LASIK eye surgery has helped millions globally to see better without using glasses or contact lenses. It is the most popular refractive surgical procedure because there is little or no pain and restored vision occur the next day. LASIK is an acronym for laser assisted in- situ keratomileusis.
Five things you should know before committing to LASIK eye surgery are listed below.
1. What is LASIK? It is a refractory surgery procedure for correcting near and far sightedness. During the procedure a thin flap is created either by a cutting instrument called microkeratome or by the newer IntraLase laser. The surgeon lifts the flap, then removes (ablates) the required corneal tissue with an excimer laser to reshape the cornea.
The flap is then replaced over the area where the tissue was ablated. This flap acts as bandage over the treated cornea. The doctor performing the procedure uses a computer to calculate and adjust the laser for the particular refractive problem.
2. What to do before LASIK eye surgery? If you are seriously considering this procedure, the most important thing to do is find a reputable and experienced eye surgeon. A good surgeon reduces the risks of complications. The eye specialist will examine you to determine your visual defect, and the level of laser ablation necessary.
If you have dry eye disease, treatment will be necessary before the procedure.A map of the cornea will be created by a corneal topographer, and you may have a wave front analysis that precisely maps out the area of visual refractive defect. Your doctor will assess your general health and medication and decide whether you qualify on health grounds for LASIK eye surgery.
If you are not offered a patient information booklet, ask for one. Before LASIK treatment you should know what to expect after the procedure. You are more likely to be satisfied if before treatment, you know the outcome and fully understand the risks and complications.
3. What happens during LASIK treatment? This treatment is short and you are awake throughout. The surgeon may give you a mild sedative tablet before the procedure. Even though you will walk out of the treatment centre, you should be accompanied, to make sure you get home safely. The surgeon will put anaesthetic drops into your eye, and while you lie down, he or she will align the laser directly over your eye.
Your eye will be kept open and pressurised by a retainer with a suction ring. The surgeon will mark out the area of the cornea. The flap is then created either by a microkeratome or IntraLase laser. The flap is then lifted. You will then be asked to focus on a light source while the excimer laser delivers pulses of high beam light on to the cornea.
The laser will produce a consistent clicking sound during treatment. You may note an acrid smell during treatment. The time taken depends on the extent of your refractory problem. The flap is then replaced. You will then rest for a while.
4. What are the complications? In the past, following LASIK eye surgery, there were as much as 5 complain of dry eyes after LASIK eye surgery.Most disappear after 6 months. Artificial tears will help. There may be under correction or over correction. Eye infection or irritation is uncommon but will require treatment.
5. What to expect? During the assessment stage, make sure you know what you should expect following surgery. You should expect 20/20 vision or better but 20/40 or better is good enough to drive without glasses or contact lenses. A study by US Military on 16,000 army personnel following LASIK eye surgery, between 2000 and 2003 showed that 86 achieved 20/40 vision or better. If the predicted outcome does not meet your expectation, then you have to make an informed decision based on the expected results, risks and cost.
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