A lot of people are familiar with the term “LASIK Eye Surgery” but not many know how it actually works. The extent of people’s knowledge is that it is a procedure in which a doctor “shoots lasers” into someone’s eye in order to correct their vision. But the process is obviously a lot more complex than this.
What is LASIK Eye Surgery?
The surgery can be used to correct a number of sight problems, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. After the surgery has been performed, most patients no longer require corrective eye wear.
How Does The Surgery Work?
The goal of a LASIK procedure is to perform a correction in the patient’s cornea (the dome like tissue at the front of the eye). When the cornea becomes too steep, it can cause nearsightedness. On the other side of the spectrum, if a cornea is not steep enough, if can cause farsightedness. Astigmatism can be caused when a cornea forms an unusual shape.
First, the eye must be held carefully in place. This is done using a small suction cup. Once the eye is firmly in place a laser is used to cut a small flap in the protective tissue around the eye. The flap is then carefully lifted to the side. This reveals the stroma, the middle of the cornea.
A laser is then used to vaporize microscopic pieces of tissue within the cornea so that it can be reshaped in a way that will improve vision.
Before ending the surgery, the eye is carefully checked for any manner of debris so that the flap can be set back in place safely. No stitching is required for this surgery. The eye is naturally adhesive so the flap is set back into place and is held there naturally; where it will heal on its own over time.
What Are the Risks Involved?
Overall, LASIK is a safe procedure with relatively few risks. In only rare cases there are a few things that could go wrong.
One of the main risks of LASIK is the possibility of having “halos” in ones vision. This typically occurs at nighttime when the sufferer is looking into a bright light; they notice a halo in the center of their vision. This is the eye picking up traces of the “scar” left from when the flap was created during surgery.
Halos only occur when the pupil expands wide enough to pick up traces of the scaring, thus why lighting is a key factor. Doctors have learned to check their patients for abnormally large pupils before surgery, so the risk of this occurring is smaller than in the past.
The odds of halos occurring (or any complication occurring) are estimated to be less than 5%. Most other complications that can occur are rare instances of infection or complications setting the flap back into place.
What Happens Post-Surgery?
There are a few temporary side affects to LASIK eye surgery and patients will be given the means to cope with them by the ophthalmologist nurse.
After surgery, the patient’s vision will be blurry and unfocused. This normally clears up quickly but in rare cases it can take a few days. The patient will return to their doctor the next day so he can test their vision. Most patients report having greatly improved vision almost immediately. Keep in mind that patients will not be able to drive during the early steps of their recovery period and will need someone to take them to and from the doctor.
To help prevent the risk of infection or symptoms of dry eyes, patients will be given special eye drops to take during their recovery. Special dark eyeglasses as well as plastic lenses will be given to the patient so that they can prevent their eyes from being irritated by the sun and other bright lights.
They may also be given special goggles to wear while they sleep. This is because some people have a tendency to rub their eyes while they are sleeping without meaning to; rubbing the eyes during the recovery period could cause damage to the flap that is trying to heal back into place.
In some cases a special contact lens that acts as a bandage can be used to speed the healing process and make everything move a bit more smoothly.
How to Get LASIK Surgery
Before running off to get LASIK eye surgery (or any surgery for that matter) you should first speak to your doctor. Heart problems and diabetes can both make surgery more risky. This needs to be taken into consideration before you make your decision
Since LASIK is an eye surgery, you will also need to speak with your ophthalmologist.
If your doctor feels that LASIK eye surgery could be beneficial to your vision, you should then ask for recommendations. They will know the best facilities in the area to have the surgery performed. You don’t want to trust just anyone with your vision, so be sure you are going to a well trusted surgeon. Do not shop purely on price.
For those who’ve spent their lives wearing glasses, LASIK surgery can seem like a miracle.