The only reason you should be scared of Laser Eye Surgery

There was a woman in her late 40s who recently visited the clinic, let’s call her Mandy, who was so reluctant to come in she was pretty much dragged through the door by her daughter. Mandy peered at everything in the clinic — the walls, staff, the plants — through suspicious eyes, untrusting of everything and unnerved by this mysterious procedure she’d heard so vastly opposing opinions about.

There was also a man of a similar age, let’s call him Bob, who popped into the clinic not too long after Mandy. Bob approached the desk not with caution and suspicion but with chest-out-chin-high, like he spent his days going around having surgery for the sheer hell of it. The night before, a friend of Bob’s told him about the treatment down the pub, and now Bob was here, stuffed to the brim with steak and mash and raring to go.

Out of these two curious people, only one of them eventually underwent the procedure. The other was too overcome by nerves and fear that they went back to their life of glasses and contact lenses, despite how much they hated it.

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The only thing to fear is fear itself

Most of the common reasons people are unable to have Laser Eye Surgery are what you’d expect. They’re too young, they’re pregnant, or they can’t afford it. Or, albeit only in rare cases today, they have a prescription that makes them unsuitable for the treatment. But the surprising thing is the most common reason of all has nothing to do with physical barriers or practicalities like cost and timing.

The number one factor, by far, that prevents people from having Laser Eye Surgery is fear.

Okay, so most of us have a thing about people touching our eyes. And yes, even the mere mention of ‘laser’ in the same breath is enough to put anyone off the procedure. But beyond that, beyond the made up ideas people have of the treatment, there are no rational reasons to be scared.

The fact is, it’s more rational to be scared of getting audited by the IRS. Or being injured by a toilet. Or becoming President of the United States. All these things are statistically proven to be more likely to happen than Laser Eye Surgery going wrong and you losing your sight (okay, apart from you becoming President of the U.S, but it’s still a scary prospect).

The point is, in life, there are both rational and irrational fears, and being scared of Laser Eye Surgery to the point that you don’t have the procedure swings way over to the side of the irrational. Especially when you consider the treatment has a strong track record — more than 35 million treatments have been carried out around the world, that’s nearly the population of Canada — and the procedure continues to get safer and safer.

But let’s get back to Mandy and Bob for a second. Which of our two intriguing visitors went through with it and had Laser Eye Surgery? Was it Mandy, the panicky housecat who was naturally sceptical and using her whiskers to feel her way around the place; or Bob, the chatty, pigeon-chested Stoic who was chatting up the half-his-age receptionist and already throwing his glasses in the bin?

Bob may have come in guns blazing, but his knowledge of the treatment was bias in that it was limited to what one guy down the pub said, specifically that the “laser thing is 100 percent foolproof”. As soon as he was made aware of the fact that Laser Eye Surgery, like any surgery, comes with a small chance of risk — albeit an incredibly small chance of risk — his confidence drained out of him like a popped balloon.

Mandy, on the other hand, was all too aware of the good and the bad of Laser Eye Surgery. She’d spoken to friends and family who’d raved about the treatment, read through every tabloid article and forum thread on the web, and even knew someone who’s vision got worse after having a budget treatment about a decade ago. Mandy was well informed, but some of her ideas were also dated and off the mark due to the passing of time and influence of the media. Once we gave it to her straight and laid out all the facts on the table, she quietly made up her mind and the next week went home with her new improved vision.

Although fear and nerves play a normal part in such a life-changing procedure as Laser Eye Surgery, the real scary thing is misinformation. The two stars of our story, known here as Mandy and Bob, will now go on to live to very different lives. An unfortunate truth that plays out on a much larger scale every single day.

But all hope is not lost; as accurate information becomes more accessible and more people become aware of the facts and the myths of Laser Eye Surgery, we’re hopeful we’ll see Bob stride through our doors soon again in the future.

The only reason you should be scared of Laser Eye Surgery

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