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LASIK Surgery

LASIK or laser in-situ keratomileusis is a type of laser eye surgery that can correct eyesight in patients who are farsighted, nearsighted, or who have astigmatism. LASIK works by creating a small flap in the cornea that is then used as a path for a laser to reshape the eye’s cornea making it either less or more sloped (depending on the type of correction needed) so that within a few hours the patient has theoretically perfectly corrected vision. LASIK works through the following steps after a flap is created and pulled back on the cornea, the cornea is then reshaped with a cool ultraviolet laser, which helps to remove tiny pieces of the cornea. Eligibility for LASIK surgery can be determined by an eye doctor and generally includes determining the needed level of correction, risk of dry eyes, and any history of eye disease. LASIK surgery is generally not performed on those under 18 and some states require patients to be 21. This requirement helps to ensure that those treated have a steady prescription to assist the surgery in being as successful as possible. Additionally requirements prevent those who are pregnant or suffering from autoimmune diseases or diabetes from receiving LASIK. Finally, it is expected that any candidate undergoing surgery be in relatively good health. Once this procedure is determined to be a possible treatment by your eye doctor you can go ahead and select a LASIK surgeon.

The entire surgery takes less than 10 minutes and is performed while the patient is awake; although it is a quick procedure it is necessary to bring someone along who can transport you home afterwards. Numbing drops are applied to the eyes prior to treatment and so the entire process is essentially painless. The eyelids are held open with a plastic device and after marking the location with a special pen the surgeon creates the flap with a device that uses suction to transport the flap out of the way. A computer is then used to program the laser to your specific prescription, although control of the laser remains in the physician’s hands the entire time. After one eye is completed the other eye is treated. Following surgery recovery is extremely short and it is possible to resume normal activities the next day with the exception of strenuous exercise as that can delay the healing of the eye. Some physicians may have stricter restrictions and these may be discussed before surgery. Amazingly most patients experience little to no pain following surgery.

There are few complications associated with LASIK surgery although there can be in extremely rare cases infection. Some patients face problems with dry eyes and so those with a tendency to suffer from dry eyes may reconsider surgery. Moreover following surgery some patients experience difficulties seeing at night especially while driving. In general, following LASIK surgery vision is corrected to at least 20/40 and many people reach 20/20 or better. In rare instances there are cases of regression where vision deteriorates, although this can be fixed through additional surgeries known as enhancements. Finally, LASIK patients are not immune to presbyopia or age related vision loss and so glasses or contacts may become necessary for reading at older ages, although there is a current push to find a way to correct presbyopia through surgery.

As with any medical treatment both the benefits and complications can best be discussed with your eye doctor.

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