LASIK - Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis - is the most common refractive eye surgery today. LASIK, often referred to as laser eye surgery or laser vision correction, is a type of refractive surgery for the correction of myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. LASIK surgery is performed by an ophthalmologist who uses a laser to reshape the eye's cornea in order to improve visual acuity. For most patients, LASIK provides an alternative to eyeglasses or contact lenses.
LASIK is most similar to another surgical corrective procedure, photorefractive keratectomy (PRK). For patients with moderate to high myopia or thin corneas which cannot be treated with LASIK and PRK, the phakic intraocular lens is an alternative.
LASIK is the premier surgery for vision correction. It is quick, almost painless and there is little or no discomfort after the procedure. Vision recovery is rapid – most patients report seeing 20/20 within 24 hours.
LASIK corrects nearsightedness, farsightedness and even astigmatism. With a technique called mono-vision, it can reduce the need for reading glasses among patients over age 40 who wear bifocals.
Who Are The Optimal LASIK Candidates?
The best candidate for LASIK is age 18+, with stable refractive error, good pupil diameter has healthy eyes with adequate corneal thickness. This is necessary because LASIK procedure removes tissue from the cornea to reshape the eye.
Chronic dry eye, corneal disease or other abnormalities may disqualify a candidate from LASIK surgery. A comprehensive eye exam is required to be sure. For your convenience, we are happy to provide LASIK pre-operative exams and consultations at our office.
Note that LASIK is an elective procedure and proper consideration must include the weight of personal needs, potential gain and willingness to accept the risks involved. There are no guarantees that LASIK will absolutely meet your expectations. The results are not always perfect vision. In some cases, your vision after LASIK may be permanently less clear than it was with glasses before LASIK. This outcome must be factored before deciding on LASIK surgery.
Generally, LASIK can reduce your dependence on glasses and almost always gives you the ability to function well without the need for glasses or contact lenses.
After The Surgery
Following the LASIK procedure, you will use medicated eye drops and clear protective shields to cover your eyes. You can open your eyes and see well enough to walk without glasses, but you must not drive yourself home.
You will use medicated eye drops several times a day for a week or more to prevent infection and help the healing. You may also use artificial tears to keep your eyes moist and comfortable.
You should rest your eyes as much as possible the day of your surgery. You may find it more comfortable leaving the house lights on low dim.
The next day, you may see well enough to drive and resume some of your normal activities. Use care though not to rub your eyes until it is safe to do so.
The day following the surgery you may be asked to return to the office to check your vision and be sure your eyes appear to be healing as they should. You will be given any additional instructions necessary about eye drops and/or artificial tears, and you can ask the doctor any questions you may have.
At our office we co-manage our LASIK patient. This means we offer pre and post-op care in co-ordination with our local Laser Eye Surgery clinics. Ask us for further details.
After LASIK Eyewear
Even if your vision seems perfect after LASIK, you may still require or be more comfortable with eyewear.
When outdoors, it’s optimal and necessary to protect your eyes from the sun’s strong and sometimes harmful rays. Use sunglasses that provide 100% UV protection. For sports-sunglasses, the lenses need to be poly-carbonate for extra strength and protection. Anytime you work with power tools or do any activity where eye injury is possible, be sure to use safety glasses with poly-carbonate lenses.
If you’re over 40 (or close), it’s likely you’ll need reading glasses after LASIK.
After LASIK Eye Care
Remember to continue to schedule routine eye exams post-LASIK. Even with perfect vision you still need to have your eyes examined for glaucoma and other potential problems on a regular basis. Routine exams will help insure that your eyes remain healthy after LASIK.