 years ago ran about $2000 an eye.

    I think the cost is worth it though as I had really bad eye site and had to special order my right eye contact lenses. Now I don’t have to pay the cost for contacts or glasses and I also haven’t had any eye-irritation problems since. I can see better than ever!

  3. ziglet19 says:

    I can’t speak from personal experience, but my best friend had it 10 years ago and was very happy with it. She has had to wear glasses again for about 5 years, but only for reading, etc., not all the time like she did before. My optomitrist has been trying to talk me into it for years, but it still freaks me out. I do understand thhough, even when you get it done, your eyes will still age, so you may have to get reading glasses or some other glasses again somewhere down the line.

  4. ziglet19 says:

    I also wanted to mention that eye surgery is one of those things that you probably might not want to go with the cheapest procedure, or the storefront in the mall that has a $500 special.

    You may also want to ask your doctor about the number of procedures he/she has done, along with the sucess rate – I think some doctors are better than others at the procedure, and you sure don’t want to get the person who is still perfecting the technique!

  5. Erica says:

    Absolutely worth it! The only part of me that has improved in years! I had this done ten years ago for four grand at the Duke Aesthetics Center with their main guy. I was very nearsighted (couldn’t see the top letter on the chart). Got corrected for monovision so one eye sees close and one eye sees distance (had previously had contacts like that so knew my brain was up to the challenge even tho it sounds dreadful). Now I’m the only one of my friends who doesn’t need reading glasses. I’m a little undercorrected for distance so may eventually need driving glasses, but whatever…

  6. Linus says:

    I had my Lasik surgery done exactly 1 year ago. My vision was approx -3 in each eye and I was 26 at the time. Cost me around $3200 and went with the 0% interest for 2 years offer. LasikPlus also offers lifetime revisions. I ended up with 20/20 in one eye and 20/15 in the other eye. The only recommendation I have is keeping your eyes closed as long as possible the first 24 hours and use the drops as recommended.

    I absolutely think it is worth every penny. Sure you may never recoup the cost compared to glasses and contacts but there are several things we do in our lives for comfort and this is def. worth it.

  7. Meredith says:

    SO worth it. I got mine several years ago and can’t tell you how much it has improved my life. For reference, I got PRK, not Lasik, but they’re basically the same thing.

  8. moljacks says:

    I have had two friends do it in the past three years. One friend loved it and he has had no ill effects. The other friend has had trouble with blurry vision since which has been kind of a problem since she is a nurse.

    It can be a good investment but since they really don’t know the long term effects on the body, it can be risky.

    Good Luck with whatever you decide.

  9. Nester says:

    My father had it done about 10 years ago… and he’s due for a second treatment.

    I’ve heard the younger you are, the better candidate you are, however that was a doctor trying to sell me lasik at the time.

    Frankly I think it boils down to common sense. Follow your gut. If it feels shady, go someplace else. And always always always make sure they are a practicing doctor someplace else!

  10. Dan says:

    I had LASIK about 8 years ago & it’s the best money I ever spent! Cost was @ $2500, but it WAS several years ago and as a Paramedic, I got a professional discount. Also, I have dry eye & astigmatism in both eyes, which raised the price as well.

    I scheduled several visits with different Docs & was impressed by this one because I asked TOUGH questions, like, “Tell me about the worst case you’ve seen.” The doc was very subdued & appeared honest and sad as he told me the story.

    The procedure itself was a piece of cake, but I’m sure it’s changed since. It was “uncomfortable”, but not painful. Yes – the DO stick something on your eyeball to immobilize it. It took about 5 minutes total & I was sensitive to light for 24 hours, so someone had to drive me home. I had schedules of different eyedrops, such as lubrication and antibiotics, for a few days.

    On the other hand, I have a friend who had it & his eyesight is just not turning to where it was before the surgery after several return visits fo correction. His was a difficult case though because some of his problems werent for the shape of his eyeball. The were also some racial & geetic difficulties.

    I’d do it again in a heartbeat though.

  11. cdiver says:

    What happens if your vision changes again? Is there a grace period where you can have an adjustment made?

  12. Sheron says:

    I had Lasik about six years ago and do not think it was worth it. My distance vision is better; but now I have to wear glasses to read and should wear them while driving.

    Additionally, my astigmatism came back so I can’t use regular reading glasses. Mine have to be prescription.

    On my first visit to a different ophthalmologist, the gentlemen who interviewed me initially asked if I had Lasik surgery. When I replied “yes” he said “me too”. His next question was “does you vision change daily” to which I replied “yes”.

    FYI, I’m in Central Texas and paid about 3900.

    In hindsight, I should have not done it.

  13. Rosa Rugosa says:

    I’ve worn glasses since I was 6 years old, so I am a very well-adapted eyeglass wearer. I tried contacts at 25, but thought they were a total PITA (realize I had been wearing glasses for 19 yrs at that point) and I’ve never tried them again. Now that I’m 52 with progressive lenses, I’m observing the experiences of others in my age group who are not near-sighted, but now need reading glasses (my husband, my manager). I conclude that I am far better off, because I always have my reading glasses handily right on my face whenever I need them. And keep in mind that you don’t just need reading glasses when you’re settling in with a book, but also at the restaurant, the grocery store, etc. So I actually wouldn’t take LASIK for free if offered. I think I’m a bit older than many of your readers, so I thought I would offer my perspective as a “more mature” vision care consumer! After all, with any luck, you’ll hit the “reading glasses” age someday too!

  14. Stephen says:

    I had Lasik in Los Angeles about 11 years ago. I think I paid around $4,000. The surgery took less than a minute for both eyes. Before the surgery I was practically blind. I couldn’t do anything without my extremely thick glasses or contacts and I hated them both. My night vision is not very good, there is the sunburst like effect, but I’m super happy with the result. Even now, after 11 years, I still congratulate myself for not chckening out.

