This article aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the LASIK procedure and the science behind better vision so that you can make an informed decision about whether LASIK is right for you.
Are you tired of wearing glasses or contacts and thinking about vision correction surgery? LASIK is the most commonly performed laser vision correction procedure in the United States. Here’s what you need to know.
How LASIK Works
LASIK, which stands for laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis, is a surgical procedure used to correct vision impairments. A LASIK surgeon uses a laser to reshape the cornea so that it bends light properly. As a result, you can see the world more clearly.
The Anatomy of the Eye
Your eyes consist of several components that work together to help you see:
- Cornea: This is a clear, dome- or sphere-shaped layer at the very front of your eyes. It functions to bend light so your eyes can focus.
- Lens: This clear inner part of your eyes, located behind the iris and pupil, also functions to focus light.
- Retina: This layer, located at the back of your eyes, contains light-sensitive receptors (photoreceptors) that turn light into signals that travel through your optic nerves to your brain, which turns them into images.
The LASIK Procedure
Before your LASIK surgery begins, your LASIK surgeon places a few drops of a topical numbing solution in your eye(s). They also use an eye speculum to keep your eye(s) open. If you’re feeling anxious, your surgeon can provide a mild sedative to help you relax.
LASIK surgery is a quick and straightforward procedure that involves the following steps:
- Creating a small, thin flap over the cornea
- Removing corneal tissue and reshaping the cornea so that it will bend light properly
- Replacing the flap over the removed tissue
LASIK surgery typically takes less than 30 minutes to complete. The corneas heal naturally, without the need for stitches or bandages.
Benefits of LASIK Surgery
LASIK offers several significant benefits:
- LASIK can correct a wide range of refractive errors, including myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism.
- The procedure is quick, easy, and virtually painless.
- Many patients receive 20/20 vision and no longer require glasses or contacts.
- Vision improvements are noticeable almost immediately.
- Surgery permanently changes the shape of the cornea, resulting in permanent vision improvement.
Risks and Side Effects of LASIK
Like any surgical procedure, there are some potential risks and side effects that come with LASIK. Some common side effects include:
- Dry, scratchy eyes
- Vision changes throughout the day
- Blurry or hazy vision
- Halos or rings around lights
For many patients, these side effects are only temporary. They generally fade within a month, although it may take longer for some. In some instances, these side effects may be permanent.
- Eye infections
- Worse vision than before surgery
- Over- or under-corrected vision, which LASIK enhancement or touch-up surgery may help fix
For patients with significant refractive errors, LASIK may not be able to provide 20/20 results. As a result, they still require corrective lenses to see clearly. However, LASIK can dramatically improve their vision. Additionally, although LASIK is a permanent procedure, some patients may experience diminished vision as they age. These vision changes are often due to conditions, such as cataracts, that affect the lens of the eye, not the cornea.
LASIK Aftercare and Recovery
Your surgeon will provide you with aftercare instructions — and instructions for any medications you may need — following your LASIK procedure. You won’t be able to drive immediately after surgery, so arrange to have someone bring you home.
Post-LASIK instructions typically include getting plenty of rest, avoiding strenuous physical activity for at least a week, and refraining from touching your eyes. You will receive a set of protective eye shields to keep you from rubbing your eyes, especially while you sleep.
It’s not uncommon for patients to experience irritated or watery eyes for a few hours after LASIK. Many patients also have blurry vision for a couple of days. Most begin noticing vision improvements within a few days.
How to Choose a LASIK Provider
Most LASIK providers offer a free consultation to help you determine if you’re a candidate for the procedure. It’s also a good opportunity to learn more about them. During your consultation, look for the following:
- Experience: The best providers generally have years of experience and have performed thousands of procedures. They have treated patients with your type of vision impairment.
- Alternative options: If you aren’t qualified for LASIK, a good provider will be upfront about it. They should also inform you of other potential options.
- Honesty: A potential provider should be honest and realistic about the results they can provide and welcome all of your questions without hesitation.
- Comfort level: Your provider should make you feel confident and secure going into your procedure.
Find Out If You’re a LASIK Candidate
Are you ready to find out if LASIK is right for you? Schedule online for a Free LASIK Consultation at one of our locations in Arizona, today!
Check out our Vision For Life program, which offers LASIK touch-ups for LIFE!