Our eyes are the windows to our soul. They are built-in cameras in the human anatomy helping us take in the world around us every day. Sometimes we need visual aids to help us see clearly, whether we suffer from nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism. Approximately 75 percent of the adult population in the United States wears some sort of visual correction, whether that be glasses or contacts. LASIK and other procedures can be performed to give someone the convenience to not have to wear glasses or contacts.
LASIK stands for “laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis.” In the LASIK procedure, a laser helps reshape the cornea on your eye to help you see clearly. When a person suffers from nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism, the cornea is not perfectly shaped to see a clear image. When light enters the eye, the light needs to focus onto the retina in the back of the eye. Glasses and contacts help focus the light into the correct location in the eye, and LASIK helps accomplish this without utilizing a corrective lens. The difference between LASIK and wearing corrective lenses is that the LASIK procedure gives you the freedom to move about without glasses or contacts. Contacts can be irritating and glasses can be annoying, but your natural eyes seeing 20/20 is a liberating experience.
Caring for Your Eyes
A loss in vision can be the result of many factors including genetics, activities, diseases or even presbyopia, which is an age-related loss of vision that affects people over age 40. Talking to your eye care doctor is important because the vision and health of your eyes is important to yourself and everyone around you. It is illegal to drive if you have failing vision and you can cause property damage and hurt people if you can’t see what you’re doing.
Basic vision correction comes in the form of glasses and contacts. These corrective lenses can be purchased at many places and are the most convenient option for vision improvement. One down side to these vision enhancers is the need to frequently replace them, whether your vision changes or they are broken or out of style.
Intraocular implants are available to increase vision and replace a cloudy natural lens. This surgery places a lens implant on your eye to act similarly to the cornea and reflect light onto the retina. There are other types of refractive surgery that place a similar implant onto your eye, but the most popular form of refractive surgery is LASIK.
Before Scheduling Your LASIK Procedure
While the LASIK procedure is usually quick and doesn’t last much longer than five minutes, it is important to know what your pre-LASIK surgery procedure should be. Always visit your eye doctor before scheduling your procedure to make sure your eyes are healthy enough for LASIK. While most people are good candidates, there are some limiting factors that make someone unsuitable for LASIK surgery including: suffering from chronic dry eyes, having stable vision for at least a year, suffering from degenerate or autoimmune diseases, if you are pregnant and/or your vision being within certain limits. Some of these preventions can be corrected for LASIK surgery, but it is always important to consult your eye doctor to make sure you are eligible for the LASIK procedure.
The LASIK Procedure
The LASIK procedure itself is a very quick and relatively painless process that usually results in good vision as early as the next day. Because poor vision is the result of a misshapen cornea, the surgeon will restructure the way light enters the eye. A circular flap is cut into the cornea and the flap created is pulled back. Then a laser is used to remove corneal tissue and help reshape the way light enters the eye so that it reflects properly onto the retina. After the reshaping is completed, the flap is laid back over the eye and then all that is needed is rest.
LASIK is performed while you are awake, but the surgeon will apply numbing eye drops so you will not experience any discomfort. Your eyes are held open, but the entire process is not normally uncomfortable. The higher your eye prescription, the longer the surgery will take, but on average it is a very quick process.
Eye doctors like the ones at Key Whitman Eye Center focus on customer care and satisfaction during all refractive surgeries. “We have state-of-the-art clinical and surgical options in a setting with an emphasis on excellent customer service. We are dedicated to monitor feedback and address concerns brought up in electronic patient satisfaction surveys – questions pertaining to courtesy, wait times and patient care.”
Life After LASIK
An overwhelming majority of people who receive LASIK surgery are very satisfied with their results. They can live without the restrictions of corrective lenses and get on with their everyday lives. Occasionally, there are mild side effects of the LASIK procedure such as dry eyes, but a quick visit to your doctor can help correct any of these issues. It is also possible to need reading glasses after the age of 40 because of presbyopia. Your distance vision will usually stay crisp, but you may require reading glasses.
These conditions should not worry you, because overall LASIK is a fast and easy way to correct your vision and feel good about yourself again. Imagine waking up and getting out of bed in the morning without having to put your finger in your eye to put on contacts or worry about your glasses getting in the way. After LASIK, your eyes will open every day with perfect vision and make for the start of a great day and the rest of your life!
-By Sam Nicholson