Lose the Glasses with Lasik
Is it time to throw away the glasses and contacts? Enjoy freedom from bad eyesight through Lasik surgery. Wake up to see your new spouse without reaching for your glasses.
LASIK stands for "laser assisted insitu keratomileusis." It reshapes the cornea to enable light entering the eye to be properly focused onto the retina for vision. What vision problems can it correct?
Near sightedness - it flattens the cornea
Farsightedness - creates a steeper cornea
Astigmatism - smooths an irregular cornea into a more normal shape
The doctor will perform an exam to make sure your eyes are healthy enough for the procedure. He or she will evaluate the shape and thickness of the cornea, pupil size, refractive errors such as myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism, and any other condition. The tear film on the surface of your eyes are also evaluated, and precautionary treatment may be recommended to reduce the risk of dry eyes after the Lasik. You should stop wearing contact lenses for around two weeks before surgery because they can temporarily change the shape of the cornea.
First the surgeon numbs your eyes with drops. Then the eye is positioned under the laser and an instrument called a lid speculum is used to keep your eyelids wide open. The surgeon then uses an ink marker to mark the cornea before creating a very thin, superficial flap in your cornea with a small surgical tool or laser. A suction ring is applied to the front of the eye to prevent eye movements or loss of contact that could affect the flap quality.
After the corneal flap is created, the surgeon uses a computer to adjust an excimer laser for your particular prescription. You look at a target light for a short time while the surgeon watches your eye through a microscope as the laser sends pulses of light to your cornea. The pulses are painless as they reshape the cornea, although you may feel some pressure on your eye. Each eye is done separately and the procedure takes about five minutes a piece.
The doctor will have you rest for a bit. You may feel some temporary burning or itching immediately following the procedure. You'll need someone to drive you home. The doctor will have to clear you before you can drive, usually the following day. Your vision might be blurry and hazy, but should be clearer by the next morning. Your eyesight should stabilize and continue to improve within a few days. In rare cases, it may take several weeks or longer. For most people, vision improvement is immediate.
Refrain from strenuous exercise for at least a week. Also, don't rub your eyes because that could dislodge the corneal flap before it securely attaches.
Longterm: Most people achieve 20/20, some 20/40. Complications can include infection and nightglare from starbursts and halos appearing around lights. A small percentage might need touch-up Lasik a few months after. You may still need reading glasses in your forties due to normal age-related loss of near vision called Presbyopia. Complete healing takes about six months.
The cost for Lasik surgery has decreased significantly since it was first discovered. The procedure is not covered by insurance, but if you can afford it, it is a wonderful, relatively simple and painless option to having to deal with glasses and contact lenses.