Blue Flower

Should You have Lasik Vision Surgery? I used to chat frequently with a patient who worked near our doctor's office. He had the most severe nearsightedness I'd even seen. With vision about -20.00 in both eyes, he had to wear special "coke bottle" glasses full time. They weren't like the lightweight glasses you and I wear; they were truly heavy.


I'd certainly never attempt to drive without my glasses or contacts; nothing down the road is in focus; I can only see large, fuzzy shapes in different colors. I cannot fathom how difficult daily vision is for this young man. Virtually anything beyond his nose is out of range before he puts his glasses on. He has never experienced peripheral vision; only his center line of sight is corrected. He does not experience sight the same way you or I can; he sees life as a fishbowl, with only the center in focus.

Recently, free corrective surgery was offered to him through his optometrist's medical network. He declined. He's so afraid of losing what vision he does enjoy, that the chance of compromising his vision - even while attempting to correct his vision - was unthinkable. He steadfastly wears his heavy, specialty glasses every day, grateful for the vision he does enjoy.

I didn't understand his decision for a long time. But consider; he's at least correctable today, and after surgery, he has no concept of how he will see. Yes, he wouldn't be so tied to his glasses, but he's never known vision like yours or mine; he can only trust what he knows right now.

I hope he'll eventually take his Doctor's offer, because it would dramatically change his standard of living, even by cutting his RX numbers by half. To be able to see that much better would be a miracle for him. I encouraged him at least look forward to not being as dependent upon his glasses; if they correct his vision to be even a -7.00, he wouldn't be so tied to his glasses. He said he hadn't ever thought about just making his life easier. He'd have to consider it for awhile.

For most patients, seeing a little bit better may be nice, but won't change their lifestyle. Few patients have the high RX numbers of this young man. Many Lasik patients will still need glasses occasionally, plus, some dry eye care may be appropriate during the first year after surgery. Down the road, everyone needs some help for reading, regardless of having perfect vision in their youth, or Lasik as adults.

Trust me; vision correction won't make you happy, improve your social skills, or make you more desirable to the opposite sex. They will change what you rely on; glasses, contacts, or asking your spouse to find your readers. Good contacts and glasses can be really effective. Retro-styled designer glasses are so much fun; many college students come to me wanting to , "to look just like a geek", so perhaps a change in perspective about our eyesight is in order.

His viewpoint on what vision means to him is 20/20. I applaud his hesitation to act. I know that when he does choose to have surgical intervention, he'll appreciate his improved quality of life, and he’ll be happy with his new vision, even if it’s not perfect.

He taught me a good lesson; did he really need eye surgery? He wasn't sure if trying to improve his vision was worth the risk. Becoming less severely reliant on his glasses was something he'd never considered; much less ever personally experiencing excellent vision. He is pleased with his lot in life; and this new possibility, although attractive, wasn't required for his happiness.

Lasik, and other vision correction procedures, are useful and wonderful tools, but there is more to it than just improving your vision. You should begin with an expert evaluation to see if you're a good candidate for the procedure, and discuss your expectations with your trusted eyecare professional.

Remember, your eye care provider is here to make sure you're always wearing the most beautiful designer frames and protective sunglasses - whatever your vision.

- Stacey Mayer