Last updated 3 days ago
Are you considering Lasik to improve your vision? Are you looking forward to finally say goodbye to your corrective lenses and your embarrassing daily routine of wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses? Good. You are taking the first step to having a better vision. However, a successful Lasik eye surgery entails more than just courage. It will need your time and effort to make an informed decision to achieve desirable results that you imagine.
Just like you, Lasik has delighted and offered promising results to millions of individuals around the globe. However, this surgical procedure isn't entirely suited for everyone who has vision problems. When you are considering Lasik eye procedure, it is very important that you do have a very clear understanding of what is all about, the surgery's advantages and potential risk and most importantly, determining if you are a good candidate for the procedure. This is main reason why organizations such as the International Society of Refractive Surgery and the American Academy of Ophthalmology are continuously developing comprehensive guide to keep every individual informed regarding the Lasik procedure. More so, the Food and Drug Administration or also known as FDA is providing objective details right from the leading experts of Lasik Surgery of the country.
FDA and LASIK
LASIK or known as Laser in Situ Keratomileusis was first approved as outpatient refractive procedure and for medical use by FDA in the year 1998. Since then, the procedure has already been gaining wide popularity from many patients. It has also been recorded that there are approximately seven hundred thousand Americans who have undergone the procedure every year, where most of these individuals are highly satisfied and happy with the results of their Lasik procedure. However, just like all medical surgeries, there were cases of eye infections and complications which were recorded. Some of these patients, have experienced significant side effects which have also affected their eye conditions and their daily activities.
LASIK – Understanding the Basics
LASIK, by definition, is an outpatient surgical process that is employ to treat vision problems such as farsightedness, nearsightedness and astigmatism. This refractive eye procedure could not be reversed and may not give you the perfect vision, precise vision could slightly diminished in the long run because of age-related vision problems. Therefore, it is very essential to take these into considerations and set realistic expectations before finally undergoing the surgical procedure. In general, LASIK will use a laser in order to reshape the eye's cornea. By doing so, it will eventually improve the way our eyes focus on the light rays that enter the eye's retina, which will allow a better vision. During the procedure, a surgical device called an Excimer laser is used to reshape the cornea. The process will start by numbing the eye through a topical anesthetic, the doctor will out few drops on the eyes. Then a device known as speculum will be placed between the eyelids of the patient in order to keep them open and avoid from blinking. Suction ring will then be placed into your eyes lifting and flattening the eye's cornea, the moment is placed into the eyes the patient's vision will go black or may appear dim. A hinged flap of the patient's corneal tissue will be created by the surgeon with the use of an automated microsurgical device. After a paper thin flap is created, it is lifted and fold back, the flap won't adhere to your eye's surface as it is of the same strength it has prior to the surgery therefore there is just a very small chance of possibly risk of the flap to be displaced after the operation. The surgery won't take long, in fact it may just take approximately less than 20 minutes for both eyes to do the LASIK surgery. Once the surgery is done, the doctor will advise the patient to avoid rubbing the eyes, prevent engaging to certain activities and using certain products in the face that may affect your recovery process or contribute to development of eye infection. Sometimes, a surgeon will put a transparent protective shield over the eyes in order to prevent you from rubbing your eyes and protect your cornea. Additionally, there may be prescribed medications and eye drops that will be given after your surgery. This is to keep your eyes moist and avoid severe dry eyes syndrome. It would be highly helpful for you to ask for any prescriptions to reduce any feeling of discomfort during the recovery period.
The Risks and the Rewards
The possibly risk factors which may affect you to choose LASIK surgery are dry eye syndrome, degree of refractive issue age and any health related concerns that could possibly affect the healing process. If you proceed to obtain LASIK procedure even with dry eye syndrome and it is left untreated, you will greatly be disappointed. There is a huge chance of having this condition aggravated by LASIK surgery when it isn't diagnosed prior to the surgery or adequately treated. This is the reason why initial screening of the overall condition of the eyes is highly required to determine if LASIK is the right refractive procedure for you. In addition, patients who have very high level of refractive errors may not be suited for a LASIK surgery, followup operation may be needed when a patient persists to go for the procedure.
