If you wear contact lenses, you may have resigned yourself to a life spent rolling out of bed, late for work, but not able to leave until you’ve spend a few precious seconds putting in your contacts. If you’ve opted for glasses, you may have come to accept that you’ll be forever losing, re-cleaning, and accidentally-stepping-on your frames.
But there is one way you can get your vision back and say goodbye to all your eye-related troubles: LASIK. This popular surgery has existed for about 20 years, and while it isn’t right for everyone, it can help restore vision in over 90% of patients who undertake it. Below is more information about LASIK.
LASIK uses a laser to reshape the cornea and correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. As we said, more than 90% of people who get LASIK have 20/20 vision or better post-procedure, according to the American Refractive Surgery Council.
LASIK, which stands for Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis, is a general term for laser eye surgery. There are multiple types of LASIK treatments beneath that umbrella, each utilizing different techniques and technologies. Therefore, the process described below might vary slightly according to which specific type of LASIK you have performed. However, each treatment is basically similar.
Most LASIK procedures begin with an eye analysis. A machine will quickly scan the eye, measuring everything from how light travels inside the eye, to variations in the cornea’s curvature and elevation. The scan produces different maps of the cornea’s surface, which help direct the laser during treatment.
Post-scan, your ophthalmologist will manually check your eyes, dilating them to get a better picture of your general eye health. (LASIK cannot be performed on patients with certain conditions, like glaucoma or diabetes.) Once your ophthalmologist determines that you are a good candidate for the procedure, the surgery can be scheduled.
If you wear contact lenses, which can change the shape of your eye, it is very important to stop wearing them two to four weeks prior to your pre-surgical exam and treatment, so that your doctor can obtain a stable eye measurement. Patients considering monovision LASIK should also plan to undergo a one-week contact lens trial with their monovision prescription to evaluate their vision during this period and see if they can tolerate the surgery.
First, you will receive some eye drops which will numb your eyes, making the procedure painless. You will then be instructed to try to keep both eyes open without squinting, and to keep your head still. A small device will be used to help with this. You will also be instructed to look at a “fixation light” or target.
The ophthalmologist will then use the laser to reshape the cornea, using the digital scan as a guide. If you’re nearsighted, your cornea will be flattened; if you’re farsighted, your cornea will be made steeper. It should take about four to six weeks for your vision to fully return.
Click here to learn more about the LASIK recovery process and what to expect after surgery. Want to get LASIK surgery in Raleigh? Click here to make an appointment with our Raleigh eye doctor.