A Clear Guide LASIK Laser Eye Surgery

Have you ever dreamed of waking up with crystal-clear vision, free from the constraints of having to wear glasses or contact lenses? LASIK laser eye surgery can make that dream a reality.

In this informative guide, we will walk you through the ins and outs of this life-changing refractive surgery procedure and help you understand the benefits, risks, and what to expect every step of the way.(surgery to remove glasses)

Key Takeaways

  • LASIK is a type of laser eye surgery offering rapid visual recovery and minimal discomfort.

  • Many patients say their LASIK surgery vision correction gave better eye sight than when they used to wear contact lenses.

  • A consultation with an eye surgeon is necessary to determine eligibility, which typically includes being at least 18 years old, having a stable prescription for 1-2 years, and meeting corneal thickness requirements.

  • Most laser eye surgery is performed at a private clinic.

  • Common side effects of laser vision correction include dry eyes, glare, and mild discomfort. The risk of serious complications from the procedure is low when selecting a qualified surgeon.

LASIK: A Comprehensive Overview

LASIK (Laser-Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis) is a popular laser vision correction that corrects refractive errors (your prescription) by altering the cornea’s curvature, providing a laser beam for vision correction.

This advanced laser eye surgery treatment, also known as laser refractive surgery, offers numerous benefits, including a quick recovery time and minimal discomfort.

The most common use of LASIK eye surgery is to correct distance vision for patients with myopia (short-sight) and astigmatism. However, LASIK can also correct long sight and the need for reading glasses through a technique called blended vision.

The LASIK Eye Surgery Process

The LASIK laser treatment process uses two lasers and includes the following steps:

  1. Anaesthetic eye drops numb your eye.

  2. You will focus on a target light during the procedure.

  3. A femtosecond laser creates an ultra-thin protective flap on the eye’s surface.

  4. Your surgeon lifts the flap to access the underlying corneal tissue.

  5. Use of an excimer laser to reshape the cornea, correcting its irregularities and improving visual acuity.

The combination of a femtosecond laser to make a thin flap and an excimer laser has revolutionised LASIK eye surgery – better vision, fewer complications and more reliable outcomes.

Excimer lasers can sculpt the cornea with incredible precision allowing light rays to come to a crisp, clear focus on the retina. Excimer lasers are unique because they can work without generating heat.

Using a femtosecond laser to create a LASIK flap has eliminated the risks from the older outdated blade technology (microkeratome).

Laser eye surgeons can usually complete the LASIK procedure within 5-7 minutes per eye, showcasing its efficiency and rapid nature.

Advantages of LASIK

LASIK offers many benefits, such as rapid visual recovery, minimal discomfort, and a high likelihood of achieving the desired vision results, reducing the need for glasses or contact lenses. It is generally reported that the success rate of LASIK surgery is over 99%, making it a popular choice despite the laser eye surgery cost.

Determining Your Suitability for LASIK

To ascertain if you’re a suitable candidate for LASIK, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the eligibility criteria and seek advice from an eye surgeon. At my clinic, over 90% of individuals who come in for a consultation are eligible for a procedure.

However, laser eye surgery may not be suitable for everyone, as it tends to be most effective within a given prescription range.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for LASIK, you must meet certain criteria, including:

  • being at least 18 years old

  • having a stable prescription for one year (no vision changes from changes in your refractive error) tell me

  • having a corneal thickness typically of at least 490 microns (no thin corneas)

  • normal corneal topography (measures the shape of your cornea to exclude disease of the eye called keratoconus; a weakness of the cornea affecting around 1 in 400 people but with wide geographical variation)

  • no recent corneal infection

  • does not participate in regular contact sports

  • no severe dry eyes

  • no double vision when wearing contacts

  • no rheumatoid arthritis

  • no significant eye or vision problems

Consultation with an Eye Surgeon

In a consultation, an eye surgeon will determine if you are suitable for a refractive procedure.

  • Conduct a thorough eye examination to evaluate your cornea’s curvature and thickness, pupil size, and overall eye health

  • Review your vision goals and expectations

  • Evaluate whether LASIK is the most appropriate option based on your needs and conditions, or if lens replacement or implantable contact lens might be preferable.

Comparing LASIK to Other Laser Eye Surgery Options

LASIK, also known as LASIK eye surgery, is one of several laser eye surgery options available, including surface laser treatments and lenticule extraction laser surgery (for example, SMILE: small incision lenticule extraction), each with its own benefits and potential drawbacks depending on the individual’s requirements and conditions.

Some alternative laser surgeries to LASIK include procedures that do not involve creating a corneal flap that can be repositioned after the surgery.

Key Differences

The primary distinction between LASIK and other laser eye surgeries, such as LASEK, is the surgical technique. LASIK involves the creation of a corneal flap, while LASEK loosens and repositions the top layer of the cornea.

Recovery times also vary, with LASIK typically offering a rapid recovery period of 24 to 48 hours, while PRK and LASEK may have longer recovery times.

Factors to Consider

Your prescription, lifestyle and any pre-existing eye conditions should play a role in your decision when selecting laser eye surgery. A dialogue with an eye care provider is invaluable in exploring all options and finding the procedure that best suits your specific needs.

Cost and Financing of LASIK Surgery

The price tag of LASIK surgery can fluctuate based on variables like the surgeon’s experience, location, and the technology utilised. In the United States, the typical expense of LASIK ranges from $1,500 to $4,500 per eye.

The cost of LASIK will depend on:

  • the experience and skill of your surgeon

  • the laser technology used

  • the complexity of the patient’s condition

  • the quality of the care provided

  • any guarantee for further surgery if it was required, e.g. how long are enhancements provided free of charge.

