The most common type of laser eye surgery is called LASIK, or ‘laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis’ which I will not even begin to explain because I haven’t the damndest idea what ‘situ keratomileusis’ means- actually yes I do because I’m a nerd who likes researching things. Alright, I will digress. Keratomileusis is a combination of the Greek word for cornea, keratoeidis chiton (meaning literally horn-shaped tissue, which developed into cornea tela in Latin; it was called such because the membrane that scientists saw when dissecting eyes looked to the, like it was made of horn-shaped structures), and the medical phrase in situ which uses the Latin stem situ (from the Latin noun situs meaning location) which essentially means ‘in place’ or ‘in its original place’ (think to situate in English), so the phrase LASIK means literally, the laser-assisted resituating of the cornea. Now go show off this new linguistic lingo to all your friends.
Okay, lesson in linguistics aside, LASIK is the most common type of laser eye surgery to treat near and farsightedness and astigmatism. It is a type of refractive surgery meant to reshape the cornea in order to enable light entering the eye to focus properly onto the retina. Improper retinal focus is the main cause of most forms of impaired vision that we are familiar with.
There are several steps to take with your doctor in order to prepare for the surgery. First, your eye doctor must establish whether or not your eyes are healthy enough for the procedure. The shape and thickness of your cornea, pupil size, refractive errors, the moistness of your eyes, as well as many other things must all be examined by your eye doctor. The shape and topography of your cornea must be measured in order to map it out for the laser surgeon.
The surgery itself is performed by first numbing the eye with a few topical anesthetic drops. Then the surgeon uses a tool called a microkeratome (sometimes called a femtosecond laser) to create thin flap in the cornea. That flap is then folded back at its hinge to reach the cornea, lying just under it. Then a laser called an excimer laser is used to flatten the cornea in the case of nearsightedness, steepen the cornea in the case of farsightedness, or smooth out any irregularities in those with astigmatism. Then the flap is laid back into place, covered, and allowed to heal naturally. All in all, the process can take around fifteen minutes and no bandages or stitches are required.
Upon completion of the surgery, it is important to rest your eyes and make sure not to do anything strenuous for at least a day or until your doctor has cleared you. You are not allowed to drive until your eye doctor says that you can. Your vision may be blurry and hazy immediately after the surgery, but within the next day or so you will notice significant improvements in the clarity of your vision. Within the next few days (weeks for some) your vision will stabilize. Doctors generally recommend to still avoid any strenuous exercise and/or physical activity for the next week (easier for some more than others) as your eyes are still healing and it is not recommended to traumatize your eyes right after the surgery. As with all surgeries, be sure to follow your doctor’s advice and contact them if any side effects occur.
LASIK surgery can seriously improve your vision. Its benefits might be worth the cost for you; if so, ask your eye doctor about pursuing LASIK surgery as an option. Most patients achieve a solid 20/20-20/40 vision upon completion of the surgery, however some cases have shown variation. Some people still may need to wear glasses after the surgery however there should be a significant drop in prescription level. Remember however that although LASIK surgery has a great success rate with most patients, it is not a perfect process and you should discuss all procedures and temporalities with your surgeon before the surgery.
Here at Dualens we are committed not only to providing stylish and affordable eyewear and contact lenses for people of all ages and prescriptions, but also to providing you with the most up to date and (hopefully) accessible information on all things eyes (and sometimes coffee and books and things). Be sure to browse our website to find a pair of prescription eyewear, sunglasses, or contact lenses that fits you.