There are many forms of laser vision correction currently available for patients desiring high tech alternatives to traditional corrective procedures. Not everyone however is a good candidate for laser eye surgery. There are however, multiple advantages to the latest laser eye care treatments.
If you or someone you know is considering laser surgery, it is important you weight the potential benefits and risks.
This laser surgical procedure involves reshaping the cornea of the eye to help change the way the eye refracts light. This in turn helps resolve multiple vision problems. Typically during the procedure a surgeon will cut a small flap of tissue from the cornea, lift it and flush the area with alcohol. The flap is reshaped and replaced, after which most patients report improved vision.
LASIK is short for Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis (try saying that ten times really fast!). It permanently alters the shape of patient cornea or the clear covering of the front part of the eye. The most apparent benefit is improved vision. Many patients with minor vision disturbances may realize a complete reversal in their symptoms. Many will not need to use corrective lenses after surgery.
Even patients with severe vision problems realize tremendous results with LASIK surgery. Surgery is not however without complications or risks. Some of the more common risks associated with LASIK include:
Your doctor can help you weigh the potential benefits vs. risks of LASIK eye surgery to help you decide if you are well suited for the procedure. Good candidates for the procedure typically experience outstanding results with minimal complications.
- Loss of vision resulting from treatment.
- Visual symptoms that may include double vision, halos or glare, most of which affect nighttime vision.
- Over or under correction of vision necessitating additional surgeries.
- A condition called "dry eye syndrome" where the eye is not able to remain moist after surgery. This may impair vision quality and may be permanent, though patients may realize improvement in their symptoms with routine use of eye drops.
- Results may diminish over time, particularly in patients with farsighted vision disturbances.
Epi-Lasik is a newer procedure that entails cutting the flap of tissue so thin it will not actually penetrate the cornea. Then the physician uses a device called an epikeratome to cut and lift the flap from the eye rather than use alcohol to float the flap away (the procedure commonly followed during LASIK surgery). Typically the LASIK and Epi procedures involve cutting a portion of the tissue referred to as the epithelium. This tissue acts as the cornea's natural protectant.
The advantages to using the Epi-LASIK procedure include:
The Epi-LASIK procedure appears best for patients with high myopia and possibly those with low myopia.
- Better outcomes for patients who have thinner corneas to begin with. This may result in fewer complications and may allow more patients to consider laser eye surgery.
- Less dry eye after surgery, a common side effect reported with traditional LASIK procedures.
- Fewer complications including wrinkled flaps or poor adherence of the flap to the eyes surface after surgery.
If you do decide to consider LASIK surgery you should find a competent eye care professional. Take your time and compare various offerings and the credentials of the eye care specialists you are considering. A good physician will be more than willing to provide you with ample references. Be certain you avoid making a decision based on cost alone, as this may impair your chances of realizing the best possible outcome. Also be weary of any clinic that offers any form of "money back guarantee." Such offers are not suitable for health related procedures.
A new development in laser surgery is a procedure called custom cornea wavefront technology or custom cornea. This new technology allows LASIK surgeons to customs clients laser eye surgery to meet their individual needs. This new technology offers better outcomes than traditional LASIK procedures because it allows surgeons to customize their techniques based on an individual patient's corneal shape and vision problems.
When in doubt, play it safe and opt out!
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