One thing is for sure, LASIK was able to provide great benefits to millions of people. A lot of companies and even researchers are continuously developing more advanced methods and facilities to achieve even greater results. Many surgeons today are employing scanning laser prior to the actual surgery which provide several potential advantages. Therefore it is never a surprise why LASIK has been able to continually attract patients around the world. Many of these patients claim that they are finally allowed to function on their daily activities without their contact lenses and prescription glasses. Although it has been also previously said that results cannot be guaranteed, just like all surgical procedures, many patients were able to obtain improved vision, better lifestyle and even better quality of life.
Last updated 11 days ago
Vision plays a very important role in our daily lives. From the time we wake up in the morning until we hit the bed at night, we use our eyes in everything that we do. As such, impaired vision caused by certain eye conditions can hamper our daily activities.
It is a relief that technological advancements in medical sciences introduced an effective permanent fix for such conditions. This procedure does not rely on artificial lenses like eyeglasses and contact lenses. Rather, it corrects the natural lens on the actual eye itself.
LASIK Surgery Explained
In a nutshell, LASIK is a refractive eye surgery that makes use of laser technology to carry out the procedure. Like any other refractive surgeries, it aims to make necessary corrections on the cornea- the eye's lens- to achieve its ideal shape.
If a person's cornea is too flat, he may not see close objects clearly. This is a condition known as hyperopia or farsightedness. On the other hand, a person whose cornea is steeper than normal has a condition medically referred to as myopia or shortsightedness. Hence, he may have trouble with objects from afar. Meanwhile, one other common eye condition is astigmatism. People with astigmatism have an irregularly shape cornea.
During the operation, the surgeon uses an Excimer laser to reshape the cornea. This is achieved by causing excess tissues of the cornea to evaporate due to the gentle heat of the focused laser.
Risks and Limitations
Not everyone who wishes to undergo LASIK surgery is fit for the operation. Considerations are taken into account to determine if one is a suitable candidate or not.
Prior to the surgery, a trained eye doctor will examine and evaluate the overall health of the patient as certain conditions may disqualify a patient. For instance, patients with relatively dry eyes may not go through this operation because the laser can further aggravate the situation. This may do more harm than good.
The same can be true for people with unusually thin cornea because this limitation increases the risks of over- or under-correction. Furthermore, pregnant women may not be exposed to lasers, so this procedure does not suit them, either.
Some of the potential side-effects of a laser eye surgery includes seeing halos around images, dry eyes, glare, fluctuating vision and difficulty driving at night. Most of these are just temporary conditions, though, while the eye is in the process of recovery. After a several weeks, the patient's eyesight should have already recovered to its normal state. Otherwise, you must consult an expert for possible enhancement surgery.
The preoperative consultations are designed to increase the chances of a successful treatment and optimize its results at the same time. Identifying the patient's anatomical state is essential in finalizing the details of the operation. This includes distinguishing the areas that need remolding, the thinness or thickness of tissues that must be removed, and the type of LASIK surgery to use among others.
During this time, the ophthalmologist may perform a comprehensive laser eye surgery exam. This typically includes exams that you might have already recognized, such as prescription measurement and pupil dilation. However, there are other tests that could be specific to laser vision correction like measuring the curvature, topography and thickness of your cornea. A tear-film test is also possible to check potentially dry eyes. Before performing any of these exams, the doctor will explain the process and its importance. All of these pre-surgical tests are painless.
Likewise, the doctor will also make his patient understand the real score of the operation, the likelihood of its results, the potential risks that come with it and the patient's responsibilities before, during and after the operation. This is also the best time for patients to ask any questions related to the procedure.
The success of the surgery does not end on the actual operation. In order to achieve the most ideal results, the patient must also be accountable in heeding the doctor's prescription.
While laser eye surgeries are undeniably effective, complications are not unheard of. Rare cases of infection and unimproved vision were recorded. This can be attributed to the patient's negligence when it comes to postoperative care among other factors.
What to Expect after the Surgery?