  15. Brian says:

    I have always had problems putting in eye drops or touching my eyes. I had lasik over three years ago and it was one of the most horrific experiences of my life.

    That said – I’m pleased with the results. My vision wasn’t that bad – but bad enough to not see my year old son smile clearly from across the room. When I began to miss seeing him discover thing b/c my glasses weren’t on – I was sold on doing it. Once again – the procedure absolutely terrible, results – very nice.

  16. Shirley says:

    My son had lasik surgery done ten years ago and was thrilled with the result. Seven years later he was back to wearing glasses but his eyesight is still better than what it was originally. This was done by Dr Miller, a well known ophthamologist, in Davis, CA.

  17. Maggie says:

    I had mine in 2005 at the age of 39. I am very happy. Last year the optonitirst told me I was doing well and would probably not have a problem with distance anymore but I woudl probably need readers in the next 5 years. My Mom is 10 years out, so she was mid-50’s when she had hers. It cleared up her night vision problems. She did need readers and now she’s got glasses for most of the time. She’s still hapy she did it. My brother had horrible eyes, bifocals in kindergarten, wore cotacts for 20 years and in the late 90s his optomatrist told him the blood vesselin behind his eyes were being damamged by the lack of oxygen and advised he have the procedure. He was in his early 30’s when he had his done. After 10 years he is back in glasses/contacts, but nowhere near the blindness he had before. He and his wofe both say it was the best $5k they ever spent.

  18. Brian says:

    I am seriously wanting to do it, just can’t pull the trigger on the part where you could potentially go blind! Granted this is a seriously minimal risk, just not sure if it’s one I’d like to take.

  19. James Martin says:

    I had the surgery in 2004. Remember, your eyes continue to age. You WILL need reading glasses later and probably more Lasik in the coming years if you choose. It is wonderful to not have “regular” glasses BUT remember the surgery is NOT permanent. Your eyes will loose flexibility and clarity with age. That is a guarantee. You have to decide you much you can spend on Lasik now and in the coming years.

  20. Gates VP says:

    I had a form of PRK done about 4 years ago.

    My eyes were terrible. You know that chart with the big “E” at the top? I needed the right lighting to identify that there was a chart.

    Financial Breakdown: my glasses were all special ordered.

    Typical price for normal frames + thinning + scratch coating: ~$500.
    Cost for contact lenses (Toric): ~$250 an eye. Time to order: ~2 weeks.
    My ability to function without glasses: basically zero.
    Cost of surgery: $5000

    So at any given time I had to have $1,000 of eyewear available. Whether it was lenses + glasses or two pairs of glasses, I need two functional pairs of eyewear or I risked being completely screwed.

    Even if rotate eyewear (one old, one new), I’m on the hook for about $500 in eyewear every two years. So the recovery cost of laser surgery is about 20 years for me. If I still need glasses, they’re going to be much less expensive and now we’re talking about maybe 25 years.

    Quality of life: the change in my case was obviously dramatic. It costs less than operating a typical car for the year, and mine was basically the most expensive version available.

    Others I know: my wife, 4 co-workers have all had “the surgery”. In there case it was Lasik. They’re all very happy. It’s a big life-changer.

    Even for those who still need glasses for small things, at least it’s just for small things. That’s very different from “glasses to function”, very different.

  21. Ken says:

    I had LASIK 9 years ago. My vision was so bad that I would wear my contacts for 2 months at a time (including sleeping with them) because it was so frustrating to wake up and not be able to read my alarm clock. I had LASIK when I was 20 and my vision has gone from 20/20 (after the surgery) to 20/30 and 20/40. I use glasses when I drive (to sharpen things a bit), but not for any other part of my life. Having this surgery was a great decision, I am glad I had it done. The best part is being able to see things first thing in the morning and being able to play contact sports without worrying about glasses flying off or contacts falling out.

  22. Jonathan says:

    Have you looked into implantable contact lenses? The new Visian ones are collagen and put in via a slit in your eye. It’s supposed to be completely reversible, with no LASIK flap that can come loose.

  23. Mardee says:

    I paid $2000 eight years ago, and consider it the best money I ever spent. Everything went smoothly, with no follow-up problems, and it is so nice to wake up in the morning without reaching for my glasses. I’ve actually forgotten what it was like to see the world through a blurry haze.

  24. cubiclegeoff says:

    I’ve been thinking about this also. My only worry is the horror stories about people that end up with eyes so dry that they need to wear special goggles all the time. That’s the only reason I haven’t pursued it.

  25. Laura says:

    I only needed LASIK in one eye, since my other eye is near 20/20. I wore glasses before the sugery- a weak prescription in my right eye, and a much stronger one in my left. I got the surgery a year ago for mostly cosmetic reasons, and because it was “on sale” during the recession. I paid $1800 for one eye, before any savings by paying through an FSA account.

    I am not sure I would do it again. I am not sure what I was expecting, but I didn’t have any vision revelations the next day, probably because I could see okay without my glasses before the surgery. I’m at 20/20 with my left eye, but my right is dominant, so I don’t notice it.

    Also, the pain. My eye HURT for several days after the surgery. I could see okay, but it felt like a fork was being stabbed in my eye. My eye was also very, very dry, and I went through a vial of sterile eyedrops a day. They say this is normal, but it was extremely uncomfortable and lasted 3-4 months. My eyes are still dry when I travel, or when it’s very dry outside. I have discomfort when wearing eye makeup that irritates my eyes (which matters if you’re a girl and you do wear lots of eye makeup).

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