LASIK (Laser In-situ Keratomileusis) is a popular surgery used to correct the vision of people who’re nearsighted, farsighted, or have astigmatism. It works by reshaping the cornea and clearing front part of the eye.
How is LASIK surgery done?
LASIK is a two-step surgery.
- In the first step, a micro-thin, circular flap is created in the cornea. It takes a few seconds and is done with the microkeratome or femtosecond laser. The surgeon then lifts the flap to perform the LASIK surgery.
- Then surgeons use the excimer laser to permanently remove the microscopic pieces of tissue (leading to vision issues). After this, the flap is placed in the real position to act as a natural bandage and protect the reshaped portion of the cornea while it heals.
Benefits of LASIK
Do you know…? Around 96% of patients will have their desired vision after LASIK. Around 10 million Americans have had LASIK surgery since it got approved by the FDA in 1999. Moreover, approx. 700,000 LASIK surgeries are done every year. The various benefits of LASIK are:
- It corrects vision. Most patients experience a severe reduction in eyeglass or contact lens dependence. Moreover, many patients no longer need to wear glass or eye lens at all.
- It’s painless; you might feel very little pain due to the numbing drops that are used.
- Vision gets correct within a day post-surgery.
- No stitches or bandages are required after LASIK.
- Adjustments can be made in future after LASIK procedure to further correct vision if vision changes while you age.
Risks of LASIK
Some of the possible side-effects that you might experience after LASER surgery are:
- You may feel burning, itching, and discomfort in eyes for the first few days post-surgery while others may experience long-term complications, such as vision loss, eye infections, detached retinas, bloodshot eyes, and chronic pain. These issues diminish with time and should be gone within 6 months.
- For some people who undergo LASIK surgery, the impairment to vision can be serious. If these complications occur, they must consult their healthcare provider right away. Some people may lose lines of vision on a vision chart that cannot be corrected with glasses, contact lenses or additional surgery.
- Other problems with LASIK surgery can lead to temporary loss of vision or even, in extreme cases, blindness. One such complication involves damaging or severing the outer flap of the cornea. The flap of the cornea also can become detached or damaged after the surgery, something that occurs roughly 2 percent of the time. Also, the eye can become infected during or after surgery (which is estimated to have taken place in 0.03 percent of cases). Risks can be reduced by relying on a skilled surgeon, using only sterile products approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and ensuring proper eye care after surgery, but they cannot be eliminated.
Who should avoid LASIK surgery?
People with either very poor vision or vision that is already very close to 20/20 may not be good candidates for LASIK surgery. Moreover, patients should not receive LASIK surgery in the following cases:
- dry eyes, large pupils or thin corneas;
- eye injury or previous eye surgery;
- eye disease, including glaucoma and herpes or other infection in the eye;
- diseases that affect the immune system, such as AIDS, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis;
- take steroids or medications. Steriods slow down the healing process by affecting the immune system;
- Pregnant and nursing women should avoid LASIK surgery until their infants have been weaned. Hormones produced during pregnancy and lactation can affect eyesight, and LASIK devices are generally not tested on women who are pregnant or nursing.