This ambulatory eye procedure is well known by many consumers as Laser eye surgery rather than LASIK eye surgery. But no matter how we call it, the true is that this surgery is one of the most popular refractive procedures today! Because it is consider by many surgeons a procedure simple to perform, predictable and stable, allowing the patients to have painless experiences with a early recovery and minimal postoperative care.
The outstanding benefits of this procedure can literally improve vision in the blink of an eye! Because all the process occurs on the surface of the cornea, therefore, it does not require any kind of stitches.
Every surgery passes through a rigorous technical detail in order to complement the surgical skills of the physician, and to ensure the high standards that are required for optimal outcomes. Sate-of-the-art technology makes this elite refractive eye surgery faster and safer than ever. The procedure depends upon Excimer Laser pulses in order to permanently remove corneal tissue located "under the flap".
This particular laser device helps to artificially "vaporizes" in a meticulous and irreversibly manner corneal tissue, changing the natural shape and thickness of the cornea.
The procedure corrects the most common refractive errors such as; Myopia, Hyperopia, Astigmatism and "Presbyopia". LASIK surgery was intended to temporarily reduce a person's dependency on glasses or contact lenses. More than seven hundred thousand people experience this procedure every year, and more than 55% of them achieve 20/20 vision or even better.
LASIK surgery arouses interest of many surgeons, as well as many people who are currently experience the most common vision problems such as; Nearsightedness, Farsightedness, Astigmatism and "Presbyopia". Imagine being able to do your daily basis activities and hobbies without depending on glasses or contact lenses. The chances to make this a reality are very high, when you are evaluated by a professional and considered as a candidate.
Important Note: This procedure was intended to improve vision and reduce patient's dependence of glasses or contact lenses. The surgery "does not prevent you from losing the inability to focus close up as a result of aging", in other words (presbyopia), and even though some Excimer Laser are able to treat presbyopia today and it has been tested and approved by many countries, the FDA has not officially approved this treatment in the United States, in fact this treatment still in a "early stage of study".
Many LASIK service providers offers a Free consultation to all those who manifest a real interest on this procedure, and considering that most of the providers are supported by a surgical coordinator, it is more than likely that you would not speak with the doctor immediately, in fact there is a preliminary interview with this counselor in order to explore patient's expectations, discuss about your medical history, as well as taking preliminary medical test to determine candidacy.
On this early stage the patient has the opportunity to ask as many questions as they want, in order to ensure personal confidence and satisfaction. Hence, at this point is very common to make preliminary question in order to determinate; surgeon experience, treatment options, price among others. Eventually and after the measures taken you will spend a few minutes with the doctor in order to discuss not only if you are a good candidate for the procedure but also to answer all your medical questions.
Your LASIK eye screening is a group of medical eye tests to determine the thickness of your cornea, to evaluate your refraction, as well as keratometry (corneal curvature) and lastly, a cycloplegic refraction (the dilation of your eye to determinate pupillary distance). All these tests will provide adequate information to determine whether or not you are a candidate for the procedure.
Important Notes: The effect of dilated eyes could last until the next day perhaps you may experience some discomfort with light exposure, even under normal circumstances.
Contact lens patients should stop wearing their contact lenses two weeks previous to the LASIK screening in order to have accurate measures and reduce over correction or under correction risk.
Many patients are unwittingly nervous, as they approach the time of their surgeries, which it is absolutely normal and expected at this point of the process. As soon as you check in, you would be attended in order to ensure that you are ready to proceed, it is more than likely that your physician could give you a xanax or percocet pill to help you relax a little bit more, following instructions will always be given to you to ensure well communication and your comfort. You may receive a surgical cleaning with povidone around the surgical area (your eyes) to reduce infection risk.
As soon as you walk into the surgical room, you'll immediately receive instructions from one of the surgical team. You will be lying back on a "very comfortable surgical chair" by the time the procedure begins, following instructions will always be provided to you by the doctor while he/she performs the procedure. You eye will have drops of anesthesia as soon as the surgery begins, then your doctor will open your eyes with an surgical instrument called speculum thus preventing blink, at this point the doctor mark the cornea in order to create the flap. The flap could be created by two different devices (microkeratome) which is mechanical or with a (femtosecond laser). Regardless of what kind of technology is used, you will feel some pressure in your eye while the creation of your flap occurs, for that period of time you will feel some discomfort but not pain. The surgeon will lift the flap in order to deliver Excimer Laser pulses into the stroma, (Please watch the video for better understanding). After the laser treatment, your surgeon will reposition the flap back on place and finally will put some eye drops medication in order to prevent infection. As soon as your procedure is done, your doctor will give you some goggles to prevent against any kind of physical contact for the following hrs (before your post-operative care begins).
Surgeon's Perspective | Patient's Perspective
Your LASIK surgery is done and now the healing process begins. At this point, you will notice improvement in your vision as time goes by. Perhaps you may experience; slightly blurry vision for the first 24 hours, light sensitivity, watery eyes, redness and irritation which would be considered "normal" at this point. Your follow-up appointment is scheduled most of the time the very next day, where you will have a post-operative screening in order to determinate what is your vision acuity, make sure that the cornea is well positioned and discuss with your doctor potential experiences such as: discomfort, pain or sand sensation that will gradually reduce in your eyes.
Your post-operative care varies according to the surgeon, but you would certainly be seen again for your follow-ups: 24 hrs after the procedure, one week after, one month after and a year after.
Last Updated March 01, 2011