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.