LASIK eye surgery or LASIK corrective eye surgery is a type
of refractive surgery for correcting myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia
(farsightedness) and astigmatism. In other words, LASIK is a treatment that
uses laser lights to fix your eyesight. Until the invention of contact lenses,
eyeglasses alone were used to correct refractive vision errors. Modern
techniques like Lasik, Photo refractive keratectomy (PRK) are performed for
surgical insertion of artificial lenses to correct eyesight.
LASIK Eye Surgery
Blurred vision is the failure of the eye's cornea and lens to refract light rays properly, which affects the images from being
focused on the retina. Such blurriness is termed as refractive error. The major causes for refractive error include
imperfectly shaped eyeball, cornea or lens.
LASIK stands for Laser Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis. The procedure involves permanently changing the shape of the
cornea for better eyesight. Ophthalmologists use an excimer laser and special
knife (microkeatome) to conduct the reshaping. LASIK is often preferred to PRK,
since the pain is less and the overall recovery period is faster. The main
objective behind LASIK eye surgery is to reduce the patient's dependency on
contact lenses or glasses.
LASIK Eye Surgery Procedure
Before LASIK, you will be examined completely for any health related issues and the doctor also ensures that your eyes are
healthy enough to undergo laser surgery. Few tests are done to measure the
curve of the cornea, the size, and position of the pupils, the shape of the
eyes and the thickness of the cornea. The tests enable the ophthalmologist to
ensure that laser or LASIK eye surgery is an option to you.
LASIK is an outpatient surgical procedure lasting for 10 to 15 minutes for each eye. No anesthetic is used during the surgery.
However, an eye drop is applied to numb the surface of the eye.
Ophthalmologists use a microkeratome, a special knife to cut a hinged flap of the corneal tissue. The flap is then folded to reach
stroma, the middle section of the cornea, where actual reshaping takes place.
An excimer laser is put into the storma, to vaporize a predetermined portion of
the cornea. In other words, pulses from the laser lights reshape the middle
portion of the corneal tissue. Once the reshaping is done, the flap that was
folded is replaced on the stroma. No stitching is required as both the tissue
layers heal through natural process.
However, your ophthalmologist might place an eye shield or patch over the eye to protect the flap and prevent from rubbing or
pressure on the eye until it is healed.
Recovery from Lasik eye surgery
The recovery period varies from person to person depending on how poor the eyesight is. According to a survey,
more than one million Americans undergo LASIK surgery each year. Also, the
LASIK surgery statistics and information from the FDA indicate that complication
occur in just 1 to 5% of patients. The procedure is found to provide
exceptional results with many patients experiencing more than 20% better vision
after LASIK eye surgery.
Your ophthalmologist might give you some instruction like wearing a protective shield over the eyes for couple
of days after the surgery. This may be combined with few antibiotics,
anti-inflammatory or moistening eye drops. You may also be suggested to wear
dark eyeglasses for few days in order to avoid bright lights after surgery.
You can return to your work or daily activities the day after the surgery. Ensure to have follow-up check as
suggested by doctors.
Lasik corrective eye surgery risks
Any surgical procedures has its own risks, LASIK is not an exception. Though the degree of risks varies from
surgery to surgery, it cannot be ignored altogether.
The risks with LASIK include the technology. The procedure is relatively new and things might go wrong over a
period of time. However, there is no clinical indication to this. Few people
report that they develop glare, halos or double vision that affects nighttime
vision after a corrective laser eye surgery.
The effectiveness of your LASIK eye surgery depends on the ophthalmologist too. You may be under-treated or
over-treated. Some might still require contact lenses or glass after surgery.
Few risks associated with LASIK may include
- Corneal infection
- Corneal scarring or permanent problems with the cornea's shape, making it
impossible to wear contact lenses
distance vision at high altitudes
in contrast sensitivity - even with 20/20 vision, objects may appear fuzzy
- Dry eyes
- Glare or haloes
- Patches of
red or pink in the white of the eye
vision or permanent vision loss
However, there is no specific risk that has been reported so far with LASIK. The long-term effects of LASIK
are yet to be determined.
Cost of LASIK
The cost of LASIK depends on your
requirement. In addition, it varies from one surgeon or clinic to another. In
general, the universal standard for LASIK is that the price is quoted per eye.
The factors involved in deciding the rate include the number of eyes on which surgery is performed, new
technologies (like wavefront correction LASIK) used for precise corrections,
laser blades used, or bladeless LASIK (IntraLase) where a laser is used to
create a flap in front of the eye. Remember one LASIK equals a surgery on one
LASIK costs anywhere between $450 to $2000 per eye but it hinges on the surgeon and technology used. A research
conducted among refractive surgeons indicates that the cost of bladeless LASIK
or LASIK with all laser-based vision corrections procedure is $2,150. Few other
interesting indications include that usage of microkeratome and excimer lasers
in LASIK might cost $1,750. The fees for precise corrections using wavefront
might be around $2,300.
If you wish to undergo LASIK, do not take the cost alone into consideration. Look for few associated factors like
the service provided by each clinic. For instance, few clinics might offer you
to stay in the clinic at little or free of cost after the surgery. This is
applicable in cases where the clinic is far away from your home or office. Find
out the technologies used by the ophthalmologist. While comparing the cost of
LASIK, find out the technology or the equipment used by the laser surgeon. Finally,
check the cost against inclusive. Few clinics LASIK costs include the
examination before surgery, the post check-ups.
Good eyesight is the priority. Hence, ensure that the surgeon is highly qualified and has considerable amount
of experience in handling all LASIK cases. Lastly, though a full coverage is
not given, most insurance providers give part coverage for laser eye surgery.
Check with your health insurance provider on the same before you decide to