LASIK, or "LASER IN-SITU KERATOMILEUSIS" offers a number of benefits over other forms of laser vision correction. It is performed under a protective layer of corneal tissue, and as a result, there is less surface area to heal. This leads to less scarring, corneal haze, discomfort, and less time for vision to return to normal. Post-op results vary, however most patients are able to pass a drivers' license test without the use of glasses or contact lenses.
At Memorial Eye, all of our doctors are highly trained to assist patients in their decision whether or not to pursue vision correction through LASIK, either during a complimentary consultation, or a comprehensive eye examination (which we recommend).
Should a patient elect to continue with the procedure, all pre- and post- operative care can be conducted at our offices. We work with exceptional surgeons that understand that the best and most personalized care a patient receives is from the doctor that knows him/her the best.
- The eye is numbed with eye drop anesthesia.
- An eyelid holder is placed under the eyelids to keep them from blinking.
- A protective flap is created, sometimes with an instrument called a microkeratome, and other times using techniques that do not utilize this instrument.
- While the patient fixates on a target light, the laser is used to reshape the surface of the cornea. Different refractive errors require different reshaping.
- To correct nearsightedness (myopia), the cornea is made flatter by removing tissue from the center of the cornea.
- To correct farsightedness (hyperopia), the central cornea is made steeper by directing the laser to remove tissue from around this area.
- To correct astigmatism the cornea must be made more spherical. This is achieved by changing the pattern of the laser beam to remove different amounts of tissue in different areas.
- After less than a minute, the reshaping is complete and the protective flap is folded back in place. It bonds almost instantly back to corneal tissue, so that no stitches are needed. Some patients report slight discomfort or dryness that usually goes away within 12-24 hours.
In general, the ideal candidate for LASIK is over 18 and has healthy corneas. There must not be a significant increase in prescription in the last twelve months. Certain medical conditions may exclude an individual person.
The decision to have LASIK must be based on realistic expectations and understanding of the facts surrounding the procedure. It is not a "cure-all" for all vision conditions. The goal of LASIK is to reduce a person's dependence on prescription lenses. It does not always create 20/20 or even 20/40 vision. It does not correct the changes inside the eye that occur around age 40 that affect the ability to focus on near objects (presbyopia). Having distance vision fully corrected in these cases requires the need for reading or computer glasses.
Every person has unique vision demands based on lifestyle and work. During a LASIK consultation or comprehensive eye examination, the doctor will evaluate individual visual goals and refractive error. The doctor and patient will discuss benefits and limitations of the procedure and together decide if LASIK is an appropriate alternative.