Laser-assisted in situ keratomileuses (LASIK) also called Laser Vision Correction is the best-known eye surgery as an alternative to eyeglasses or contact lens.
The cornea is responsible for refracting light onto the retina at the back of the eye. However, conditions such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) or astigmatism, causes the light to bend incorrectly. This leads to blurring of vision, which is corrected by eyeglasses or lens.
LASIK surgery involves reshaping the cornea to correct the refraction of light. Thus, restore normal vision.
The patient considering LASIK must consider the cost of the surgery. Many insurance companies may not cover the expense of the surgery. This then could be an expense from the patient's pocket.
It is an outpatient procedure, where the patient, once stable, is sent back home. Arranging for someone to accompany the person undergoing the procedure is essential.
Immediately after the surgery the patient is expected to experience the effect of the medications and still have blurry vision.
A few days before the surgery the doctor will instruct the patient how to take care of the eye and prepare it for the surgery. The general recommendations include avoiding:
Before and after undergoing the procedure.
The doctor may also instruct to daily clean the eyelashes, a few days before the surgery. This is to ensure the removal of any kind of accumulated debris and cut down the risk of infection.
Other important directives before the procedure:
The doctor before deciding whether it's a preferred procedure for the concerned patient does a thorough evaluation. This increases the chances of the long-term success of the correction addressed by the surgery.
Once decided, the patient is advised to completely stop using contact lenses and only wear glasses until the day of surgery. This is even for the duration of a thorough evaluation, followed by surgery.
The doctor does a thorough evaluation of medical and surgical history if any. Following are the signs the doctor evaluates to ensure the safety of the procedure:
High eye pressure
Other evaluations include:
The thickness of cornea, shape, thickness, contour, and any additional irregularities.
The locations and exact expanse on the cornea that needs reshaping
Before the LASIK surgery, the doctors generally study a topographic map of the eye. The most commonly used technique used to generate this map is wavefront-guided technology. The accuracy of the measurements made allows the doctor to remove the exact amount of corneal tissue required for the correction.
Depending on these evaluations made before the surgery, the doctor communicates the benefits and risks involved in the procedure. The doctor also addresses the additional doubts the patient may have.
The procedure is carried out on a reclining chair and the patient may be given a sedative before the procedure. The LASIK procedure is generally completed in 30 minutes or even less.
The patient is then given local anesthesia. The doctor immobilizes with an instrument to hold back the eyelids in position to keep the eye open during the procedure.
A flap of the cornea is now cut and held by a suction ring in position on the eye. The patient may feel pressure and experience the vision going dim.
The small-hinged flap is cut from the front of the eye, using either a blade or a cutting laser. This allows the doctor to access the part of the corneal that requires reshaping.
The surgeon uses a programmed laser to reshape the cornea in identified locations of the cornea. Each pulse of the beam of the laser removes a small amount of corneal tissue. Once the reshaping is completed, the surgeon positions the flap back into position. This flap usually does not need stitches.
During the procedure, the doctor may ask to look at a point. This helps in keeping the eye from moving while the laser reshapes the cornea. The removal of the corneal tissue releases a distinct odor.
If LASIK is being considered for both the eye, it generally is performed on the same day.
Immediately after the surgery, the patient may have a burning sensation or an itch. A little pain is expected.
The doctor may prescribe medications and/ or eye drops to dull the discomfort from the surgery. The doctor may recommend the wear of protective eyeglasses until the eye heals from the surgery.
The vision is expected to be blurry immediately after the surgery. It improves over a period of two to three months as the eye heals. The clarity of vision after the surgery, to a certain extent, is also dependent on how the clear vision was before surgery.
The patient has advised a regular checkup schedule for six months after the surgery, to ascertain healing, recovery, and clarity of vision.
For ladies, they will have to wait for up to a couple of weeks before they can resume wearing cosmetics. This applies to rigorous contact sports as well. The doctor may also advise against the use of hot tubs.
It is advised to stick to the doctor's recommendation to resume daily activities.
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