It is normal to feel slight discomfort after the operation. An eye drop causes the muscles in your eyes to feel numb during the operation so you do not feel pain. After the medicine has subsided, you start feeling the soreness. Just let it be. The eye is in its natural course of healing. Fight the urge to rub your eyes.
Dry eyes are also to be expected. This is because the natural moisture of the eyes was affected by the laser used during the operation. For this reason, your doctor will give you prescription eye drops. This can also help prevent inflammation and infection. An important caution: never use eye drops that are not approved by an eye doctor.
Healing is relatively rapid with LASIK compared to other methods of eye surgery. Although vision could be hazy and blurry in a day or two, patients will see improvements in the next few days.
Lifestyle Changes and Precautions
One good thing about LASIK eye surgery is that there are no massive changes in lifestyle. A few precautions will be in place to help the eye recover faster, but the patients can resume regular activities in a matter of weeks or months.
Water, soap, hair spray and any other chemicals must not get into the eye. Hence, body bath is possible but showering is discouraged. Washing the hair is possible but the head must be tilted backward to let the water run down to the back.
Protective goggles must be worn. Dirty and dusty environment must be avoided, too. You can resume driving as soon as you feel comfortable and with the doctor's approval. Gardening, lifting, running and other physically strenuous activities must be avoided to avoid straining the eye muscles.
Makeup should not be worn at least a week following the surgery. Partially used makeup must be discarded to avoid any contamination of bacteria.
Most importantly, visit your doctor regularly. Normally, you have to return to the clinic within 24 to 48 hours after the operation for evaluations. Then, regular checkups follow at regular intervals depending on the surgeon for the next six months.
Last updated 19 days ago
Over the past few decades, the world has witnessed a lot of unprecedented development in technology and the field of medicine is no exception. The use of laser has now been incorporated with medical operations including eye surgeries.
Corrective eye surgery which aims to fix impaired vision due to nearsightedness, farsightedness and even astigmatism, has employed laser technology to provide lasting result without needing eyeglasses or contact lenses. This surgical procedure, which works by reshaping the eyes' natural lens, is called LASIK Surgery. LASIK stands for Laser-Assisted in situ Keratomileusis.
Further developments makes the surgery more precise, more effective and much safer compared to previous practices. As a result, various LASIK-related technologies have been made available and one may choose which technology to use.
The surgery aims to reshape the Cornea of the eye to achieve its ideal focus. Patients with myopia or nearsightedness needs to have a flatter cornea while those who have hyperopia or are farsighted need a steeper shape. Meanwhile, patients suffering from totally blurred vision will need to alter the irregular shaped cornea to become much smoother.
Only the cornea needs to be shaped but since it is covered with a thin layer of transparent epithelial cells, the covering will have to be removed first. So the first thing to be done is to create a flap from the Epithelium about the size of the cornea, then fold it away from the field of the laser.
Keeping the flap and replacing it afterward has been observed to promote faster healing. This is because the epithelium provides protection and nutrition to the cornea. There are two ways to create the flap. The first is through a small mechanical blade and the second one is through the use of laser.
Bladed And Bladeless LASIK
Earlier versions of LASIK use an instrument called microkeratome to create the flap. In this procedure, a small mechanical blade is used by the surgeon. In the late 1990's, however, femtosecond laser have been introduced as means in creating the flap instead of using a blade. Thus, making the procedure an all-laser surgery. At present, some modern surgical machines still use improved versions of microkeratome for added efficiency.
For patients undergoing LASIK surgery, both procedures do not have any direct impact on the result. As long as the procedure successfully went well, there is no difference in the way it affects the eye. Surgeons however notice that using microkeratome results in a flap that is thinner on the center as compared to flaps created by laser. Furthermore, Femtosecond laser appears to take more time, ranging from fifteen to twenty second compared to mechanical blade which could only take 3 seconds.
To reshape the cornea, surgeons use excimer lasers. The laser is produced by applying electric stimulation and pressure to molecules which are usually of noble gas. The laser causes thin layers of the tissues of the cornea to evaporate. The areas where laser is applied depends on each patient's condition and is determined through preoperative consultation and examination. As such, it is unique for every patient.
