LASIK (Laser-Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis) eye surgery is a popular refractive procedure that provides excellent vision for many patients. Most people with nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism will see benefits from LASIK, which can help you see without glasses or contact lenses. LASIK corrects vision by changing the shape of the cornea utilizing a precise Excimer laser. LASIK is the most popular form of refractive surgery due to efficiency and effectiveness.
Laser vision correction has been performed since 1987. The FDA approved the use of the Excimer laser and recognized laser vision correction as being safe and effective. In the United States alone, close to 2 million procedures have been performed. Experts worldwide are confident they will discover no long term problems with laser vision correction, and the procedure has become the most commonly performed refractive surgery in the world.
Laser vision correction results in a permanent change to the shape of the cornea. However, laser vision correction will not prevent age related conditions such as presbyopia (the need for reading glasses) or cataracts. These conditions are still treated in their normal manner.
With LASIK, both eyes are treated on the same day, and most patients notice dramatic improvement within the first day or two following the procedure. The speed of visual recovery ultimately depends on personal healing patterns, but patients are usually back to their normal activities the next day. After LASIK, the restrictions on activities are minimal and these will be covered in detail prior to the procedure.
The results of laser vision correction have been overwhelmingly successful in eliminating or reducing the dependence on glasses or contact lenses. In a recent review of our patients treated for nearsightedness, farsightedness and/or astigmatism, 95% achieved 20/20 vision following surgery. 99% of patients achieved 20/40 or better vision after LASIK, meaning they can drive legally, play sports and join the police or fire departments without depending on corrective eyewear. Ultimately, how well a person sees and how quickly their vision improves depends on the degree of their prescription and their particular healing pattern. During your complimentary consultation we will discuss the range of probable outcomes based on your prescription. As with any surgical procedure, results cannot be guaranteed.
About the LASIK procedure.
LASIK surgery is accomplished in two short steps. A local anesthetic is applied to the eyes to ensure your procedure is pain free. Then, a thin flap is carefully created on the cornea using laser technology. The flap is pulled back to prepare your cornea for the Excimer laser. Then, an ultraviolet light beam is applied to remove tiny portions of the cornea in an effort to reshape it. The laser removes corneal matter in such small increments, extreme precision is achieved in the process. Once the cornea is corrected, the flap is replaced and the procedure is complete.
The actual laser time for nearsightedness is usually 40 seconds or less. For farsighted patients it is typically under two minutes for the actual procedure.
The total time spent in the laser center is generally only one to one and a half hours. There is no pain during the procedure. Eye drops are used to numb the eyes. No needles or injections are required. After LASIK post operative discomfort is minimal. However, it is common to have some eye irritation in the first few hours.
No surgical procedure is without risks, but complications from LASIK are very uncommon. The chance of having an issue is less than 1%. Understanding the potential risks allows you to make an informed decision before undergoing LASIK. We will discuss potential risks in greater detail and answer any questions you may have during your consultation.
Can LASIK eliminate the need for reading glasses?
Yes and no. The need for reading glasses usually begins when patients are in their early 40’s, and is caused by a loss of elasticity of the natural lens inside the eye. This loss of elasticity results in an inability to focus on small print. This condition is called presbyopia. LASIK cannot restore the elasticity to the natural lens inside the eye. However, there is a technique called monovision in which both eyes are fit with contacts to help with distance, but one contact is fitted to purposely undercorrect one eye to aid with some close-up activities. This technique can also be used with LASIK.
Our patients love a small amount of this, but if a larger amount is desired (to allow for even more close-up vision), is is recommended that contact lenses be tried first. It has been our experience that monovision is helpful for tasks such as reading a watch, menu or price tags, but not for reading fine print or prolonged close work. It is important to understand that even with some monovision almost everyone will still need reading glasses at some point.
For people with active lifestyles, who play golf, tennis, or drive a great deal at night, a larger amount of monovision is not recommended. It is very important for people who are nearsighted, and who are over the age of 40, to understand that prior to LASIK it is possible to remove their glasses and see objects at near without corrective eyewear. However, after LASIK, if both eyes are treated for distance vision then more likely reading glasses will become necessary in order to focus on near objects. We will discuss this in more detail with you during a consultation.
Is LASIK right for you?
To be sure if you are a candidate for LASIK, an evaluation is required. During the evaluation, we will conduct a series of diagnostic tests to determine your potential for success. Your surgeon will examine your eyes and review your test results with you in detail. The main tests include manifest refraction, pupil size measurement, corneal slit lamp evaluation, and topographical maps which reveal the corneal shape and corneal thickness.
The doctors at Cataract & Eye Consultants of Michigan are some of the most experienced LASIK doctors in our area, and are committed to providing the best patient outcomes possible. If vision correction is a viable option, we are happy to help you choose the best option and provide you with the best quality care. We are proud to offer the latest LASIK technology to help create superior results. Contact us today for a free evaluation and consultation with your surgeon.