What is LASIK?
It is the most recent advance in the field of refractive surgery. LASIK is used to reshape the cornea, which is the most powerful lens in the eye. It uses an excimer laser (a cool beam of light) to reshape the cornea and improve vision. The superficial layer of the cornea is raised as a flap and laser is applied to the underlying bed (hence also called as flap and zap). The flap is then replaced. LASIK stands for Laser Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis.
- 1) MYOPIA (NEARSIGHTEDNESS): Only objects at a near distance are visible clearly.
- 2) HYPERMETROPIA (FARSIGHTEDNESS): Only distant objects are visible clearly.
- 3) ASTIGMATISM: Image is blurred at distance and near. Occurs when the light rays are focussed at multiple points due to the cornea being more curved in one direction than in the other.
- 4) PRESBYOPIA: Glasses are required for reading and doing near work. (Usually after the age of 40 years.)
NEWER ADVANCES IN LASIK
With the evolution of LASIK now safer procedures are available: FEMTOLASIK and SMILE LASIK .In FEMTO LASIK event the flap is created using a laser and hence there is more predictability and faster healing and less chances of flap displacement. It is also called as bladeless LASIK.
SMILE LASIK is also called as Flapless LASIK.
WHO IS A SUITABLE CANDIDATE FOR LASIK?
- Patient must be at least 18 years of age.
- He/She must have stable refraction for the past six months to a year.
- No preexisting eye problems such as cataract, glaucoma, infections, severe dry eye or any other condition that would delay post op. healing.
- Pregnant and nursing mothers cannot have surgery immediately. They must wait till the hormones are back to normal levels.
- Too thin corneas , irregular corneas ,Keratoconus, abnormal lid position or any other anatomic abnormalities are contraindications for LASIK.
- He/She must have realistic expectations i.e. the surgery is only designed to reduce the dependence on glasses and contact lenses. Surgery does not always create 6/6(20/20) vision although most (90%) patients do achieve this goal.
- No. becoming zero depends on the thickness of the cornea. In most cases the desired refraction is achieved.
IS LASIK SAFE?
LASIK and PRK are both approved by the FDA (USA). There are risks associated with any surgical procedure, but LASIK has many safeguards in place and hence there is very little room for error.
IS LASIK PAINFUL?
During the procedure there is no pain at all. There is however some ocular discomfort (gritty sensation) and watering during the first 24 hours after surgery which gradually subsides by the second or third post-op. day.
WILL I HAVE SATISFACTORY VISION AFTER SURGERY?
Yes, majority of the patients (95%) improve dramatically after surgery and dependence on glasses is eliminated. Some may require a thin pair of glasses or reading glasses.
DO I HAVE TO UNDERGO ANY TESTS PRIOR TO THE TREATMENT?
Yes, preoperatively corneal and retinal evaluation needs to be carried out prior to treatment. If you are a contact lens user, the lenses need to be discontinued 10 days prior to evaluation and treatment.
WHEN CAN I GET BACK TO WORK?
Usually within a week. However swimming and water sports can be resumed after 3 months.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR VISION TO IMPROVE?
About 3-5 days. However stability of vision is achieved only in 3 months.
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF LASIK?
- -Short recovery time.
- -Minimal discomfort.
- -Higher degree of predictability.
- -Corrects the widest range of refractive errors.
IS THE TREATMENT PERMANENT?
Yes. You will however remain susceptible to age related presbyopia and require reading glasses to correct the presbyopia.
WHAT ARE THE SIDE EFFECTS OF LASIK?
Vision may fluctuate for a few days after LASIK. Glare, haloes and starbursts may be seen especially around lights at night, which usually disappears with time. Some patients experience dryness of eyes that can be alleviated by drops.
WILL I REQUIRE MULTIPLE TREATMENTS?
In over 90% of the cases a single treatment is enough. However in a few cases an “Enhancement” may be required for under and over corrections to achieve optimum vision.
IS MY EYE SUITABLE FOR LASIK?
The suitability of an eye to undergo LASIK is best determined by your eye surgeon after a thorough corneal and retinal evaluation. Based on these findings you may be selected or rejected for the LASIK procedure.
IS IT TRUE THAT INDIAN EYES ARE NOT SUITABLE FOR LASIK?
Over the last few years since LASIK surgery was introduced in the market, LACS of surgeries have been carried out in India by various with excellent post op. results. It is however mandatory to record the pre operative corneal thickness and only if the eyes are within the prescribed normal limits should one go ahead with the surgery.
WHAT ARE THE POST OPERATIVE PRECAUTIONS TO BE TAKEN?
Head bath is permitted after 5 days. No Swimming or rubbing eyes for 3 months. Avoid eyelid makeup on lid margin for 2-3 weeks.