There are different types of lasers used in LASIK surgical procedure. Depending on the equipment used and on the manner how the laser is applied. Modern types are far more complex and are aimed to fix visual conditions that may be too complicated than what traditional LASIK could handle.
Spot Scanning Laser
The most common type of laser used in eye surgery is spot scanning lasers. It uses laser beams with small diameter scanned across treatment zone of the cornea. This approach has been observed to create a smoother and more even surface.
Slit Scanning Laser
The second laser type is the slit scanning lasers. Instead of using a circular beam, the device has slit holes that enlarge. The laser beam passes through the slits while the device rotates. This technique results in a more uniform distribution of beam than the spot scanning laser.
However, slit scanning lasers have higher risk of decentration which may cause glare, double vision and halos. This happens when the laser is not centered on the pupil upon ablation. This type has also been associated to higher risk of over-correction.
To address this issue, modern LASIK equipments use eye tracking system that follows the position of the eye. This lets the laser refocus on the correct area of the cornea in case the eye moves to ensure that the cornea is correctly reshaped as desired. Modern tracking system can follow the eye with the speed of four thousand times per second.
The newest type of laser is wavefront-guided laser. This type tracks or maps the irregularities on the eye to apply varied or custom treatment. This is done with the help of wavefront sensor that is attached to the LASIK device. This benefits patients with irregular eye disorders with which traditional LASIK methods may not sufficiently fix.
Wavefront-guided laser machine uses either spot scanning lasers or slit scanning lasers during ablation process.
Choose The Right One
Some types or technology involved in LASIK are nothing but enhancement to get better, faster and hassle-free results which means they should not matter much to patients. However, some patients might need to get the more advanced option to get their conditions properly addressed. To better decide which type one needs, one may contact an ophthalmologist for examination.
The eye condition is critical in deciding which type to use. If given the option to select, it is important to remember that the more advanced the procedure is, the more expensive it can get. While many clinics offer the service at a fixed rate no matter what technology is used, others let you choose and quote the price based on your selection.
Generally, microketome surgery is much cheaper than all other laser surgeries. On the other hand, wavefront-guided lasers are typically the most expensive.
These technological advancements in the field of laser eye surgery are definitely welcomed by both patients and surgeons. One day, medical science could bring forth a completely risk-free and more precise procedures.
Notwithstanding, the tools can only be as good as the handler. It is still best to select an experienced and skilled surgeon to increase the chances of a successful operation. Patients need to do their part too in preoperative and postoperative care to achieve the best results.
Last updated 1 month ago
Wearing glasses or contact lenses all the time can be really undesirable at times. If you are wishing to see without them LASIK eye surgery might be a good option. However, before getting one you will need to determine if you are a good candidate for this procedure. In this article, you can find accurate and helpful insights about LASIK eye surgery with the hope to help you form an informed decision and overcome your fears prior to your procedure. With fine-tuned surgical skills and time-tested technology available today, LASIK procedure is perhaps one of the safest eye treatments available. Also, we highly believe that its benefits far outweighs the potential risks.
LASIK Eye Surgery – An Overview
LASIK is an abbreviation of Laser in Situ Keratomileusis that simply means using an equipment (laser) underneath the patient's corneal flap in order to reshape the cornea (keratomileusis). The surgeon will typically folds back the flap then remove the corneal tissue using the excimer laser. Then the flap will be laid back in place to cover the area wherein the tissue was removed. While laser is often desirable by doctors because of its precision for the procedure, many patients are attracted to choose this type of treatment because of its significantly fewer complications compared to other eye treatments available.
LASIK eye surgery is performed in order to correct astigmatism, farsightedness and nearsightedness. For patients with nearsightedness condition, the main goal of the procedure is to flatten its too-steep cornea. For those woth farsightedness, a steeoer cornea should be achieved while smoothing an irregular into its normal shape is the aim for patients with astigmatism.
