LASIK eye surgery is no stranger to the human consciousness. LASIK, an acronym for laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis, is one of the most commonly performed medical procedures in the world. In fact, in 2015, statistics reveal that 596,000 LASIK eye surgeries were performed in the United States of America alone. This figure is expected to go up in the succeeding years, and experts estimate in 2020, the number will have risen to 720,000.
But what exactly is LASIK eye surgery? What is its process, and how does it go? How come it ranks as one of the most popular surgeries out there? Can it, in any way, help you with your life goals and dreams?
How does the surgery work?
LASIK eye surgery, intricate as it sounds, is a relatively simple process. Outcome largely depends on the surgeon’s skill and the kind of equipment used.
In a nutshell, the surgeon creates a flap in the cornea. Next, he applies laser right onto the cornea; this is to reshape the part. Once the cornea assumes its new shape, the refractive error is corrected or lessened to a significant degree.
This is due to the light entering the cornea in a new, near-normal angle. Because of this change, the light lands right onto the retina. In turn, this produces better, clearer vision.
What is the procedure and process?
Prior to having LASIK eye surgery, you’ll need to have an appointment with your doctor and discuss the likely scenarios that will arise once you go through with it. Your doctor will walk you through the process, as well as the ideal events before and after it.
Once the details and precautions have been settled, you and your doctor will then agree on the surgery date. On the day of your LASIK eye surgery, your doctor will conduct an examination to make sure you and your body systems are up and running smoothly. Only when your doctor gives the all clear will the surgery commence.
First, he applies numbing drops on your eyes. This ensures you feel practically nothing during the operation. Wait for a few minutes for the drops to do their thing.
Next, the doctor asks you to lie down on the operating table or bed. This is where you’ll be spending your time for the duration of the procedure. At this stage, expect your doctor to go about and fuss over your placement and the equipment.
What happens during the surgery?
Once you’re nice and comfortable and the equipment’s in place, then the operation’s set to begin. With a tool known as a microkeratome, the doctor incises a flap into the cornea. Said flap, referred to as a corneal flap, is held back in place. This is so the doctor has access to the stroma, the underlying and thickest layer of the cornea.
Now the reshaping portion begins. With the use of a laser, your doctor removes chunks of the cornea, through the stroma, in order to alter its shape. If you’ve myopia (nearsightedness), the cornea is flattened. If you’ve hyperopia (farsightedness), the cornea is made steep. In the event you’ve astigmatism as well, the cornea is smoothened out.
Once he has scraped out the desired amount of corneal tissue, the doctor folds the corneal flap back into place. Healing occurs naturally; there’s no need for stitches or additional fancy procedures to repair the incision.
Note, though, you need to look out for possible side effects after LASIK eye surgery. For starters, your doctor will provide you with eye drops. Dryness and itchiness are common occurrences after the operation, but these will go away after a while.
Experts recommend you rest your eyes for up to a week after you’ve had LASIK eye surgery. Rest promotes faster LASIK-surgery recovery as well as more effective results. On the day of your procedure, ask someone to drive you to and from the clinic. This is so your peepers can have their much-needed rest.
Does the operation hurt?
While most people admit to feeling discomfort during LASIK eye surgery, for most of them, the process doesn’t hurt at all. It helps to read up on facts regarding LASIK so you’ve an idea of what (or what not) to expect of the operation.
As for the feeling of discomfort, patients describe it as having some kind of pressure on the eye. Otherwise, they report the absence of sensation during the surgery proper.
The most delicate and sensitive portion occurs when the doctor makes the cut on the cornea and the laser lands on the eye. He must observe extreme care and caution in this exercise. This way, he stands much-higher chances of having excellent results. In addition, if your doctor is painstaking in his craft, you are likely to be comfortable the whole time.
You can count on experiencing various degrees of discomfort hours, even days and weeks, after LASIK eye surgery. Rest assured these are completely normal. Still, don’t discount the option of talking it out with your eye doctor.
Keep your end of the bargain by showing up on your scheduled appointments. If you notice anything out of the ordinary after you’ve had LASIK eye surgery, contact your doctor right away.
Is the treatment safe?
LASIK eye surgery, aside from being one of the most popular surgical procedures, also has one of the highest satisfaction ratings in the world. That’s telling you something about the procedure.
Patient makeup is unique, though; what works for one may not work for another, or in a different way. Generally, LASIK eye surgery is completely safe. Still, as with most medical procedures, it isn’t risk-free.
Client reports of side effects and complications arising after going through LASIK eye surgery aren’t unheard of; in fact, you’re better off expecting them. Just because corneal repair doesn’t require stitches or fancy methods doesn’t mean the body is free to go off on its own and not experience some degree of recovery sensations (e.g., discomfort).
To keep your chances of having postsurgery complications, follow to the letter your doctor’s suggestions for a speedier recovery. If you find your eyes are still dry and itchy weeks after the operation, or you experience a new symptom, talk to your doctor immediately.