WHAT IS LASIK?
LASIK or laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis is a refractive surgical procedure that is commonly performed for the management of vision disorders.
The purpose of this procedure is to restore 20/20 vision so that affected individuals do not need to use lenses and glasses anymore. Also known as laser eye surgery or laser vision correction surgery, it is one of the most common procedures performed for vision problems.
LASIK uses a precision laser to perform corneal reshaping techniques as myopia, hyperopia, and other such vision-associated problems arise from incorrect bending of light by the cornea. These problems are believed to arise from the improper shape of the cornea and hence its reshaping is recommended to treat vision disorders. The procedure takes anywhere between 30 minutes and an hour, and it is often associated with high patient satisfaction rates. All these benefits of the LASIK procedure explain its rising popularity amongst glasses-wearing individuals.
LASIK Surgery Options
Disorders of vision such as myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism can be easily managed with special lenses.
However, there are also surgical options for the treatment of these conditions such as LASIK.
LASIK is a beneficial surgical procedure for certain vision disorders and cannot be performed for all problems related to the eye. Generally, the treatment of the following conditions is why the LASIK surgery is performed:
Myopia: Also known as nearsightedness, this condition arises when the cornea has a sharp curve resulting in the reflection of light waves in front of the retina, rather than on it. The eyeball is slightly longer and incapable of reflecting light properly, which is why affected individuals often cannot see objects far from them.
Hyperopia: More commonly known as farsightedness, this condition has an eyeball that is smaller than usual resulting in an inability to look at objects near the eye. The cornea in these patients is on the flatter side and reflects light behind the retina.
Astigmatism: This condition is more serious than the other two vision disorders as it affects both types of vision, near and far. Astigmatism arises when the cornea has uneven curves or flats that result in poor vision, especially at night with lights.
POTENTIAL RISKS AND COMPLICATIONS
LASIK is a refractive surgery procedure and, as such, has certain risks and complications associated with it. The occurrence of these side effects is rare and even the side effects that are present commonly clear out on their own without the need for medical intervention.
Some of the common side effects of this procedure include:
- Dry eyes
- Halos and glares
- Double vision
- Flap problems
The risks associated with LASIK are more likely to develop in the presence of the following medical conditions:
- Autoimmune disorders, such as systemic lupus erythematosus or rheumatoid arthritis
- Weak immune system due to HIV infection or immunosuppressive medication
- Excessive and persistent dry eyes
- Recent changes in vision due to physiological and environmental factors
- Inflammation of the cornea, lid disorders, eye injuries, or eye infections
The presence of these conditions is a general contraindication for the LASIK procedure.
Suitable Candidate for LASIK
The ideal candidate for LASIK is someone who wears glasses or contact lenses due to vision problems such as myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. The person should be relatively physically and mentally healthy, and should not be on immunosuppressive therapy.
LASIK surgery is not recommended if:
- Vision is fairly well
- Nearsightedness is excessive
- Age-related changes are visible in the eye
- Thin and bulging cornea are present
- Pupils are excessively large
LASIK Results and Success Rates
LASIK surgery results in improved vision with no further need for glasses or contact lenses. While the results of the surgery are dependent on the personal factors of each patient, generally 8 out of 10 patients report positive results with 25/20 vision. This procedure is an elective procedure, and only the patient can make the choice to undergo this procedure. Many patients choose to undergo this procedure because of the beneficial effects of LASIK surgery along with the high satisfaction rates of the procedure, almost 96 percent.
Dry eyes are amongst the most common side effects of the procedure, but it is worth noting that this side effect, along with other common ones, will resolve spontaneously anywhere between three months to six months after the procedure.
Success rates of LASIK also depend on the expertise of the ophthalmologist performing the procedure. Dr. Neelofar Ghaznawi is an experienced ophthalmologist who has performed many LASIK procedures successfully. She is dedicated to provide her patients the best outcomes by performing the surgeries with utmost care and precision.
FAQs about LASIK Surgery
LASIK surgery, due to its status as an elective procedure, is not covered by insurance and can cost anywhere between $2000 to $3000 per eye.
LASIK surgery is a minor outpatient surgery that lasts for approximately 30 minutes to an hour.
LASIK surgery is performed using numbing eye drops which means that the patient is unlikely to feel any pain during the procedure. If the recommendations of the surgeon are followed, the recovery is also associated with very minimal pain.
No, general anesthesia is not used in LASIK. The patient is awake during the surgery but experiences minimal pain and discomfort as local anesthesia is used to avoid this.
LASIK is performed for anyone who is suffering from refractive errors such as astigmatisms, myopia, and hyperopia. But, it is most commonly performed on those with myopia or nearsightedness.
Yes, the results of LASIK are permanent. But, with age, the refractive error may reappear again with changes in corneal shape. In such a case, the patient may choose to use glasses or repeat LASIK to correct the error.
Anyone over the age of 18 years can undergo the LASIK procedure with the optimal age being between 20 years and 40 years.