Laser eye surgery, also called laser-assisted in situ keratomileuses (LASIK) surgery, corrects refractive errors. This treatment removes the need for glasses and contact lens.
Normal eyes bend light precisely to the retina. However, eyes with nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism do so inaccurately.
- Nearsightedness or myopia means seeing close objects clearly, but farther things become blurry. Since the cornea curves sharply, light is focused on the retina, blurring distant views.
- Farsightedness or hyperopia makes near objects blurry. At times, even far vision becomes harder to understand. The cornea is too flat, making light focus behind the retina.
- Astigmatism affects both near and far eyesight. This refractive error happens if the cornea’s curve and angle are incorrect.
During LASIK surgery, a laser corrects the shape of the cornea to fix these vision disorders. Patients who choose to undergo this surgery already wear spectacles to improve their vision. Because of this, surgeons and eye doctors recommend LASIK.
No surgery is perfect. Although LASIK has potential complications, blindness is very rare. Furthermore, its side effects are common. These may only last for some weeks or months without any long-term issues.
The potential risks and side effects of LASIK surgery include:
- Glare. Laser eye surgery patients might struggle to see in the dark and dim light. Their eyes might become sensitive to light. They might even see halos when they look at bright objects.
- Dry eyes. At least six months following the surgery, the eyes might produce fewer tears. Dry eyes might cause discomfort as the patient heals from the surgery.
- Insufficient correction. This issue is more common among nearsighted patients. The laser might fail to remove enough eye tissue. If this happens, the patient should have another laser eye surgery within a year.
- Excessive correction. There are cases where the surgeon removes more tissue than needed. This mistake is harder to fix.
- Astigmatism. If the surgeon removes the tissues unevenly, the refractive error might worsen after the procedure. The patient will still have to wear glasses or proceed to another surgery.
- Regression. In rarer cases, blurry vision might gradually return.
Laser eye surgery does not apply to all patients. Some conditions can harm the outcome of the procedure. Surgeons and eye doctors discourage people who have the following issues from having LASIK surgery:
- Autoimmune disorders, a compromised immune system, lupus, AIDS, and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Lasting dry eyes.
- Eye injuries, diseases, inflammation, and infections.
- Hormonal changes brought by pregnancy and lactation.
- Severe nearsightedness
- Changing cornea thickness and sizes.
People who have good vision and play contact sports should also refrain from undergoing LASIK surgery. Eye doctors and surgeons can discuss this procedure with you. They can also recommend the appropriate eye surgery for you.
- Learn the price of the surgery. Because it is an elective procedure, insurance firms might refuse to pay for it. So prepare for the payment with your money.
- Determine how you will go home. Someone should bring you home from the surgery. The laser eye surgery will affect your vision temporarily, and the medications during the surgery might leave you dizzy for a moment.
- Do not wear eye cosmetics. Days before the surgery, the eye doctor will instruct you to avoid these. Do not apply makeup, artificial eyelashes, or lotions because these can cause irritation and infections.
- Remove your contact lenses. This eyewear might alter the angle of your cornea. So the surgeon will command you to stop putting contact lenses on your eyes weeks before the surgery.
On the day of the procedure, the surgeon will evaluate the eyes and ensure the patient’s safety. He will assess your history and perform an eye examination. A scanner will chart the eye, the cornea, and its surface.
This test will detect risks of infection, dryness, high pressure, and inflammation. It will also reveal the cornea’s thickness, angle, and disorders. Then, the surgeon will determine how much tissue must get reshaped and removed.
If the evaluation yields positive results, the eye doctor may proceed with the procedure.
First, you will lie on a reclining chair. The surgeon will drop the numbing medication into the eyes. A device will keep your eyelids from closing. Then, the surgeon will place a ring and cut the cornea with a tiny blade or a laser.
Once the surgeon gains access to the cornea with that cut, he will utilize pulses of laser. These beams of light will tear and reshape the cornea. Finally, he will return the flap on the cornea to its original position.
The laser eye surgery will last for at least 30 minutes.
Once the procedure ends, the treated eyes might feel itchy and burning. But it is not painful compared to other sensations in the eyes. To improve this, the surgeon will give pain medication. You might also have to wear a face shield.
Your vision might become blurry for the first hours or days, but it will improve. The expected results and corrections will appear after two to three months.
Two days after the operation, you should meet with the eye doctor or surgeon. He will assess your recovery and inspect the eyes for side effects. You can only wear makeup, swim, or play sports after some weeks as prescribed by the physician.
LASIK surgery aims to free patients from wearing glasses and contact lenses. After correcting the refractive errors, they can enjoy having 20/25 vision.
Reports say that eight out of ten LASIK surgery patients do not use eyewear anymore in most activities.
But the result of laser eye surgery also depends on the patient’s visual disorder. Those with nearsightedness have the highest chances of success. However, those with astigmatism and farsightedness might need a follow-up procedure.
Despite these, these patients will no longer suffer from the same blurred vision they had before the procedure.