Wearing glasses isn’t fun, especially when you lie down on your side to enjoy a movie or binge-watch your favorite TV show. It’s impossible to do it without squishing your glasses on the pillow. If you go to the cinema to watch a 3D movie, and you don’t wear contact lenses, you know the struggle is real.
Are you tired of wearing your glasses, or putting in and taking out your contact lenses day in and day out? Lasik surgery might be just what you need.
What Is Lasik Surgery?
Lasik (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) surgery is a laser eye surgery for improving your vision. It’s a refractive eye surgery that improves your vision with the use of a special precision laser that changes the shape of your cornea, which is the transparent layer on the front of your eye.
With this surgery, you can get 20/25 vision, or even better. It’s a very quick and perfectly safe procedure, which is why many people choose it over sticking with glasses or contact lenses for the rest of their lives.
Why and When Is Lasik Surgery Done?
Lasik surgery is done to correct the following vision problems:
- Myopia (nearsightedness) – a condition where light focuses in front of the retina, instead of on it, making you see nearby objects clearly, but more distant objects blurry. This happens if your cornea curves too sharply, or if you have an eyeball that’s a bit longer than normal.
- Hyperopia (farsightedness) – a condition where light focuses behind the retina, making your near vision, and sometimes distant vision, blurry. This happens if your cornea is too flat, or your eyeball is shorter than normal.
- Astigmatism – a condition that blurs both near and distant vision. It happens when the cornea is not shaped evenly (either curves or flattens), or because of curvature of the eye lens.
How Is It Performed?
The entire procedure doesn’t take longer than 30 minutes, with all the preparations. The actual procedure takes about 5 minutes on each eye.
After your surgeon gives you numbing eye drops, they’ll use the so-called lid speculum to keep your eyes open, and a suction ring to prevent any eye movements.
The surgeon will then use a laser or small blade to cut a tiny corneal flap that they’ll fold back to access your cornea, before using a computer laser to pulse light and reshape your cornea. The doctor will then lay the flap back, which will heal on its own without any stitches.
Are There Any Potential Risks of Lasik Surgery?
This eye surgery is absolutely safe, but there are some potential risks and complications that you might want to consider. They include:
- Dry eyes – this is only temporary, and perfectly normal after the procedure
- Glare, double vision, halos around bright lights, especially at night
- Astigmatism – not removing corneal tissue evenly, requiring another procedure
- Overcorrection – removing too much corneal tissue
- Undercorrection – not removing enough corneal tissue, requiring another procedure
- Flap complications – excess tears or infection
Health Conditions That May Lead to Complications
If you have any of the following health conditions, you should rethink your decision to undergo Lasik surgery, because they may increase the aforementioned risks. Doctors don’t recommend this surgery for patients with:
- Severe nearsightedness
- Very thin corneas or large pupils
- Presbyopia, which is long-sightedness that occurs in middle and old age
- Autoimmune disorders
- Dry eye syndrome (persistently having dry eyes)
- Weak immune system due to HIV or immunosuppressive medication
- Glaucoma, uveitis, eye injuries, cataracts, keratitis, or keratoconus
Can Anyone Undergo This Procedure?
Unfortunately, no. Apart from people with the aforementioned health conditions, Lasik surgery is not recommended for people who are 40 and older. This is simply because of the previously mentioned presbyopia, which is caused by the loss of elasticity of the eye lens.
As Lasik surgery corrects vision by reshaping the cornea, not the lens, it simply cannot be performed on patients with this condition.
How to Prepare for the Lasik Procedure?
Before undergoing the Lasik procedure, your doctor will need to check your eyes to make sure you are an eligible candidate for the surgery.
They’ll thoroughly examine your cornea’s shape and thickness, the size of your pupils, and your eyes’ tear film. They’ll check to see which refractive errors your eyes have, as well as check for any other potential eye condition.
Your doctor will also use a corneal topographer and wavelength technology to create a precise map of your corneas.
If you wear contact lenses, you should stop wearing them about two weeks before the eye exam and the surgery. Your doctor will recommend the specific time period, and discuss everything about the procedure in detail.
What to Expect After the Surgery?
Right after the Lasik procedure, your eyes may be a bit itchy, or you may feel a slight burning sensation, but that’s completely normal. After resting for a little while, you’ll be able to go home the same day. Your vision will be blurry until the next morning, so make sure someone drives you home.
It’s usual to visit your doctor for a follow-up the day after the surgery when they’ll check your visual acuity, as well as make sure that your eyes are healing well.
Be sure to rest for the next few days or a week
Take a few days to rest, don’t engage in any activities that may strain your eyes, and be careful not to rub your eyes at all, so that you don’t dislodge the corneal flap that has yet to heal.
After a couple of days, your vision will become much more clear, and start improving very quickly. Don’t worry if it takes a few weeks or longer, as that’s also normal, albeit rare.
What About the Long-Term Results?
Most of the people who undergo Lasik surgery don’t need any additional procedures later. They achieve either perfect 20/20 vision or better, and they continue living their lives completely normally.
However, a small number of people don’t achieve that perfect vision, and choose to have another Lasik surgery either several months after the initial procedure or a bit later.
You may still need contact lenses
If you achieve great results, but still don’t see quite perfectly, you don’t have to have another procedure, but rather choose to wear contact lenses. There are also lenses with anti-reflective coating that can help you a lot if you don’t see very clearly at night.
Your eyes may become more sensitive to sunlight following the surgery, but don’t let that worry you, because there are many sunglasses you can wear after Lasik surgery. The best may be polarized sunglasses, and sunglasses with photochromic lenses, both made specifically to reduce the exposure to UV light, and not only protect your eyes, but also give you a clearer vision.
If you’re thinking about having Lasik surgery, be sure to schedule a consultation with an experienced doctor first. They’ll tell you everything there is to know about the procedure so that you can make an informed decision.
If you’re a healthy and eligible candidate, and you decide to go through with it, you can be sure that your life will only get better. You’ll finally have the vision you once had, and forever say goodbye to glasses.