What is LASIK EYE Surgery?
LASIK eye surgery is the most common option for improving vision in individuals suffering from nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. These types of eye conditions are brought on because of the shape of the cornea. By using a high-powered laser, an eye surgeon can alter the shape of your cornea to improve your vision. LASIK is a very safe procedure with excellent outcomes for most patients.
How long does LASIK take?
LASIK surgery is a short procedure that we conduct in the office in less than half an hour. Patients can expect 10 minutes or less tobe spent on each eye. However, the entire office visit on the day of LASIK surgery may take about 90 minutes.
Is LASIK Painful?
LASIK patients do not experience pain during their procedure. Sufficient anesthetic eye drops are administered to numb the eye entirely. As we work on the eyes, slight pressure may be felt in surrounding tissues. After surgery, a mild grittiness or sensation of having an eyelash in the eye may be felt. This is a temporary side effect that decreases within a few hours. At home, most patients take over-the-counter pain relief medication to manage comfort.
What are the benefits of Laser Eye Surgery?
The outcome of LASIK surgery is better vision, which is beneficial for any person who wants to reduce their reliance on glasses or contact lenses. Studies indicate that LASIK is successful in achieving 20/20 vision in 85% of patients. 95%of patients achieve at least 20/40 visual acuity with LASIK. When vision is improved to this extent, patients can go about their daily lives without having to wear corrective lenses.
LASIK is beneficial because it takes very little time to complete and patients can quickly resume normal activities after taking some time to rest on the day of their procedure. The results that are achieved with laser vision correction are long-lasting. Many patients do not require further treatment after their initial procedure.
Is LASIK a safe procedure?
LASIK is an FDA approved eye surgery that has been performed millions of times and has been widely studied. We are thorough in our consultation and evaluation of patients seeking vision correction so we recommend LASIK only when it is deemed appropriate. According to statistics, most patients achieve their desired outcome from LASIK with just one procedure. In rare instances, one eye may need retreatment to optimize visual acuity.
How long will vision correction last?
Long-term studies on laser vision correction have demonstrated the potential for permanent results from procedures like LASIK. In one study published in the Journal of Cataract & Refractive Surgery, results from laser vision correction held strong beyond 18 years after initial treatment.
When can I return to work and normal activities?
Recommendations after LASIK may include:
- Having someone drive you home from your surgery, and to your follow-up appointment.
- Driving may be resumed once the legal vision requirement has been confirmed through a standard eye exam in our office.
- It is safe to shower starting the day after surgery, taking care tokeep water away from the eyes.
- Most patients return to work within one to two days.
- Artificial tears may be used for a few weeks to reduce dry-eye. This is especially relevant for those who routinely use a computer.
- It is best to avoid wearing eye makeup for the first week after LASIK. To significantly reduce the risk of infection, many doctors suggest buying new mascara and eyeliner rather than using the products that were used before surgery.
- Mild exercise may be resumed within a few days, taking care not to let sweat drip into the eyes.
- Swimming and hot tub use can be resumed after two weeks.
Your doctor will discuss detailed aftercare recommendations with you during your consultation for LASIK surgery
Who is a good candidate for LASIK?
While LASIK surgery is very popular, it’s not right for everyone. There are certain criteria a potential patient must meet to be eligible for LASIK:
• Eye health — Conditions such as pink eye, dry eye syndrome, eye infections, or any eye injuries must resolve before you can have LASIK. Cataracts and glaucoma also usually prevent a candidate from qualifying for LASIK.
• Cornea thickness — LASIK improves vision by reshaping the front surface of the eye, the cornea. Your cornea needs to be thick enough to accommodate this reshaping.
• Prescription limits — LASIK results aren’t as predictable if the patient has a very high prescription, whether it be for nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. Other vision correction surgeries may be better in these cases.
• Pupil size — Patients with overly large pupils can be at an increased risk for side effects such as halos, glare, and starbursts in low light.
• Age — Patients generally need to be at least 18, in some cases 21. This is mostly because vision continues to change in younger people.
• Stable vision for a year — This is related to the age issue. The patient’s vision needs to be at a stable prescription for at least a year prior to undergoing LASIK. The eyes need to settle in to their prescription.
• Pregnancy — LASIK is not available to women who are pregnant or nursing. This is because hormonal changes during these times can alter the shape of the cornea.
• Overall health — Certain degenerative conditions and autoimmune diseases can preclude a person from having LASIK. This is due to the body’s decreased healing ability.
What are the risks and side effects with LASIK?
Complications such as vision loss are very rare with LASIK, but there are certain side effects that are somewhat common, including dry eye and temporary vision issues.
Risks with LASIK:
- Dry eyes — LASIK surgery causes a temporary decrease in tear production. This can last for up to six months; eye drops can help manage this.
- Glare, halos, double vision — Your night vision could be affected after your surgery, with halos and glare showing around bright lights. Double vision can develop, as well. These usually last for a period from a few days to a few weeks.
- Undercorrection or overcorrection — If the laser removes too little or too much tissue, you may not have the correction you desire. This can be easily addressed with a second procedure for undercorrection.
- Astigmatism — If tissue removal is uneven, it can create astigmatism.
- Flap problems — The flap created to access the cornea can develop complications such as infection or unusual epithelium growth.
- Vision loss — In very rare cases, patients have experienced vision loss due to surgical complications.
What will recovery be like after LASIK?
LASIK is an incredibly quick procedure, taking only around 10 minutes. Afterwards, we’ll examine your eyes, and we’ll provide you with some prescription eye drops to prevent infection and inflammation and to help keep your eyes moist. Then you’ll head home. You may have some slight itching or burning in your eyes, and you will have some additional tearing. These are all normal signs that your eyes are healing.
The healing process is very quick. For most of our New York Laser Vision patients, vision is normal within eight hours and then continues to improve over time. In some cases, it can take a few months to reach the full extent of your vision improvement. But in other patients, results are realized within a few weeks with a dramatic improvement in just hours.
Can LASIK fix other eye conditions such as glaucoma, dry eye, or cataracts?
LASIK surgery addresses refractive errors by reshaping the cornea. It is used to address nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. It cannot fix other eye conditions such as glaucoma (where pressure builds inside the eye), dry eye (where the eye’s tear production is deficient), or cataracts (a clouding of the eye’s lens due to protein buildup). These each demand separate procedures. If a person has glaucoma or cataracts, this usually precludes them from having LASIK.
Can I have LASIK when I’m pregnant?
LASIK is not allowed for women who are pregnant or still nursing. This is not a safety issue with the laser; it is a hormonal issue. During these times women’s hormones fluctuate, and this can change the shape of the cornea.