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Fogging glasses prompt more to look at LASIK

By Jason Klose

For the Mirror

Wearing protective masks to ward off COVID-19 and needing glasses is not a good mix, and the combination seems to be prompting more people to get LASIK surgery.

Michele Scott of Huntingdon had LASIK surgery at Envision Laser Centers in Altoona in May.

“There would be days where I would just wear my glasses, and I didn’t like the way I looked with my glasses,” she said.

“They were better for me, but they were uncomfortable because I had to wear a mask and my glasses would fog up. It just became a constant headache.” She had previously worn contact lenses during the day and sometimes bifocal glasses and bifocal contacts for reading and distance vision.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, more people are opting for LASIK surgery. People are finding that mask-wearing with glasses can be annoying, as glasses become fogged up when exhaling. LASIK surgery has become an increasingly popular procedure for patients, as it provides a long-lasting alternative to eyeglasses or contact lenses.

“We have been very busy due to the fact that people are finding masks and glasses do not go hand-in-hand very well,” said Dave Vance, owner and general manager of Envision Laser Centers. “Also, when COVID hit, many people were unable to get the vision care or supplies that they needed. People were wearing contact lenses longer than they should just because they couldn’t get more if they needed them.”

Vance and his partner Dr. Ketan Patel founded Envision Laser Centers in 2004.

They have offices in Altoona, Johnstown and State College. They’ve seen a backlog of patients from the spring when the COVID-19 pandemic started.

Another LASIK provider, Laurel Eye Clinic, also has seen an uptick in LASIK since the pandemic began, according to Mark Powell, marketing manager and outreach consultant. Laurel Eye Clinic introduced LASIK to northwestern and central Pennsylvania and has laser surgery centers in Brookville and Duncansville.

Powell attributes the increase in surgery to two reasons.

“First, many people didn’t go on vacation or even out to dinner like in the past, so they used those funds for LASIK,” Powell said.

“Second, many patients do talk about the fogging up of their glasses while wearing their face covering. It’s very annoying,” Powell said.

Scott said she considered LASIK surgery prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Having her glasses constantly fogging up from mask-wearing tipped the scale for her.

“My stepdaughter actually had it done and just raved about it and told me about the special financing that they had available,” she said. “So, I decided to just bite the bullet and go for it. It was probably the best decision I ever made.”

Envision Laser Centers offer people free LASIK consultation where the experts evaluate a candidate based on eyeglass prescription, eye anatomy and patient goals to see if LASIK offers a solution.

“Everyone is different, and making sure LASIK is right for an individual is very important to us,” Vance said. “We discuss all options with the patient so they can make an informed decision as to whether or not LASIK is good for them.”

Envision’s busy time of the year is typically January through June, as many people put money away in health savings accounts and have procedures at the beginning of the year. They also see another wave after February, when people receive their income tax returns.

“Most people want LASIK before summer so they can enjoy it without relying on glasses or contacts,” Vance said. “The end of the year is usually slow with the holidays, but this year appears to be an exception.”

Laurel Eye Clinic has similar busy times of the year.

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