Life passing by in a blur? Zion Eye Institute’s summer LASIK special will get you seeing clearly again

Stock image, St. George News

FEATURE — Are you getting tired of wearing glasses or annoying contact lenses just to keep from living life in a blur? Then summer is the perfect time to see about LASIK eye surgery.

“I love that feeling when I see a patient so happy,” said Dr. Jayson Edwards, Southern Utah’s most experienced corneal specialist. “It really makes me happy just to see somebody who says, ‘I haven’t seen for a long time and now I can.’

For the past 10 years, Zion Eye Institute has run a special on custom LASIK procedures from Memorial Day through Labor Day, changing the lives of thousands of patients. Continuing this year through Sept. 2, they are offering custom LASIK surgery for $1,495 per eye – a savings of $500 each.

LASIK has helped over 10 million Americans eliminate the need for corrective lenses since receiving its FDA approval 20 years ago this July. 

Edwards said LASIK repairs eye problems you are born with – “your genetics” – like nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatisms, and surgery can be performed as soon as the eye is fully developed. He said it is commonly done on younger individuals around the ages of 21-22, because there’s not a lot of eye disease at that point in their life.

 “It’s just refractive error – a need for glasses, a need for contact lenses,” Edwards said, adding that while LASIK is commonly done in younger years, the procedure can be performed at any age, which is why the free screenings offered by Zion Eye Institute are so important. 

Stock image, St. George News

LASIK involves creating a hinged, partial thickness corneal flap, using a microkeratome blade or laser to gently lift the flap to expose the underlying tissue. Once opened, the laser treatment reshapes the cornea, the flap is laid back down and healing begins instantly. Edwards said as soon as the next day you are doing very well and are ready to throw those glasses and contacts away.

Edwards started wearing contacts at 14 years old – he and his father were both nearsighted – but despite being a fellowship trained ophthalmologist, he waited until 38 years old to get his LASIK surgery done. He was so pleased with the results, he now tells all of his patients he wishes he had it done in his 20s. 

He said his procedure was performed at 5 p.m., and after a short nap at home, he woke up three hours later saying “This is awesome.”

Why LASIK? 

Besides quick recovery time, Edwards said LASIK provides excellent vision correction without the constant trouble of wearing glasses and contact lenses.

Zion Eye Institute has a very high success rate; 98% of their patients are 20/20 or better after surgery, which puts Zion Eye considerably above the national average outcomes.

“Most patients want LASIK because of instant gratification,” Edwards remarked,  adding that it’s pretty rare not to see a 20/20 result.

Zachary Cox, administrator at Zion Eye, said they understand that it is an expensive procedure, but the summer special makes it a lot more reasonable. 

“Its a huge savings,” he said, adding that while the procedure is not usually covered by insurance, he recommends each patient call their agent anyway to see if they can get an even bigger discount. Zion Eye also has financing available, and those who qualify can get 0% financing for a year.

What makes a good candidate?

In order to get the best results, Edwards said the first step is a thorough evaluation to determine if LASIK is the right option for a person’s particular vision problem.

At the first free screening , Zion Eye will determine if a patient is within the range of treatment and a good candidate for LASIK. If they are, the next step is to meet with a surgeon and discuss the options. Their ultimate goal is to educate patients and let them make the final decision as a patient.

Questions at the initial evaluation might include: “What do you do for fun? What is your lifestyle like? How do you feel when it comes to risks and benefits?”

When Edwards evaluates his patients, he always wants to make that decision together and do what is best for them. 

“A lot is looking at the patient, seeing who they are, how they feel about things and making sure we do what they’re comfortable with.”

He said the unknown can be scary, especially when it comes to surgeries, but he has seen that once patients are educated, it goes a long way toward alleviating their anxiety.

“Happy patients, that’s my goal,” he said. “It makes me feel good.”

Cox said anyone with questions or concerns can call 435-656-2020 and make an appointment to speak with a doctor.

For more information visit Zion Eye Institute’s website.

Written by ANDREW PINCKNEY, St. George News.

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