LASIK is a commonly performed refractive surgery procedure that can safely and effectively improve vision by reshaping the cornea to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. Patients of all ages experience these vision problems as a result of an abnormal corneal shape that blurs or distorts vision.
LASIK (Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis) uses targeted excimer laser beam energy to gently remove, or ablate, corneal tissue in order to correct refractive errors and help patients see clearly. Millions of patients choose to undergo LASIK each year and achieve clear vision without the need for glasses or contact lenses, while also benefitting from minimal downtimes and little to no post-operative discomfort.
Although LASIK is considered a safe procedure, it is not ideal for everyone. Your doctor will perform a thorough evaluation to determine whether LASIK is appropriate for you, or if you would benefit from another type of refractive procedure. You may be a candidate for LASIK if you are:
It is also important for patients to fully understand the details and risks of the procedure and maintain realistic expectations.
The LASIK procedure is relatively painless and quick. You will remain awake and comfortable during the laser procedure. Prior to the procedure topical numbing anesthetic drops are applied to your eyes and you will be prepared for the laser treatment. The surgeon will then begin the LASIK procedure.
The laser delivers completely customized pulses of light energy for each patient’s individual prescription. This customization is determined prior to surgery, with the precise positioning confirmed prior to starting the laser.
The procedure is performed on an outpatient basis and takes about 10 to 15 minutes, although patients can expect to spend a few hours at the office.
After LASIK, patients will rest in the office for a short time before having someone else drive them home. Your doctor will likely recommend resting at home for a few hours, with most patients able to return to work and other regular activities the next day. Strenuous exercise should be avoided for at least a week. Medication may be prescribed to relieve any discomfort, but most tolerate this procedure well. Your doctor will provide you with specific post-operative instructions to ensure proper healing and to help patients achieve the best possible vision.
While it may take several months for full results to develop, significant visual improvement is noticeable immediately after the LASIK procedure. Most patients eventually achieve vision that is 20/20 or better and are able to reduce or eliminate the need for glasses or contact lenses. Although patients can achieve clear vision from LASIK, this procedure cannot prevent presbyopia, the age-related vision changes that occur after the age of 40. Many patients will need reading glasses for this condition, but their distance vision will remain clear. If you are currently in your 40s or older, and want to also be free of reading glasses, you may consider Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE).
LASIK is considered safe for most patients who are considered ideal candidates. There is a risk of infection or complications such as night glare, halos or vision worsening, although these are considered rare. Patients can further reduce the risk of complications by choosing an experienced surgeon to perform their procedure.
PRK may be a good option for those patients who have slightly thinner corneas. The main difference between PRK and LASIK is that PRK requires a slightly longer recovery period as compared to LASIK. The visual results are excellent, and you will not have a corneal flap.
If you are interested in LASIK, or would like to learn more, call our office at 301-681-6600, or click the button below.