A Detailed Look at the LASIK Procedure
LASIK, which stands for Laser In Situ Keratomileusis, is a refractive surgical procedure that corrects vision problems like astigmatism and myopia. LASIK works by reshaping the cornea, which, when distorted, causes refractory vision problems. The cornea acts as a lens in the eye and helps to focus light coming into the eye. When the cornea is deformed, images that you see may be blurry or misshapen.
LASIK surgery is performed in a few steps:
First, with a lid speculum holding the patient’s eye open, the surgeon will create a corneal flap. Before cutting the flap, a suction ring will be placed on the eyeball to ensure that it stays immobile during the surgery. The actual flap is cut with a microkeratome blade.
Next, the flap is lifted so that the laser can reshape the cornea.
Creative Commons License photo credit: ankarino
Then, an excimer (ultraviolet) laser reshapes the cornea by removing or vaporizing tissue. This step causes quite a bit of worry for some patients but, in actuality, is very safe. No slicing or burning is required in this step, and the laser method of reshaping allows for a minimum amount of pain and a faster recovery.
Finally, the flap is put back into position and the healing process begins.
The whole process is quick; it should take approximately half an hour. The patient is awake the entire time during the surgery. Numbing drops will be put in the patient’s eyes.
After the surgery, patients should be completely healed within six months. Side effects for the first few days include watery eyes, burning, itchiness, and mild pain. During the first week after surgery, patients may experience hazy vision or sensitivity to light. It is normal to experience fluctuations in vision for up to six months after surgery.
However, patients should remember that LASIK surgery is a relatively new method, and there are always risks involved. Patients should fully research their own individual cases and consult their eye doctors if they are considering LASIK surgery.
For example, if a patient’s eyesight prescription fluctuates or changes in any way, LASIK should not be an option. This can be due to many reasons, such as age, hormone level, and certain medications. Also take into consideration certain aspects of a patient’s lifestyle, such as sports participation (blows to the eye could cause serious problems) and jobs (certain jobs do not accept workers with refractory surgery). Also, some insurance companies do not pay for LASIK surgery, which is still a relatively expensive procedure.