Are you tired of using glasses or contact lenses to correct your vision?? If yes, then why not learn about refractive eye surgery i.e. LASIK Eye Surgery.
What is Refractive Eye Surgery?
Refractive eye surgery is a surgical procedure performed by Ophthalmologists to improve the refractive state of the eye. It is an alternative option to correct and improve vision apart from glasses and contact lenses.
This consists of various different methods of surgical remodelling of cornea( clear, transparent front portion of the eye), lens implantation and replacement.
Refractive Surgery uses a laser to treat vision problems that are caused by refractive errors. There are various types of refractive surgery. Among them LASIK is one of them. Here in this article, we are discussing LASIK eye surgery.
What is LASIK Eye Surgery?
LASIK stands for laser assisted in-situ keratomileusis. It is one of the laser refractive eye surgery which helps to reshape the cornea to focus the light rays on the retina to gain clear vision. This procedure uses a highly specialized laser i.e. excimer laser.
For clear vision or to clearly, our cornea and lens play an important role. Parallel rays of light enter our eyes through cornea and lens. These two portions help to refract the rays of light so as to focus them on the retina.
Thus the retina turns the light into signals and transmits them to the brain via optic nerve. In case if there is refractive error then light rays are not focused on the retina which causes blurry vision.
The main aim of LASIK eye surgery is to correct refractive error and improve vision. It is painless surgery and takes about half an hour for both the eyes. It improves vision and begins quite after the surgery and vision usually continues to improve and stabilizes over a few days.
There are various criteria to fulfill so as to be a good candidate for LASIK. In case if you are not eligible for LASIK then you can go for other surgeries like Photorefractive keratectomy(PRK), LASEK(Laser-assisted sub epithelial keratectomy) and so on.
How LASIK Surgery is Performed?
It takes around 30 minutes to perform LASIK in both eyes. Numbing drops are placed in the eyes. The eye doctor will use an instrument to hold your eyelids open.
Eye doctors will create a thin, superficial flap in the cornea with a small surgical tool called microkeratome or femtosecond laser. Furthermore, ophthalmologists fold back the hinged flap to access the underlying cornea (stroma).
Then using an excimer laser, removes the tissue from the cornea to reshape it in such a manner that light entering the eye focuses on the retina to improve vision.
During the surgery, the doctor will ask the patient to focus on the point of light which will help to fix the eye while performing surgery. As the laser removes tissue from the cornea, you may smell something. Some people also describe that the smell resembles the smell of burning hair.
Hence after reshaping, the doctor lays tha flap back again into the same place, which can heal without any stitches.
Requirements for LASIK Surgery OR Criteria for LASIK Surgery
It is not like that, everyone who wants to do LASIK surgery can do it. There are certain criteria to fulfill. The main goal of LASIK consultation is to determine if you are eligible for surgery or not. Also to know which surgery suits you.
Various factors and conditions need to be fulfilled to perform LASIK surgery. They are listed below.
- Age: An individual should be at least 18 years old for surgery.
- Eye Problems: Patients should tell doctors about their existing eye problems such as Strabismus, Amblyopia(lazy eye) or any other conditions which influence the healing process.
- General health: Candidates should be free from various eye diseases or conditions. Diseases include glaucoma, cataracts, some retinal disorder, optic nerve diseases, uveitis and so on.
An individual should also be free from certain disorders like herpes simplex and herpes zoster.
Furthermore, Certain Conditions that are not related to eyes may also increase the risk associated with LASIK Surgery. Diseases or conditions that affect the immune system affects surgery. You should let your surgeon know about your mental health.
- Nursing/Pregnancy: An individual should not be pregnant or nursing when undergoing surgery. During pregnancy, the body undergoes a lot of hormonal change which may affect vision temporarily.
- Dry Eyes Condition: If you have dry eyes then the condition may even worse after surgery.
- Stability of vision: Vision should be stable for at least one year for surgery.
- Eye Trauma: Patient should not have any ocular injuries.
- Corneal thickness: LASIK requires the removal of a small amount of corneal tissue so it plays an important role. Those having thin corneas are at risk of excessive corneal weakness after surgery.
- Large Pupils: In dark rooms, pupil measurement is done. Because it is seen that most people with large pupils are more prone to notice glare, halos and various night vision issues after LASIK surgery.
- High Prescription: Patients having high glass power either myopia or hyperopia may not be eligible for LASIK. Because too much corneal tissue needs to be removed to perform surgery.
- Corneal curvature: Corneal topography or pentacam are devices used to measure the overall corneal shape and curvature. Any abnormalities in corneal shape may show that your cornea is weak and lasik may not be performed safely.
- Contact lens: You need to stop wearing contacts for at least 2 weeks prior to surgery. But if you wear rigid gas permeable lenses then stop wearing for at least 3 weeks or more prior to surgery.
Procedure Before Surgery
Initially, proper discussion can be made with a doctor regarding vision needs based on your lifestyle. Your eye doctor will evaluate first so as to determine if you are eligible or not for LASIK surgery. Evaluation is to be done more carefully for best long term effects of LASIK.
You need to tell your doctor about your health condition properly both eye health and systemic health. Doctor will look for:
- Any eye infection and inflammation
- Pupil Size
- Dry Eyes Condition
- Corneal curvature
- Corneal Thickness
Furthermore, you will have to sign in a consent form before procedure. This form let’s you know the procedure risk, benefits of surgery as well as possible risks.
Surgery will take around 30 minutes for both eyes. Quite after surgery, you may feel certain itching, burning sensation and discomfort. Such feelings will be temporary and last for around 6 hours in most of the cases.
Patch will be placed usually overnight to prevent touch or rubbing. Immediately after surgery, Vision will be quite blurry or hazy but will improve eventually.
Mostly, vision will stabilize in a few days.But in some patients, it may take upto 3-6 months also. Your chances for improvement depends upon how good your vision was before surgery. Some may need another surgery too when vision is over or under corrected.
Furthermore, you need to follow the advice of your eye health professional.
What are the risks of LASIK EYE SURGERY?
Temporary visual disturbances, itching, burning sensation is quite common and will resolve within a certain time. But sometimes various issues may occur after surgery.
Diplopia, Glare and halos issues
You may feel certain difficulty to see at night. You can notice glare, halos or double vision. This will last for fews days or weeks.
Under Corrections and Overcorrections
The possibility of this risk depends upon the tissue removed. If the laser removes too little tissue, you won’t gain the required vision which is undercorrection. Similarly, if too much tissue is removed then there is overcorrection.
Folding back of the flap to the same position or removing the flap during surgery can cause serious complications. Epithelium(outermost corneal layer) may grow abnormally underneath the flap at the time of healing.
Vision loss or changes
It is rarely seen. Sometimes patients may experience loss of vision due to complications. Some people’s vision may degrade than previous vision.
It may be caused by uneven tissue removal.
LASIK can cause temporary decrease in tear production. Some may experience increased dry eyes even after healing. Doctor will prescribe eye drop for this.
As if condition become severe then another procedure may also be recommended.
LASIK Eye Surgery Costs
It mostly vary with the location. But on average, it may cost between $1000 and $3000 per eye.