Apparently, there is now an improved version of Lasik eye surgery that routinely results in vision better than 20/20. Remarkable. I had regular Lasik done three years ago and went from having to take an educated guess at the big “E” atop the chart to vision in the 20/30 range. It’s a shame that health insurance doesn’t cover this procedure, considering it “cosmetic.” Given the high cost of glasses and contact lenses, not to mention their incovenience, one would think surgical vision correction would become the routine treatment. Insurance companies don’t require people who could benefit from knee replacement surgery to instead use crutches. Although, come to think of it, I’m sure they would if they could get away with it.

(Hat tip: Bill Quick)

James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Blogeline says:

    I agree with you. I really would like to get the surgery done but it’s just too expensive.
    I wear glasses most of the time and I don’t mind, but I can’t wear sunglasses unless I spend more money and get prescription sunglasses. I wear contacts every once in a while but after looking at a monitor for longer than 30 minutes is enough to make my eyes hurt.

    Well, at least I look intelligent:-)

  2. While Lasik et al. are wonderful when they work, when they don’t you may be suffering from vision problems (and quite probably significant amounts of pain) for the rest of your life.

    As someone who has lost most of the vision in one eye (not due to eye surgery but an injury that resulted in corneal scarring in both eyes) I’m very sympathetic to the potential problems that can happen. I once spent months wondering if I’d ever see again and I’ve gone through much physical pain over the last 18 years.

    People tend to dismiss the possibility because “it won’t happen to them” or “well, it’s rare”. Approximately 1% of Lasik patients need significant amounts of followup treatment including additional surgeries, duct plugs, etc., and about .3% permanently lose enough of their vision to be considered disabled. This ain’t peanuts, and it’s basically a huge dice roll. The surgeons can’t make any guarantees up front, and while the skill of the surgeon has some effect on the outcome, even the best surgeons have patients with permanent severe complications.

    Sure, there are followup treatments that may make things better–but who wants to be one of those people spending significant amounts of their life saying “gee, I just wish I could see as well as I could before the surgery” or “It’d be so nice if it didn’t feel like I had grit in my eyes all the time”? It happens.

    I can’t imagine why someone would want to take the real risk of losing significant amounts of vision and suffering complications for the rest of their life, all for something that can only be considered cosmetic. (I have tons of astigmatism and myopia, quite probably more than you, so I truly understand what that’s like.) Even if the risk were only .01% it’s still a genuine risk, and something that is in some ways worse than getting killed… if you believe in “quality of life”, that is.

    I’m not an anti-Lasik nut, I just see the positives presented far too often without an honest look at the negatives that can and do happen. Complications such as “dry eye” aren’t a joke, they can be permanently debilitating–and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Glasses may not be “cool”, but they rarely cause one’s life to be permanently screwed up.

  3. Blogeline says:

    That’s a good point and there was a time where I was thinking about that as well, when it was a very interesting topic for the media. Now, that I don’t really see it as an option for me, I am not too worried about it since I am not ging to get it done right now.
    Plus, I really like myself with glasses. I look very boring without them…but that’s another problem 🙂