WHAT IS LASIK?
LASIK is a laser-assisted eye surgery to improve vision in those who are nearsighted, farsighted, or have astigmatism by reshaping the cornea. These conditions prevent light from focusing on the retina without corrective lenses. LASIK will improve your vision to your best “corrected vision” — that is, your vision after LASIK will be the same as your vision with prescription glasses or contact lenses.
WHO IS A GOOD CANDIDATE?
If you have any of the following conditions, you are not a LASIK candidate:
- Advanced glaucoma
- Corneal diseases or thinning
- Vision instability
- Autoimmune disease
- Are pregnant
- Are under the age of 18
THE LASIK PROCEDURE
LASIK consists of several appointments: a comprehensive eye exam, surgery, follow-up a day or two after surgery, and additional appointments for six months after your surgery. Your treatment will begin with a comprehensive eye examination. Your eyes will be dilated for this exam, and your doctor will discuss your eye health history, address any concerns you may have, and will go over the best surgical options for you.
After your exam, you will be scheduled for surgery. Surgery usually takes two hours, including pre-operative preparation, surgery, and recovery. The procedure takes place in our state of the art surgical center, and you will need someone to drive you home afterwards. Although you will be at the surgical center for about two hours, the actual surgery takes less than a minute.
For surgery, you will be reclining in a chair. Numbing eye drops are administered, the area around your eyes will be cleaned, and a lid speculum will be placed to hold the eyes open. Your doctor will use either a mechanical microkeratome (a blade tool) or laser keratome (a laser tool) to cut a flap in the cornea. It is normal for the vision to dim or blur and to feel pressure during this process. Through the opening, a laser will be positioned and you will be asked to fix your gaze on a light for sixty seconds. Some patients seem initially to be good candidates, but ultimately are unable to focus on a fixed object for long enough during this step. As a result, they are no longer good LASIK candidates and the procedure will not commence further.
Once your eyes are positioned, your doctor will use the computer-controlled LASIK laser to reshape the cornea by removing corneal tissue. It is normal to experience smells similar to those of burning hair. Your doctor will make fine adjustments based on measurements from your initial examination. Once done, the flap will be placed back in its normal position.
No stitches are used so you will wear a shield over the treated eye or both eyes to prevent material from getting into the eyes and to stop you from rubbing your eyes after surgery or while sleeping. This is essential for proper healing.
WHAT IS RECOVERY LIKE?
Most patients are able to drive and work the next day. The day of surgery, however, you should rest, avoid driving, and avoid activities that may strain the eyes. The full effects of your procedure will be maximized after one to four weeks.
WHAT RESULTS SHOULD I EXPECT?
Most patients experience significantly corrected vision, similar to their vision prior to surgery when using corrective glasses or contacts. However, those over 40 with presbyopia or who needed reading glasses or bifocals may still need reading glasses after LASIK.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS?
Complications are rare and LASIK has a 99.9 percent success rate, making it extremely safe. The risks include vision loss, development of visual disturbances, over or under treatment, development of severe dry eye syndrome. The most common risk is the need for an enhancement procedure after your initial procedure. Typically you will know within six months of your surgery if you will need an enhancement.
It is important to understand that not all everyone’s vision is correctable to 20/20. During your consultation with your Silverstein Eye Centers doctor, you will be told what the best achievable results are for your particular eyes.
If you are ready to take the next step in your vision care, call Silverstein Eye Centers today at 816-358-3600 to schedule a LASIK surgery consultation. We look forward to hearing from you.