LASIK stands for laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis. Keratomileusis is the technical term for the procedure that reshapes the cornea to correct refractive errors that cause nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.
LASIK takes only around 30 minutes for both eyes, causes minimal discomfort and pain, and has a relatively high success rate for suitable candidates. Approximately 94-100% of nearsighted people who have undergone the procedure achieved at least 20/40 vision.
This makes LASIK a popular option for refractive eye correction. And for many reasons, people even opt to get LASIK eye surgery in Dubai, Berlin, Madrid, Mumbai, and Singapore, which are some of the top destinations for LASIK eye surgery worldwide.
If you have decided on LASIK surgery, read on to learn more about this procedure and the things you must consider before undergoing it.
The LASIK Procedure
LASIK is a pretty straightforward procedure. The doctor can perform LASIK surgery on one or both eyes in a single session.
To start, the doctor will put desensitizing or numbing drops in your eye and put something between your eyelids to keep them open during the procedure. Using a microkeratome or a femtosecond laser, the doctor will create a superficial flap in your cornea and lift it back to reveal the layer underneath.
Another laser will remove precise amounts of tissue from your cornea to reshape it, improve light refraction on the retina, and thus correct your vision. Meanwhile, the doctor will ask you to focus on a particular light point to ensure that your cornea treatment is well centered.
LASIK eye surgery should take less than 30 minutes for both eyes. You are likely not to feel any pain during the procedure and only minimal discomfort afterward, for around 4-6 hours.
Is LASIK Eye Surgery for You?
Before you undergo LASIK surgery, first, you must determine if the procedure is appropriate for you. Your eye doctor will help you by conducting a thorough assessment and evaluation of your eye condition, medical history, and lifestyle, and potential risks.
As earlier mentioned, LASIK eye surgery is indicated mainly as a corrective procedure for refractive errors or errors in the way your eyes bend and focus light on the retina.
The three conditions that LASIK can help for are:
You have myopia or nearsightedness when you can clearly see objects that are up close but have difficulty clearly seeing far away objects.
You have hyperopia or farsightedness when you can see objects far away clearer than objects close to you.
- Regular Astigmatism
You have astigmatism if your eyes have steeper and flatter refraction caused by the oval shape curvature of your cornea.
Even if you have any of the three conditions, you may still be ineligible for the procedure, and therefore not benefit from it.
If your eyes are prone to severe eye dryness, your cornea is too thin, or unevenly shaped, your pupils are usually widely dilated, or you are genetically predisposed to eye diseases that cause corneal thinning, your doctor is likely to discourage you from undergoing LASIK.
Likewise, LASIK is discouraged if you have glaucoma, cataract, eye infections, eye inflammations, and eye injuries, or if you are prone to eye injuries due to the nature of your occupation or hobbies.
LASIK has risks, so if you have myopia, hyperopia, or astigmatism so mild you don’t even need to wear glasses or contact lenses regularly to boost your vision, then the possible risks of LASIK may outweigh potential benefits by far.
On the other hand, LASIK may be insufficient for severe refractive errors.
LASIK Surgery Side Effects
LASIK has known side effects, which may last for days or weeks or even years after LASIK surgery.
After LASIK surgery, tear production temporarily reduces. Since your eyes require moisture for clear eyesight, this relative dryness causes significant degradation of vision.
This tendency of LASIK to cause eye dryness is why it may not be the best procedure for those already prone to eye dryness. If your eyes are prone to drying, perhaps a surface correction like photorefractive keratectomy (PRK / LASEK) may be a better option.
- Light Sensitivity
For a few weeks after your procedure, you are likely to be extra sensitive to light. You will likely experience glares and halos and even see double at times. You may also notice reduced visual acuity at night or in dim light conditions.
LASIK Surgery Risks
LASIK is corrective eye surgery. Like any surgical procedure, LASIK comes with risks.
- Risk of Under- or Over-Correction
In some cases, the laser could take too little (under-correction) or too much (over-correction) tissue off your cornea. Under-correction and over-correction leads to less-than-ideal results.
- Risk of Uneven Removal
The laser may also lead to uneven tissue removal. This can lead to irregular refraction or astigmatism.
- Flap Healing Problems
In LASIK surgery, the doctor creates a flap so that the laser can reshape the tissue underneath. In some instances, the tissue could become inflamed or infected. The ablated tissue could also heal irregularly underneath the flap. Surface cells might get in underneath the flap and keep growing to distort and damage the flap and corneal surface.
Due Diligence and an Excellent Eye Doctor Are Key
LASIK eye surgery is an excellent, straightforward procedure that you can undergo to achieve normal or even better-than-normal vision permanently.
Surgery typically takes less than 30 minutes. And you should see improvement in your vision in the next few days or a few weeks, although it could take a few months before your vision completely stabilizes.
While waiting for the surgery to take full effect, be sure to apply the prescribed eye drops as directed. You must also refrain from eye rubbing and using cosmetics, especially eye makeup, at least for the prescribed period.
Like any surgery, LASIK carries risks. Thus, it is crucial to determine if it’s right for you before you proceed. And, of course, it must be done well by a competent professional. Thus, the importance of the clinic and the ophthalmologist who will perform your LASIK eye surgery cannot be overstated.
Dr. Millicent M. Grim, Specialist Ophthalmologist & LASIK Specialist, is the Medical Director of Gulf Eye Center in Dubai. Since 2002, Gulf Eye Center’s highly qualified ophthalmologists and optometrists/ODs have been successfully treating a wide range of eye conditions using advanced techniques. They also provide comprehensive eye care and vision restoration procedures for people of all ages.