LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) is a surgical procedure that is used to correct vision problems such as near sightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. It works by changing the shape of the cornea, the clear front part of the eye, to allow light to focus properly on the retina, the light-sensitive layer at the back of the eye.
Myopia is a common condition that occurs when the eyeball is too long or the cornea is too steep, causing light to focus in front of the retina rather than on it. This results in blurred vision when looking at distant objects, but clear vision when looking at close objects. Farsightedness, also known as hypermetropia, is a condition in which the eyeball is too short or the cornea is too flat, causing light to focus behind the retina rather than on it. This results in blurred vision when looking at close objects, but clear vision when looking at distant objects. Astigmatism is a condition in which the cornea is irregularly shaped, causing light to focus at multiple points on the retina rather than a single point. This can cause distorted or blurred vision at all distances.
LASIK is usually performed on an outpatient basis and takes about 20-30 minutes per eye. The procedure is usually performed under local anesthesia, although some patients may opt for intravenous sedation to help them relax.
Before the procedure, the surgeon will measure the patient's eye and create a treatment plan based on their specific vision problem and the shape and size of their cornea. The surgeon will also use a special tool called a corneal topographer to create a detailed map of the cornea. This information is used to guide the laser during the procedure and ensure precise reshaping of the cornea.
During the procedure, the surgeon first anesthetizes the eye with anesthetic eye drops. A special tool called a microkeratome or femtosecond laser is then used to create a thin flap in the cornea. The flap is folded back to expose the underlying corneal tissue, which is then reshaped using an excimer laser. The laser emits pulses of ultraviolet light that remove very precise amounts of tissue from the cornea, changing its shape and curvature. The flap is then replaced and allowed to heal naturally.
After the procedure, the patient will be given protective glasses to wear for several days and will be asked to use eye drops to aid healing and prevent infection. Most people are able to return to their normal activities within a few days, although it may take several weeks for vision to fully stabilize.
Eligible patients for LASIK include individuals who:
– Be over 18 years old
– Have stable vision for at least one year
– Do not have certain medical conditions such as autoimmune diseases or a history of herpes simplex keratitis (a viral eye infection)
– Not have thin or irregular corneas
It is important to note that LASIK is not suitable for everyone and the decision to undergo the procedure should be made after careful consideration and consultation with an eye surgeon. Factors that may disqualify a person from being a candidate for LASIK include pregnancy, breastfeeding, and certain medications that can affect healing.
LASIK is generally very safe and has a high success rate. Most people experience a significant improvement in their vision after the procedure and are able to reduce or eliminate their dependence on glasses or contact lenses. However, as with any surgery, there are risks, including the possibility of infection, dry eye and eyelid problems.
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