Lasik Eye Surgery
LASIK is an acronym for "Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis": in normal language, it means cutting your cornea with a surgical laser. The cornea is the outer "skin" of your eye and the shape of it helps to determine your visual acuity. By reshaping the cornea with LASIK, a doctor can improve your vision.
Some people with very strong prescriptions grow tired of relying on eyeglasses or contact lenses to see. For these people, LASIK could be a good alternative. With this treatment, your vison could be improved to the point that you may not need to be wearing glasses with prescription, or if so, only a minor one. However, before you settle on this choice, it’s important to know all the facts.
What Is LASIK Eye Surgery?
LASIK eye surgery uses an excimer laser to change the shape of your cornea. This is the clear covering over the front of your eyes. When the cornea has a new shape, it helps ensure that light rays are more focused on the retina, leading to clearer vision. To see clearly light rays must travel through the cornea and the lens of your eye. People with vision issues have problems with the cornea that impact this process.
With this type of laser vision correction, it is possible to ensure that you have 20/20 vision or perhaps better. LASIK surgery is one of the most popular types of laser eye surgery available on the market today. Particularly, for those who want improved vision without a typical eye prescription or contact lens solutions.
What Does LASIK Eye Surgery Involve?
There are various forms of laser refractive surgery. However, LASIK eye surgery is the one that is more commonly known and frequently used. Indeed, many articles on the subject of laser eye surgery will refer to LASIK surgery for any type of laser solution.
Find a Good Eye Doctor Near You
First, you need to find an eye doctor to do the surgery (check our list for an eye doctor near you). Read our blog article to learn about how to find a good eye doctor for your needs. Once you have found one, on the day of the treatment, it is recommended that you don’t use any ointments around your eye including eye makeup. Before the LASIK procedure is completed, your eye surgeon will check for any eye health issues and ensure that you are a good candidate for the surgery. They will also take your eye measurements. If there is no problem with the overall health of your eye, then the surgery will move forward.
In certain cases, you may need to take a mild sedative before the procedure on the same day of the surgery. However, this isn’t always necessary.
An eyelid holder will be used to ensure that your eyes do not close during the surgery, impacting the results. A suction ring may also be utilized to prevent your eye from moving during treatment as well.
Once you are comfortable on the operating table, you will receive eye drops to number your eyes. Once these eye drops are administered, the eye surgeon will then use a laser programmed with your eye measurements to alter the curve of your cornea. This is referred to as a femtosecond laser. Every time the device pulses a tiny piece of your cornea will be removed. This can help to flatten or steep the cornea’s surface, depending on the requirements. This surgery will provide you with better vision or even perfect vision.
There are different processes that can be used to provide the desired results here. For instance, an eye surgeon can create a corneal flap and then raise it up to reshape the corneal tissue. Alternatively, other processes used involve no corneal flap at all.
What Eye Issues Can Be Treated With LASIK Eye Surgery?
LASIK surgery can be used to treat a wide range of issues with vision and the eyes in general. This includes refractive errors.
Distance Vision Issues
Do you have issues with your distance vision? This means that you will be struggling to see details or distant objects that are far away such as a license plate on a car while driving or a movie screen. It’s an example of what eye doctors refer to as a refractive error. LASIK surgery can correct vision issues such as this and ensure that you have clear vision, even when looking further away.
Close Vision Issues
If you need reading glasses, then you likely have an issue with short-sightedness. This is another example of a refractive error. This may mean that you struggle to see details on a printed page or on a computer screen. LASIK eye surgery can be used to correct close-up vision issues like this and ensure that you can see details more clearly.
Correcting Vision Issues After Cataract Surgery
You may have recently had cataract surgery. In some cases, it’s possible for this to change your vision prescription and many people want to return to their normal vision. This is possible with LASIK eye surgery. It can be used to correct changes to your cornea, allowing you to wear glasses or connect lenses you were previously used to.
What To Expect After Lasik Eye Surgery?
Once this surgery has been completed, you will need a follow-up just 48 hours after your surgery. During this time, the eye shield placed on your eyes after treatment will be removed. It’s important not to remove this yourself.
Follow-up appointments will continue over the next few months to check the healing process and ensure that there are no issues. Most patients will typically arrange an appointment after one week and then three months later.
However, if you are experiencing issues with your eyes including vision problems or light sensitivity, then you will need to book an appointment sooner.
Some patients do experience minor problems when looking at bright lights. Issues like this will tend to fade after a couple of weeks.
If you notice issues such as severe pain in your eye a few hours after surgery, or later on, then it’s important to contact your eye doctor. While very few people experience problems like this, it can be a concern in some cases.
In the majority of cases, you will be able to return to your normal activities after about 48 hours. However, you will need to limit your activity until your eye heals fully. That’s why it’s important to get your eyes checked two days after surgery.
Who is Not A Candidate For LASIK Eye Surgery?
While LASIK surgery can provide significant benefits, certain people will not be suitable candidates and will need to use glasses or contact lenses to correct their vision instead.
