Technology has come a long way, baby. Take vision assistance, for instance. In caveman times, if you had bad sight, you bumped into stuff and were eventually eaten by a saber-toothed tiger. Next came reading glasses. Then, in the 1700s, Benjamin Franklin invented bifocals. Contact lenses were later invented. But the problem with these methods is that they all require you either putting crap on your face, or into your eyeballs. There's gotta be a better way.

Enter laser eye surgery. A quickly growing industry, laser eye surgery involves a doctor changing your eyeball so that you don't have to wear glasses or contacts anymore, possibly granting you 20/20 vision. But we must emphasize that laser eye surgery will not give you the ability to shoot laser beams out of your eyes. OK, so seeing more clearly sounds great, but whenever you're dealing with the combination of lasers and eyeballs, you should at least ask a couple of questions about the whole process. Fortunately for you, we're hear to answer your questions. Here's a warning, though: some people get squeamish when thinking about things going into their eyeballs. Don't wuss out on us.

First, you need some technical explanation of what laser eye surgery involves. Laser eye surgery has been available since the late ‘80s in Canada, but wasn't approved in the US until 1995. Every year, the number of patients doubles, and in 1999, it is expected that over one million people will have undergone the surgery in the United States. It basically involves going into a licensed doctor's office and having a laser shot through your pupil to change your lens or cornea so that your eyes can focus better. It is relatively painless (done under local anesthetic), and takes only about 15 minutes. And your eyes will look exactly the same afterwards (sorry, but you can't change that eye color). Laser eye surgery might really help you out, so read on to get all the facts, and decide whether you want to go through with it or not.


Laser eye surgery is not a magic bullet. It's not even a magic laser. As you would expect, it helps people with certain conditions better than other conditions. For instance, if you're blind, it won't work. Also, if the problem with your eye does not involve your cornea or lens, but involves some other problem with vision (like your brain), laser eye surgery is not for you. You might still be able to aid your vision, but with some other process that we know nothing about. Laser surgery is really only for those who have standard vision problems such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, or an astigmatism. If you're not sure what your vision problem is, just see an optometrist.

So let's say that you're nearsighted (that means that you can see things fine close up, but things far away are blurry). Now you have to find out if your case is extreme or not. See, the more severe the near or farsightedness is, the more likely that the surgery will be a bust. It also doesn't work well for extreme astigmatisms, or people with large pupils (because the laser won't be able to reach all of the parts it needs to). In other words, you have to have normal-bad vision, not coke-bottle-bad vision.

You also have to have stable vision. This means that your eyeball has finished growing and changing, and your prescription basically stays the same. This is why younger people with growing eyeballs cannot have laser eye surgery: because their eyeballs have not finished forming, and laser eye surgery can't account for future developmental changes. Don't worry though, young people are used to getting rejected. It'll build their character, even if they continue to bump into trees.

OK, so let's say that this all checks out. Finally, you have to be in good health. No diseases, diabetes, healing disorders, or tendencies to scar. And your eyes have to be healthy too (no pus or blood randomly leaking out). You also shouldn't have had previous major eye surgery, or the healing may be unpredictable. To take a survey to see if you're a good candidate, try going to