recently, if you were one of the millions of people with a refractive error,
eyeglasses and contact lenses were the only options for correcting vision. But
with the arrival of refractive surgery, some people with myopia
(nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), or astigmatism (a cornea with
unequal curves), may have their vision improved through surgery.
assisted in situ keratomileusis, or LASIK, is a refractive procedure that uses
an automated blade and a laser to permanently reshape the cornea. The reshaped
cornea helps focus light directly onto the retina to produce clearer vision.
is usually performed as an outpatient procedure using topical anesthesia with
drops. The procedure itself generally takes about fifteen minutes. The surgeon
creates a flap in the cornea with a microkeratome. The flap is lifted to the
side and the cool beam of the excimer laser is used to remove a layer of
corneal tissue. The flap is folded back to its normal position and sealed
without sutures. The removal of corneal tissue permanently reshapes the cornea.
shield protects the flap for the first day and night. Vision should be clear by
the next day. Healing after surgery is often less painful than with other
methods of refractive surgery since the laser removes tissue from the inside of
the cornea and not the surface. If needed, eyedrops can be taken for pain and
usually are only needed up to one week.
people experience poor night vision after LASIK. The surgery may result in
undercorrection or overcorrection, which can often be improved with a second
surgery. More rare and serious complications include a dislocated flap,
epithelial ingrowth and inflammation underneath the flap. Most complications
can be managed without any loss of vision. Permanent vision loss is very rare.
ideal candidate for LASIK has a stable refractive error within the correctable
range, is free of eye disease, is at least eighteen
years old and is willing to accept the potential risks, complications and side
effects of LASIK.