During LASIK surgery, the surgeon uses what is called an “excimer” laser in order to reshape the cornea. So, a thin layer of the cornea is lifted to create a tiny flap on the surface of the cornea, using blade-free Intralase Technology. The laser is then applied to the underlying surface to reshape the cornea, correcting the patient’s prescription. The flap is then simply replaced into exactly the same position as before, and the procedure is complete.
Whilst with any elective surgical procedure there is always some element of risk, the fact is that LASIK eye surgery is one of the most common and certainly one of the safest of all elective surgical procedures.
Refractive surgery – is the medical term used to describe surgical procedures that correct common vision problems such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and presbyopia. These surgical procedures lessen your reliance on the use of prescription glasses or contact lenses.
Lasik – is the most popular and most common refractive surgery. LASIK stands for “laser in situ keratomileuses.” It is actually one of the several surgical procedures used to reshape the cornea. Furthermore, all laser vision correction surgeries are performed by reshaping the cornea (the clear front part of the eye) in order for the light traveling through it to properly focus on the retina (located at the back of the eye).
A Lasik procedure can correct all common refractive errors like astigmatism, nearsightedness, and farsightedness. If you have a more serious refractive error, other refractive surgery options can be done to correct your vision.
Ideally, patients between the ages of 21 – 40, or even older individuals who need bifocals because of presbyopia are good candidates to undergo the procedure. Furthermore, patients who have healthy eyes and have a mild to moderate case of refractive errors are also good candidates for Lasik surgery.
It is best to understand that Lasik correction surgery is not for everyone. There are cases whereby, patients will be advised not to undergo the procedure due to the following reasons:
- Keratoconus – corneal thinning disorder.
- Large pupils – people with large pupils are more likely to experience disconcerting night vision problems after the procedure (glare, ghost images, and halos).
- Immune system disorders – medical illnesses that may affect your healing could make you a poor candidate for the surgery. These specific medical problems include lupus, collagen vascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, AIDS, myasthenia gravis and multiple sclerosis. The use of medications such as steroids and immunosuppressants will slow down or worse, prevent the healing of your eye after Lasik.
- Other eye problems – these may include: advanced glaucoma, cataracts, past ocular herpes infection and eye problems caused by diabetes or other health problems.
- Unstable vision – this procedure is not usually advisable for teens under the age of 18 due to the fact that their vision is often still changing.
- Dry eyes – the quality and quantity of your tears will greatly affect your eyes healing after the surgery. According to the eye surgeons, the best outcome from this specific type of eye procedure depends on the control of dry eyes.
In preparing for your eye surgery, the first thing that you have to do is to consult your surgeon. The result of your Lasik procedure often depends on the abilities of your refractive surgeon than the kind of technology your surgeon has used.
Your surgeon should discuss with you what you can expect during and after the surgery. During the consultation, your surgeon will also evaluate your medical history and fully examine your eyes.
After passing a series of tests, the next step is to schedule your actual eye procedure. Before your scheduled operation, your surgeon will most likely advise you to:
- Use eye drops to reduce dry eye or inflammation
- When to stop using contact lenses
- When to stop using facial lotions, creams, and makeup
During your surgery, a thin flap in your cornea will be created using either a microkeratome or a femtosecond laser. The flap will then be peeled back and the underlying corneal tissue in your eye will be reshaped using another laser. After reshaping your cornea, the flap will then be put back in place to complete the surgery.
Local anesthesia in the form of eye drops is used during the procedure. If you fear that you will be nervous, you may request a mild sedative to help you relax.
Length of Stay in Destination
Lasik surgery usually lasts not more than 30 minutes for both eyes. After surgery, your doctor will send you home under strict instructions to rest for the first few hours following the surgery. No bandages or stitches are required after Lasik. You will need to stay in the Country for 2 days as you will also need a follow-up check-up for evaluation 1 or 2 days after your procedure.
Most people will immediately see significant positive results after the first two days of the Lasik procedure; a full recovery, on the other hand, may take up to least 6 months.
Follow-up checkups are very important for your eyes to fully recover. Your six-month recovery period may come with several restrictions. Vigorous activities should be avoided during your recovery process to ensure that your eyes will heal properly.
The success rate for Lasik surgery is very high, according to studies, 95% of nearsighted patients achieve 20/40 vision after recovery. One or two out of ten patients will require a secondary surgery, for enhancement. However, the need for a secondary procedure is lower for people with smaller amounts of pre-operative refractive error.
Just like any other surgery, this type of procedure also poses some risks and potential side effects:
- Dry eyes – the most common side effects of Lasik surgery. The procedure can decrease your tear volume and it may also worsen a pre-existing dry eye condition.
- Night vision problems – you might experience glare and halos around lights or your night vision may not be as clear as your day vision.
- Eye infection – typically temporary and can be treated by eye drops or anti-inflammatory medication (steroids).
Alternatives to Laser Eye Surgery
There are also alternatives to Lasik surgery. It is best to know that your type of procedure will vary on the specific attributes of your eyes, two alternative procedures are:
Phakic IntraOcular Lens Implants – this procedure will not involve peeling of corneal layers or cutting. Instead, an artificial lens made of plastic or silicone will be implanted in your eye to improve how your eyes focus. While the lens is intended to be permanent, it can be removed anytime.
Epi-Lasik – a laser is used to remove your natural lens and replace it with an artificial IntraOcular lense. Positive results last even longer than other refractive procedures because the artificial lens stays clear and it never ages.
For an in-depth analysis of the pros and cons of LASIK eye surgery, watch this short video.
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