LASIK stands for Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis. The LASIK
procedure is a precise and controlled removal of corneal tissue
by a special laser that reshapes the cornea in order to change
its focusing power. To be considered for this surgery, a technician must first
scan your eyes in order to create a detailed map. By doing
this, he or she will be able to adjust the laser to your exact
requirements in order to determine whether or not the surgery
Once the laser is programmed, the technician
will place anesthetic drops into the eyes to numb them and
keep them pain free. Next, a device called a lid speculum
will be put in place in order to keep the eyelids open for the
duration of the procedure. After that, the surgeon will use
an automated microsurgical instrument called microkeratome,
to cut a flap in the cornea that is about the thickness of
1/4 of the cornea’s depth. The laser will then be used to
reshape the cornea.
The laser used in the LASIK procedure is called the Eximer
Laser. The laser pulses a tightly focused beam of light onto
the surface of the eye. When the light comes into contact
with the cornea, it vaporizes a minute portion of it. By controlling
the size, position and number of pulses, the doctor can control
how much of the cornea is actually removed. When the removal is complete, the flap of the cornea is replaced,
and quickly conforms to the new corneal shape. The flap
will heal and bond over the next few days.
What Can I Expect?
The overall laser vision correction procedure will take about 30 minutes, and immediately following, eye shields will be placed over the eyes
to keep patients from rubbing or accidentally being poked
or prodded. Directly after the procedure, your eyes
may itch, burn, or feel like there is something in them, but this will only be temporary.
Patients are kept for 15 to 20 minutes post procedure to
ensure that everything is in order. Patients will be given
eye drops to keep eyes moist and special sunglasses to reduce
the effects of sunlight. For patients who do feel discomfort
after the LASIK procedure, doctors suggest taking a mild pain reliever.
Are There Any Risks?
There are potential risks in any procedure and LASIK is no exception. The most common potential problems that can occur during laser vision correction are under-correction, over-correction and wrinkling. Under-correction and over-correction simply mean that while the procedure may have improved your vision, it may not have completely corrected it. Wrinkling is slightly more serious. It means that the corneal flap might have been moved which causes wrinkles that can possibly lead to the permanent appearance of blurry spots.
Some more serious side effects include, increased light sensitivity, halos around eyes, blurred vision and double vision. All of these symptoms should lessen and disappear after the first few weeks following the LASIK surgery. There is also a chance of corneal damage and/or scarring which can lead to partial or full vision loss. These side effects rarely occur, and ophthalmologists will always make sure that candidates are ideal for the LASIK procedure.
What Are My Results?
Laser vision correction results can vary anywhere from improved to perfect vision. The LASIK procedure is very common, but patients differ from one to the next. Eye shape, corneal shape and level of impaired vision all affect the procedure as well as the outcome. Some patients might even require multiple treatments in order to correct vision.
Patients should not worry if vision does not improve right away. It can take anywhere from three to six months for vision to stabilize post LASIK surgery. Those who wear contacts should not put them back in if their vision is not fully corrected. Regular visits with your doctor will ensure that other options will be explored if perfect vision is not achieved.
The more protection you give your eyes, the faster your results will be. Participating in contact sports, applying lotion or make up to the face, even swimming and going into hot tubs or whirlpools can all have an effect on your eyes.
What Are The Costs?
Most LASIK procedures can range anywhere from $500 to $1,000 per eye. However, this price range can be dramatically swayed depending on the conditions of the patients eyes. This procedure as well as other vision correction procedures can be well worth it for anyone who has suffered from serious vision ailments.