LASIK (Laser-Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis) procedure is a type of eye surgery that aims to change the shape of the cornea permanently. It is often done to people who can’t see clearly or their vision is blurred and wavy. For people suffering from severe cases of Myopia (nearsightedness), Hypermetropia (farsightedness), and astigmatism, this surgery is commonly recommended. During this procedure, the cornea is reshaped such a way that the proper amount of light enters the eye and hits the retina wall precisely, thereby producing clear vision. This procedure may also drop the need for glasses and contact lenses. LASIK procedure uses an ultraviolet laser to remove a thin layer of corneal tissue so that it can be shaped perfectly and light rays are able to hit the retina accurately. It normally takes 20-25 minutes for the LASIK procedure to get completed for each eye. It is typically pain-free because eye drops as anesthesia is used on eye and area around it to numb any discomfort produced.
A small improvement in vision can be noticed immediately and it becomes stable within a few days after the surgery.
How the LASIK procedure is done?
The LASIK procedure is done with the following steps:
- Topical anesthesia is used to numb the eye to avoid discomfort.
- The eye is stretched out using special tape and the eye surgeon uses eyelid speculum which is an instrument to open the eyelids and expose the eyeballs.
- Then the eye surgeon calibrates the laser and cornea into alignment.
- After the alignment, an extremely precise surgical tool called a microkeratome is used to create a thin layer of the flap in the cornea and the surgeon folds it back to get access to the underlying layer of the stroma. Sometimes, the femtosecond laser is also used to create the corneal flap.
- Now, the excimer laser (a form of ultraviolet laser) comes into play. It is a cool laser that doesn’t heat the eye or the surrounding area. It is highly specialized and it helps in removing microscopic amounts of corneal tissue to reshape the cornea so that it can focus light entering the eye precisely into the retina. This is done by the eye surgeon who controls the size, position, and number of laser pulses during the surgery.
- After all, these are done, the corneal flap is bent and replaced back again to its original position. No stitches required and a small antibiotic is added to promote the healing of the cornea.
- Amazingly, this laser step takes only 5-10 seconds to complete and the whole LASIK procedure can take up to 20-25 minutes.
Procedure before LASIK surgery:
The patient has to undergo an eye examination before the LASIK procedure takes place to analyze the condition of the eyes. Certain eye tests which involve analyzing the Dilation and contraction of pupils, determining the curvature of the cornea, refractive error of eyes, cornea thickness is done. Doctors advise you to stop the usage of contact lenses prior to 2-3 weeks before the LASIK procedure. This is due to prevent any mismatch in measurements during the examination which can in-turn become a hindrance in surgery.
During the LASIK surgery:
Just before the surgery, eye drops as anesthesia is used to produce numbness in the eye for pain-free surgery. You will be reclined in a chair. Your eyes will be aligned under the laser, and a piece of equipment known as eyelid speculum is used to keep the eyes open. After that, the whole procedure, previously stated, is done in a short period of time.
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Procedure after the LASIK surgery is done:
The patient might feel some slight burning sensation or itchiness in the eye just after the procedure. He / She may also develop watery eyes and have a blurred, hazy vision. But this blurriness is only for a short period of time. The doctor might give eye drops or other medication to ease your itchiness which will make you feel comfortable. The doctor may give you glasses or eye shield to prevent any dirt or debris entering the eye and also suggest you not to touch your eye for some time period. It’s very much better to keep the eyes closed for at least 6-7 hours. You may be allowed to go to work or do your normal routine the next day, but it’s very much preferred to rest for a couple of days.
You will have an appointment with your eye doctor in 1-3 days after the surgery. The doctor will examine your eye’s condition and will test your vision. You will be prescribed certain medications for your eyes to reduce the risk of infection and promote healing. If you experience any discomfort just before this appointment you should consult with the doctor immediately. Your eye doctor will check your eye sharpness and clarity and will tell you if it’s okay to drive or not. The doctor may also advise you to not to jump into swimming pools, hot tubs, doing any strenuous activity, or may also tell you to avoid using cosmetics like kajal, creams for a period of time.
Outcomes of the LASIK procedure:
The LASIK procedure promises great benefits. Many people after LASIK surgery can see clearer than before LASIK surgery. There might be chances that a person’s perfect vision can take up to 3 to 6 months to heal completely. The “visual acuity” score for most people becomes 20/25 or greater than that after the surgery. Well, it differs from person to person. Certain studies prove that more than 8 out of 10 people don’t require glasses or contact lenses after the LASIK surgery.
Sometimes, a very less number of people might need another surgery because their vision is under or overcorrected. Rarely, you still need to use contact lenses and glasses. A type of lenses called “Photochromic lenses” is prescribed by your doctor if you are very sensitive to light. Certain complications are thereafter the LASIK surgery, this may include halos, glare from sunlight, headlights, or some infections. These complications will disappear after 3 to 6 months after surgery. Also, there are rare cases where the people’s vision came back to normal, that was before LASIK surgery. This might be due to slow wound healing or hormonal imbalances etc. If such cases occur, then it would be better to consult with your doctor and tell him/her about it. You will still require the need for glasses at 40s age which is due to normal vision loss as age progresses .