What is a Refractive Error?
Normally, rays of light entering the eye are brought to a precise focus on the retina – the light sensitive layer lining the back of the eye. When such a focus is not achieved, a refractive error results and vision is not clear.
When can’t you have corneal refractive surgery? If you have any of the following criteria, you should not have refractive surgery, because the risk involved is greater than the benefit:
You have any connective tissue diseases (Rheumatoid Arthritis), Auto immune (Eg SLE) and immunodeficiency diseases.
You are pregnant or nursing.
You show signs of Keratoconus or any other condition that causes a thinning of the cornea.
What is LASIK, and how is it done?
LASIK is a surgical procedure that is capable of correcting a wide range of nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia) and astigmatism.
How long has LASIK been performed?
LASIK has been performed internationally for approximately 10 years. It was first performed in clinical trials in the U.S. in 1995. It is important to note that the major components of the procedure contain a long history. Ophthalmologists have been reshaping the cornea for over 50 years, creating a protective layer of tissue for over 35 years, and using the excimer laser since the 1980s.
Who can LASIK benefit?
LASIK can benefit a great number of people with myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism. Candidates should have a strong desire to be less dependent on corrective lenses, have established realistic expectations, and understand the risks associated with the surgery.
Who can’t have LASIK?
There are a number of factors that doctors must evaluate before they can determine who is an eligible candidate for LASIK. Some doctors deem certain pre-existing conditions contraindications to the procedure and will not perform surgery if you possess them. Sometimes, factors exist that preclude a patient from being an ideal candidate for LASIK surgery. In many cases, a surgeon may still be able to safely perform the procedure, given that the patient and physician have adequately discussed the risks and benefits and set realistic expectations for results.
I am happy with my contact lenses. Should I pursue having LASIK?
Most surgeons agree that if you are comfortable wearing contact lenses and are not bothered by being dependent on them, you should carefully evaluate the risks and benefits of LASIK.
Will my vision be as crisp after LASIK?
Patients need to understand that 20/20 vision after LASIK might be different from 20/20 with corrective lenses. Some people describe the images they see post-operatively as not being as “crisp” as those seen through glasses.
Are the results achieved from LASIK permanent?
LASIK is a surgical procedure that permanently removes corneal tissue to reshape the eye in order to improve refraction. The physical results are permanent. However, you should be aware that since the eyes can still change with time, and LASIK does not affect a number of visual conditions associated with age.
If I have LASIK and my vision changes later in life, can it be redone?
Depending on the cause, retreatment may be a viable solution to vision changes later in life, and other treatment options exist. You would need to see your ophthalmologist to determine the cause of the change and to determine which option is best for you.
Does the LASIK procedure hurt?
Patients are given a topical anesthetic (eye drops) to numb the eye, so they experience no pain during the procedure. When the surgeon applies the vacuum ring, the patient experiences a sensation of pressure just before his or her vision fades for a few seconds. The microkeratome – the instrument the surgeon uses to create the flap – and the laser do not cause any pain or discomfort. For several hours after the procedure, many patients describe a mild burning sensation, such as after opening the eyes while swimming in chlorinated water. Therefore, taking a nap for the first 2 to 3 hours after LASIK is encouraged. After the first few hours, this uncomfortable feeling usually subsides.
How long will I be out of work after having LASIK?
It depends on your occupation. Certain jobs that require intense clarity of vision (dentistry and surgery, for example) may be difficult to perform for one or two days. Most patients can return to work the next day, assuming their vision is adequate for their job. However, some people may feel fatigued for a day or so following surgery.
Can I drive immediately after having LASIK?
Patients may experience some discomfort and/or blurred vision for a few hours after surgery. And most patients receive a sedative prior to surgery. Therefore, you cannot drive home after undergoing the procedure, and you should plan not to drive for at least twenty-four hours.