Truth in Advertising LASIK

This morning on the drive in I was listening to the radio as they were broadcasting live on-location from a local LASIK provider's office. It was the most exaggerated, ridiculous broadcast I may have ever heard. The longer I listened the more disgusted I became. One of the radio personalities had recently received (for free, presumably) LASIK from this provider, and was on air talking about how amazing and life-changing the procedure was. The idea of this kind of promotion does not in itself disgust me, rather it was the young woman's statements and greatly exaggerated claims that were so irritating. She repeatedly (at least 5x while I was listening) stated that she now had "20/16" vision. First off, 20/16 does not exist. I mean I guess technically it does, but quite literally NO ONE uses that type of acuity designation. There's 20/15 and the next letter size up is 20/20. There is no 20/16, or 20/17, or 20/18, etc. You lose a little credibility when you don't even know how to talk about your own vision. Secondly, LASIK can only make you see as well as your eye anatomy/physiology will allow you to see...NOT BETTER THAN THAT. This is probably the biggest misconception about LASIK that I have to daily dispel. LASIK does not not not make you see "better" than your best glasses or contact lens Rx. It doesn't, no matter what you've heard or read. Best case scenario is that it makes you see AS WELL as your best glasses/contacts Rx, and of course it is very convenient, I am not disputing that. But *not everyone* sees as well after LASIK as they did in glasses before. A lot of them saw better in glasses before their LASIK! No one sees better. No one. I know this from personal experience (had LASIK in 2007) and from the hundreds of LASIK procedures I have comanaged. Relatively few people can reach 20/15 (or "20/16") with ANY Rx. LASIK is not some magic procedure that can make you see 20/15 when you couldn't before. This radio personality then went on a 5 minute diatribe about how awful contact lenses are. She said that she literally could not exercise in the morning b/c she "never knew how long it would take" to get her contacts in. Really? The act of instilling soft lenses takes you so much time in the morning that you CANNOT go jog? Come on. She stated that with contacts she "woke up with dry eyes". OK contact lenses do not cause dry eye. They don't. Unless you're sleeping in them, which she can't be b/c she just told us how LOOOOONG it takes to put contacts on in the morning and how it's preventing her from living her life, right? But do you know what DOES cause dry eye? LASIK. Google it. So LASIK absolutely is not the solution if the complaint is dryness. If you "wake up with dry eye", LASIK is going to make you *WORSE*. Look I am not anti-LASIK. I had LASIK! But I get tired of being the guy that has to tell patient after patient that they are not a candidate or that LASIK will not do what they thought/heard/read/were told it would do b/c they heard some lady on the radio talking about how AMAZING it is and how EVERYONE should consider it b/c it's 20% off right now. LASIK is great at making young nearsighted people not need vision correction, but it really does not do much else. It is not magic and it absolutely will not make anyone see "20/16" b/c no one is going to measure your vision in that manner.


  1. I love love love this post but 20/16 is the Snellen equivalent of a -0.10 logMAR acuity

  2. How has your lasik held up? I was fine for about 8 years, but within the last 3 or 4 my vision has slipped, I don't even think I'm 20/40 anymore. And definitely use glasses when I drive. I was 20/20 when I got it, one eye doc said 20/70 now, another said 20/100. I am considering a second procedure, or visian ICL.


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