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Introduction To LASIK Eye Surgery

If you need vision correction and are sick of fighting with contact lenses, you may consider LASIK eye surgery. You will probably have many questions about the procedure, its safety, cost and effectiveness. When deciding whether LASIK is right for you, it will help to know the basics.

What Exactly Is LASIK?
LASIK stands for Laser Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis. It is refractive surgery that reshapes the cornea. Not only do patients no longer need contact lenses or glasses after receiving the procedure (although they may at some point require reading glasses), some actually report better than 20/20 vision.

How Does LASIK Work?
The process begins when the surgeon cuts a flap in the stromal layer. This flap may be created using a microkeratome blade or a laser. The surgeon then moves the flap, either by using alcohol to float it out of the way or by lifting it with the microkeratome.

The surgeon removes the tissue underneath the cornea using an excimer laser. This removal or “ablation” reshapes the cornea, allowing for vision that is more accurate. Once this procedure is complete, the surgeon folds the flap back down for healing.

Who is Eligible for LASIK?
LASIK is useful for many vision problems that require corrective lenses. LASIK is an option for both nearsighted and farsighted individuals, and can help those with astigmatism as well. Patients with health problems, particularly involving the eyes, may need to postpone LASIK.

Is the LASIK Procedure Painful?
LASIK surgery is usually quick and painless. The surgery generally takes about five minutes to perform -- you are in and out in a very short time. The doctor anesthetizes the eye with drops to numb the pain. In most cases, patients experience an immediate vision improvement. Some experience continued improvement over the weeks following the procedure.

Have a serious talk with your eye care professional and learn all the risks and benefits involved with LASIK. While LASIK is relatively easy and safe, it is important that you are completely comfortable with the procedure.