Laser in-situ Keratomileusis or LASIK Surgery is the most widely used laser corrective surgery for treating myopia (near sightedness), hyperopia (far sightedness) and astigmatism. The basic premise of all laser corrective surgeries is reshaping the tissues of the cornea (the cornea comprises of five thin and transparent layers of tissue) which refracts and focuses light, thereby calibrating your eyes to process better what they see aka vision.
A small surgical tool called a microkeratome or a femtosecond laser us used to carve out a small flap in the epithelium; this process is completely painless. The cornea flap is raised in order to allow the surgeon to reshape the damaged cornea with the help of another laser (excimer laser). The flap is lowered and replaced after surgery; allowing the cornea time to selfheal and regenerate its functions. The basic aim is to reshape the cornea and enable it to process and focus light onto the retina. A local anaesthetic, in the form of eye drops; is used to numb any pain which might be experienced and the surgery should last about fifteen minutes.
Before opting for LASIK surgery, a number of factors need to be taken into consideration in order to be “eligible” for the procedure. The person needs to be at least eighteen years old; myopia can evolve up until the age of 25 and if the power is not stable, we recommend waiting till that age before undergoing surgery. Post the age of 60 most people experience some form of cataract; this cannot be corrected via LASIK. There must be minimal change in power for about a year and if it displays the potential to improve up to 6/12, at least. Surgery cannot be performed in case of pregnancy and/or while breastfeeding is ongoing. An average pupil sized about six millimetres in a dark room and in the case of being near-sighted: the prescription ranges between -1.00 to -12.00 dioptres. Other criteria for ineligibility include chronic allergies that may disrupt healing of the eye post-surgery, diseases such as glaucoma, diabetes or autoimmune disorders such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. If one suffers from extremely dry eyes, LASIK is not recommended as it can further aggravate the dryness. Thin corneas cannot be withstand LASIK as they aren’t strong enough. Large pupils may lead to visual disturbances or if you’ve undergone previous surgeries such as LASIK or PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy).
The results are instant, right after surgery one can forego using glasses or lenses, near perfect vision can become reality a day after surgery. LASIK is an extremely safe and assured procedure but post-surgery discomfort and small amounts of pain might be experienced for a few days during recovery. Temporary burning sensations and dryness may occur but your ophthalmologist will prescribe an eye lubricant to help soothe such effects.
LASIK surgery might need to be repeated in some cases if the range of refractive correction is significantly higher in order to maintain vision correction.
LASIK can reduce the amount of tears your eyes produce, this can last for up to six months and at times be permanent. Visual disturbances such as formation of halos around luminous sources can become permanent. We try to minimize this risk by meticulous testing and then modifying treatment accordingly. In case enough damaged tissue is not removed; eyesight will not improve and a follow up surgery will be required. In case excess tissue is removed; distortions called “ecstasia” can occur and if left untreated can lead to blindness. This is minimized by proper testing and planning. Astigmatism is another potential risk in case corneal tissue isn’t removed evenly. Infections can be bred in the flap created for surgery and this might lead to excess tears and irritation. And finally, in the rarest of rare cases, loss of vision or extremely cloudy vision can take place even if the eyes see better.
Finding the right LASIK provider is paramount for best and safe results. There are numerous options available nowadays to people; but one must always ensure that the best option is availed. Check out ratings, reviews, technology use, success rates and LASIK surgery cost of various providers. Do not settle for cheap options as the money saved cannot possibly compensate for the risk taken. Manage your expectations by consulting your ophthalmologist there are chances of not achieving 6/6 vision post-surgery.