Before you tell me that there will always be something better around the corner, and if I keep waiting I'll just be blind forever, hear me out...
I've been doing a lot of research on LASIK and there are actually quite a few different forms (LASEK, EPI-LASIK,All Laser LASIK, Wavefront LASIK, etc...), each with different positives and negatives. The original procedure wasn't that accurate, it was based on a traditional optometrist lens prescription. Today, the state-of-the-art seems to be Wavefront LASIK, where instead of using an average correction factor the whole eye, your eye is scanned (mapped) and the ablation of your cornea is customized to your particular optical aberrations.
So, here are my thoughts... it seems to me that the laser ablation process has become accurate enough that we don't have to worry about the laser damaging surrounding tissue or not having enough resolution to optimize the corneal reshaping process. There will always be exceptions, but I feel with the eye tracking technology they have now it's pretty good. My real issue is with the flap creation, where about 70% of the nerves are cut to remove the flap from over the cornea! This just seems like an archaic method of doing things, and although they have laser flap creation now, you're still getting your eye cut up and the damage resulting from creating the flap can cause halos and other sight issues (especially under low light conditions, larger pupil). Not to mention the fact that "dry eyes" occurs in about 30% of LASIK patients, and is related to the nerve damage due to the flap creation. So my only real hesitation is regarding the flap, and whether a healthy Paleo diet (possibly with some supplementation, Vit-A, Vit-D, Vit-K2, etc.) would be enough to mitigate most of the post-op complications...
Would you do Wavefront LASIK? Have you had Waverfront LASIK done? Do you think on a Paleo diet the nerves would regenerate better and not be an issue? Is it really worth waiting to see if a non-flap option becomes available (FLIVC)?
You have to decide benefit risk ratio. LASIK is a cosmetic procedure but has real medical risks - infections, blindness, etc.
Most Opthalmologists (eye surgeons) and optometrists themselves do not get the procedure done on themselves including those I know. One friend told me the best LASIK surgeon she knows at Baylor in Houston rejects 90% of his patients, and only does it on the top 10% that he thinks will have the best success - and that's the quality control she would want.
The FDA is investigating LASIK claims because marketing suggests they are ignoring patients who are upset and only focusing on the best cases.
I think if your career depends on LASIK - swimmer, diver, etc. and you need that vision 24-7 and you are a good candidate then it may be risk worth taking.
LASIK increases the lifelong risks of retinal detachment especially in trauma such as contact sports, explosions, air bags in car accident, etc. - lesson was learned the hard way in the Iraq/Afghanistan war.
You will never get the vision with LASIK that you have with glasses or contact lenses. You may get to 20/20 or 20/15 but the clarity is not the same since the cornea is being cut the light is refracted so higher order aberrations (HOA) are artificially induced. Some patients are fine with this and others are not.
It cuts corneal nerves, some of which will never heal to normal.
Some patients will have dry eye for the rest of their lives and will NOT be able to wear contact lenses because it is so uncomfortable. Dry eye worsens with age for even normal people without LASIK. Some patients will be on lifelong artificial tears ranging from once a day to once every hour depending on the severity of dry eye. Sometimes this develops later in age 40's/50's.
Some patients once they hit 40's/50's have problems driving at night due to glare, pupil dilation, and aberration.
I have seen perfectly healthy normal 24 year old patients with no medical or ocular history have best-corrected LASIK 20/60 after the surgery because of complications from the healing and the flap. They will never be able to even drive again. The surgeon was good - their eye did not respond well to it. There was nothing in the evaluation that could have predicted this.
You will need reading glasses once you hit 40, so you are back to glasses - or bifocal contact lenses (and there are some good ones my patients love).
In the 1980's they used to do refractive surgery with a scalpel, and now done with laser. It is viewed as barbaric nowadays. I think LASIK will be viewed the same way in 10 years. There is some research trying to reshape the cornea with drugs - drops. I don't know if it will be better or safer but it may happen.
