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What is LASIK?
LASIK eye surgery, is a refractive vision correction treatment for:
- Myopia (nearsightedness)
- Hyperopia (farsightedness)
- Astigmatism (uneven steepening of the cornea)
- Presbyopia (age-related farsightedness)
LASIK surgery involves creating a corneal flap with a microkeratome, a sharp blade device. Then the surgeon uses an excimer laser to reshape the cornea.1
The cornea is the transparent front part that focuses light on the retina This enables you to see. Reshaping the cornea enhances its focus on the retina, which results in improved visual acuity.
Over the years, traditional LASIK surgery has improved by promoting procedure safety protocols.
Epi-LASIK is less invasive than traditional LASIK surgery. It involves the formation of a thin epithelial flap instead of a corneal flap.
In iLASIK surgery, surgeons use laser technology that is both less invasive and more accurate than blades used in traditional LASIK procedures.
What to Expect After LASIK
After LASIK surgery, your doctor will prescribe pain medications and lubricating eye drops to ease any discomfort.
You’ll need to care for your eyes to avoid irritating, dislodging, or infecting the treated area. Your ophthalmologist will give you post-op care guidelines to help you manage the healing flap.
For most people, the flap will heal within 24 hours. You can resume normal activities after about a week of recovery. In some cases, however, full recovery may take up to 3 months.
Remember to regularly visit your eye doctor for close monitoring as you recover.
After LASIK surgery, you may experience side effects, including:
- Dry eyes
- Sensitivity to light
- Gritty or itchy feeling in the eyes
- Mild discomfort
- Red eyes
- Glares and halos around lights
- Blurry vision
- Excess tearing
Most of the above side effects are normal and will improve gradually. Follow your doctor’s instructions for successful healing.
Questions about LASIK? Call NVISION to speak with an experienced Patient Counselor who can answer all your questions and set up a free consultation. No commitment required.
Benefits and Potential Risks of LASIK Surgery
The benefits of LASIK include:
- Quick and long-lasting outcomes (clear vision within a day or two after surgery)
- Typically results in 20/20 vision or better
- A fast and relatively safe procedure
- Reduces or eliminates dependence on glasses or contact lenses
- Enhancements are available to further improve eyesight
- No need for bandages after surgery
The potential of severe LASIK complications is rare. Potential complications include:
- Astigmatism. Occurs when the corneas have unequal curvatures and results in halos, glares, starbursts, and shadows. A repeat LASIK procedure can correct astigmatism.
- Epithelial ingrowth. Growth of epithelial tissue under the corneal flap, which causes pain, discomfort, light sensitivity, or blurred vision.
- Eye Infections. Although your doctor will provide antibiotics and anti-inflammatories, eye infections may occur.
- Regression. Involves worsening vision after LASIK.
- Corneal ectasia. Thinning of the cornea. The major risk factor for corneal ectasia is keratoconus. People with this condition are discouraged from laser treatment.
- Overcorrection or under-correction. This means you have not achieved your desired visual acuity.
- Corneal flap complications. If the surgeon does not create the flap correctly or does not reposition it well after surgery, severe visual issues or even vision loss can occur. Or, this can occur after surgery if the flap becomes dislodged by eye rubbing or other trauma.
- Decentration. When the laser is not centered well during LASIK treatment. Decentration often leads to astigmatism and can be corrected by LASIK retreatment.
- Diffuse lamellar keratitis (DLK). An inflammation underneath the healing corneal flap. DLK is more common after bladeless LASIK (iLASIK).
How Successful is LASIK?
LASIK has a high success rate.
LASIK outcome studies indicate about 99 percent of LASIK patients achieve satisfactory outcomes (20/40 vision or better).5
LASIK is also less invasive than other treatments such as lens replacement surgery. New versions of LASIK, such as IntraLase LASIK or iLASIK, have enhanced the procedure’s success by eliminating the sharp blade. iLASIK creates the flap by using laser-guided technology (wave-front technology).
The outcomes of LASIK surgery typically last about 20 years to a lifetime. However, this timeline depends on the age you undergo surgery and the long-term health of your eyes.
Some people may experience vision issues years after LASIK surgery. This usually requires secondary interventions such as LASIK enhancement.
According to one study, 35 percent of people who have had LASIK may require enhancement after 10 years.6
In most cases, LASIK enhancement is necessary when an underlying issue affects vision, not because LASIK has failed. These issues include presbyopia (age-related farsightedness), cataracts, keratoconus, and diabetic retinopathy.7
NVISION Eye Centers offer custom LASIK, affordable pricing plans, and a lifetime guarantee. Learn More
Who Might Need Glasses After LASIK?
After LASIK surgery, you’re less likely to need glasses because the procedure corrects all types of refractive errors.
However, some situations may require you to wear eyeglasses:
- Fluctuating vision. If your vision continues to fluctuate 3 to 6 months after surgery, you may need to use your glasses as you follow up with your surgeon.
- Presbyopia. For those over 40 years old, presbyopia can cause changes in near vision and requires the use of eyeglasses. LASIK enhancement can restore visual acuity in these cases.
- Cataracts (cloudy eyes). Cataracts can decrease clear vision. Eye doctors will recommend prescription glasses or cataract surgery (in severe cases).
- Residual astigmatism. This is astigmatism that remains after LASIK surgery and may affect the ability to see clearly. It occurs when the cornea heals and takes on an unexpected shape.
- Undercorrected myopia. If a cornea is not thick enough, an eye doctor may not be able to remove enough corneal tissue, which could result in undercorrection. Glasses may be required to see distant objects.
Can You Wear Contacts After LASIK?
Contact lenses aren’t recommended after LASIK surgery. They can irritate or dislodge the healing corneal flap and cause complications.
In addition, contact lenses will not fit well or may cause discomfort because of corneal surface changes after surgery.
If vision deteriorates after LASIK surgery, talk to an ophthalmologist about LASIK enhancement or other refractive surgery options. Wearing prescription eyeglasses is a safe practice until then.
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