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 Surgery 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 Eye Surgery?
LASIK is useful for many vision problems that require corrective lenses. LASIK eye surgery 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.
LASIK is a surgery that has proved to be a godsend to many suffering from poor vision. Traditional LASIK uses a small cutting tool, called a microkeratome, and laser to reshape the surface of the cornea. This allows the eye to focus light more correctly and reduces or eliminates many vision problems that would otherwise require corrective lenses.
What is Epi-LASIK?
Epi-LASIK is one of the latest innovations in LASIK technology. In Epi-LASIK, a thin flap is cut into the outer layer of the cornea. Normally, the surgeon uses a microkeratome or another laser.
In Epi-LASIK, the doctor employs an oscillating, plastic cutting tool called an epithelial separator. It's called this because the epithelial separator parts the free part of the flap from the eye. Epi-LASIK is an alternative to procedures that use alcohol, which may pose a danger to the epithelial cells.
Who is a Good Candidate for Epi-LASIK?
Steeper corneas make it more difficult to create the necessary flap, so the procedure is more effective for those with corneas that are less steep. Your doctor will tell you if he thinks Epi-LASIK is more appropriate for you than traditional LASIK. However, the Epi-LASIK procedure is typically for patients with very thin corneas.
It can also be a preferred option for those who run the risk of having their eye bumped or otherwise contacted during the healing process. The flap is held in place with a special contact lens to keep it in place and speed healing.
What Else is There to Know About Epi-LASIK?
Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions for care of your eyes after you have received the Epi-LASIK procedure. The final success of the procedure largely depends on how well the eyes heal from the process. Your doctor will inform you what you need to do to give yourself the opportunity for maximum healing and you should adhere to these directions rigidly.
Many people with vision problems do not relish the idea of caring for traditional contact lenses. Long-term wear lenses require constant care and maintenance and can be expensive to replace. Fortunately in the modern era, other options are available. One choice available to contact lens wearers is whether to opt for 30-day contact lenses or go for LASIK surgery.
30-day contact lenses allow people to wear their contacts for 30 straight days and then toss them. They are cheaper than long term lenses and do not require the same level of care. More importantly, some 30-day contact lenses can be worn in sleep. This way, people do not have to deal with the hassle of taking them out and putting them in every day.
In the past, concerns about eye infections made 30-day contact lenses less feasible. However, the creation of silicone hydrogel lenses, which allows up to seven times more oxygen to reach the eye, has seriously reduced the chances of infection.
Wearing contact lenses is not a surgical procedure like LASIK, which may make it more appealing to some who need vision correction. Furthermore, it is a simple matter to change one’s prescription if the current contact lenses are not providing satisfactory vision correction.
What Are the Advantages of LASIK?
With LASIK, you can get rid of your contact lenses entirely. Lasik is a surgical procedure, but the majority of patients report minimal or no complications. LASIK techniques are getting more advanced every day. Some patients report better than 20/20 vision after the procedure.
Keep in mind that LASIK eye surgery does not cure presbyopia, a natural blurriness of focus that comes with age. In this case, you may eventually need reading glasses even after getting the LASIK procedure.
Although getting LASIK surgery in both eyes may cost thousands of dollars, eliminating the need to pay for contact lenses and solutions is a profitable tradeoff. After a few years, the LASIK eye surgery will have paid for itself.
Before choosing between LASIK surgery and 30-day lenses, have a detailed talk with your eye care professional. Make sure he understands your specific vision correction needs and that you understand all the risks and benefits involved before moving forward.
Still not sure whether to choose contact lenses or LASIK surgery? Consult one of the many great eye doctors in our exclusive directory.
FAQ – Lasik Eye Surgery
How Can Hyperopia Be Treated?
At one time, hyperopia was only treatable with corrective lenses such as glasses or contact lenses. However, it's now possible to have surgery to correct hyperopia. The most popular procedure used to correct hyperopia is LASIK surgery.
How does LASIK Surgery Treat Hyperopia?
LASIK surgery works by reshaping the surface of the cornea, enabling it to better focus light. The surgeon cuts a flap into the epithelium, the outer layer of the cornea. Tissue underneath is removed, or ablated with an excimer laser. The goal in farsighted people is to create more of a slope in the cornea, making it easier to focus light on the retina.
Is LASIK Surgery Only Indicated for the Treatment of Hyperopia?
Not at all. LASIK is available to treat myopia (nearsightedness) by flattening the corneal surface. It can treat more complex problems, like astigmatism.
Is LASIK Surgery the Best Option for Treatment of Hyperopia?
While patients with hyperopia have reported a great deal of success with the LASIK procedure, it is a surgery and patients should consider it carefully. There are many options for sufferers of hyperopia. 30-day extended wear contact lenses can restore vision without the inconvenience of regular contact lenses or an invasive procedure. Individuals should consult with their eye care professionals to determine whether LASIK is the right option.
What Else is There to Know About Hyperopia and LASIK?
Difficulty with focusing can also be a result of presbyopia, a natural deterioration of the eye’s ability that occurs around age 40. LASIK is not an effective treatment for presbyopia and this condition may require reading glasses, even for patients who have had the LASIK procedure.