I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly - so I hope you are a good result if you do it! If you do it, do the custom wavefront with the best surgeon you can find - DON'T be cheap!
I asked my Opthamologist about LASIK just the other day. He wears glasses. He commented that its fine, but that he wouldn't have it done and amongst many of his colleagues that perform the surgery, the vast majority will be wearing glasses when they turn up to work that morning. If my specialist wouldn't do it to himself, I won't be doing to myself either.
I had my surgery done about a year and a half ago and I couldn't be happier. Although this isn't completely in line with your question, I had PRK specifically because it was a non-flap option. Even the smallest risk of that flap dislodging due to my lifestyle (contact sports, skydiving, etc.) was too much for me. Healing time and pain were significantly longer/worse than the LASIK options out there, but I'm completely satisfied with my 20/15 vision and not having to struggle with contacts or glasses anymore.
I had wavelength lasik last year. The next day I was completely fine, the first day was painful irritated eyes, but I think you should be fine. The cornea regenerates pretty quickly.
I join those who have had the procedure (six years ago in my case) and are completely happy with the results. I also agree about taking the risks and surgeon track record into account.
I had what's called "monovision" done, which means that one of my eyes is optimized for distance, and the other for close work -- the brain's amazing in figuring this out! -- so I need neither driving nor reading glasses. Before, I needed both. The surgeon also placed tiny "dams" in the tear ducts to help prevent dry eyes, and I've never had a problem with that.
Do you really need it? The idea of LASIK is like any other surgery. You're hacking some part of your body off, and you're NOT getting it back.
I'm 6 years post LASIK and all is well. It's awesome actually. Only side effect - if you can even call it that - is teeny tiny halos around lights and stuff at night (I'm talking ultra small, but noticable nonetheless). Really, no different than if you were wearing glasses. that and I find my eyes are a little drier in the morning than before. Other than that, I have better than 20/20 vision now.
The procedure itself is a trip though. Not at all painful, but not for the faint of heart either. Don't get the "no-touch" though. From what I hear, rehab is a bitch. The one where they cut the flap in the lens you're driving again in a day or two.
I had the Intralase procedure in December and drove myself to work the next day. The glare for me was minimal, and went away within the month. I saw 20/20 the next day, and it's settled to better than 20/15 now.
The flap isn't a big deal, and the nerves do regenerate of course. After about a month I mostly forgot to put my drops in unless it was completely needed, because my natural tears were back to doing their thing.
I still carry drops around for drier environments, like in my office.
Overall, I don't regret it, and neither has anyone I've talked to who has had LASIK. I was only STRONGLY encouraged to go to the 'best' surgeon (luckily fairly close by) instead of saving money at a 'cheaper' place and still needing glasses to drive at night, etc.
Had it in 1996...The BEST THING I'VE EVER DONE FOR MY LIFE "HEALTH".
I was blind. Really, legally blind. Yes, the big "E"..not readable.
While I'm now not 20/20, I'm very happy by the fact that I am not a detriment to others in the event that I loose my glasses. And, whoooo hoooo, I enjoy going to the beach soooooo much more. I mean there is sooo much more to see...you can read between the lines on that one.
However, I did (do) research the HELL out of anyone who takes a knife to my perfect bod. I went to one of the three Docs in the original LASIK clinical trials and could not be happier. (Dr Manger) I've also sent friends and family to him and they have better than 20/20 vision and are really happy.
My mother has done it and 3 other people in my extended family have done it; all with spectacular results. Find an Excellent doctor... don't go to one of those cheapy places. Usually the worst that can happen is dry eyes but even my one family member who ended up getting that said they'd rather use some eye drops once or twice a day then every have to put another contact lens in their eye again.
Where do you live, by the way? My mother knows all the best opthamologists in the country and could probably recommend someone for you. (she knows some in Canada too.) She does business consulting for elective surgery centers (lasik, plastic, etc.)