If you are wondering about LASIK then there is a good chance you are tired of wearing glasses or contacts. You have seen the advertisements promising that you can read the label on your golf ball at a hundred yards and now you are looking for a few facts.
Let’s start with the problem. If your eye is otherwise healthy there are three reasons that you may need glasses or contacts. Your eye is either too long, too short or your cornea is not perfectly round. If your eye is too long, light falls short of your retina and the world you see is out of focus. Brilliantly, this is called nearsightedness (myopia) because you can’t see far away. If your eye is too short, the light gets to your retina before it’s in focus and the world outside is blurry. In this case, you are farsighted (hyperopia) because usually, you have difficulty seeing things that are close up. Then there is astigmatism which is a fancy way of saying that your cornea is not perfectly round and the light gets distorted as it makes its way to the back of your eye.
So logically speaking, if the eye is too long you would shorten it to fix it. If it is too short, you would make it longer. Not round? Then reshape it. And that brings us to LASIK (Laser-Assisted Intra-Stromal Keratomileusis), a fancy term for reshaping the front of the eye to correct near-nearsightedness, far-farsightedness, or astigmatism.
LASIK is among the most common laser vision correction procedures. In fact, almost 30 million LASIK procedures have been performed since it was first developed in the late 1980s. LASIK is a very safe procedure. Many of the surgeons who perform LASIK have had LASIK themselves!
The LASIK procedure uses precision-guided lasers to reshape the cornea so that light gets to the back of your eye in focus. If you are near-sighted, the cornea is usually too steep and it needs to be flattened. If you are far-sighted, the cornea is flat and needs to be steepened. In the case of astigmatism, it is a combination of the two. The amount of reshaping that is required is determined by making very exact measurements of the cornea. The laser can be programmed to make the correct adjustments to the shape of your cornea.
Two lasers are used during blade-free LASIK surgery so the procedure is truly bladeless. A Femtosecond Laser makes a thin flap of tissue on the surface of the cornea, which the surgeon folds back to expose the inner layer of the cornea. Another laser called an Excimer Laser is used to perform the actual reshaping of the cornea by removing microscopic amounts of tissue. This is a ‘cool’ laser (like this is way cool man). It actually works at the molecular level so there is no heat and no pain involved.
The Excimer laser makes corrections that are customized to the unique shape of your cornea. This is why LASIK is sometimes referred to as custom or “designer” eye surgery. It corrects exactly what you need to see well. It can even eliminate some imperfections in the optics of the eye that even glasses and contacts cannot correct. In this case, your vision is truly better than ever.
Once the cornea has been reshaped, the flap made by the Femtosecond laser will be folded back over the treated layers to protect them while they heal. The flap seals itself almost instantly. Because of this protection, there is minimal discomfort after the procedure.
Most patients can see well enough to drive by the next day and resume normal activities shortly thereafter. Because 30 million people have had LASIK, chances are pretty good that you know someone who has had it and is very happy. Now it’s your turn. What are you waiting for?
To get started, answer a few simple questions to ensure LASIK is a good choice for you. If it is, your next step is to have a comprehensive LASIK evaluation.
This in-office LASIK evaluation is a comprehensive eye examination to determine if your eyes are healthy enough to have LASIK surgery. Sophisticated measurements are taken to determine exactly how much correction you need to achieve the best visual result. Most importantly, our doctors and staff will answer all of your questions and give you the information you need to make the best choice for you. Schedule your appointment today!