Generally anyone who knows the pains and frustrations that come with contacts and eyeglasses has yearned for LASIK laser eye surgery, but what exactly is it? LASIK stands for “laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis” and has advantages over other vision correction procedures. With LASIK, good vision is normally achieved by the day after the procedure and there’s a lack of pain associated with the procedure.
How is LASIK surgery performed? A surgeon can use an instrument called a microkeratome, which has a disposable blade, to create a thin, circular flap in the cornea or they can use the more precise laser to do the job. The flap is folded back and the surgeon removes some of the corneal tissue underneath using an excimer laser. The excimer uses a cool ultraviolet light beam to remove tiny bits of cornea in order to reshape it. Once the cornea is shaped, the flap is laid back in place, covering the area where the corneal tissue was removed. When the cornea is reshaped correctly, it works better at focusing light into the eye and over the retina, thus improving the eyesight of the patient.
LASIK can be beneficial for anyone who needs vision correction, the procedure does not discriminate between far sighted and near sighted. Near sighted folks have a steeper cornea, so the goal of LASIK is to flatten it out a bit. The reverse is true for far sightedness- the excimer laser is used to make the cornea a bit steeper to even out the patient’s sight. The excimer laser can even be used to correct astigmatism by smoothing out the irregular corneal shape.
Before you even start this procedure, you’ll need to choose a LASIK surgeon. Since LASIK is generally not covered by insurance (it’s an elective surgery), you’ll want to shop for not only a surgeon who is knowledgeable in the procedure but also fits your price range. The average cost of LASIK in 2010 was $2,150 per eye for completely laser guided surgery. You may take a price reduction if you wish to use a blade.
There are many questions to ask your surgeon before letting him or her have a go at your eyes. Ask them when they started regularly performing LASIK surgery for vision correction. The excimer use in the procedure was approved by the FDA in 1995, so it is feasible for the doctor to say they’ve been practicing for over 10 years. However, practicing and practicing regularly are two separate things and you’ll want to know just how long they’ve been doing this on a regular basis. You’ll also want to ask just how many procedures the surgeon has done in the past 12 months. If they number they provide doesn’t make you comfortable, don’t choose that doctor.
To gauge just how competent they are at LASIK, ask how many of their patients are able to pass a driver’s test without glasses or contacts within one month of their LASIK surgery. The numbers should be in the 95% + range. You can always ask how many patients the surgeon has treated have ended up with some type of complication after surgery. This can include dry eyes, haloes, etc. If the doctor says none of their patients have ever had complaints, then they might seem a bit untrustworthy. Transient symptoms are bound to happen.
Never trust any doctor whose motto is “20/20 vision or your money back.” There are never any guarantees in medicine, so your doctor shouldn’t guarantee anything before they’ve even touched you. Package deals are also less trustworthy, especially those that give you an insanely low cost estimate. The people that qualify for these deals are often few and far between. Read up on surgeons before you trust your vision to them.
LASIK may seem like a perfect dream to those wanting vision corrections, but with any surgery, there are risks involved. Some patients may end up with worse vision than before, losing lines of vision on the vision chart or gaining visual symptoms like glares, halos, or even double vision. Some patients may lose their ability to see in low light, making night time driving a dangerous thing.
LASIK also runs the possibility of a patient becoming over or under treated, missing the 20/20 mark. If this happens, you may require additional treatment, but it may not be possible. Dry eye may occur, but is usually transient. If the condition becomes permanent though, intensive drop therapy and other procedures may be required. For some far sighted patients, the results of LASIK may even reduce over time.
LASIK is not perfect, but it can be a viable alternative to glasses and contacts. The best thing you can do for yourself is read up on the procedure, choose a surgeon who best fits you, and be knowledgeable on the potential dangers.
(Photo Via :Livestrong)