ANNOUNCER: Millions of Americans have dumped their corrective lenses for LASIK surgery since it was first introduced in the mid 1990s.
Christopher Coad, MD, Eye Surgeon: Initially, it was basically just for those that were mildly nearsighted. As technology has progressed, we can really treat quite large ranges of patients, probably I would tell you well over 90%.
ANNOUNCER: The biggest innovation has been the development of custom LASIK. Surgeons use this device to map the surface of a patient's eye. That unique map is used to guide the laser that reshapes the cornea. Surgeons say this procedure carries less risk of certain vision problems.
Christopher Coad, MD, Eye Surgeon: A lot of people describe it as a fingerprint of the eye, so that we're treating an individual eye rather than a prescription. Certainly, in my experience, we have much, much less night vision issues or halo issues.
ANNOUNCER: While it's a myth that all LASIK patients achieve 20/20 vision or better, it is true that most people who have the surgery no longer depend on corrective lenses.
Christopher Coad, MD, Eye Surgeon: What do we tell patients about what vision to expect? I like to use the word 20 over happy. Some patients, because of their refractive error, may not actually getting 20/20 but will be thrilled with the vision that they have, because they're no longer dependent on glasses or contact lenses.
ANNOUNCER: But 20 over happy doesn't mean you'll never need glasses, since LASIK doesn't stop the aging process.
Christopher Coad, MD, Eye Surgeon: The lens inside the eye loses its flexibility as we age and as the lens loses its flexibility, it can no longer get thick enough to magnify up close.
ANNOUNCER: Then there's the price. Custom LASIK costs an average of about 23 hundred dollars per eye. For this patient, the results are worth it
Steven, LASIK Patient: I can see now! I don't have to wear my glasses and it's kind of amazing!
ANNOUNCER: Thanks for joining us on today's Once Daily.