Hate how you look wearing glasses? Contact lenses uncomfortable or a nuisance? Laser-eye surgeons would love for you to pay several thousand dollars on an operation that promises to fix your eyes for good. These procedures—the most common are LASIK, Epi-LASIK, LASEK, and PRK—are quite safe, but because they’re surgeries there are still risks. Although most people who have had their eyes zapped are happy with their results, there are plenty who are not satisfied or wish they had never done it. And—surprise!—contrary to some advertised claims, it’s not a permanent fix: Most LASIK patients will still someday need glasses.

Before committing to LASIK, separate the hype from the facts, carefully choose your surgeon, judge the chances of a successful correction given your vision and other factors, evaluate the risks of post-surgery vision and eye problems, and compare costs.