What is LASIK and, is right for you? Let’s take a look at this very popular method of eye surgery which is allowing hundreds of thousands of Americans to get rid of their glasses and contact lenses for good.
LASIK stands for Laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis, a common type of refractive eye surgery. In short, LASIK changes the way your eye refracts light. As light rays enter your eye, your cornea refracts — bends back — the rays to focus them on your retina, which is the back part of the eye.
During LASIK surgery your cornea is cut and reshaped. A special device is utilized which will cut a hinged flap of thin corneal tissue off the cornea and the flap is lifted out of the way. The laser reshapes the corneal tissue, and the surgeon replaces the flap, which immediately sticks to the eyeball. Because laser is used, there are no stitches. A perforated metal or plastic shield is placed over the eye to protect the flap.
Surgery typically lasts just 10-15 minutes per eye. Most of the time the doctor will perform surgery on both eyes consecutively. On occasion, he or she will have you wait a few days to see how the surgery turned out on the first eye before proceeding to the second eye. Generally, healing is rapid with most people experiencing complete recovery within a few days.
While mostly everyone achieves 20/20 vision after surgery, 20/20 does not guarantee perfect vision. If you have LASIK to correct your distance vision, you’ll still need reading glasses around the age of 45.
Since the surgery is new, there is no conclusive information on long term effects. Some short term problems include: problems with night driving which would necessitate you wearing glasses; corneal scarring; permanent warping of the cornea; and flap problems which can effect your vision.
Insurance companies consider the surgery to be elective, therefore be prepared to pay for the procedure out of your own pocket.
Check out the American Academy of Opthalmology’s website [www.eyenet.org] for an accredited LASIK eye surgeon in your area. Query people who have already had this procedure done before you decide whether LASIK is right for you.