Houston, Texas (NAPSI) - Social networks and blogs have taken the information-rich resources of the Internet and made them a part of everyday conversation: According to a recent Pew Internet study, 80 percent of Internet users, or 59 percent of U.S. adults, look online for health information. Networks like Facebook, review sites such as HealthGrades and Yelp, and comments and questions posted online are extremely useful tools for researching personal health matters.
Popular topics of inquiry include learning about procedures, specific medical conditions, understanding treatment options and finding a doctor. When considering an elective procedure, such as vision correction with LASIK, having access to online resources can make becoming an informed patient much easier.
The American Refractive Surgery Council offers these tips on using the Internet and social networking to research whether LASIK is right for you.
• Use Facebook and other social networks to ask friends and followers about their LASIK experiences. Were they happy? What surgeon would they recommend?
• If you’re curious about exactly how the surgery is performed, you can check out surgery videos on YouTube or Vimeo. These videos of actual procedures can be very instructive (though be warned, they are graphic). Also, many surgeons post procedure videos on their sites.
• Use forums, message boards and other online discussions to hear from other people firsthand. Literally thousands of communities have formed around common areas of interest where LASIK can make a difference—from parents to outdoor enthusiasts. This is a great avenue for finding people who share your interests and hearing about their experiences with the procedure.
• You can find out about prices online; just remember, getting a great deal should not be the deciding factor for any surgical procedure. A consultation with a refractive surgeon should be balanced, detailed and personalized to you and your vision. It should never feel like a sales process.
• Use authoritative medical websites such as WebMD or the Mayo Clinic to learn about the procedure. Research the risks as well as the benefits and understand what the procedure can and can’t do. For example, LASIK can free you from glasses and contact lenses—or reduce your dependence on them. But it has limitations. In particular, LASIK can’t stop the aging process. Your eyes will continue to age and you may need glasses for reading at some point in the future.
Finally, some common sense about using the Internet: Because anyone can put anything on the Web, the source matters. Make sure the information you are relying on to make a medical decision comes from a credible source and that you verify the information with your surgeon or personal physician.
Learn more at www.americanrefractivesurgerycouncil.org.