As of 2018, more than 10 million Americans have had LASIK. In fact, nearly 600,000 people — more than the population of Boston — will undergo LASIK surgery this year.1
Approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1998, LASIK is considered the most advanced surgical option to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism.2 It also is continuously improved upon by researchers and scientists, which could explain why yearly procedure numbers are expected to grow to 700,000 by 2020.3
This is what we can look forward to.
New technologies in LASIK
Before exploring the latest in LASIK tech, let’s review what someone undergoing the treatment should expect.
It takes about 15 minutes, and the results are immediate.4 That’s pretty amazing for a sophisticated game changer. And new innovations are enabling even more procedural options.
Chief among them: Bladeless surgery.
There’s a bladeless process that relies on an advanced laser, called femtosecond, which can more accurately control corneal flap thickness. Like conventional LASIK, the created flap is then gently pulled back and the doctor uses a laser to reshape underlying layers of the cornea . Using the more advanced femtosecond laser, however, essentially allows the surgeon to customize flap size, shape and orientation to the patient, resulting in faster healing.
Here’s a bonus of femtosecond LASIK technology: thanks to the laser’s ability to create a thinner flap, it can be performed on patients with thin corneas who were previously unable to undergo the procedure.5
Is LASIK right for you?
Even with these advancements, LASIK isn’t for everyone. Here are a few considerations:
Eligibility: Patients must be 18 years old, free of eye conditions that could affect healing and have a stable vision prescription for at least 1 year.6
Coverage: If the patient qualifies, LASIK is eligible under health savings and flexible spending benefits accounts. A LASIK vision benefit, like those offered to EyeMed members, might also be added to existing vision care coverage.
1. “Refractive Eye Surgery: Helping Patients Make Informed Decisions About LASIK,” American Family Physician May 15, 2017, https://www.aafp.org/afp/2017/0515/p637.html; “Number of LASIK Surgeries in the United States,” https://www.statista.com/statistics/271478/number-of-lasik-surgeries-in-the-us/; accessed July 31, 2019.
2. “LASIK Eye Surgery Makes Rapid Advancements,” LASIKPlus, https://www.lasikplus.com/lasik-resources/procedure/laser-eye-surgery-advancements/; accessed July 31, 2019.
3. “Number of LASIK Surgeries in the United States,” Statista.com, https://www.statista.com/statistics/271478/number-of-lasik-surgeries-in-the-us/; accessed July 31, 2019.
4. “Is LASIK right for you?,” Eye Site on Wellness, http://www.eyesiteonwellness.com/is-lasik-right-for-you-2/; accessed July 31, 2019.
5. “LASIK Eye Surgery Makes Rapid Advancements,” LASIKPlus, https://www.lasikplus.com/lasik-resources/procedure/laser-eye-surgery-advancements/; accessed July 31, 2019.
6. “When is LASIK Not for Me?,” U.S. Food & Drug Administration, https://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/ProductsandMedicalProcedures/SurgeryandLifeSupport/LASIK/ucm061366.htm; accessed July 31, 2019.