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What is LASIK Eye Surgery?

Lasik is the widely performed laser eye surgery aimed to treat nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. Just as other refractive surgery, Lasik procedure reshapes the cornea to enable light entering the eye to be well focused onto the retina for clearer vision. This procedure is mostly painless and can be completed within fifteen minutes for both eyes. The outcome is improved vision without contact lenses or eyeglasses and is usually effective within as short of a period as 24 hours.

Preoperative procedures

Before the surgery, your eye doctor will do a thorough eye examination to ascertain your eyes are healthy enough for the surgical procedure. Your surgeon will then assess the shape and the thickness of your cornea, pupil, the refractive errors and any other eye condition. In order to reduce the risk of developing dry eyes after the Lasik surgery, the moistness of your eyes will be evaluated as well.

An automated instrument known as corneal topographer is used to measure the curvature of the front surface of your eye, in order to create a map of your cornea. You may also undergo a wave-front analysis that sends light waves through the eye and offer a more precise map of the condition affecting your vision. Your eye doctor will then assess your general health, to determine if you are suitable for Lasik surgery. Since contact lenses can alter the natural shape of your cornea, you should stop wearing them for a period of time as advised by your doctor. In most cases it’s about two weeks before your eye exam and Lasik procedure.

How LASIK surgery is performed

Before the surgery, numbing drops are applied to your eye in order to prevent any form of discomfort during the procedure. Your surgeon may also give you medication to help you relax. Your eye will be positioned under the laser and a lid speculum is used to keep eyelids open. The surgeon then uses an ink marker to mark the cornea before cutting the flap. In order to prevent eye movement or loss of contact that could affect the flap quality, a suction ring is applied at the front of your eye. Your surgeon will use a mechanical surgical tool known as microkeratome or a femtosecond laser to create a thin circular flap in the cornea. The hinged flap is then folded back to access the underlying cornea and then some corneal tissue is removed in a very specific pattern. The goal is to flatten the cornea for the nearsighted patients but for the farsighted patients, a steeper cornea is desired. A computer is used to adjust the excimer laser for your particular prescription. You will then be required to look at a target light for a short time while your surgeon watches your eye through a microscope as the laser sends pulses of light to the cornea. The laser light emits painlessly in order to reshape the cornea. This surgery is carried out separately on each eye and takes about 5 minutes for each procedure.  After the laser reshapes the cornea, the flap is then laid back down covering the area where the corneal tissue was removed and allowed to heal naturally. No bandages or stitches required are typically required.

Written by Dr. Shah


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