Many of our patients have heard about the LASIK procedure and want to know more about how LASIK can reduce or eliminate the need for vision correction. An abbreviation for “laser in situ keratomileusis,” LASIK requires a trained eye surgeon to cut a flap in the cornea and then use a laser to reshape the cornea to improve vision.
Serious candidates for LASIK should have the following evaluated.
- Eye health and overall health
You must complete thorough eye testing to ensure that your eyes are healthy enough for LASIK surgery. Your body must also be healthy enough to heal properly after surgery. Autoimmune disorders including rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, AIDS, or Sjogren’s syndrome can disqualify candidates from LASIK.
- Cornea thickness
Your corneas must be thick enough to withstand the reshaping that occurs during the LASIK procedure. A cornea that is too thin or is misshapen doesn’t provide reliable surgical results. For patients with corneas unsuitable for LASIK, other surgical options—such as implantable lenses—exist.
- Pupil size
Patients with very large pupils often experience more side effects, such as glare, halos, or starbursts when in low-light situations, especially nighttime driving.
- Prescription strength
If you have very strong prescriptions for vision corrections, you might not be a suitable LASIK. Severe nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism can require a significant amount of cornea tissue to be removed, decreasing the predictability of the results and increasing the associated risks.
- Patient age
Teenagers typically have frequent changes to their vision prescriptions. Depending on applicable laws, LASIK patients might need to be at least 18 or 21 years old, though younger patients can be treated with parental or guardian consent.Though there is no cap on the age of people who can receive LASIK, some patients who are older than 40 might still require reading glasses.
If you and your doctor agree that you’re a candidate for LASIK, you should inform yourself about the process and risks associated with the procedure.
A traditional LASIK procedure begins with an eye surgeon numbing the eye using numbing drops. The surgeon then props open the eye with a lid speculum and uses a blade to cut a flap in the cornea. In a “bladeless” LASIK procedure, the surgeon uses a second laser instead of a blade to cut the cornea flap.
The surgeon then uses an excimer laser to change the shape of the cornea according to a predetermined pattern based on the patient’s eye and vision condition. The adjusted shape of the cornea allows images to clearly focus on the retina. Nearsightedness requires flattening of the cornea; farsightedness steepens the cornea shape. At the end of the surgery, the flap is replaced with no sutures. The flap adheres within a few minutes after being replaced. The entire procedure for both eyes often takes less than half an hour.
If you’re interested in learning more about LASIK and whether you are a good candidate, call our office today to set up an evaluation