What is LASIK
LASIK stands for laser assisted in-situ keratomileusis. This is a highly popular form of eye surgery and is used to correct a range of refractive errors, such as astigmatism, myopia and hyperopia. LASIK is a type of refractive surgery and involves controlled and precise targetting of the corneal tissue with a special laser. Corneal tissue is removed, resulting in a reshaping which enables improved vision.
During the LASIK procedure, the laser will be used to create an extremely thin protective flap on the cornea - the transparent part of your eye. This flap will then be lifted during the second part of the procedure and your vision will be corrected with a second laser. Both eyes can usually be treated on the same day.
LASIK has been successfully used to treat people for over twenty years and has helped millions of people to have improved eyesight. NASA even approve it for use on their astronauts!
The acronym LASEK represents Laser Assisted Sub-Epithelial Keratectomy. It is a more suitable option for people who have thin corneas or a medical condition that makes laser eye surgery more difficult to achieve. The surgery is more straightforward in some respects as only one laser is used to correct the patient's vision rather than the two that are used during LASIK.
An alcohol solution is carefully applied to the surface of the eye and an ultra-thin sheet is positioned directly on the eye. The alcohol solution helps to loosen the fine layer of cells on the surface of your eye known as the epithelium. These cells then adhere to the sheet. The surgeon will then carefully move the sheet to the side of your eye to gain access to the corneal layer which will be subjected to the laser.
The laser is used to reshape your cornea and after the procedure, a special protective contact lens will be placed in your eye to minimise any discomfort during the healing process. This lens can normally be removed after a few days. As with LASIK, it is usual for both eyes can be treated at the same time. Many patients notice an immediate improvement in their vision, but it may take several days for your eyesight to settle. The recovery process of LASEK can take a bit longer than LASIK — but usually no more than a fortnight. Most patients feel that this is a compromise that is well worth making because of the long-term benefits of corrected vision.
Aftercare and recovery after LASIK eye surgery
The recovery period is usually quite short after LASIK eye surgery. Most people are able to return to work and drive about 24 hours after the procedure. You might not notice an immediate improvement in your vision - it can take a few weeks for your eyesight to settle down.
What is the right age for LASIK eye surgery?
The optimal age for LASIK eye surgery is above 18 years of age. Most young people who would like to have the surgery are discouraged as there is a high chance that their eyesight is still changing. Most surgeons advise that a person's prescription should be stable for a couple of years before the procedure. The most popular age to book a LASIK treatment is between 35 and 40 years old. People in this age category as most likely to have stable vision and are also more likely to be able to afford the treatment.
Surgeons are reporting an increasing demand for LASIK among older patients but it is important to note that the procedure presents additional challenges for seniors as most elderly patients tend to have problems with both near and far vision. However, there are several alternative options such as multifocal LASIK or monovision LASIK which may be appropriate.
Although there are risks as with any surgical procedure, the vast majority of patients are very pleased with the results of LASIK eye surgery. For more information about whether LASIK eye surgery would be suitable for you, please feel free to get in touch with the Orbit Eye Hospital.