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The scoop on laser vision correction

If you wear corrective lenses, you may dream about being free from having to always wear glasses. You've probably heard about LASIK, or laser vision correction, and you may wonder if it's a way you could lose your glasses once and for all–but how do you know if the procedure's right for you?

The procedure lasts about 10 minutes per eye and recovery time is short.

What is it?

LASIK (Laser-In-Situ Keratomileusis) is an outpatient procedure that corrects common vision prescriptions. It's also known as refractive surgery. More than 12 million people have had LASIK and over one million people a year have some type of laser vision correction.

"Laser vision correction reshapes the cornea with an excimer laser to reduce or eliminate the need for corrective lenses," says surgeon G. Peyton Neatrour, MD, a VSP doctor at Beach Eye Care in Virginia Beach, VA. The procedure lasts about ten minutes per eye and recovery time is short–getting some rest can help relieve any discomfort and most people are back to work the next day.

"With all of the options for laser vision correction today, it's important to consult your doctor to help you decide which type is right for you. Many similar procedures are known by different names, so talk to your doctor," says Mark Lipton, OD, a VSP doctor at Beach Eye Care in Virginia Beach, VA. But just because you can see clearly after LASIK doesn't mean you don't have to go to the eye doctor anymore. Dr. Lipton emphasizes the need for follow-up care post-operatively and to continue with your annual check-ups.

"My VSP doctor of 20 years suggested that I would be a good candidate for LASIK, so after much apprehension, I decided to call and ask VSP about my benefits. I found out that I would receive a nice deduction through my VSP coverage. I was more than pleased with the LASIK physician and they even partnered with my primary eye doctor! Both were very professional, caring, and articulate in their work. They truly made this the most pleasant experience I could have imagined or expected, and I've never seen better in my life!"

Betsy W., VSP patient

Where to Start

Before you make the call to a certified laser vision correction doctor, do your homework and ask questions. You only have two eyes, so take care of them!

Get the info. Do some research online and talk to friends or colleagues who've had laser vision correction. There's a ton of information out there and many people are willing to talk about their experience.

Check your benefits. Log in to your account on vsp.com to find out if you have coverage for Laser VisionCareSM–it will be listed in your benefit summary. You can also ask your doctor.

Find the right surgeon. Talk to your primary eye doctor and ask for referrals. Look for a surgeon who is experienced, and whose primary focus is laser vision correction.

Schedule a consultation. You may want to schedule a consultation with a couple of doctors to get a feel for the doctor and staff. Consultations are almost always free, so there's nothing to lose. Don't forget to ask about follow-up care during your consultation.

The content of this article is for general informational awareness purposes only. Please consult your eyecare doctor or physician for actual advice.