Know All About LASIK

CONTENTS

Which Surgery Can Correct Eyesight?

The most common vision problems that individuals suffer from are refractive errors, more commonly known as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia. Refractive errors occur when the shape of the eye prevents light from focusing directly on the retina. The length of the eyeball, changes in the shape of the cornea, or natural aging of the lens can cause refractive errors.

Nearsightedness also known as myopia occurs when objects that are far away appear blurry on unclear. Similarly farsightedness, known as hyperopia occurs when distant objects can be seen more clearly than those in close proximity. Astigmatism is a condition in which objects appear to be blurry and stretched out, while presbyopia is an age related condition in which it becomes difficult to focus on things up close. These refractive errors generally result from eye strain, ageing or unhealthy lifestyles and can result in headaches, double vision and haziness.


A LASIK Surgery can help you get better vision and cure near or farsightedness.

What Is LASIK?

LASIK, short for Laser in Situ Keratomileusis, is an eye surgery used to correct refractive errors. These errors refer to vision problems like myopia (near-sightedness), hyperopia (far-sightedness), and astigmatism (blurred vision). Made possible in the 1980s, the treatment is most common among refractive surgeries. Ophthalmologists use a special laser called an ‘excimer’ to reshape the cornea so that light travelling through it is properly focused onto the retina at the back of the eye. This procedure can be undertaken by people who are above 18 years of age and leads to reduced dependence on eyeglasses and contact lenses. According to webmd.com, 96% patients have desired vision after a LASIK treatment. However, it may lead to fluctuating vision. In 2009, 28 million patients in the US underwent LASIK procedure.

A LASIK procedure is also commonly known as a Laser Eye Surgery.


Who Are The Ideal Candidates For LASIK?

The candidate must be at least 18 years of age.

LASIK candidates must be in good general health, and should not have certain health problems, such as uncontrolled diabetes. Diabetics have slower healing and uncontrolled diabetes leads to diabetic retinopathy. If you have diabetic retinopathy, your vision will be impaired even after LASIK.

The candidates must not take any medication or have any medical condition that compromises the immune response.

Patients should not have any eye infection or injury.

Candidates should not be nursing or pregnant when undergoing the LASIK procedure.

Candidates’ vision must be stable for at least one year prior to the procedure date.


What Are The Different Types Of LASIK Surgeries?

LASIK uses a highly specialized excimer laser to reshape the cornea and correct refractive errors. Excimer lasers have the ability to remove microscopic amounts of tissue from the cornea underlying stromal layer with a very high degree of accuracy and without damaging the surrounding corneal tissue. There are 3 kinds of excimer lasers. The most suitable excimer laser for you will depend on your specific requirements, such as your degree of refractive error, the size of your pupils and the thickness of your cornea.

  1. Spot scanning lasers: These lasers use small diameter laser beams (0.8-2.0mm) scanned across the cornea to produce the treatment zone. This results in the smoothest corneal treatments and readily allow customised treatments.

  2. Slit scanning lasers: Slit scanning lasers use relatively small beams linked to a rotational device with slit holes that increase in size. The laser beams scan across these holes during surgery. This approach produces a uniform beam that creates smoother treatments than older broad-beam lasers. however, slit scanning lasers have a slightly greater potential to cause decentration and overcorrection unless an eye tracker is used, or with an inexperienced surgeon.

  3. Wavefront guided lasers:  Excimer lasers, whether spot or slit scanning, are connected to a device that detects and observes defects in the eye based on how light travels through the eye. These wavefront devices produce a custom LASIK treatment that is unique to each patient. Both slit scanning and spot scanning lasers can be used for wavefront-guided treatments.


What To Do Before A LASIK Surgery?

  • You are required to stop wearing contact lenses prior to the surgery. This means that you should stop wearing soft lenses 7 days prior to the surgery, toric lenses 2 weeks prior to the surgery and rigid gas permeable lenses 2-3 weeks prior to the surgery.

  • Arrange for a means of transportation prior to the surgery and make sure that you are accompanied by a responsible adult.

  • Do not wear makeup, cosmetics, perfume or cologne to the surgical center.

  • Aim to arrive about half an hour before your surgery in case you have any last-minute paperwork to fill out or questions to discuss.


What Is The Post Operative Care For LASIK ?

  • Do not rub or squeeze your eyes for one week during the recovery time.

  • Use your eye drops as the after care instructions say.

  • Wear sunglasses to prevent too much light from entering the eye.

  • Wear an eye shield for the first 3 nights after the surgery to prevent damage to eye.

  • Do not apply make-up for one week during the stages of healing after surgery.

  • Avoid contaminated water, such as pools and hot tubs for 1 week of the recovery stage.

  • Avoid sports and strenuos activities for 1 week after LASIK surgery.


What Is The Diet For A LASIK Surgery?

Consume poultry, fish, eggs, low-fat dairy products, lentils, beans and nuts. These are rich in proteins which are essential for wound healing and tissue regeneration.

Increase your intake of dark, leafy greens, sweet potatoes and carrots as well as citrus fruits, sweet bell peppers and tomatoes. These are rich in vitamin A and C which are essential for their wound healing properties.

Fruits, vegetables, whole grains (not white or refined), beans and legumes are full of good carbohydrates which are the brain’s main source of energy.

Avocados, olive oil, nuts and seeds have good fats which help improve immune response time and are important when healing. Avoid fried foods which are full of bad fats.


What Are The Realistic Expectations From LASIK?

LASIK surgery is considered as the safest procedure out of all eye surgery procedures. It is one of the best ways to cure common refractive errors like myopia. 

  • Although, the procedure is generally the same for all the patients, the results may vary in each one of them. Therefore, the patient should research on his own to be an informed patient, ensure that he/she is a suitable candidate for LASIK and have realistic expectations about what his vision will be like after the surgery. 

