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Lasic Surgery And You

Lasic surgery is the most commonly performed refractive surgery. It has advantages over other procedures, including a relative lack of pain afterward and the fact that good vision is usually achieved by the very next day.

An instrument called a microkeratome is used in lasic eye surgery to create a thin, circular flap in the cornea. The eye surgeon then folds the flap back out of the way, then removes some corneal tissue underneath using an excimer laser. The excimer laser uses a cool ultraviolet light beam to precisely remove very tiny bits of tissue from the cornea to reshape it.

When the cornea is reshaped in the right way, it works better to focus light into the eye and onto the retina, providing clearer vision than before. The flap is then laid back in place, covering the area where the corneal tissue was removed.

Both short-sighted and farsighted people can benefit from this refractive surgery. With nearsighted people, the goal is to flatten the too-steep cornea. With farsighted people, a steeper cornea is desired. While this is not widely recognized by consumers, excimer lasers also can correct astigmatism by smoothing an irregular cornea into a more normal shape.

What your doctor will need to know before considering lasic surgery

In order to decide whether you are a suitable for lasic surgery, your eye doctor will examine your eyes to determine their health, what kind of vision correction you need, and how much laser ablation is required.

Your doctor will also look for signs of dry eye disease, which must be treated and cleared up before lasic surgery can be performed. The doctor will find out from you any health problems you have or medications you take. Some health conditions will disqualify you altogether for lasic surgery, but others may just postpone the procedure until a later date.

Lasic surgery – a quick and simple procedure in the hands of a skilled eye surgeon

Lasic surgery is a relatively simple procedure. You walk into the surgery center, have the procedure and walk out again. In fact, the actual surgery usually takes less than five minutes, and you're awake the whole time.

Even though the procedure is relatively quick, this does not minimize the importance of having it performed by a highly skilled eye surgeon with proper equipment because lasic surgery is a very delicate procedure. You also should have someone accompany you to drive you back home afterward.

Most people don't feel pain during lasic surgery. Your eyes are first anesthetized with special drops.

To begin the procedure the doctor will have you lie down, then make sure your eye is positioned directly under the laser. A kind of retainer is placed over your eye to keep your eyelids open – normally, this is not uncomfortable. It has a suction ring that keeps your eye pressurized, which is important in LASIK for allowing the surgeon to cut the corneal flap.

The eye surgeon will use an ink marker to mark the cornea before the flap is created. The flap is then created with either a microkeratome or with a laser, depending on the surgeon's preference. During the procedure you won't actually see the creation of the flap, which is very thin.

The doctor uses a computer to adjust the laser for your particular prescription. You will be asked to look at a target light for a short time while he or she watches your eye through a microscope while the laser sends pulses of light to your cornea.

The laser light pulses will then painlessly reshape the cornea. You'll hear a steady clicking sound as the laser is operating. You're also likely to smell a mildly acrid odor due to the tissue removal. The higher your prescription, the more time the surgery will take. The surgeon has full control of the laser and can turn it off at any time.

After the procedure is finished, you will rest for a little while. If you're having both eyes done the same day, the surgeon will probably do the other eye after a short period of time. Some people choose to have their second eye done a week later.

Recovering from Lasic surgery

As with any kind of surgery, it is important that you follow your doctor's instructions to the letter. Get proper rest, fill and use any necessary prescriptions and call your doctor immediately if you suspect a problem. What occurs after the surgery can affect your vision just as much as the surgery itself. Immediately after lasic surgery the doctor will have you rest for a bit, then you can go home. At home, you should relax for at least a few hours.

You may be able to go to work the next day, but many doctors advise a couple of days of rest instead. They also recommend no strenuous exercise for up to a week, since this can traumatize the eye and affect healing. You must also avoid rubbing your eye, as there is a chance (though slim) of dislodging the corneal flap.

With lasic surgery, most people's vision improves right away, but some find that their vision gradually improves even more over the next few days or even weeks.

Most people achieve 20/20 or better vision with lasic. Some may achieve only 20/40 or not quite as good. In fact, 20/40 is fairly good vision. Some patients may still need glasses or contact lenses following laser vision correction, though their prescription level typically will be much lower than before.