If you have been told by your eye doctor that you need Lasik eye surgery, you are probably wanting more information. Lasik is the most common laser eye surgery performed, because it can treat several common vision problems, including farsightedness (hyperopia), nearsightedness (myopia), even astigmatism.
How it works
Lasik works like other refractive surgery types, by reshaping the cornea. By doing this, it allows light to properly enter the eye, which is directed to the retina. This results in vision being clearer.
Thanks to advanced technology and procedures, Lasik is painless in most cases and only takes 15 minutes. The length of time for noticeable results can vary, but it is common to tell a difference within 24hrs.
The Lasik procedure
First, the eye surgeon will ensure you are numbed prior to moving forward. Once ready, the first step is creating ‘flap’ in the cornea, which is thin and circular. This tool is called a femtosecond laser or microkeratome laser.
The flap is then folded back, allowing access to the underlying cornea, which is called the stroma. This enables the surgeon to successfully remove the needed corneal tissues with the use of an excimer laser.
Ultraviolet light is used for removing the tissue from the cornea in microscopic amounts for reshaping to allow light to focus correctly on the retina and enhances the vision. The cornea gets reshaped depending on the cause.
- Nearsighted - the objective is to flatten the shape of the cornea.
- Farsighted - the objective is to raise the cornea.
- Astigmatism – the objective is to smooth corneas that are irregularly shaped, into a normal shape.
Once the cornea is correctly shaped, the flap is then laid into place, which covers the region with removed corneal tissues. This enables the natural healing of the cornea.
The procedure only requires topical anesthetic drops, with no need for stitches ore bandages.
Prior to Surgery
Before the surgery, you will be thoroughly examined by your eye doctor to make sure you are healthy enough for the Lasik procedure. This is done by evaluating the overall thickness and shape of the cornea, refractive errors, pupil size, and other conditions.
They also look at your eye’s moistness and you may be suggested a treatment for reducing the risk of dry eyes after surgery.
To create a ‘map’ of the cornea, a corneal topographer is used. This measures the front surface curvature of the eye.
Wavefront analysis may be conducted, which sends light waves into the eye. This helps create a more detailed ‘map’ of any aberrations that could be causing issues.
To ensure you are a suitable candidate for the procedure, the eye doctor will ask general medicine and health history.
If you wear contact lenses, you will be requested to stop wearing them prior to the eye exam and Lasik procedure. This time can vary, but averages two weeks. This is because the cornea’s shape can be altered by the contact.