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The Curse of Indecision

As a contact lens-wearing – and occasionally bespectacled – individual, I have often toyed with the idea of refractive surgery. No more worrying about being able to see when swimming or donning super-tight goggles (if I ‘break the rules’ and leave my lenses in); no more having to wrestle myself out of bed to remove forgotten contact lenses while half asleep; and, best of all, no more having to shell out money every month to navigate the world with unimpaired vision. What has held me back? Honestly, I am not quite sure. But as I sit here, eyes mildly irritated by my annual bout of hay fever, proofing articles from our Modern LASIK panel, not for the first time, I find myself considering the benefits of refractive surgery – and wondering why the numbers of people opting for refractive surgery have been (and still are) in decline. As Dan Reinstein points out, “LASIK uptake has dropped from 1.6 million procedures per year in the US to 0.6 million today – we’re doing fewer procedures, even though we’re 50 times safer.”

Why, in an era of advanced procedures with excellent safety and visual outcomes, is this? Cost is certainly a factor for some. Maybe a little fear of the procedure itself; it’s true that many myths and ‘scare stories’ surround the procedures, but ophthalmologists – and patient advocates – are working hard to overturn these. But I can’t help but wonder if it might also be a result of indecision – and a lack of drive to pursue treatment in the face of current life milestones and ‘pressures’.

Will I opt for refractive surgery one day? I’d like to think so. What will make me actively go out and seek it? I am still not quite sure. It seems to me that understanding the tipping point that pushes prospective patients from “I would like do that, but [insert reason here]” to “I must do that,” would benefit ophthalmologists and their patients alike. It is abundantly clear that refractive surgeries are here to stay, and will only get better and better... Perhaps, I have just talked myself into it. Or maybe I haven’t.

Ruth Steer


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About the Author
Ruth Steer
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