Commonly referred to as ‘Lasik’ surgery, laser-assisted in situ Keratomileusis is one of the most common eye surgeries today. Nearly 80% of the population is a candidate for this type of surgery. Lasik is used to treat nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. This is an outpatient procedure performed by an ophthalmologist using a laser to reshape the cornea. It is a simple procedure and often painless.
Many of us suffer from conditions of near or far sightedness. Corrective lenses, either glasses or contacts, were often the only treatment for such conditions. Now, with the advancement of laser surgery technology, Lasik has become a relatively inexpensive option for corrective treatment of these conditions, with surgeries averaging around $2000 per eye in most cases.
If you are looking for ‘perfect’ vision, however, Lasik may not be all that you expect it to be. In Lasik surgery the ophthalmologist uses a laser or a blade to cut a flap in the corneal tissue. Depending on the issue, nearsighted, farsighted, or astigmatism, the surgeon then reshapes the cornea and replaces the flap, which then heals in place over time. Some 90% of patients experience between 20/20 and 20/40 vision once they have healed, but perfect vision is not a guarantee. It may still be necessary to wear corrective lenses for certain activities such as reading or driving.
As with any surgery, Lasik has inherent risks that should be carefully considered before deciding on the procedure. Inflammation and infection are possible, of course, but can be treated with medications and are not common.
Sometimes, complications can arise with the healing of the corneal flap and vision can actually be worse than it was before surgery. The corneal flap may not heal as well as expected and residual scar tissue can cause blurriness in your vision.
Occasionally, there are some side effects such as blurry vision, light sensitivity, seeing halos or bright flashes, difficulty with night vision or driving at night, and dry eye or tiny scratches in the eye. In a small minority of patients these side effects can be permanent.
With patients who have severe sight issues, a second surgery can sometimes be necessary to further correct the issue. This is more likely in patients whose vision needed a more intensive treatment. Second surgeries are only likely in approximately 10% of patients, however.
It is important to do your research before considering Lasik surgery. Consider all the potential risks and complications as well as your particular circumstances and level of corrective needs. While Lasik is a very common surgery, it isn’t the best option for everyone. Try these links to help you determine if Lasik is right for you: