Is Lasik Surgery Right for You?

All of the maintenance and hassle of wearing glasses or contacts over the years may have finally gotten on your nerves and left you looking for a better solution. One type of procedure your optometrist may have informed you of is called LASIK. How do you know if LASIK is the right answer for you?

Vision Issues

LASIK works best on eye care patients who are nearsighted or have blurry vision due to an astigmatism, which is an irregular curvature of your eye’s cornea. During the LASIK procedure a small slit is made in the flap that covers the eye, then the cornea is reshaped and the flap repositioned. Nearsighted people see immense improvement because of the way their cornea is shaped due to the nearsightedness. Farsighted patients will experience some improvement but usually not to such an exceptional degree.

Health Status

LASIK is recommended for people who are in average to good health. If you have an existing eye disease, or know that you have a history of poor wound healing or problems with Diabetes, LASIK may not be a fitting solution for you.

Continuous Vision Changes

For most patients, the yearly optometrist exam results in less prescription changes as they get older. When you’ve gone for a few visits without a significant change, that may be the right time for LASIK. If you are still experiencing rapid fluctuations in your vision, you should wait. An optometrist typically will not perform LASIK on someone under 18 as they are still experiencing significant changes.

Expense

Though contacts and glasses are a routine expense that you expect if you have vision issues, they are expenses that occur on a monthly, quarterly, or yearly basis rather than all at once. LASIK can be costly but is not the type of procedure that you’d want done at a bargain basement doctor. Many reputable LASIK doctors will offer financing options, and that is the direction you should investigate rather than deals that seem “cheap.”

Specific Occupations

For a handful of careers, refractive procedures are restricted. For those in a field such as aviation or the military, be very sure that you would be permitted to continue working after a LASIK procedure.

LASIK makes it possible for many patients to wake up with crystal clear vision, without contacts or glasses. If you think LASIK may be a solution for you, talk to your Phoenix optometrist today.

What is LASIK Surgery?

LASIK

LASIK, short for laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis, is the most popular refractive surgery available today. Each year, more than one million LASIK procedures are performed in the United States.

LASIK has become the premier surgery for vision correction because it’s quick and painless, there is little or no discomfort after the procedure and vision recovery is rapid – some patients already see 20/20 the following day.

LASIK can correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. With a special technique called monovision, it can also reduce the need for reading glasses among patients over age 40 who wear bifocals.

Am I a good candidate for LASIK?

To be a good candidate for LASIK, you should be at least 18 years old, have healthy eyes, and have adequate corneal thickness since LASIK corrects your vision by removing tissue from your cornea to reshape your eye.

Chronic dry eye problems, corneal diseases and other abnormalities may disqualify you from having LASIK surgery. In order to know for sure if you are a good candidate, a comprehensive eye exam is required. For your convenience, we are happy to provide LASIK pre-operative exams and consultations at our office. Call us for details.

Important considerations when deciding whether or not to have LASIK are your expectations and your ability to accept a less-than-perfect outcome. LASIK can reduce your dependence on glasses and almost always gives you the ability to function well without the need for glasses or contact lenses. But there are no guarantees, and LASIK doesn’t always create perfect vision. In some cases, your vision after LASIK may be permanently less clear than it was with glasses before the procedure. You have to ask yourself if you’re willing to accept the risk of such an outcome before you decide to have LASIK surgery.

Remember: LASIK is an elective procedure, not a required one.

The LASIK procedure

LASIK is an ambulatory procedure. You walk in the surgery center, have the procedure and walk out again. The actual surgery usually takes less than 15 minutes for both eyes, but expect to be at the surgery center for an hour or more.

LASIK is a two-step procedure. In the first step, the surgeon creates a thin, hinged flap of tissue on your cornea with an instrument called a microkeratome or with a laser. This flap is folded back and the second step – the laser reshaping of your eye – begins. After the laser treatment, which usually takes less than a minute, the flap is repositioned and the surgeon moves on to your other eye.

After LASIK surgery

After the procedure, your surgeon or an assistant will apply medicated eye drops and clear protective shields over your eyes. You can open your eyes and see well enough to walk without glasses, but you must have someone drive you home.

You will be expected to use medicated eye drops several times a day for a week or so to protect your eyes from infection and help them heal properly. You will also be told to use artificial tears frequently to keep your eyes moist and comfortable.

You should rest and not use your eyes much when you get home from surgery that day. You may also be more comfortable if the lights in your house are dimmed.

The following day, you should be seeing well enough to drive and can resume most activities. Be careful, however, not to rub your eyes until your eye doctor tells you it is safe to do so.

Usually, you will be asked to return to the surgery center the following day so your surgeon or another eye doctor at the center can check your vision and make sure your eyes appear as they should. At this visit, you typically will be given additional instructions about using eye drops and artificial tears, and you will be able to ask the doctor any questions you have.

From this point forward (and sometimes for this “day one” visit as well), your post-operative care may be performed by an eye doctor other than your LASIK surgeon. When your post-operative care is provided by a doctor other than your surgeon or another doctor at the surgery center, it’s called co-management. We are happy to provide post-operative care for you at our office through a co-management agreement with your surgeon. Call our office for details.

What if my vision is still blurry after LASIK?

Though most patients see quite clearly in a matter of days after LASIK, it can take several months before your eyes are completely stable. Until then, improvements in your vision can still occur. But if several months pass and your vision is still blurred, see your LASIK surgeon. Usually a second LASIK surgery (called an enhancement) can sharpen your eyesight further.