LASIK surgery is a safe, modern procedure that utilizes the precision of the excimer laser to drastically improve vision. How effective is the LASIK procedure? For many patients, LASIK is overwhelmingly successful, allowing many to pass a driver's test without the use of eyeglasses or corrective lenses. In a small number of cases, an additional procedure may need to be performed to fine-tune a patient's eyesight.
Harnessing the precision of the excimer laser, the LASIK procedure reshapes the cornea, improving the eye's ability to refract light. The surgeon begins by sliding a microkeratome across the cornea, folding back its outermost layer. The excimer laser then sends gentle pulses of ultraviolet light to reshape the cornea. This process takes approximately one minute, and is accurate to within .25 microns. The excimer laser beam can be adjusted to account for serious myopia (nearsightedness), farsightedness and astigmatism. Once the cornea has been reshaped, its outermost layer is replaced. Patients usually recover very quickly from a LASIK procedure due to the cornea's extraordinary ability to heal. LASIK is performed on an outpatient basis and takes approximately one half-hour. The surgeon will apply an "eye drop" anesthesia to insure a painless process. Following the procedure, patients may experience some mild discomfort, although this is alleviated through medication. The vast majority of patients experience significant improvement in their sight within the first 24 hours. A small percentage of patients may have temporarily blurred or fluctuating vision. Patients can usually return to work and resume their normal activities a day after the surgery.
-The Best Candidate
LASIK is ideal for patients past the age of 18 whose corneas are healthy and strong. If your prescription has increased significantly within the past year, you should consider delaying your LASIK procedure. The LASIK procedure should not be performed on patients who suffer from certain medical conditions, or on pregnant women.