LASIK Eye Procedure – The Preparation
If you are one of those many people who are considering LASIK eye procedure, the first step should be choosing a good LASIK surgeon. Everything will start with proper medical evaluation whether LASIK is really right for you. The initial examination will include checking your past and present medical and your eye conditions. Your previous surgeries are also taken into account as well as the medicines you took which may have affected your vision or surgery. Also, it is very important to mention the medication allergies you have. Your eye structure and general prescription are carefully considered in order to help determine the best procedure that suits you.
Expect that the doctor will discuss the risks, benefits and alternative surgery for your eye condition. Also the doctor should explain the things you will need to expect before, during and after the LASIK eye surgery. During this time it is highly important that you should raise all the questions you wanted to ask to your surgeon. Ideally, the doctor should be very much willing to answer your questions with all honesty and even provide important handouts for you to review and further understand the process. Then you will be provided with a form, you will need to sign an informed consent form.
What is your surgeon Looking for during the Evaluation?
The eye doctor will look for the potential risk factors prior to the actual surgery. Commonly, patients with extremely high eyeglass prescription are not recommended for LASIK surgery since there would be a need to remove too much corneal tissue and it highly demands to be safely performed. Patients with very thin corneas could also be at high risk as it can excessively weaken after the surgery. For this case, other procedures such as surface ablation could be more appropriate. Patients who possess dry eye symptoms may not be ideal for LASIK surgery. Dry eye symptoms such as redness, tearing and burning, though there are many post care available, may be worsen after LASIK surgery.
During the surgery, it is expected the the surgeon will perform the procedure within 30 minutes for both eyes. The patient will typically be taken to a surgical suite and into the reclining chair or bed. The surgeon will then attach the laser system to a large machine and computer screen, the patient will be positioned underneath the laser where numbing eye drops are applied. After the surgery, patients will not be allowed to drive, arranging a transportation beforehand is therefore highly required. As soon as the process is finished, you will feel itch, burn and irritated however it is highly recommended not to rub your eyes under any circumstances. In order to ease these undesirable sensations, you could use copious artificial tears. Your doctor will also recommend you to buy and take a pain reliever in some instances when you feel increased discomfort. In most cases, you will need ibuprofen or other anti-inflammatory drugs.
LASIK is an outpatient procedure, you will not be asked to stay at the clinic overnight. Before leaving the clinic, you should ask your surgeon how long you should wait to start participating in activities such as jogging and walking. Typically, patients will need to rest for about three days following the procedure to start low impact activities again to avoid possible eye trauma. You will be asked to avoid exposing yourself to possible eye infection like going in hot tubs, pools and lakes during the healing process. Creams, makeup, lotions and any perfumes should not be used during these times as well as they can commonly cause buildup on your eyelids which can develop risk for infection.
Although most patients claimed that they are already having better visions after just very few days of their surgery, you may still experience hazy or blurry vision. Mild burning sensations may also occur from time to time, special eye drops which your doctor usually recommends will help ease the pain, keep your eyes moist and prevent infection. It is highly important to keep your eyes lubricated with prescribed drops and artificial tears to protect your vision.
A regular visit for the first six months from the day of your LASIK surgery is often required. This is when the doctor will closely examine your eyes and ensure that they are in good conditions. It's highly important that your eyes are assessed regularly and your LASIK surgeon will guide you to correct and maintain your vision.
Last updated 1 month ago
The importance of one’s eyesight can never be undervalued. We always use our eyes from the time we wake up in the morning until we go to bed at night. Hence, good eyesight is not only an asset, but a necessity.
Unfortunately, there are many different factors that could lead to poor eyesight. Poor eye care, inadequate maintenance, diseases and aging are just to name a few. Not to mention natural degeneration. Try as we may, our vision gets poorer eventually.
Correcting Eye Conditions
When one suffers from vision problems, there are different methods he can choose from to correct this. The most common is the use of eyeglasses. This is particularly used by people who suffer from farsightedness, nearsightedness and astigmatism.
Its artificial lenses correct the eye condition through refracting or bending the light before it reaches the Retina. This aims to tweak the light’s focal point. However, people have become tired of having to wear eyeglasses every day.
Then, modern science introduced the use of contact lenses. This functions similar to the traditional eyeglasses except that it does not require frames since artificial lenses are directly applied to the eyes. However, this has its own downside, too. Abrasion and infection may arise if the lenses are not carefully applied.
