WHAT IS LASIK EYE SURGERY?
LASIK is an eye surgery that corrects nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism—all of which are often caused by a focusing errors that can be corrected by changing the shape of the cornea. (A cornea can be too steep causing nearsightedness, too flat causing farsightedness or football-shaped causing astigmatism.)
AM I A GOOD CANDIDATE?
Refractive or laser eye surgery is not right for everyone. The qualifications of a good candidate for refractive or laser eye surgery generally include:
At least 18 years of age
Stable vision over at least the past year
No history or findings of corneal disease
No significant medical or eye problems, such as previous corneal ulcers, keratoconus (a progressive thinning of the cornea), diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, or glaucoma
Not pregnant or nursing
Eyeglass prescription within certain limits set by your eye surgeon
A good candidate also is one who, despite expecting improved vision, will still be OK with the idea of having to wear glasses under certain situations, such as when driving at night.
The LASIK procedure is performed by ophthalmologists, medical doctors who specialize in surgical treatments of the eye.
Here is a general outline of the procedure:
Anesthetic eye drops are applied to the eye.
The LASIK surgeon creates a protective flap to access the inner corneal tissue. During this part of the procedure, your vision dims and becomes blurry for about a minute. After the flap is created you are able to see the flashing fixation light of the laser and the bright lights used for the procedure.
Next the inner layers of your cornea receive computer-controlled pulses of cool laser light. Although the laser light is invisible, the laser makes a clicking sound as it gently reshapes the inner corneal layer to improve and in many cases, eliminate your prescription. During this part of the procedure, an eye-tracking device tracks your eye movements to ensure precise correction.
Following the re-shaping of the tissue, the LASIK surgeon carefully repositions and aligns the flap to its original position. Protective shields are placed over your eye to prevent accidental rubbing as the flap heals naturally and securely over the next several hours.
After the LASIK eye surgery procedure, patients feel moderate discomfort and irritation for a few hours, but most are comfortable after a nap and rest.
The LASIK vision correction procedure takes 10-15 minutes per eye and is virtually painless. Recovery is exceptionally quick – you will notice an improvement immediately and patients can experience full visual improvement in one to four weeks. While LASIK results vary between individuals, most patients achieve better than 20/20 vision, spectacle liberation and a new, frameless perspective on the world around them. A post-op follow-up visit to check the healing process is scheduled for the day after treatment.
There are multiple types of LASIK available, it is up to your surgeon to decide which will be most successful for you.
YOUR RECOVERY + AFTER CARE
Post-op Visual Recovery and Comfort
Patients can resume most activities on the day following surgery. This is because the smoothness of the corneal surface is minimally disrupted by the surgery. You may be required to wear a protective shield over your eyes for the first night or two following the procedure. Your doctor may also instruct you to take antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, or moistening eye drops, and to wear dark eyeglasses if you experience sensitivity to bright lights. After LASIK surgery, you should lie down, relax, and close your eyes. Watching television, reading, or operating a computer should be avoided for the first 24 hours. The LASIK surgery recovery process requires your eyes to remain relaxed.
Do not rub your eyes. Some patients report a mild burning sensation two to four hours into LASIK surgery recovery as the anaesthetic wears off. The sensation resembles wearing an itchy or dirty contact lens.
Wear sunglasses after surgery – rain or shine. Take baths instead of showers for the first 24 hours after surgery and be careful not to allow the shower to spray directly into your face for the first week. Use a face cloth and be careful not to rub your eyes. Avoid eye makeup and smoky or dusty environments for a week. Avoid alcohol consumption for 48 hours after LASIK surgery.
Post-op Stabilisation of Prescription
The eye tends to stabilise at around one month, which is quicker than with the other laser techniques. This is because the healing response is relatively mild after LASIK. Therefore, regression of the prescription is less likely to occur following LASIK surgery compared to other techniques, particularly for treatment of high prescriptions.
Post-op Corneal Haze
Virtually no corneal haze is observed after LASIK surgery.
After LASIK: Long Term
With LASIK surgery, most people’s vision improves right away, but some find that their vision gradually improves even more over the next few days or even weeks.
Most people achieve 20/20 or better vision with LASIK. Some may achieve only 20/40 or not quite as good. In fact, 20/40 is fairly good vision. Some patients may still need glasses or contact lenses following laser vision correction, though their prescription level typically will be much lower than before.