Laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis, more commonly referred to as LASIK eye surgery, is a procedure meant to better one’s eyesight by medically reshaping the cornea, the front of the eye. Nearsightedness and farsightedness are often the result of an abnormally shaped cornea. If the cornea is too steep or flat, light from one’s surroundings will refract improperly, resulting in blurry vision. Improved vision can be achieved by using a medical laser to carefully remove corneal tissue and adjust the cornea itself.
LASIK is a simple procedure that eye surgeons normally complete in about 30 minutes. Before surgery, the cornea is scanned to provide a guide for the procedure. The eye is also numbed to ensure comfort. A laser is used to create a small flap in the eye, revealing the part of the cornea the LASIK eye surgeon will reshape during the procedure. Then, the shape of the cornea is adjusted by removing corneal tissue a little at a time with the laser. Lastly, the flap is put back into place, and the natural healing process begins.
If you experience refractive errors, LASIK may be a good option for you. A refractive error occurs when the shape of the eye prevents light from properly shining on the retina, the light sensitive nerves at the back of the eye that communicate with the brain to produce clear vision. Common signs of refractive errors include blurriness and double vision. These symptoms are typically treated by prescribing glasses and contact lenses. LASIK has the potential to allow patients to live without glasses and contacts, depending on whether the patient is a good candidate for the surgery.
Many people have LASIK eye surgery to allow for a more convenient and active lifestyle. LASIK eliminates the risk of infection that comes with wearing contacts and allows you to see clearly and comfortably from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to bed. After having refractive surgery, most people achieve 20/25 vision or better without glasses or contacts.
Most patients see well the day after surgery, but there is a healing process. Patients should expect some blurriness or haziness in vision for 1 to 2 weeks. Some fluctuation in vision is normal during recovery from LASIK surgery.
The key process in healing from LASIK surgery centers on your reshaped corneas stabilizing completely before your new, clear vision is stabilized. The average full recovery time after LASIK surgery is 2 to 3 months. At that point, vision should stabilize. Follow-up appointments will begin 1 to 2 days after the procedure and will be scheduled periodically as the eye heals. Your LASIK eye doctor will ensure you know what to expect throughout the healing process.
Vision correction from LASIK eye surgery can allow you to live more conveniently, without relying on glasses or contact lenses. If you feel living without glasses and contacts is an important goal for you or if you are curious about how you specifically will respond to LASIK surgery, it is recommended that you speak with a board-certified ophthalmologist with specialty training in LASIK eye surgery.
Dr. Cohen was inspired to pursue medicine when his family was coldly informed by a doctor that his father had only a few months to live. That experience drove him to become someone who could provide patients with hope. Though he originally planned to become a heart surgeon, he chose ophthalmology because of the ability it gave him to change how people see the world. He says before he agrees to perform any surgery, he asks himself if he would do the same thing for his mother. By the way, Dr. Cohen’s father is doing fine. Read Dr. Cohen’s full bio here.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) is the world’s largest association of eye physicians and surgeons. It describes itself as a “global community of 32,000 medical doctors who protect sight and empower lives by setting the standards for ophthalmic education and advocating for our patients and the public.” Its website is a great resource to learn more about how to care for your eyes.
The American Optometric Association (AOA) describes itself as the leading authority on quality care and an advocate for our nation’s health, representing more than 44,000 doctors of optometry (O.D.), optometric professionals, and optometry students.
Eye Health A-Z: Retina
Eyeglasses for Refractive Errors
LASIK eye surgery
Alternative Refractive Surgery Procedures
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