A better approach that treats impaired vision will have to correct the actual Cornea for a long-term effect. This way, one does not have to rely on artificial lenses anymore. This process makes use of a computer-aided device to reshape the Cornea.
What is LASIK?
In a nutshell, LASIK is a refractive eye surgery that aims to reshape a patient’s cornea with the use of laser technology. This is an effective and highly successful method to correct myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism.
When the cornea is too steep, it leads to nearsightedness or myopia; if it is extremely flat, it causes farsightedness or hyperopia. If the cornea is shaped like a football, astigmatism occurs.
To reshape the cornea, the surgeon cuts a flap of tissue from the Corneal Epithelium. This is done to gain better access to the actual tissue behind it. At the same time, the flap serves as a protective covering after the procedure.
Risk Factors and Limitations
Like any other procedures, not everyone is suited for LASIK eye surgery. Initial tests, diagnosis and preparations are essential to determine if one is a suitable candidate. There are particular anatomical factors and conditions that must be considered as well since certain conditions can increase the risks of complications.
For starters, patients with dry eyes are not advised to undergo this procedure. This is due to the laser’s inherent ability to reduce moisture in the eyes.
This is also not recommended to candidates with corneas that are irregular or too thin because these conditions increase the chances of refractive error that could result in over-correction or under-correction.
Pregnant women may not be subjected to lasers, so they are not good candidates for this process either.
Age is one other major factor to consider. Patients aging 18 years old and above are the most ideal candidates. Although the surgery can be done on younger patients, it requires permission from the parents or guardians.
LASIK procedure is generally safe with success rates continuously increasing as technology evolves. Instances of under- and over-correction are also minimized as the surgeon gains more experience. Still, possible complications cannot be completely overruled.
It is normal for patients to feel slight discomfort following an operation. Light sensitivity and mild irritation are to be expected while the eyes heal itself. Glare, halos, reduced sharpness, hazy visions and other disturbances may also be experienced by the patients in the first few weeks to up to six months.
Some cases of epithelial in-growth have also been reported in less than 2 percent of the LASIK procedures. This occurs when cells of the epithelium or the cornea’s outer cells grow underneath the flap. Luckily, this anomaly is self-limiting and poses no serious threat.
Other procedures have resulted to irregular astigmatism. This happens when the corneal surface becomes uneven after the procedure. This condition may require re-treatment or an enhancement surgery to be corrected.
Only rare instances of eye infection have been noted, too. This is due to the sterile nature of the flap- the tissue that has been lifted and repositioned to serve as a natural bandage. Surface ablation procedures like the PRK have higher percentage of eye infections.
How to Reduce the Risks
No surgical procedure is absolutely safe and complications may arise. Fortunately, there is a way to mitigate the risks and increase the success rate at the same time. If you are thinking about undergoing LASIK surgery, here are some of the most important things to remember:
1. Look for a qualified doctor. A successful outcome is largely dependent on the practitioner as it is on the process. Look for an efficient ophthalmologist to properly diagnose your condition. They are most fitted to provide you with the best methods to undertake. If a surgery is positively necessary, choose a surgeon who uses sophisticated technology with good surgical skills.
2. There are no shortcuts. There are some preparations to be done before the actual surgery. Make sure that you comply with all the required diagnostics tests. Conversely, you have to dutifully follow the doctor’s prescription on post-surgical care to speed up the recovery process and avoid complications.
3. Visit your doctor regularly. Just because your vision problem has been corrected does not mean you can care less of your eyes. Make it a habit to visit an eye doctor for proper maintenance.
Vision is highly important in everything we do. To lose it is very critical. Luckily, the success of LASIK surgery has been overwhelmingly positive. Around 96 percent of patients achieved their desired vision after a successful operation.
Furthermore, the procedure is painless and does not require bondages or stitches. Most importantly, it is perfectly safe to redo the process if age and natural degeneration cause your vision to eventually deteriorate.
As long as you take the time to do thorough research, systematic preparations and diligent post-surgery care, then you can rest assured the procedure will turn out successful.