Lasik Laser Eye Surgery

LASIK stands for ‘LASer In situ Keratomileusis’ and it is is a treatment for short-sightedness, long-sightedness, and astigmatism. This laser eye procedure has largely replaced PRK due to quicker recovery time and minimal discomfort. It is the most popular form of laser vision correction and involves two forms: blade and ‘bladeless’. The ‘blade’ version involves the use of a ‘microkeratome’: a medical instrument which cuts a small ‘hinged’ flap on the surface of the cornea (epithelium). This flap is lifted to one side whilst the laser does its job of reshaping the cornea.

This flap is not removed which does mean a speedier recovery time than PRK (PRK removes the epithelium before reshaping the cornea).

The ‘bladeless’ form uses high energy lasers and is marketed as ‘Wavefront’ and ‘Intralase’. There are two types of high energy lasers: ‘excimer’ and ‘femtosecond’.

Prices vary for LASIK depending on whether the patient has the blade or bladeless version. As you might imagine, the newer and more advanced bladeless procedures cost more than the blade version.

More often than not, the LASIK procedure will minimize the need for eye glasses or contact lenses. It is the most common type of refractive eye surgery today. The aim of refractive surgery is to change the shape of your cornea in order to bend light properly and focus the light on your retina accurately.

Why should you go through LASIK eye surgery?

LASIK can be used to treat these eye refraction errors

  • myopia, nearsightedness, or short-sightedness. The front surface of your eye is flattened with the laser
  • hyperopia, long-sightedness, or farsightedness. The central cornea is made steeper when the laser removes corneal tissue in this area
  • astigmatism is corrected by reshaping the steepest part of the cornea and making it more spherical

How is the LASIK procedure performed?

The LASIK procedure will take around an hour to complete and can be performed on an outpatient basis. You will be awake for the entire procedure and in order to reduce discomfort and numb the pain, local anaesthetic will be applied. Your vision will be blurred throughout the procedure. Here are the steps of the LASIK process

  • The doctor will ask you to sit down on the reclining chair
  • In order to numb the area and reduce discomfort, anaesthetic drops will be applied on your eyes
  • Your eyes will be cleaned with an antibacterial wash
  • In order to keep your eyes open throughout the procedure, a special instrument will be used so that the eyelids are held in place
  • A suction ring will be placed on the eye so that there will be pressure on the cornea prior to cutting it
  • You will be asked to focus on a coloured light, this may be coloured green or red
  • On the surface of the cornea, a flap will be cut and folded back so that the doctor can reach the tissue underneath it. A special blade called a microkeratome will be used
  • The tissue that has been exposed will be dried
  • The laser will be put into position
  • The laser will be used to remove corneal tissue. A computer will be used to guide the laser in reshaping the cornea. You may notice a smell that is like burning hair during this process
  • When the right amount of tissue has been removed, the flap is put back into place within seconds
  • No stitches will be placed
  • You will be allowed to leave after a few minutes but you should take care of yourself and have someone drive you home

What happens after the LASIK surgery?

Right after the LASIK surgery, your eyes may feel itchy, watery, and blurry. In order to alleviate any discomfort, the doctor will prescribe certain medications or eye drops. In order to aid in the healing process, you will be required to wear eye patches while you sleep at night.

You will be able to see right after the surgery although it won’t be completely clear yet. It may take a couple of months for your eye to heal and for your vision to completely stabilize. The chance of getting crystal clear vision after the surgery is also dependent on the clarity of your vision prior to the surgery.

You will have to visit your doctor after forty eight hours in order to find out if your eyes are healing properly. There will be regular visits to your doctor for the next six months so that your healing is monitored and so that any complications will be spotted early on.

You should avoid using make up for the first few weeks in order to prevent any foreign substances getting into your eyes. You should avoid playing any contact sports in order to prevent any trauma to the eyes. You will also be advised to refrain from water related activities like swimming and going into the sauna. You should ask your doctor when it would be best to return to your day-to-day activities.

What are the risks of the LASIK treatment?

Here are the risks that you have to take when you go through the LASIK treatment

  • flap problems – complications can arise when the flap from the front of your eye is folded back during the surgery. Some of the complications may include swelling, too much tearing, and infection. Moreover, the outer tissue layer of the cornea could also grow in an abnormal way
  • under correction – if not enough tissue was removed from the eye then the clarity of vision will not be as you expected. If you are nearsighted then there is a higher chance of under correction. Another refractive surgery may have to be performed on you within the year
  • over correction – if too much tissue was removed from your eye then your vision may become over corrected. This is much harder to remedy than an under correction
  • dry eyes – your eyes will feel dry for the first six months and your doctor may prescribe some eye drops in order to remedy the situation. For sever cases of dry eyes, you may have to go through another procedure and get special plugs placed on your tear ducts. This will keep your eyes wet and prevent the tears from excessive draining from your eyes
  • astigmatism – if uneven tissue was removed from your eye then you may develop astigmatism. This is a complication that arises if your eye moves too much during the procedure. This will also need further surgery
  • glares, double vision, and halos – you may experience difficulty seeing at night, see halos, glaring, and double vision after the surgery. You may be able to address this with eye drops although a second surgery may be more appropriate

You have to consult your doctor first before you go through the LASIK procedure. There are a lot of risks to take. Ask your doctor about the benefits and the risks of the procedure. Make sure that you are suitable for the procedure. Disclose all the necessary details to your doctor as much as possible. This will help both doctor and patient make sure about the suitability for the LASIK procedure or not.

LASIK Laser Eye Surgery Guide:

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