The Low Down on Laser Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis
Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis (what?) or LASIK surgery is all the rage these days. What is it and how can it help you?
LASIK surgery is a relatively new technology that can help correct various vision problems including nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and more. In a nutshell, a surgeon uses a laser to cut the flap of skin in your stroma, then removes material from the flap to change the surface or shape of your cornea.
The procedure itself takes roughly one minute or less. Not bad, it's almost like a fast food service for your eye!
What Are The Advantages of LASIK Surgery?
LASIK, or "lasix" as it is sometimes mistakenly referred to, is short for a complicated term "laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis."
The procedure is beneficial for correcting minor and severe vision problems in part because it provides the following advantages and or results:
- Relatively non-invasive form of surgery.
- Can be performed on an out patient basis.
- Relatively inexpensive way to resolve vision problems often permanently.
- Involves little pain or discomfort.
- Results are typically realized within a day or so of surgery.
- Often permanently eliminates the need for eye glasses or other supportive eyewear.
How Does Surgery Work?
LASIK surgery is relatively simple. A qualified surgeon uses a "microkeratome" or small corneal cutting instrument to cut a thin flap in the cornea. The cornea is the clear part of our eye that allows light to enter the eye. A doctor may alternatively use a laser to create a cut or flap in the cornea.
Once cut, the surgeon folds this flap back and removes a specified amount of corneal tissue using another laser. This helps reshape the cornea promoting better vision. During the ablation or removal process a cool, ultraviolet beam of light is passed through the cornea helping reshape it.
Once reshaped, your cornea is better able to refract and focus light providing enhanced vision.
The surgeon will then replace the flap of skin cut to help protect your eye.
Can Anyone Use LASIK?
LASIK surgery is not for everyone. You will need to consult with a qualified surgeon experienced in laser eye surgery to determine your eligibility for this procedure. LASIK surgery can help correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism.
A competent LASIK surgeon will evaluate your overall health and your eye health. This will help them assess how much benefit you may gain from LASIK surgery. Conditions that may prevent LASIK surgery may include dry eye disease or glaucoma. In certain cases your doctor may have to treat these underlying conditions before evaluating your candidacy for the LASIK procedure.
If you have underlying health conditions or use medications your doctor will have to evaluate the safety of using LASIK to correct vision problems. Most people will suffer few if any complications or serious side effects from this procedure. LASIK is however a form of surgery, hence it is important your doctor conduct a complete evaluation to determine the safety and efficacy of this procedure for your individual purposes.
Here are some common reasons you may not be a good candidate for LASIK surgery:
Be sure to check in with a competent physician to determine your eligibility for this new and revolutionary procedure!
- You are pregnant or breastfeeding, as both may result in hormonal changes that can affect vision.
- Your eyesight is too poor. Sometimes eyesight is so poor there is simply no amount of reshaping that can correct vision.
- You are too young. Most people's eye shape will stabilize by age 18. Patients younger than this may experience significant changes still in their corneal shape, hence LASIK is not recommended.
- You have poor anterior or posterior eye health. Your doctor will have to rule out systemic illnesses and other eye conditions or diseases before recommending surgery.
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