Laser-Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis is one of those medical terms that is thankfully much better-known through its common abbreviation — LASIK. You might also hear it described as laser refractive eye surgery. Many patients decide to have LASIK to correct sight problems and at the same time free them from the inconvenience of wearing glasses or contact lenses. This surgery is relatively inexpensive so it won’t surprise you to hear that LASIK surgery has become one of the most common operations performed in the .
Most people with less than perfect eyesight want to be free of the hassle of cleaning contact lenses, or having to get broken glasses repaired. LASIK seems like an ideal solution, but is this so in your case? While LASIK works for some patients, others still find that they need to wear glasses afterwards. Since this surgery cannot be reversed make sure to consult with a reputable board-certified optometrist who can assess your suitability for LASIK. If you decide to undergo LASIK find a surgeon who is also willing to provide after surgery care.
LASIK is an effective treatment for people who are near-sighted (myopic) or have stigmatism issues. Expectations of success vary in line with the degree of nearsightedness. LASIK helps most with patients who have relatively mild nearsightedness. The more severe the eye sight issue the less certain you can be that LASIK will bring a major improvement. Someone with a major nearsightedness problem must bear in mind that they might even require additional treatments after undergoing LASIK. Optometrists call these additional treatments “refinements.”
Not everyone is a suitable candidate for a LASIK operation. For example, it is not advisable for anyone who suffers specific corneal diseases. Someone in this situation must check with their eye specialist if they are allowed to have LASIK – eyesight is just too important to put at risk. People entering their middle years sometimes think that LASIK can save them from the need to start wearing glasses, but they are mistaken. LASIK is not going to free you from the need to get a pair of reading glasses when you reach this stage of life.
LASIK operations may be flap or flapless. If you get flap LASIK the surgeon cuts a tiny flap in the cornea of the eye with a laser. After performing the surgical procedure on the cornea they fold the flap back and it heals very quickly. Your vision will be blurred for a few days and the eye aches. With the flapless version of LASIK the surgeon accomplishes the same procedure on the cornea without cutting a flap. Flapless LASIK takes longer to heal and causes more irritation. Only an eye specialist has the knowledge to decide which it the best type of LASIK for you.
Experts consider LASIK safe surgery but there are no guarantees. Even treatment of an in growing toenail carries a certain minimum risk so there is no way surgery on the eye can be absolutely risk-free. Evidence suggests that the risk of complications varies between flap and flapless LASIK. While flap LASIK has the faster healing time it also has the greatest risk of infection and other complications. Patients find that flapless LASIK brings less pleasant aftereffects but the chances of problems from infections, tear and other issues are greatly reduced.
Just as people often have differences in vision between their eyes, the type of LASIK most likely to correct the vision issues could vary. For example, a number of older people find that they can see close objects well with one of their eyes, and distant objects better with their other eye. Consequently, optometrists may suggest that a patient needs flap LASIK on their right eye and flapless LASIK on their left eye. Sometimes the term “monovision” is used to describe such a situation.
After the eye specialist decides that LASIK is the best solution for your eyesight issue, you need to go through a number of preparations prior to surgery. The LASIK surgery takes about ten minutes but the preparations can last a whole morning. Expect to receive a number of eye drops from the surgeon and also some additional tests and medications. It’s quite normal to feel nervous before eye surgery so the surgeon might also give you Ativan or some other medicine to relieve those nerves.
LASIK is definitely nowhere nearly as painful as some dental treatments people commonly go through, but patients find it uncomfortable. The medications the surgeon gives you beforehand numb the pain but who enjoys that feeling of pressure when your eyelids are clamped open. The fact that your vision goes black for a moment is also very frightening. It helps to keep in mind that unlike the hours you spend in the dentist’s chair, LASIK is over in ten minutes. Knowing that this eye surgery is so fast helps patients put up with the discomfort.
Some consider the follow up procedure after LASIK surgery as the most crucial phase of the treatment. For the month or six weeks after surgery you need daily and weekly checkups from your optometrist. They make sure that your eyes are healing properly and you are free of infection. They also provide pain killers and a protective eye mask to prevent you accidentally touching the flap of the cornea while sleeping. Normally you also need to use eye drops as an extra precaution against developing an infection.
If you compare LASIK with other kinds of surgery you see that the risks are markedly lower. Some rate these risks as low as two percent but nevertheless it is dishonest to claim there are no risks whatsoever. On rare occasions the procedure does not go as planned and the patient may suffer damage to the cornea, infections or other unpleasant complications. Yet we also know that dental surgery also sometimes goes wrong but we still go to the dentist. Each person needs to make their own accounting of the potential gains from LASIK versus the relatively small risks.
This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.