What is LASIK surgery?
A high proportion of our population today is hindered from seeing clearly by refractive errors such as shortsightedness, long sightedness and astigmatism. Besides spectacles and contact lenses, there is another option to enjoy clear vision – LASIK surgery.
LASIK stands for Laser In-situ Keratomileusis, which simply means, "to shape the cornea by the use of the excimer laser".
Over the past few years, LASIK has become very popular over the earlier laser procedure like PRK and is accepted - by people worldwide including many leading celebrities and sports personalities. LASIK has made an enormous difference to people with near sight, far sight and astigmatism. It's a difference that has changed their quality of life as well as quality of vision.
LASIK is a skilled procedure that combines the state of the art computer technology with the advanced precision. While the earlier laser procedure Photorefractive keratotomy (PRK) treated the surface of the cornea, LASIK treats tissue of the cornea and reshapes it in a manner that reduces myopia (minus power), hyperopia (plus power) and astigmatism (cylindrical power).
Who is a suitable candidate for LASIK?
The best candidates tend to be people who are dissatisfied with their contact lenses or glasses and are motivated to make a change, whether it's due to occupational or lifestyle reasons. One should consult an ophthalmologist or an eye surgeon before considering refractive surgery. A thorough eye examination is performed to assess the health of the eye. The corneal contour and thickness are precisely measured in order to rule out any unseen abnormalities. However, the following list of conditions can be used to as general guideline. A patient should:
· be at least 18 years of age or older.
· have stable vision for at least one year prior to surgery.
· have healthy eyes, free from retinal detachment, corneal scars, and other diseases.
· have a refractive problem for which the treatment is required.
· One should not be pregnant.
How is LASIK surgery performed?
First, an instrument known as a microkeratome is used to make a thin flap of the cornea. The flap, which remains attached on one side, is then folded back.
Next, the cool laser light from the Excimer laser "ablates" i.e. it removes the pre-determined amount of tissue to reshape the cornea with great accuracy and precision to correct the individual's refractive error. The cornea is made flatter to treat nearsightedness, steeper to treat farsightedness and/or more spherical to treat astigmatism.
Finally, after the laser is given, the corneal flap is laid back in its original position, where it bounds instantly. Due to cornea's extraordinary natural bonding qualities, no stitches or sutures are required. Even an eye patch is not required.
The entire procedure is painless takes about 10-15 minutes for both the eyes. The procedure can be performed on both eyes at once. Anesthetic drops are usually put in the eye to numb the cornea in order to allow the operation to be performed with minimal or no discomfort. Hence the process is least painful.
Visual recovery is rapid and there is little or no post-operative pain. Your vision will be blurred for 3-4 hours, immediately after the surgery. There will be feeling of some minor discomfort-usually a scratchy sensation. Some eye drops will relieve this.
One should not rub the eyes. It is best to sleep for 1-2 hours after the procedure. The day after the surgery, your doctor will check your eyes to ensure that they are healing properly. Most patients return to work on the first day following surgery.
What precautions have to be taken after the surgery?
1. Protective glasses are recommended for few weeks after refractive surgery.
2. Avoid head bath and face wash for one week.
3. You should not swim or apply eye makeup for three weeks after the surgery.
4. All other activities-including regular work and exercise-may be resumed on the first day following surgery.
5. Avoid activities that would cause perspiration to run into the eyes.
6. Follow up checks are required at one day, 1 week and 1 month after the surgery.
What is the effectiveness of the procedure?
The two primary advantages of LASIK are quicker visual recovery time and minimal discomfort after operation. The effect of LASIK is permanent.
What are the complications associated with LASIK?
LASIK surgery is quite safe. The risks or complications following LASIK appears to be very few. Some of the complications are:
1. Flap complications: Very rarely, the corneal flap might be very thin and may have a hole. In such cases, the final surface of the cornea might be irregular resulting in poor vision. If this occurs, the procedure is stopped and the flap is allowed to heal first. The LASIK can then be attempted again after 6-12 later. Sometimes, the flap may not stick down tightly after the surgery, or become infected. Cells from the outer surface of the cornea might grow under the flap causing the cornea to become cloudy and irregular. An extremely rare but serious complication occurs when the flap is cut too deeply in the cornea, causing the eye to rupture.
2. Over-correction or under-correction: Due to variations in healing and corneal response, some patients may be under corrected or over-corrected following the LASIK. Some patients may need to use glasses or contact lenses. Additional laser treatments are also performed in some cases.
3. Glares and halos: After refractive surgery, some patients might experience glare and halos around points of light. Most patients do not feel that these symptoms impair them, and they tend to lessen as the eye heals.
What are the benefits of LASIK?
1. Physiological: LASIK improves the uncorrected vision in most patients. Over 90% of patients with low to moderate Myopia achieve 20/40 vision, which is good enough to drive without having to wear contacts or glasses. And many can expect to achieve 20/20 vision or better. Patients with high Myopia (more than -8.00D) and high Hyperopia (more than +4.00D) should have lower expectations.
2. Occupational: A small number of population may get vocational and lifestyle benefits particularly professionals in various sports like swimming, cricket, squash, badminton and other outdoor sports. People seeking employment in the armed forces, merchant navy or have interest in acting and modeling also find great value in this procedure.
3. Cosmetic: Many people feel that glasses distract from their physical appearance. LASIK surgery is certainly a solution to this problem. However, this surgery is generally not encouraged for purely cosmetic reasons.
4. Psychological: Many people feel handicapped and restricted by their visual aids. Some feel a low sense of self-esteem because the use of visual aid make them feel clumsy, unattractive and left out of some activities. By reducing or eliminating dependence on visual aids, many psychological problem may be reduced.
5. Long term studies have shown the effect of LASIK to be permanent.
Friday, 08 October 201