The Laser Eye Surgery procedure, effect and risk.by Derek Gardner
The LASIK procedure
Every patient goes through a full series of eye tests and examinations before consulting with the surgeon to talk about and plan the specifics of personal visual correction.
For the laser surgery itself, you sit comfortably in a professional chair which is tilt back to a horizontal position. Experience with current anesthetics and analgesics mean that no injections are needed. The eye is anaesthetized with drops, to guarantee a painless experience. The lids are gently held open with a lid support. You look at a flashing red light while the laser uses cold energy pulsed to accurately vaporize microscopic layers of tissue to correct the focus. The actual laser surgery time ranges from 10 to 90 seconds in the majority of cases. You will be in the surgery suite for about 15 minutes.
LASIK and long term effects
There is a 9 year follow-up of patients undergoing laser vision correction surgery, and it is very stable. The behavior of an eye that has had LASIK parallels the behavior of a normal eye that has not had LASIK surgery. LASIK has been performed since 1991, and based on what we have learned from doing eye surgery over time, we know that if an eye is stable in its vision after 2 years, then it should remain stable at 20 years and more. The eye behaves in a predictable manner. If a visual result from laser vision correction surgery is stable after 9 years, it should remain stable over a lifetime.
Risks and side effects of LASIK
LASIK adds a controlled lamellar keratectomy to the refractive laser ablation. The laser power treatment is thus performed under the surface of the cornea with some change in risks and benefits of the procedure. The potential risks of LASIK include:
Creating a cap of corneal tissue and not a flap: by fully removing the top of the cornea instead of just lifting it. The removed tissue still heals back into place but require extra care in positioning.
There can be loss or damage of the corneal cap.
Infection can occur; very rare and usually controlled with medications.
Induced regular or irregular astigmatism. Epithelial tissue growth underneath the new corneal flap. It can usually be solved by lifting the flap and gently removing these tissue cells.
Increased or decreased response to surgery: Surgery can usually be enhanced or modified by lifting the cap to remove more tissue with the laser. Sometimes other types of surgery can be joint with LASIK to get better results.
Side effects are generally minimal with LASIK surgery since most of the surface of the cornea has not been affected by the surgery. But still, people who have the surgery may experience some light sensitivity and glare for a few days or weeks afterwards. Full visual stabilization may take several weeks.
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