LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - In hopes of tossing the glasses or contacts, 700,000 Americans undergo lasik eye surgery each year. After one local young lady underwent the procedure, her mom decided that she too wanted perfect vision.
Since 1st grade, Sarah Yarbrough lived with poor vision. "I noticed that I could not see the board," she says, "I couldn't read it, so I had to get glasses in 1st grade and then I ended up getting contacts in 5th grade."
Without glasses or contacts, Sarah said her world looked like it was underwater. "Everything was blurry," says Sarah, "I definitely wouldn't be able to get around the house or drive without my contacts in."
With her eyes taking a toll on daily activities, Sarah talked to ophthalmologist Dr. Al O'Byrne at The Eye Clinic about lasik eye surgery and how it works. "The excimer laser will reshape the cornea," he says, "and if you're nearsighted, you flatten it. If you're farsighted, you steepen it and basically, you sculpt it into the shape that it needs to be in order to put your eye in focus."
Dr. O'Byrne says lasik can be shaped to your age and vision needs. "If you're under 40, it's pretty straightforward," says Dr. O'Byrne, "you reshape the cornea so that both eyes are reshaped to focus in the distance and because you're younger, you can accommodate, which means you can refocus your eyes up close so that you can see far and near and everything in between."
When Sarah's mom, Amy Nyberg, saw how happy her daughter was with her newfound sight, she decided it was time to have it done herself. "She had told me when she first got it done that she cried when she realized what she could see," says Amy, "I was like, 'I need to have this.' So, we talked about it and then found the right time and got it done."
If you're over 40, lasik is handled a little differently to accommodate being able to see up close and far away. Dr. O'Byrne says, "The older you get, the greater the chance is that you're going to need reading glasses afterwards, unless you leave one eye a little bit nearsighted."
Even though Sarah and Amy's procedures varied a bit, they're satisfaction with lasik is identical. "I am a wife, a mom and a nursing student," says Sarah, "so it helps out in all three areas."
To test your "Eye-Q" and be in the running to win a free lasik procedure from The Eye Clinic, click here.
*Like any surgical procedure, there are risks and side effects involved with lasik. Just this week, the FDA announced it's stepping up efforts to ensure that doctors provide patients with information about side effects like large pupils, thin corneas and dry eye.