01 Dec Guide to King LASIK – Part Two
What is LASIK?
LASIK (laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis) eye surgery is the most popular procedure for correcting vision problems caused by refractive error, in which the eyes fail to focus light correctly. LASIK eye surgery treats nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism, dramatically reducing and often eliminating the need for glasses and contact lenses.
The LASIK Procedure:
- First, the eye is numbed with use of local anesthetic drops. Once you can’t feel your eye, a small flap is created on the surface of the cornea using a precise instrument known as a microkeratome. This allows the surgeon access to the corneal bed.
- After careful positioning of the corneal flap, a cool-beam, excimer laser reshapes the cornea, shifting the eye’s focal point to provide clearer vision.
- The corneal flap is then gently repositioned and will begin to heal immediately.
What is CONVENTIONAL LASIK vs. CUSTOM LASIK?
LASIK eye surgery reshapes the cornea, the part of the eye which focuses light on the retina. In a LASIK procedure, that reshaping happens after a calculated laser treatment plan taking into account the exact refractive error of the eye. Nearsightedness is corrected by flattening the cornea, whereas farsightedness is fixed by steepening the cornea. For astigmatism, the cornea is simply rounded. The final result of LASIK eye surgery is, for most patients, vision good enough that they no longer require glasses or contacts for most activities.
Custom Wavefront LASIK:
Custom LASIK can be used to reduce night vision disturbances like glare and halos. A larger percentage of Custom LASIK recipients gain 20/20 vision from this procedure, which uses personalized treatment in the form of the wavefront analyzer, which allows for a higher level of diagnostic information.
Wavefront technology originated through NASA, where it was originally used for high-powered telescopes. The wavefront analyzer creates a detailed map of your visual system 25 times more precise than standard LASIK technology can produce. This level of detail allows for tiny irregularities known as “higher order aberrations” to be captured and fixed. This highly personalized data is then transferred to the laser used in your Custom LASIK treatment plan, where it will best treat your unique vision problems.
What is PRK?
PRK (photo-refractive keratectomy) is a procedure that works similarly to LASIK eye surgery. It’s most often used for patients who have corneas too thin to successfully make the corneal flap that standard LASIK creates, or who have pupils too large for LASIK. PRK has been successful for thousands of patients.
The PRK Procedure
- After the application of eye numbing drops, surface cells on the cornea are gently polished away by your surgeon.
- Then, the inner layers of the cornea are painlessly reshaped by the laser.
- In the final step, the surgeon places a clear, protective contact lens over your treated cornea.
Who qualifies for LASIK?
LASIK eye surgery can repair the vision of the nearsighted, the farsighted, and those with astigmatism. Basic qualifications for LASIK eye surgery include:
- At least 18 years of age
- Vision problems are unrelated to health issues
- Vision prescription has remained the same for at least a year
Common vision problems:
The way the eye works can be compared to a camera, in which the film focuses the light that passes through the lens. In the eye, the retina focuses the light which has passed through the cornea and lens, and creates an image.
Two-thirds of the eye’s focusing power is found in the cornea, the clear window at the front of the eye. The lens is placed within the eye behind the pupil, and accounts for the other one-third. The cornea and lens function together to focus light rays onto the retina, creating a clear image. Myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism are all refractive errors that blur vision.
- Nearsightedness (myopic): myopic eyes feature a corneal surface that’s too steeply curved to successfully focus light, so light rays focus in front of the retina and create a blurry image. When you’re nearsighted, far-off objects are blurred and near objects appear clearly.
- Farsightedness (hyperopic): hyperopic eyes have corneal surfaces which are too flat, so that light rays focus behind the retina, blurring what you see in front of you. Farsighted people see objects both near and far as blurred.
- Astigmatism: Astigmatic eyes have corneas in a shape similar to a football, rather than the more spherical shape of an unaffected eye. This means that light rays focus at multiple points, blurring the image you see. Astigmatism is often combined with farsightedness or nearsightedness.
- Presbyopia: As you age, the eye weakens naturally, a process that generally begins in the early to mid 40’s. Presbyopic eyes lose their ability to focus on objects nearby, such as small text, and reading glasses often become necessary. Although some have said that LASIK causes presbyopia, that is not the case. Presbyopia, and the eventual need for reading glasses, happens to most people whether or not they undergo LASIK.
Will my procedure be painful?
LASIK eye surgery is in no way painful or even uncomfortable. The anesthetic eye drops used numb the eye before the procedure, so nothing is felt while you’re having it. Once the numbing eye drops have worn off, you might experience mild discomfort for up to 6-8 hours.
Will I go blind?
Blindness has never been a result of any LASIK eye correction procedure. It’s relatively noninvasive, so only the eye’s surface is treated.
Is LASIK a permanent fix?
After nearly 20 years in practice LASIK has been found to be a long term solution for vision correction. A very low percentage of patients have benefited by having their vision further improved via a second treatment, known as an enhancement.
When will I be able to return to my normal activities?
The recovery process from LASIK eye surgery is often brief. Most patients find that they’re able to resume most of their normal activities the next day.
Is laser vision correction safe?
LASIK eye surgery is the most often performed and least invasive refractive procedure today. LASIK vision correction has been proven to be both safe and effective.
What is the next step?
Want all the details you need on getting LASIK eye surgery? We at King LASIK encourage you to schedule a free pre-LASIK exam with our highly educated staff, where we will walk you through the process step-by-step and answer all your questions. Call us today to make an appointment!