Focus on you in 2020; free LASIK surgery from Zion Eye can have you seeing 20/20 for the new year

Stock image, St. George News

CONTRIBUTED CONTENT — A new year is all about putting the focus back on life, and if the constant trouble of wearing glasses and contact lenses has been wearing you down, Southern Utah’s most experienced corneal specialist says LASIK eye surgery just might be the answer to your struggles.

Stock image, St. George News

“This is the year of sight,” Dr. Jayson Edwards of Zion Eye Institute told St. George News, and to celebrate the dawn of a new decade, their office is giving away 20 free LASIK surgeries as a thank you to Southern Utah for their support and friendship over the years.

Throughout 2020, Zion Eye will be holding new contest every month and asking local residents to submit posts or short essays with topics such as “How I could benefit from eye surgery” or “How LASIK will change my life.” People can apply individually or together as a family, and they can also nominate friends and loved ones that could use some help. Edwards said winners will be selected each month from the most deserving submissions.

Zachary Cox, administrator at Zion Eye, said specific criteria will change with each monthly contest, and details will be posted on the company’s Facebook page. Participants should like and subscribe the page to be notified of any updates.

Once selected, the winners will need to come into the office for a free screening to ensure they are eligible candidates for LASIK, but even if it isn’t the best treatment for them, they can still gift the procedure to someone else or choose another refraction procedure.

Is LASIK the right option?

Around 700,000 LASIK eye surgeries are performed every year, and since receiving its FDA approval 20 years ago, it has helped over 10 million Americans eliminate the need for glasses and corrective lenses. It can be used to treat vision refractive errors, including nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism, and it is a great solution for younger individuals age 21 or 22, once the eye is fully developed.

Edwards, who is a fellowship trained cornea specialist, waited until he was 38 years old to have his own nearsightedness corrected with LASIK, but he now tells everyone he should have had it performed in his 20s and saved himself years of frustration. He struggled all through high school, college and medical school, but it took many years before he finally realized his risk of causing corneal problems and infections and decided to make a change.

“I had glasses since I was 12,” he said. “I hated them. When I had LASIK, just the thought that I don’t need to deal with glasses anymore or contacts was a liberating feeling. I just loved it.”

During the LASIK procedure, the surgeon creates a hinged partial thickness corneal flap and uses a microkeratome blade or laser to gently lift the flap and expose the underlying tissue. Once exposed, a laser reshapes the cornea to correct the vision problem, and the flap is laid back down to begin healing immediately.

Results are permanent, and recovery time is extremely quick with LASIK. Edwards said one of things he loves most is that he will do a surgery on Tuesday and the patient will return the following day with 20/20 vision, and most are ready to throw their glasses in the garbage.

Studies have shown that 85% of patients who have had the surgery experience 20/20 vision or better, but Zion Eye has witnessed incredible success rates far above the national average, with 98% of their patients walking out the door with perfect vision.

“For me, I love that. It makes me feel good to have somebody come in and say, ‘This is awesome. I’ve wanted this for years,’ and now they got it,” Edwards said. “They just loved that they were able to feel more comfortable and confident in themselves just because they didn’t have to worry about losing a contact lens or breaking glasses when they were playing sports. It just provided more freedom for them.”

Some people may not be eligible for LASIK to solve their eye problems, Edwards said, adding that a PRK – or photorefractive keratectomy – is a better way to treat them. It is similar to LASIK, but instead of creating a flap, the cornea’s outer layer is completely removed and allowed to naturally grow back over time.

With LASIK, you’re usually seeing 20/20 the next day. PRK is a little bit longer. It usually takes a couple of weeks, sometimes a couple of months. Everybody heals differently.”

He said a select few patients have prescriptions so large that the only way to treat them is by using an Implantable Collamer Lens. It is used for extreme cases of refractive error like high-nearsightedness.

“We implant a lens in the eye that corrects the refractive error and allows someone to see very, very well,” he said. “Most people don’t have to worry about that because it’s for extreme prescriptions, but it just gives another option for those that have always been told ‘You can’t do LASIK.'”

Edwards has been performing the Implantable Collamer Lens surgeries for over five years, and he said most people do extremely well with the treatment.

“It’s a great time to say, ‘OK, I’m done with contacts, I’m done with glasses.'”

To ensure the best results, an individual should come speak with a physician first and then decide together if LASIK is the best option to solve their particular vision issue. Their biggest priority is to get the best outcome and to make sure their patients feel completely comfortable and safe.

For more information about LASIK or other options at Zion Eye Institute, visit their website. You can also call for an appointment today at 435-656-2020.

Written by ANDREW PINCKNEY, St. George News.

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