Should I do laser eye surgery?

I wear glasses, and family and friends often ask me why I haven’t done laser eye surgery yet. Is it unsafe because an ophthalmologist hasn’t done it? My answer to people is that overall, assuming a patient has had a thorough eye evaluation by a qualified eye care professional, laser eye surgery to eliminate glasses is a potentially life-changing procedure with an excellent safety profile. While no procedure is risk-free, laser eye surgery has a reasonable safety profile and the majority of patients who have had this procedure are very satisfied. I personally know many ophthalmologists who have had laser eye surgery who are also very pleased with their visual outcome.

That said, why haven’t I had it done on myself and how do I counsel my patients who are considering laser eye surgery? My personal philosophy towards eye surgeries entails a conservative approach. If a patient has been comfortable and satisfied wearing glasses or contact lenses, I would advise against laser eye surgery, even with its excellent safety profile. On the other hand, there are patients who tell me they are sick of wearing glasses and/or contact lenses, and would be very excited at the prospect of spectacle independence; in such individuals, assuming they are evaluated and deemed medically viable candidates, it is very reasonable to proceed.

As for me, I myself have worn glasses virtually my whole life, and I consider it part of my look. I enjoy the fashion choices that come with wearing different glasses, and have therefore opted out of laser eye surgery.

David Paikal, MD

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