Look around. They can be seen everywhere, in bus shelters, in magazines and on the internet. Advertisments bombarding the public with the words laser eye surgery.
This is more than just a fad, it is a way of life.
More and more people are looking into getting their eyes surgically changed to improve their vision with fantastic results.
Mandi Hadfield, a 24 year old optimetric assistant at Visual Effects in Lethbridge has undergone laser eye surgery at the Gimble Eye Centre in Calgary.
"I have no bad things to say about it," said Mandi.
Mandi was lucky, she was given a break on the price as a promotional offer though her previous place of employment.
Two different procedures are available to patients, Photorefractive Keratectomy treatment or PRK and Laser Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis or LASIK.
The PRK procedure uses an excimer laser to sculpt an area five to nine millimeterin in diameter on the surface (cornea) of the eye. The amount of the cornea removed depends on the severity of the short sightedness (myopia) of the patient.
The LASIK method creates a flap in the cornea by slicing it from the side. The flap is then folded back and the doctor then makes the refractive correction on the inner layer of the cornea with an excimer laser. Tissue is removed for myopia and added for far sightedness (hyperopia).
Information counselling on the day of surgery so she knew exactly what was happening during surgery. The surgery is taped so the patient can view the tape at home.
An examination is scheduled one to five days following the procedure, then one week, one month and every month there after up until six months.
One eye is normally done at a time with three month period between surgery. Both can be done at once if desired.
Mandi received the PRK treatment in August 1996 and is very happy with the results.
She had both eyes operated on at the same time and it took just over five minutes per eye. The eye is frozen with eye drops so the patient is awake for the entire time.
"They would prefer you do one at a time," said Hadfield.
It took about 10 days before her left eye "caught up" to her right eye in the healing process.
Tylenol is prescribed for pain, a gas permeable contact lens bandage, antibiotic drops and other preventative medications and devices (such as wrap around sun glasses) are given to patients following surgery.
"It (after surgery) wasn't painful, but a little irritating," said Hadfield. "Night time was the worst."
Mandi’s eyes were over corrected (15/20– slighty far sighted) for a short period of time so that the healing process would bring her sight back to 20/20 vision.
After over two years, Mandi continues to enjoy her "perfect" eye sight.
"I would recommend it to anyone," said Mandi.
Sheila Heinrich, Health Services Manager at LCC had nothing but good things to say about laser eye surgery.
Her husband, who is 41 years old, had a prescription of –9.75. He had to be in the chair five different times to achieve the vision he knew he could have with the PRK treatment.
He began the treatment two years ago, and was last in surgery just before Christmas 1997.
He suffered from extreme hyperopia.
Heinrich is very athletic and needed a new pair of glasses for several different sports. He was spending $500 to $750 per pair, easily topping $1, 000 per year in eye wear.
The price of the surgery $2,000 to $2,200 per eye was quickly recovered in the absence of paying for replacement lenses each year.
"He couldn't read the numbers on the bedside clock (before surgery)," said Shelia. "He had perfect vision one week post–op."
"The minute they elevate the dentist chair (after surgery) you can see," said Shelia. "The improvment is instantaneous."
The surgery comes with a guarantee that any touch–up surgery is covered within the cost for 24 months following.