LASIK is a safe, reliable surgical procedure in which a focused laser is used to reshape the cornea, thus correcting your vision. The procedure itself is generally considered safe, effective, and has very few side effects. While the vast majority of people who are interested in LASIK are candidates, there are a select few limitations. First, LASIK patients need to be at least 18 years of age. Secondly, a stable prescription is required. Further, some previous eye conditions or procedures might cause complications during the LASIK surgery procedure.
LASIK is an appropriate surgery for patients who are 18 years and older who have a stable eye prescription. The procedure can be used to treat other various vision problems, including astigmatism, farsightedness, and nearsightedness.
LASIK reshapes the inner layers of the cornea. The laser is used to precisely reshape the inner surface of the cornea. For the correction of nearsightedness, the laser flattens the center of the cornea. For farsightedness, the laser steepens the cornea. These changes enable light rays to focus more directly on the retina so images are in better focus.
- LASIK is the most commonly performed laser eye surgery
- There are quick recovery and results from LASIK surgery
- Patients see results almost immediately
- Benefits of LASIK Surgery
- Better enjoyment of sports such as skiing, swimming, and playing tennis.
- Better experience at the movies.
- Imagine those vacation sights without the need to put on your glasses or contacts.
- Wake up in the morning and be able to see your alarm clock.
Conditions Treatable with LASIK
Presbyopia is a condition that typically becomes noticeable for most people around age 45. In children and young adults, the lens inside the eye can easily focus on distant and near objects. With age, the lens loses its ability to focus adequately. Although presbyopia is not completely understood, it is thought that the lens and its supporting structures lose the ability to make the lens longer during close vision effort.
To compensate, affected individuals usually find that holding reading material further away makes the image clearer. Ultimately, aids such as reading glasses are typically needed by the mid-forties. Besides glasses, presbyopia can be dealt with in a number of ways. Options include monovision and multifocal contact lenses, monovision laser vision correction, and new presbyopia correcting implant lenses.
Nearsighted individuals typically have problems seeing well at a distance and are forced to wear glasses or contact lenses. The nearsighted eye is usually longer than a normal eye, and its cornea may also be steeper. Therefore, when light passes through the cornea and lens, it is focused in front of the retina. This will make distant images appear blurred. There are several refractive surgery solutions available to correct nearly all levels of nearsightedness.
Farsighted individuals typically develop problems reading up close before the age of 40. The farsighted eye is usually slightly shorter than a normal eye and may have a flatter cornea. Thus, the light of distant objects focuses behind the retina unless the natural lens can compensate fully.
Near objects require even greater focusing power to be seen clearly and therefore, blur more easily. LASIK, Refractive Lens Exchange, and Contact lenses are a few of the options available to correct farsightedness.
Asymmetric steepening of the cornea or natural lens causes light to be focused unevenly, which is the main optical problem in astigmatism. To individuals with uncorrected astigmatism, images may look blurry or shadowed.
Astigmatism can accompany any form of refractive error and is very common. Astigmatism can be corrected with glasses, contact lenses, corneal relaxing incisions, laser vision correction, and special implant lenses.
The LASIK Process
To ensure that you are a good candidate for laser vision correction, you will be asked to meet with our LASIK coordinator. During this preliminary visit, you will have the opportunity to discuss your expectations, the details of your surgery, and if you desire, your financing options. Once our LASIK coordinator establishes your candidacy, Dr. Bausch will perform a thorough eye examination, including corneal topography so that he can determine the appropriate treatment plan for you.
The Day of Surgery
On the day of surgery, you will arrive at our office approximately 15 minutes before your scheduled surgery. You’ll be greeted by the LASIK coordinator and given your pre-operative instructions. If you are hungry you can nibble on cookies or have a cup of coffee. In addition, if Dr. Bausch deems it appropriate, you may be given a preoperative medication.
When it is time for your laser vision correction procedure, you will be escorted to our operating room. One of our Laser technicians will insert anesthetic drops in your eyes as well as clean and prep the area around your eyes to ensure sterility. You will then lie down on the reclining chair. A technician will put a patch on the left eye and a spring on the right eyelid to prevent blinking.
Next, Dr. Bausch will ask you to stare at a blinking light. Since your eyelid is held open, this will not be difficult.
Dr. Bausch will start the laser and you will hear a tapping sound. The procedure is often complete within 30 to 60 seconds.
With your right eye completed, Dr. Bausch will proceed with your left eye.
Following the surgery, the doctor will examine your eyes with another instrument called a slit lamp and the LASIK coordinator will review the post-operative instructions with you. She will also give you special goggles, which you will wear for the rest of the day and night.
Once your procedure is complete you may go home with your driver, where you should spend the rest of the day resting, with your eyes closed to promote healing. You will also need to take care not to rub or touch your eyes for 24 hours. The following day, Dr. Bausch will see you for the first of your post-op visits, which are scheduled at one day, one week, one month, three months, six months and one year. The doctor may see you more often if need be.
Usually, there is no pain involved in the postoperative period, and your eyes will start to improve within hours of the procedure. As with any refractive surgery, you may end up with some under- or over-correction, which may be treated down the road if you and Dr. Bausch agree that it is necessary.
If for any reason you are not a candidate for standard LASIK, don’t worry – Dr. Bausch also offers a LASIK alternative known as Flapless LASIK, also called PRK (or photorefractive keratectomy). Flapless LASIK, as the name implies, does not use a microkeratome to create a corneal flap, but rather involves the removal of the outer layer of the cornea which then heals itself naturally. This procedure is often a great option for those who have been told that due to various conditions such as corneal thinness they are not able to have regular LASIK. Dr. Bausch will be more than happy to recommend Flapless LASIK to you in such cases, so don’t hesitate to come in for a LASIK consultation, even if you suspect that you’re not a candidate.