LASIK Surgery Overview
LASIK, also known as Laser Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis, is a refractive procedure that is used to help correct myopia or nearsightedness as well as hyperopia and astigmatism. The LASIK procedure, and all other laser correction procedures, are irreversible vision correction procedures that use a laser to ablate and reshape the cornea.
The LASIK procedure begins with a doctor numbing the eyes with anesthetic drops. After these have taken effect your doctor will begin by using a surgical blade, known as a microkeratome, to create a flap on your cornea. Once this flap is created the doctor will fold the flap back exposing the surface of the cornea. At this point, the doctor will use an excimer laser to remove some tissue from the front surface of the cornea in order to make it less curved. This process must be performed on each eye separately. Depending on your doctor and your situation, you may be able to have both eyes done the same day. After the procedure it is necessary to have a designated driver to take you home for recovery.
After a LASIK procedure you can expect blurred vision while your eyes heal for a week or so. Your doctor will provide you with an eye shield to prevent any sort of rubbing or touching during the healing process. This shield should be removed on your follow up visit with your doctor after the procedure. You will also be prescribed eye drops to help with inflammation and healing. It’s important to avoid sports or any physically demanding activity until you’re cleared by your doctor. With this in mind it’s important to schedule regular visits with your doctor to monitor your healing progress. You may experience changes in your vision after your procedure but it’s normal for vision to fluctuate for up to six months. Additionally you may see persistent halos or glare even after your vision has stabilized. If you’re not getting the best vision possible after your procedure, you may need to have LASIK surgery again.
Vision correction has many benefits but before having a surgical procedure you should consider the potential complications. Some possible complications associated with LASIK are:
- Increased dry eye syndrome or gives you dry eye
- Need for reading glasses, even if you didn’t need them before
- Loss of vision or reduced vision
- Undercorrection resulting in a second LASIK procedure
- Corneal scarring
- Ectasia (corneal thinning)
- Halos and glares around lights
- Increased light sensitivity
- Infection of the cornea
- Increased eye pressure (from eye drops)