“I’ve had the opportunity to follow the evolution of the technology,” says Dr. Herzig. “It has been very exciting, particularly over the last ten years.” Indeed, the speed at which this technology has gone from infancy to widespread adoption is almost unprecedented. Today, laser eye centers can be found in every major city in Canada, and worldwide.

With the tremendous efforts of well-recognized Canadian doctors, Canada has been pioneering new techniques and driving science forward not only locally but also internationally. In fact, due to the amazing work done by these leaders, LASIK eye surgery has become widely adopted and turned into a household word.

“Most people are aware of LASIK,” says Dr. Herzig. “But they are usually not aware that for some people, there are better procedures to correct their vision.”

Not every eye is a nail for LASIK’s hammer

Not only are there a number of extremely effective non-laser alternatives to LASIK, there are also non-LASIK laser treatments. When consumers are not aware of the options available to them, there is a real danger of ending up with a less than optimal outcome. “There are just so many technologies out there,” says eye surgeon Dr. Catherine Eplett, “and not everybody is a candidate for every procedure.”

Implantable Collamer Lens (ICL) surgery, for example, is a procedure where a soft gel lens is implanted surgically into the eye. ICL surgery can provide permanent vision correction for many people who would not be good candidates for LASIK. “ICLs have been absolutely revolutionary,” says Dr. John Blaylock of the Valley Laser Eye Clinic in British Columbia. “It’s amazing to see the positive outcomes we can bring to people’s lives when we match them with the right procedure.”

“It’s amazing to see the positive outcomes we can bring to people’s lives when we match them with the right procedure.”

Similarly, people are largely unaware of Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) surgery, a procedure where the eye’s natural lens is removed and replaced with an entirely synthetic lens.

This technique is used to treat cataracts, but has also been adapted to provide permanent vision correction to people with extreme nearsightedness or farsightedness, patients who would not be good candidates for LASIK. With new advances involving the use of femtosecond lasers, both varieties of this surgery are safer and easier than ever before.

We live in an incredible era, to have all of these options available to us. This is why it is so important to find a reputable eye centre that offers a range of procedures and has doctors who will meet with each patient and help direct them to the solution that is best for them. LASIK may remain the best option for many people, but your vision is not a commodity and you must not shop for treatments as though it was.

More options means better outcomes for more people

With these new technologies, and with the major advances being made in older techniques, a far wider range of vision conditions can be corrected than ever before. “There are so many people that we can treat now that we would have been unable to treat even a few years ago,” says Dr. Blaylock.

That is exciting news for people who have been living with less than perfect vision. It is hard to overestimate the benefits of corrective eye surgery. A life free of glasses or contact lenses, and 20/20 vision or better for those who may never have experienced it even with glasses, means greater freedom and greater happiness.

“Better vision improves both safety and confidence,” explains Dr. Herzig. “By improving visual function, we’re directly improving quality of life.”