Laser Eye Surgery: Demystifying LASIK
Copyright 2005 Octocat Ltd
LASIK - A now common procedure
One of the first things that springs to mind when considering corrective eye surgery is the term, "LASIK". An acronym for "laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis," this rather common procedure is used to correct certain vision problems through refractive surgery.
Since its debut in the 1980s, there have been conflicting stories about what LASIK entails and whether or not it's truly successful.
Laser eye surgery is typically used for those who suffer from nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism. Until the advent of LASIK, eyeglasses and contacts were used to treat these issues, but only served as aids to vision rather than corrections.
Those who have undergone a successful laser eye surgery procedure should find that their need for such aids are extremely diminished or eliminated altogether.
Reshaping your eyes
Technically speaking, LASIK eye surgery reshapes the cornea from within the eye itself using laser to accomplish the task.
If, for instance, your cornea is not shaped correctly to fit the dimensions of your eye, this procedure may be effective. By utilizing laser to extract bits of tissue from the cornea in order to reshape it, the refractive error can be corrected and the visual images will then be focused directly onto the retina, which may eliminate the need for aids such as eyeglasses and contact lenses.
After a thorough eye examination, you'll be expected to choose a doctor to perform the LASIK eye surgery. Once this has been done, you'll be scheduled for a consultation with the doctor to discuss the process, and you'll have the opportunity to voice whatever questions or concerns that you may have prior to the procedure.
Don't wear your glasses for up to a month before the op'
You should expect to be instructed not to wear your glasses or contact lenses for two to four weeks prior to your surgery, in order for the cornea to return to its natural shape, without interference from external visual aids.
When an individual wears contact lenses, for instance, the shape of the cornea is changed, so it's important to remove these and leave them out for up to a month before surgery.
In addition, your doctor will instruct you not to apply any lotions, creams, make-up or other products around the area of the eyes for awhile prior to the procedure.
On the day of your LASIK eye surgery, you'll receive anesthetic drops in each eye in order to eliminate pain. You'll then be placed on a table which is positioned underneath the laser equipment, and the doctor will instruct you to look up at a small blinking light.
During your laser surgery, a special instrument will be utilized to hold your eye open, allowing the doctor to perform the LASIK surgery, while the other eye is protected by a shield.
With a couple of hours you'll be on your way home
After making a small incision, the doctor will then expose the cornea, and apply the laser technology that's needed to reshape and repair the eye. Once accomplished, the flap that was cut open to expose the cornea will be put back into position and will heal on its own, without the need for stitches. An hour or two after the surgery is completed, you'll be allowed to go home.
Depending upon the individual, the amount of corrective treatment that was administered and the quickness of the healing process, what can be expected after surgery will vary from person to person.
Speak with your physician regarding recovery expectations before and after the surgery and follow any instructions that are given, in order to ensure a successful LASIK eye surgery experience.
About the author:
Mike Spencer reviews reviews leading, and sometimes controversial, approaches to improving and protecting our health. Here he looks at the pros and cons of LASIK eye surgery and whether it can offer any real benefits to improved vision.