Additionally, the type of post-operative care included in the price can also affect the overall cost of the procedure.

Insurance and Financing Options

While LASIK is typically not covered by health insurance, coverage may vary depending on individual or employer insurance plans. If insurance does not cover laser eye surgery, financing options such as interest-free credit plans offered by clinics, financing plans provided by laser eye surgery centres, and financing options like CareCredit are available.

Preparing for Your LASIK Procedure

Following pre-operative instructions, which include stopping the use of contact lenses, steering clear of certain medications, and organising transportation on the day of surgery, is key to a successful LASIK treatment.

A thorough understanding of what to expect on the day of surgery can help you feel more at ease and prepared for the procedure.

Pre-Operative Instructions

Preparing for LASIK involves the following steps:

  1. Remove contact lenses at least one to two weeks before the consultation (you surgeon will advise on how long to leave out your particular lenses).

  2. Bring a pair of sunglasses to the appointment.

  3. Follow any instructions given by the surgeon.

  4. Prepare a list of questions to ask during the consultation.

Additionally, gathering all relevant medical history and informing the surgeon about any medications you are currently taking is essential.

What to Expect on the Day of Surgery

On the day of the LASIK, you can expect:

  • A concise procedure involving local anaesthesia

  • A comprehensive explanation of each step from your surgeon

  • Administration of drops to numb your eyes and ensure you do not experience any pain or discomfort during the procedure

  • You may feel some pressure while the femtosecond laser creates the flap because it includes a suction ring so your eye doesn’t move during the 20-30 second needed.

It is recommended that patients arrive at the facility two and a half hours before the scheduled procedure on the day of their LASIK.

Recovery and Aftercare Following LASIK

Following the prescribed aftercare and recovery instructions post-LASIK is crucial in fostering optimal healing and securing the best vision results. This includes using prescribed eye drops, wearing protective eyewear, and following any additional instructions from your surgeon.

Immediate Post-Operative Care

In the first 24 hours following LASIK, it is advised to rest, use prescribed eye drops, and take caution when showering. Your will experience blurred vision during the first few hours. You may prefer dim light during the first few hours.

Protective eyewear is necessary to shield the eyes from potential impacts, debris, and bright lights and reduce dryness, scratchiness, and burning sensations that may occur during the recovery period.

You will use steroid and antibiotic drops for the first week, as well as artificial tears for a few weeks to a few months.

LASIK patients will come back the following day for a check-up appointment. This is to check the position of the flap, ensure there is no infection (very rare at just 1 in 21,000) or inflammation. You may not have perfect vision the next day.

You will usually return after one week for an eye test and a measurement of any eye prescription. Distant objects are usually very clear by the following day. Close up vision clarity will depend on your age and treated prescription. Patients under the age of 45 usually have very good close vision.

Long-Term Care and Follow-Up Visits

Long-term care and follow-up visits are essential for monitoring your healing process and addressing potential complications or enhancements. It is recommended to have a follow-up appointment the day after surgery, with additional check-ups at one and three months and annual eye examinations.

Risks and Side Effects of LASIK

Like all surgical procedures, LASIK comes with potential risks and side effects. Yet, it’s worth noting that common side effects are usually short-lived, and serious complications seldom occur. By choosing a qualified surgeon and following aftercare instructions, you can minimize the potential for complications.

Common Side Effects

Some common side effects of LASIK include dry eyes, glare, and mild discomfort, which typically resolve within weeks or months. The main cause of dry eyes after LASIK is believed to be corneal denervation, with risk factors including preexisting chronic dry eyes, high myopia, older age, and postmenopausal women.

Complications

Complications from LASIK are rare but can include infection, corneal flap complications, and vision loss. The probability of encountering significant complications following LASIK is less than 1 percent.

Selecting a qualified surgeon and adhering to postoperative instructions can significantly reduce the risk of adverse events.

Summary

In conclusion, LASIK is a safe and effective laser eye surgery option for many individuals seeking freedom from glasses and wearing contact lenses. Most patients will be free from any corrective lenses after the surgery.

By understanding the procedure, assessing your suitability, comparing options, and preparing for surgery, you can make an informed decision about LASIK. With proper care and follow-up, this life-changing procedure can provide you with improved vision and a newfound sense of confidence.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is LASIK good for eyes?

LASIK is generally safe and effective for improving vision, with most people achieving good to excellent results. It’s quick, usually painless and can mean greater freedom from glasses or contact lenses. While dry eyes and night glare are potential side effects, they are rare, and the risk is lower than before, thanks to better technology.

Does LASIK permanently fix eyes?

LASIK is permanent, and its results usually last a lifetime; however, some people may need enhancement surgery due to anatomical changes.

How long does LASIK last?

LASIK laser eye surgery generally produces permanent results, with most patients maintaining improved vision for life. However, natural changes associated with ageing can impact long-term outcomes and may require additional procedures down the road to correct vision again.

Is LASIK painful?

No, LASIK is not painful. Patients may feel a momentary sensation of pressure on the eye, which could be described as similar to wearing a tight pair of swimming goggles.

Is laser eye surgery safe?

Yes, laser eye surgery is now a very safe procedure. Most complications that we may have seen in the earlier days of LASIK eye surgery have now been eliminated.

How does laser eye surgery work?

Your vision is blurry because the light rays inside your eye do not come to a clear focus on the retina. By reshaping your cornea with laser eye surgery, this focus point can be moved so it falls exactly on your retina. The result? Clear vision.

How long does it take for vision to stabilise after LASIK?

It typically takes 3-6 months for your vision to stabilise after LASIK.

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