Until recently, if you were one of the millions of people with a refractive error, eyeglasses and contact lenses were the only options for correcting vision. But with the arrival of refractive surgery, some people with myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), or astigmatism (a cornea with unequal curves), may have their vision improved through the surgery.
Laser-assisted in situ keratomileuses, or LASIK, is a refractive procedure that uses an automated blade and a laser to permanently reshape the cornea. The reshaped cornea helps focus light directly onto the retina to produce clearer vision.
LASIK is usually performed as an outpatient procedure using topical anesthesia with drops. The procedure itself generally takes about fifteen minutes. The surgeon creates a flap in the cornea with a microkeratome. The flap is lifted to the side and the cool beam of the excimer laser is used to remove a layer of corneal tissue. The flap is folded back to its normal position and sealed without sutures. The removal of corneal tissue permanently reshapes the cornea.
A shield protects the flap for the first day and night. Your vision should be clear by the next day. Healing after surgery is often less painful than with other methods of refractive surgery since the laser removes tissue from the inside of the cornea and not the surface. If needed, eyedrops can be taken for pain and usually are only needed up to one week.
Some people experience poor night vision after LASIK. The surgery may result in under-correction or overcorrection, which can often be improved with a second surgery. More rare and serious complications include a dislocated flap, epithelial ingrowth, and inflammation underneath the flap. Most complications can be managed without any loss of vision. Permanent vision loss is very rare.
The ideal candidate for LASIK has a stable refractive error within the correctable range, is free of eye disease, is at least eighteen years old and is willing to accept the potential risks, complications and side effects of LASIK. LASIK is more dependent on surgical skill than PRK. Take this into account when selecting a surgeon.
LASIK Patient Information
Over the last twenty-five years, eye doctors have worked on reshaping the cornea to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. At first, we made incisions in the cornea known as radio keratotomy. In the 1980s, silicone valley developed a laser to etch computer chips with great precision. The Eximer Laser was developed which could remove tissue with up to 0.25 microns of accuracy.
Today, LASIK Technology has added a tremendous amount of control and precision to the surgical correction of vision errors. Every year the Eximer Laser has reshaped the cornea, greatly reducing the lifelong dependency on corrective lenses for hundreds of thousands of Americans.
Prairie Eye Center believes that LASIK offers a number of advantages over other forms of laser vision correction. There is less scarring, less haze, less postoperative discomfort, less medication, and a rapid visual recovery. Candidates for LASIK must be over eighteen years of age and must have healthy eyes. Not everyone is a candidate.
For more information, call our office for a free information packet and/or consultation.