Laser-Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis or LASIK is a laser procedure to correct refractive errors in the eyes. It’s a precise treatment that can correct nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and astigmatism. The way it works is by reshaping the very cornea of the eyes – the outer, transparent part.
Usually, refractive errors happen because the cornea cannot focus the light properly on the retina. Reshaping the cornea by removing microscopic amounts of corneal tissue helps it focus light correctly.
LASIK is a long-term and in many cases, permanent solution to vision problems that would otherwise need contact lenses or eyeglasses. In this guide, we’re going to talk about LASIK eye surgery in more detail and look at what makes it a popular and reliable eye surgery.
How is LASIK performed?
LASIK is an outpatient procedure with a rapid recovery time and minimal discomfort. The surgery hardly takes a few minutes per eye but the evaluation preceding it can take anywhere from hours to days as you consult with the professionals.
The surgeon creates a thin, hinged flap on the cornea using a microkeratome or a femtosecond laser. Once created, this flap is then lifted and an excimer laser is used to remove a particular amount of corneal tissue. The cornea is reshaped by the removal of the tissue. The exact amount is determined by the magnitude of the refractive error.
Once the process is complete, the flap is repositioned and it begins to heal. The flap will not interfere with your vision and it will naturally adhere without any other process or stitches.
While it heals, you should strictly follow the eyecare guidelines given to you because trauma or even rubbing the eyes can displace the flap and create complications. Make sure that you fully understand the risks involved with the flap’s creation. It’s for this reason that PRK is technically considered a “safer” option as it creates no flap.
Benefits of LASIK
After a complete eye evaluation, LASIK will correct the refractive error of the cornea, helping you get clear vision with little to no side effects. If you undergo a LASIK Chicago treatment, you can expect some benefits beyond the normal visual correction.
- High success rate. LASIK is a very dependable and safe procedure. Especially when compared to other eye surgeries like PRK and SMILE (more on that in the next section), it’s more popular for a reason. It has a high success rate and patients love the improved vision and reduced dependence on eyeglasses and contact lenses shortly after the procedure.
- Quick recovery. Recovery after LASIK is typically fast. You can expect perfectly stabilized, improved, and clearer vision within 24–48 hours of the procedure.
- Minimal discomfort. The procedure is painless. There might be some discomfort after the procedure, which is temporary and minimal.
- Better vision quality. LASIK corrects refractive errors to provide sharper and clearer vision. There’s often a remarkable improvement in visual acuity that patients enjoy.
- Permanent results. LASIK’s effects are often long-lasting and patients can maintain improved vision for years after the surgery. Age-related changes, however, don’t stop after LASIK. New problems or age-related degeneration of the corneal tissue can still occur, which can cause a gradual decline in vision over time despite LASIK having corrected the previous error.
Improved vision makes your life better. Not only can you see objects clearly and read more comfortably, but it also helps you enjoy the convenience of not needing to wear glasses or contact lenses for everyday tasks like reading, driving, or outdoor activities.
What’s more, LASIK can also boost self-confidence and quality of life; allowing you to feel more comfortable and self-assured in social and professional settings.
Is LASIK the best option?
There are three popular minimally invasive eye surgeries to correct refractive errors – PRK vs LASIK vs SMILE. They all have their own pros and cons. Generally, LASIK is considered the favorite by many specialists.
PRK vs LASIK vs SMILE. PRK is slightly cheaper and safer than LASIK. It removes the outermost corneal layer called epithelium completely and places a contact lens until it regenerates. The process causes more discomfort and recovery can take days or weeks as tissues take longer to regenerate fully. SMILE, a comparatively newer surgery, heals quicker than LASIK as it creates a small incision and damages fewer nerves. Dry eye recovery is quicker. Only one laser is used for incision and extraction, reducing costs considerably. However, LASIK still provides better low-contrast and uncorrected visual acuity.
Since neither PRK nor SMILE creates a corneal flap, they are available options if you’re ineligible for LASIK due to an irregularly shaped or very thin cornea.
LASIK is a well-known treatment to correct refractive errors in the eye. It’s a quick process and the results are often immediate – with many patients experiencing improved vision within 24 hours.
A comprehensive pre-operative evaluation is conducted to determine if LASIK is suitable for a patient based on their eye health, refractive error, and other factors. Once done, LASIK offers a variety of benefits such as clearer vision and improved quality of life.
Ellen Diamond, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.