LASIK is the most common laser eye surgery in the United States today and can be used to treat myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism. LASIK is an acronym for “laser-assisted in-situ keratomileuses” and describes the procedure during which a patient’s eye is reshaped using a sophisticated type of laser. This reshaping enables the lens to more accurately focus light onto the surface of the retina, ultimately enabling the anatomy of the eye to function much more naturally and clearing the patient’s vision tremendously. In many cases, the LASIK procedure is pain-free and can be completed in approximately 30 minutes. Results can be seen in as little as one day and are generally long-term.
Who Is a Candidate?
LASIK surgery offers significant benefits to patients, but as is the case for many surgical procedures not everyone is an ideal candidate. First, your eye should be otherwise healthy outside of the issue (myopia, hyperopia, or astigmatism) that is being corrected; that means no infections, injuries, or dry eye. Second, your cornea must be thick enough that the laser has enough tissue to work with when reshaping the surface of the eye. This is something that a physician will determine when you go in for a LASIK consultation. Third, certain anatomical defects like enlarged pupils can rule you out as they can make you more susceptible to side effects of the procedure. Finally, if your vision is too far gone, the procedure may not be for you, as the results of LASIK at higher prescription levels are unpredictable.
What to Expect
Today, there are a number of different LASIK procedures available to the public. However, you can expect more or less the same thing on the day of your procedure, regardless of which platform your physician uses. Prior to the procedure, you will have a series of consultations with your physician to confirm that this is the best option for you to correct the vision issues you are experiencing.
The surgery itself is typically performed in as little as 30 minutes, even if both eyes are being corrected. During the procedure, your physician will place numbing drops in your eye and insert an instrument to hold your eyelids open. They then cut a small flap into your cornea, allowing them to access the portion of the cornea that is going to be reshaped by the laser. Once in position, they use a pre-programmed laser to remove small amounts of corneal tissue until it reaches the desired shape. Finally, they fold the corneal flap back over, which will generally heal on its own without the need for stitches.
It is likely that you will feel some discomfort and blurred vision immediately following the surgery. Fortunately, these symptoms usually pass quickly. Pain medication and eye drops will be prescribed to help keep you comfortable. The initial follow up appointment with your Physician is to ensure that you are healing properly. Additionally, you will have 3 – 4 appointments over the year after your LASIK to confirm visual stabilization is complete.
Your Center for Sight LASIK surgeon will discuss the complications and risks with you prior to the procedure.