Laser Eye Surgery 101

LASIK, laser eye surgery, or laser vision correction, all refer to the nonessential type of refractive surgery that is performed to correct the vision and dramatically minimize the dependency on contact lenses or corrective glasses.

It is a standard operating procedure for your ophthalmologists to examine and assess your eyes for them to determine whether you are a candidate for this kind of surgery. If it’s determined that you’re not a good candidate for this procedure, your trusted eye care professional would suggest a different course of action.

What is LASIK?

To make it clear, LASIK or laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis is one type of laser vision correction. It is also the most popular and commonly performed eye surgery to correct refractive errors due to certain eye conditions like myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism.

Generally, blurry visions are caused by an abnormality in the way your eyes refract (or bend) light. Once your eyes develop an abnormality in refracting the light, that’s when you begin to have vision problems that would need to be corrected either by corrective glasses or contact lenses. Undergoing certain laser vision corrections to reshape your cornea could also provide the same results as wearing corrective eyewear.

Most articles use the term LASIK for all types of laser eye surgery. But there are other methods of laser eye surgeries that are different in a very minimal way and are mostly predetermined by your current eye condition. Each type though is designed to correct the way your cornea refracts light.

Other types of laser eye surgery include:

Photorefractive Keratectomy – Abbreviated, PRK, involves the process of scraping the top and completely removing the superficial part of the cornea called the epithelium. After which your eyes would undergo an excimer laser treatment to flatten or steepen the curvature of your cornea.

Laser-assisted subepithelial keratectomy – or LASEK is like PRK, it uses microkeratomes –a special cutting device that assists in creating a flap on your cornea– before laser treatment is performed. In this procedure, the flap remains in the eye and is repositioned after the laser treatment.

Epithelial laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis – Commonly referred to as epi-LASIK procedure, this involves the separation of the stroma of the cornea and epithelium. Using a device called an epi keratome which has oscillating blunt blades. Similar to LASEK but without the need to expose the cornea to alcohol.

Advanced Surface Ablation – Very much similar to PRK except it uses the Zeiss excimer laser Advanced Surface Ablation program and then proceeds to correct the shape of the cornea.

What indications does LASIK Treat?

The aforementioned methods of laser vision correction are usually advised to be performed for people with proven medical indications such as Myopia, Presbyopia, and Astigmatism. LASIK, on the other hand, can also correct Hyperopia on top of the three previously mentioned indications.

The retina at the back of your eye is normally where images are formed and are being focused. Having certain eye conditions could disrupt the focus which results in a blurry vision.

LASIK can correct these eye conditions:

Nearsightedness – Or Myopia is a condition in which farther objects are blurry while closer objects are clearer.

Farsightedness – Hyperopia is the opposite of Myopia, where you see farther objects more clearly than the closer ones.

Presbyopia – An age related-condition similar to Hyperopia. Caused by the hardening of the eye’s lens, making it less elastic. 

Astigmatism – is due to a condition in which the shape of the cornea is irregular, causing blurry vision.

How Is Lasik Performed?

Your eye-care provider would perform a thorough assessment and examination of your eyes. They also take this time to see if your eyes are healthy enough for the procedure. They would evaluate any refractive abnormalities, shape, and thickness of the cornea and the pupil size.

You could undergo a precautionary treatment to diminish the possibilities of developing dry eyes after the LASIK surgery. Your eye doctor would also discourage you from using make-up, facial creams, and even perfume before and right after the surgery. 

Additionally, you should not wear soft contact lenses two weeks before the initial exam. Similarly, Toric and gas permeable lenses shouldn’t be worn three weeks prior, and hard lenses should not be used four weeks before the primary ocular assessment.

It is in your best interest to let your cornea assume its natural shape ahead of the initial eye examination. This is to ensure that your eye doctor gets the proper measurement and condition of your cornea. Miscalculation during this course of action could complicate the outcome of the procedure.

This would be the perfect time for you to inform your eye surgeon about your overall ocular health, as well as ask questions that you deem necessary before being subjected to the operation.

Subsequently, your doctor would let you know the benefits, risks, expectations during, before, and after the surgery, or even other possible alternatives for your visual correction. Aside you would be educated on what you should do before, during and after the procedure. By the way, make sure you have someone to drive you home.

Your surgeon would probably administer numbing eye drops and perhaps some medications to keep you calm and relaxed. One after the other, your eyes would be positioned under the laser while a device called the lid speculum to hold your eyelids and use a suction ring to ensure unrestricted access to your eyes and keep them from moving.

From there, the surgeon marks the cornea before creating a flap using lasers. You would be asked to focus on a fixed light while the laser corrects your cornea. Each eye should only take at least five minutes.

After the process, you would experience temporary burning and itching sensation. Haziness and blurry visions are also common but should subside the day after. You would then be advised to take a rest for 24 to 48 hours and then you’d have another appointment for the aftercare procedure.

Knowing some information on this particular medical procedure would help you have the proper assessment of your ocular health as well as help you overcome your fear and hesitation for this medical practice.

NOTICE TO USERS is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, medical treatment, or therapy. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding any health symptom or medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice nor delay in seeking professional advice or treatment because of something you have read on