What is LASIK?
Laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) is the most commonly used type of refractive surgery to treat refractive errors such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism. It is a safe, reliable, and painless way to improve vision by reshaping the cornea so that light properly focuses on the retina, allowing objects to be seen clearly. The entire procedure can be completed within 15 minutes for both eyes. After undergoing the procedure, patients often experience immediate vision improvement and can return to work the very next day.
How is LASIK Surgery performed?
During the LASIK procedure, the surgeon creates a thin flap on the surface of the cornea with either a microkeratome blade or a femtosecond laser. The corneal flap is then lifted and an excimer laser beam reshapes the cornea’s curvature to improve vision. For nearsighted individuals, the cornea is flattened; for farsighted people, the cornea is made steeper. The laser also treats astigmatism by smoothing an irregularly shaped cornea.
After the laser reshapes the cornea, the flap is closed. No stitches or bandages are required and the cornea is allowed to heal naturally. The entire procedure takes about 15 to 30 seconds per eye and is performed under local anesthesia so that pain is minimized. Dr. Jamall performs all laser LASIK in which the flap is created with a femtosecond laser without the use of any blades.
Am I a candidate for LASIK?
The ideal LASIK candidate includes someone who is over 18 years old, has stable vision and has a healthy cornea that is thick enough for a flap. A comprehensive eye exam must be performed in order to determine your eligibility for LASIK. If you are not a candidate for LASIK, there are other refractive surgical procedures such as PRK and Refractive Lens Exchange to consider. Schedule a consultation now to discuss your options.
Preparing for LASIK Surgery
Contact lens wear should be stopped two weeks prior to your eye exam and LASIK procedure since contacts can change the natural shape of your cornea. During your consultation, the doctor will perform a comprehensive exam to check the overall health of your eyes. The shape and thickness of your cornea, pupil size, refractive errors, and other eye conditions will be evaluated by the doctor. Measurements will be made using a corneal topographer, which maps the surface of your eye and measures the curvature of your cornea. Any medications and health issues will also be noted to make sure it is safe for you to undergo surgery.
What to Expect During LASIK
Numbing eye drops are applied to your eye to prevent any discomfort during the procedure. Your eye will be positioned under the laser and a lid speculum will be placed to keep your eyelids open and prevent you from blinking. The other eye that is not undergoing treatment will be patched.
Once you are positioned correctly, the surgeon will use an ink marker on your cornea to calibrate the laser. During calibration, you will hear the clicking sound that the laser will make during the procedure.
Following calibration, a suction ring is applied to keep your eye steady while the flap is created by a microkeratome blade or laser. During this time, your vision will dim or even darken completely. Your vision will return once the flap is created.
The surgeon will lift the flap to expose the middle of your cornea for laser reshaping. The surgeon adjusts the settings of the excimer laser for your particular prescription. While the laser reshapes your cornea, you may feel some pressure on your eye. The whole reshaping process takes 10-40 seconds to complete per eye depending on the diopters of correction needed for your prescription.
Recovery after LASIK
After the procedure is done, you may feel a temporary burning or itching sensation. You will notice that your vision has improved however may not be completely cleared for the first several hours following surgery. You may experience light sensitivity, tearing, and/or dry eye symptoms for the first few weeks as part of the healing process.
The next morning, you will notice a significant improvement in your vision. The day after your procedure you will have your first post-operative visit. Your doctor will examine your eyes and guide you through the healing process. There will be several post-operative visits after LASIK to monitor vision fluctuations and temporary dryness.
It is important to avoid getting any foreign objects or substances in your eye for the first week after your procedure. When you are washing your face, avoid getting soapy water in your eyes. You will also be advised not to wear eye makeup during this time. Avoid swimming, hot tubs, or any contact with contaminated water for several weeks after surgery.
While you may resume physical activity (jogging, weightlifting, and aerobics), it is imperative to keep your level of exercise to a minimum for the first two weeks. For your own protection, avoid high-contact activities such as mountain climbing or racquet sports during the first month. After your eyes have healed, it is recommended to wear protective eyewear while engaging in high-contact sports.