What is LASIK?
LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) is one of the most common eye procedures to correct nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia or hypermetropia) and astigmatism. LASIK is usually performed as an alternative to glasses or contact lenses.
In normal eyes, the cornea helps bend the light onto the retina for clearer vision. When the cornea in your eyes are not in normal shape, it either bends the light in front of the retina (myopia) or behind the retina (hyperopia) or only the part of light on to the retina (astigmatism) causing blurred vision.
During LASIK eye surgery, the laser is applied to correct the shape of the cornea so that the cornea precisely focuses the light on the retina to improve vision. If you are considering LASIK , you should know the pros and cons of LASIK eye surgery. Although, it has high success rate, considering its short term and long term risks is important to determine if it is right for you.
LASIK Risks and Complications
Dry eye is a common symptom after LASIK surgery because it reduces the production of tear film in the eyes. You may feel gritty sensation, burning and tearing from dry eyes. Your doctor may recommend artificial tears or lubricating eye drops to relieve dry eye symptoms. You might also need other interventions to preserve existing tears. Learn more about dry eyes.
You may also notice glare at night which may resolve in a few days to weeks.
Your vision may be under corrected, resulting in blurred vision after LASIK surgery. In this case, you may need another LASIK procedure to correct it.
Sometimes after surgery, your prescription may change back towards your original prescription.
Loss of vision
Like other eye surgeries, LASIK also has a risk of loss of vision. Though it is rare.
Am I a good candidate for LASIK?
Certain conditions can affect the outcome of LASIK surgery. Your doctor evaluates your overall health and eye conditions to find out if LASIK is right for you. You are probably not a good candidate if you have any of the following conditions:
1. You have a recent history of prescription change. People in their 20s usually have unstable prescription. Some medical conditions, such as diabetes, can cause the prescription to change. Unstable prescription can also be from taking certain medications or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
2. You are under 18.
3. You have eye conditions such as glaucoma, ocular hypertension, previous eye surgeries, lazy eye, misaligned eyes etc.
4. Your cornea is too thin. Thin cornea can result in post-surgical complications, including blindness. You must have a minimum corneal thickness of approximately 0.5 mm.
5. You have a long term dry eye condition and other inflammatory diseases of eye lid and cornea.
6. Your doctor determines candidacy for LASIK on an individual basis taking into consideration of your medical history, eye conditions, and other relevant factors.
How is LASIK done?
Your eyes will be numbed with anesthetic eye drops, and a speculum (eye lid holder) is placed on your eye to keep your eyes from blinking. A suction ring is also placed on your eyes to restrict the eye movement. Using microkeratome or laser, your doctor makes a corneal flap. Then, your doctor applies laser to reshape the cornea.
LASIK is an outpatient surgery. You will be discharged after some rest. You should expect some itching, pain and blurred vision after surgery. Your vision should improve significantly by the next day. Your doctor may prescribe pain medications and eye drops to relieve pain and inflammation. You will be asked to use eye shield over your eyes at night. In one or two days after surgery, you will have a follow-up appointment with your doctor, and your doctor will check for any complications. Follow the instructions and be prepared for follow-up eye exams.
LASIK surgery results
The LASIK eye surgery has a high success rate. The vast majority of people have at least 20/40 vision, which means they do not need glasses or contact lenses to drive or perform daily life activities.