  • LASIK is known to have up to 95% rate of satisfaction. Most of the patients’ vision gets fully corrected. 

  • For a few individuals, vision might only get partially corrected and they will have to continue wearing glasses or lenses. 

  • The effect of LASIK surgery last for a lifetime, that is, the partial or full correction in vision is permanent.

  • LASIK might not be a good option for you if you have high degree of myopia (requires more tissue removal of central cornea) or your occupation/hobbies put you at a high risk of eye injury or dislodging the corneal flap created during surgery. In such cases, the patient can opt for LASEK surgery.


What Are The Pros And Cons Of LASIK?

  • Pros

  • Cons

  • Vision is corrected almost immediately or by the day after the laser surgery.

  • The biggest benefit of laser surgery is that most patients no longer need corrective eyewear after it.

  • LASIK eye surgery is associated with very little pain. Recovery is quick and usually no bandages or stitches are required after LASIK eye surgery.

  • In addition to improved straight-ahead vision, many of my patients remark how much better their peripheral vision has become since they no longer wear glasses. Since glasses lie in front of the eyes and don’t cover the sides, only the central vision is corrected while the peripheral vision remains blurred. LASIK eliminates this problem since spectacles are not required any more.

  • Changes made to the cornea cannot be reversed after LASIK eye surgery.

  • LASIK eye surgery is technically complex. Problems may occur when the doctor cuts the flap, which can permanently affect vision. These complications can be easily avoided if you pick a well trained doctor with many years of experience. Seek an ophthalmologist who has performed thousands of surgeries and is respected by his/her peers. 

  • Some patients experience discomfort in the first 24 to 48 hours after surgery. Other side effects, although rare, include glare, fluctuating vision and dry eyes. These are common, and you can ask your surgeon about any medication to ease the discomfort.


Who Should Avoid A LASIK Surgery?

  • LASIK has not yet been approved for persons under the age of 18. 

  • Some people who have jobs that do not permit refractive procedures are advised to undergo LASIK only after confirmation from their employer/board/military service to save themselves from risking their jobs.

  • If the patient suffers from diseases like HIV, diabetes, etc., then he is likely to have problems in healing after a refractive procedure. 

  • People in their 20s or less, pregnant women and people with hormonal imbalance have refractive instability and their vision changes continuously. Such people should refrain from getting LASIK.

  • Some medications cause fluctuations in vision. Therefore, people taking such medications should consult with their surgeon before opting for LASIK.


 

What Are The Alternatives To LASIK?

A LASIK surgery is used to reshape the cornea of the eye in order to treat refractive errors. Individuals who prefer to avoid this procedure can choose from a few other alternatives. 

Patients who suffer from thin corneas, or excessively dry eyes can opt for PRK, or Photorefractive Keratectomy which is another laser surgery option. Like a LASIK, a PRK also reshapes the cornea, however, unlike LASIK, it does not involve the creation of a flap over the eye. Studies show that a PRK surgery may not provide as quick results as a LASIK and the healing process may lead to itchiness or swelling of the eyelids. 

A refractive lens exchange involves the replacement of the natural lens of the eye with a man-made one. This procedure is used mostly for older patients to prevent the formation of cataracts. 

For patients who suffer from excessive myopia, implantable contact lenses can be considered, in which a lens is placed behind the iris and in front of the natural crystalline lens. This procedure, however, is generally used only when an individual is unsuited to a LASIK surgery. 

The most common non-surgical alternative to LASIK is using glasses or contact lenses. These are safe options which are worn to improve the eyesight, but do not provide a permanent solution. 


 

Will LASIK Lead To Scarring?

LASIK generally leaves little to no scars. There may be a minor circular scar at the edge of the flap on the cornea, which is visible only in high power magnification. This scar cannot be removed or masked but it does not impair the vision in any way and therefore, is insignificant. 


 

What Are The Temporary Side Effects Of LASIK?

  • Temporary vision disturbances and discomforts are common after LASIK. It generally takes some time before the person can get used to the changes in vision. 
  • A person might experience glares or halos in low-light or night environments for a few months after a LASIK procedure. However, these are temporary complications and disappear on their own.
  • Mild irritation in the eyes and increased light sensitivity is common after a LASIK procedure. This also fades away in a few weeks.
  • Most of the people who undergo LASIK treatment experience dry eyes after it. This condition disappears in about six months. Till then patients are advised to use artificial tears to keep their eyes moist in the early postoperative period.
  • Sometimes, there is a risk of infection in your eyes after LASIK treatment. This infection can cause eye discomfort and blurred vision. Antibiotic medicines and eye drops can treat the infection easily.
  • It is also important to attend all of your initial post-treatment appointments with the surgeon as it helps in tackling these side effects easily.

 

How To Choose A Surgeon For LASIK Surgery?

Selecting a surgeon for LASIK surgery is an important task and should be taken seriously. Look online for patient discussion/testimonial forums to ask for suggestions regarding good surgeons. You can also look for accredited hospitals as they are generally required to maintain quality standards in terms of staff by their accrediting board. 

You can also talk to your surgeon via online platforms like medical tourism facilitators to voice your queries about the duration or requirements of the procedure. Ensure that he can back all his claims with objective data. Also check if the surgeon is duly licensed and has certification(s) from a medical board. Ask him about his previous experience in LASIK surgery, records of satisfied patients, success rates, etc.

It is best not to forget to ask the surgeon questions about his policies regarding corrective surgery and future enhancements in case of declining vision. Also, enquire about the facility where the surgeon is going to operate on you, the technology that will be used, and whether the surgery will be bladeless. Most patients prefer bladeless LASIK.

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