Anyone Under 18
The LASIK procedure is not recommended for anyone under the age of 18. The reason for this is that their eyes are more likely to change dramatically.
Pregnant Or Nursing
If you are pregnant or nursing, then you may experience hormonal fluctuations. It’s common for pregnant women to see changes to their vision and their eye prescription. As such, anyone who is pregnant should wait at least three to six months after they have finished weaning before exploring this treatment option.
Individuals On Prescription Drugs
LASIK is also not recommended for anyone on prescription drugs. These can interfere with LASIK results. That includes acne medication as well as those using meds for dry eyes or any other eye disease.
Issues With Health
If you have issues with your health such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or lupus, then you may not be a candidate for LASIK. Certain health issues can impact the results of LASIK or mean that the eye doesn’t heal correctly.
Those With Dry Eye Syndrome
If you suffer from dry eye syndrome or have general problems with dry eye, then you may also find that a medical professional will not recommend you for eye surgery. The surgery can make issues with dry eyes worse. If you wear glasses or reading glasses, it will impact your eyes far less than LASIK and still deliver improvements to your vision overall.
You might have a problem with vision that is constantly changing and in flux. This can be due to anything from health conditions such as diabetes to the natural aging process. If you constantly need new prescriptions for your contact lenses then you won’t be a good candidate for LASIK.
It’s also important to have realistic expectations with LASIK. While this treatment can provide significant benefits for nearsighted eye problems and improve vision issues in general, there are no guarantees. Results can differ depending on the patient.
Benefits Of LASIK Eye Surgery
There are numerous benefits of LASIK eye surgery if you are exploring this as a possible treatment option.
Permanent Changes To Your Eye
LASKI will permanently change your eye. This should mean that you will never need to wear contact lenses or require reading glasses again. The corneal tissue is reshaped to ensure that light focuses on the retina in the right way.
Quick And Easy
LASIK is completed as an outpatient procedure. This means that you don’t have to worry about it taking a lot of time. Indeed, usually, this treatment will take about 20 minutes. It also causes minimum discomfort. You might feel pressure under your eyelid during the treatment but this will soon pass.
Issues With LASIK Treatment
While LASIK does provide significant benefits for people who want to improve their vision, there are issues to be aware of.
It is worth noting that LASIK eye treatment is not cheap. In general, you should expect LASIK to cost at least $1000 to $4000 for each eye. This is going to be far more expensive, at least in the short term, compared to using glasses or contact lenses.
Not Suitable For Everyone
While this treatment can be used to fix virtually every type of refractive error, there’s no guarantee it will deliver the desired results. Furthermore, as mentioned, LASIK treatment can not be provided to those with long-term eye infections or issues with dry eyes.
It is possible for LASIK to deliver results far less than expected by the patient. This can be the case if your eyes are under-corrected. That’s more common for people who are nearsighted.
More Chance Of Ruptures
There’s also more chance of an eye rupture once the treatment is completed because your cornea is thinner. However, this is still considered unlikely.
Benefits Of Eyeglasses
LASIK may improve your vision, but there are many situations where you may still want to wear eyeglasses. First of all, many if not most LASIK surgeries do not create "perfect" vision. You may still need some kind of eyeglass lenses to make your vision perfect.
On the plus side, you may not need progressive lenses and all the potential problems that come with progressives. You will still need to decide between sunglasses or photochromic lenses if you have a correction need afterwards. If you want blue light protection, you will still need glasses for that. Just be aware that doctors have not provided research that blue light protection is beneficial.
Other Types Of Laser Eye Surgery
There are other types of laser eye surgery that can be administered. These are accepted by the American Refractive Surgery Council and the process used will depend on the preferences of your eye doctor.
Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK)
This type of surgery doesn’t require a flap on the cornea. Instead, the top surface is removed. It’s worth noting that this can result in a little pain and even blurred vision or other vision changes in the short term. However, it is often recommended for those who are likely to be struck in the eye such as people who play contact sports. However, even with LASIK eye surgery, there is still a low likelihood of a rupture.
Laser-Assisted Subepithelial Kerectomy
Also referred to as LASEK eye surgery, this involves creating a flap on the corona. However, this cornea flap is created using a special device that then exposes the cornea to ethanol. It means that less of the cornea needs to be removed. As such, it can be useful and beneficial to people who have thin corneas.
Small-Incisions Lenticule Extraction
This type of surgery is referred to as SMILE treatment. It’s a newer type of treatment that involves reshaping the cornea to create a lens-shaped tissue below the cornea surface. When this has been used to reshape the cornea, it is then carefully removed.
We hope this helps you understand everything that you need to know about LASIK and whether this could be the right treatment for you to correct issues with your vision. Ultimately, this can be used to correct all types of refractive error. However, the results can differ from person to person. That’s why it’s important to make sure that you don’t consult with an eye professional. They will be able to advise you on whether this is going to be the right treatment option and provide details about the results that you should expect from LASIK.