Laser eye surgery is a safe and effective way to get freedom from glasses. In this blog, I’ll be discussing the details of efficacy of the procedure and the risks involved.
What is LASIK?
The full form of LASIK is Laser Assisted In-situ Keratomileusis.
In this procedure, laser beams are used to reshape your cornea according to your glasses powers, so that your glasses power is adjusted into the new shape of your cornea to enable you to see clearly without glasses.
Who is eligible for LASIK?
1. Age more than 18 years and less than 40 years
LASIK is not an option for children. This is because, up to the age of 18-20 the growth of the body continues, and therefore there is a chance of spectacles power changing with age.
After the age of 40, a condition called “presbyopia” develops in which the person requires glasses for reading and doing near work. This kind of power cannot be corrected by LASIK.
2. Spectacles power stable for at least 6 months
Stable power is a prerequisite for LASIK. This is because LASIK only removes the current power, and if it is not stable, there is a chance that you might need glasses again after LASIK.
3. Adequate thickness of the cornea
Since LASIK procedure involves reshaping your cornea with the help of lasers, your cornea needs to be sufficiently thick. The thickness of your cornea can be assessed with the help of certain scans that are done prior to the LASIK treatment.
4. No pre-existing eye diseases
Other co-existing eye diseases such as cataract, glaucoma and retinal diseases are a contraindication for LASIK. In people with these diseases, LASIK will not be effective and could also lead to other complications.
Could you explain the LASIK procedure step-by-step?
Sure. Let’s divide it into 3 phases.
Step 1: The pre-LASIK workup
Before you are taken up for LASIK, your doctor will do the necessary examinations and tests to ensure that you are eligible for LASIK
- Testing your glasses power
You doctor will test your glasses power and ensure that they fall within the range approved for LASIK. LASIK can be performed safely in minus powers up to -6.00 diopters. Beyond that, it depends on the thickness of your cornea. In some patients, LASIK has been performed safely even up to -11.00 diopters.
For plus powers, +4.00 diopters is usually the limit, same goes for cylindrical powers. Again, in some cases LASIK has been safely performed in patients up to +5.00 diopters of plus power.
To confirm that your prescription is stable, please carry your old prescription when you visit your eye doctor for a LASIK consultation.
2. A thorough examination of your eyes
The doctor will then examine your eyes to make sure you do not have any other eye diseases such as cataract, glaucoma or retinal diseases.
3. Dry Eye Tests
Some patients develop a temporary dryness of eyes for a few days post LASIK. Therefore, your doctor will perform dry eye tests before the procedure to ensure that you don’t already suffer from dry eye syndromes.
4. Corneal Topography
This test involves a scan of the cornea, that analyses the shape, size and thickness of the cornea. The laser surgery is then planned based on the reports of this scan.
Step 2: The LASIK procedure
You can go for the surgery after having a light breakfast. There is no need for fasting.
You doctor will once again confirm your scan readings and you will be taken to the operation theatre.
A drop of anesthetic will be instilled into your eye. Don’t worry, you won’t need any injections for anesthesia. Just a drop will do the trick.
Once your eye is anesthetized, a speculum will be applied to your eye to keep your eyelids open.
A flap will be created in your cornea and the laser will be applied to your eye. The actual laser time is only around 10-15 seconds.
Here’s an animated video about how the surgery is actually performed.
After that the speculum is removed and an antibiotic drop will be instilled in your eye. That’s it we are done! You won’t need any bandages on your eyes.
Step: Post LASIK care
Your eyes will heal within 24 hours, and the very next day you will be able to see clearly without glasses!
You may experience mild irritation, redness, pain or watering from your eyes for a day or two but that settles pretty quickly.
You will be advised to use some eye drops for a couple of weeks thereafter. You might also want to protect your eyes while outdoors with the help of sunglasses.
Are there any complications of LASIK?
LASIK is a safe surgery with a 99% success rate. However, like with any surgical procedure, LASIK too has risk of some complications.
1. Dry Eyes
Some patients might develop dryness of eyes after the procedure. This usually resolves on its own in 3-4 months. In the meanwhile, you may be advised to use artificial tears eye drops to keep your eyes lubricated.
2. Glare and haloes
Sometimes after LASIK, some patients might experience glare. This is more common is patients who have had higher glasses power.
Regression is when your spectacles power comes back after LASIK. This occurs very rarely, especially in cases wherein the patients rush for LASIK surgery even when their spectacles power hasn’t been stable.
4. Flap related problems
Sometimes, the cornea flap might get displaced, might develop folds. That’s why it is important to protect your eyes post procedure and to avoid rubbing your eyes. Infection of the flap occurs very rarely and can be prevented by using the prescribed medications as advised.
I hope I have answered all the questions you might have had regarding LASIK procedure. If you still have any queries, feel free to comment below or email me as firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ll see you soon in my next blog, till then take good care of your eyes and stay healthy.