The subject of laser surgery, or for that matter any surgery performed on the eye, seems to bring a shudder to those discussing the merits of the procedure. As children, we are taught to keep items out of our eye. "Don't poke your eye out" is a battle cry issued by every parent, babysitter or teacher when dealing with the rough and tumble lives of children. As adults, the need for corrective vision treatment increases. Individuals do not want to be tied to a pair of glasses, especially if they are very active. They also do not want to be continuously changing out contacts. The alternative is corrective laser surgery.

LASIK surgery or Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis is a surgical procedure where a laser is used to change the shape of the cornea. A knife creates a flap and the laser is used through a computer to change the stroma of the eye. The flap is then put back into place. The surgery is done in an office and when it is complete, the patient is allowed to go home. The actual surgery is done while the patient is awake. The doctor might give some medicine to help relax the patient and then a numbing solution is used on the area of the eye. The hardest part of the surgery is for those people who have a problem with staying focused on one object for up to a minute. The most difficult thing to remember after the surgery, and it is very important, is not to rub the eye. Anything involving lotions, creams and eye make-up is to be avoided for a determined amount of time. Activities that involve physical contact are not advised for at least four weeks.

Possible side effects of lasik surgery are usually temporary. They include discomfort or pain, hazy or blurry vision, light sensitivity or scratchiness.

The decision to have LASIK surgery is one that should not be undertaken lightly. As with any surgery there are certain risks and there is no guarantee that glasses still will not be needed. There are also "enhancement" surgeries that may need to be performed. Patients must thoroughly weigh the pros and cons of the surgery before deciding. For those afflicted with terrible eyesight, LASIK surgery can reduce the prescription needed. For others it can eliminate the need for glasses or contacts. It is not a perfect procedure but it is an option. As more advances in the field of optometry are made, the rate of success will increase as well.