All You Need to Know About Laser Eye Surgery

Submitted by Nic on January 13, 2014

Laser eye surgery has helped many people correct their vision and do away with wearing glasses and contact lenses. During this type of surgery, the cornea, the clear front part of the eye, is reshaped so as to change its focus.

There are many different types of laser eye surgery and LASIK is by far the most popular. LASIK stands for laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis. Although many people enjoy 20/20 vision after LASIK surgery, like all surgeries, it is not without its share of risk. You should consult your ophthalmologist or eye doctor to see if you are a suitable candidate for laser eye surgery.

How does LASIK Work?

For a person to see clearly, the cornea and the lens of the eye must refract (bend) light and focus it on to the retina. Problems with vision occur when the cornea and the lens do not bend light by the precise amount required, resulting in blurred vision. The effect is the same as when you look through a pair of out-of-focus binoculars. The blurring is known as a ‘refractive error’ and is brought about by a change in the curvature of the cornea.

LASIK uses an ultraviolet laser to trim corneal tissue in a precise manner and reshape the cornea so that light focuses on the retina, allowing for clear vision.The procedure takes about 10 to 15 minutes for an eye.

Prior to the procedure, anesthetic drops will be applied into the eye to be operated on. They will numb the eye and allow the doctor to proceed with the surgery while the patient is conscious.

The procedure centers on the creation of a flap of corneal tissue which can then be peeled back, allowing the doctor to apply the laser to the corneal tissue underneath. The amount of corneal tissue to be excised is computed before hand and the laser allows the doctor to remove the precise amount of tissue. Once the reshaping of the cornea is complete, the doctor will replace and secure the flap.

Why is the Procedure Performed?

LASIK is usually performed on people suffering from myopia or nearsightedness. It may also be used on those suffering from farsightedness or astigmatism.

The minimum recommended age for LASIK is 18 years, since the vision of people younger than this age continually change. In some cases the minimum age is 21 years. There are certain exceptions to this rule.

It is risky for pregnant women to undergo this procedure.

Patients under prescription drugs should consult their doctor before undergoing LASIK.

If you possess any pre-existing condition such as diabetes, glaucoma or rheumatoid arthritis you mustn’t undergo this procedure.

Before deciding to opt for LASIK, it would be best to consider some of the risks involved. These include:

  • Your vision may not be perfect after the surgery and you may require another surgery
  • You may still have to wear spectacles or contact lenses
  • Corneal infection
  • Corneal scarring may make it impossible to wear contact lenses
  • Dry eyes
  • Light sensitivity and problems with night driving

Talk to your doctor about all the pros and cons of LASIK surgery beforehand.


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