Purpose of Lasik Eye Surgery
This operation has the goal of vision correction, so persons which are either nearsighted or farsighted, or suffer from astigmatism can have these corrected, allowing them to stop wearing the glasses or the contacts. One may say that wearing glasses is not that painful. However, think of those people seriously affected, who are forced to wear those extremely thick lenses, heavy glasses that look very much like bottle bottoms. For them, going lighter can translate into a much better quality of life.
How Lasik Eye Surgery Goes
This modern type of laser surgery consists of permanently re-shaping the cornea surface, thus correcting the vision faults caused by that shape. This is done with the help of an excimer laser ad overall, the surgery may take as little as one minute, then the patient may go home for the post-surgery stage. After healing, the eye will have its diopters reduced as much as to allow the patient to see normally without glasses or contact lenses.
Am I Eligible for Lasik Eye Surgery?
Although this is a very easy and rather routine procedure, Lasik has some cases in which it is not indicated. Such cases can be:
- frequent change of the glasses prescription. This means that you have refractive instability. The doctors cannot therefore determine how much to ablate from your cornea, because their measurements done today may change in a few months, resulting in poor vision, despite the fact that you've been through this corrective surgery.
- diseases that affect wound healing. This may happen in diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, lupus or HIV. You can't undergo surgery because your wound would have troubles in healing, thus endangering your life.
- you have an active job. If you are a wrestler, you can't have Lasik vision correction surgery. You are too exposed to kicks in your face, therefore your eyes are endangered to be hit as well.
- you are under 18 years of age. This is the regulation in the US: only adults can have Lasik surgery. I don't know about other countries, but if anybody knows more, please feel free to discuss this in the comments.
- you suffer from dry eyes. This may not be an impediment, but you should be aware that Lasik usually tends to exacerbate this condition.
What Are The Risks Of Lasik Eye Surgery
We are going to list a few risks below. However, if you go to the doctor, you'll find out more details about each chapter. In order to be better informed, you could prepare a list of questions and take it with you when you go for your preliminary medical consultation. These are the Lasik risks as described on the FDA official website: (I quote them because I couldn't have said it better and because it is very important that you understand all the risks involved before going for Lasik or any other type of surgical intervention)
- Some patients lose vision. Some patients lose lines of vision on the vision chart that cannot be corrected with glasses, contact lenses, or surgery as a result of treatment.
- Some patients develop debilitating visual symptoms. Some patients develop glare, halos, and/or double vision that can seriously affect nighttime vision. Even with good vision on the vision chart, some patients do not see as well in situations of low contrast, such as at night or in fog, after treatment as compared to before treatment.
- You may be under treated or over treated. Only a certain percent of patients achieve 20/20 vision without glasses or contacts. You may require additional treatment, but additional treatment may not be possible. You may still need glasses or contact lenses after surgery. This may be true even if you only required a very weak prescription before surgery. If you used reading glasses before surgery, you may still need reading glasses after surgery.
- Some patients may develop severe dry eye syndrome. As a result of surgery, your eye may not be able to produce enough tears to keep the eye moist and comfortable. Dry eye not only causes discomfort, but can reduce visual quality due to intermittent blurring and other visual symptoms. This condition may be permanent. Intensive drop therapy and use of plugs or other procedures may be required.
- Results are generally not as good in patients with very large refractive errors of any type. You should discuss your expectations with your doctor and realize that you may still require glasses or contacts after the surgery.
- For some farsighted patients, results may diminish with age. If you are farsighted, the level of improved vision you experience after surgery may decrease with age. This can occur if your manifest refraction (a vision exam with lenses before dilating drops) is very different from your cycloplegic refraction (a vision exam with lenses after dilating drops).
- Long-term data are not available. LASIK is a relatively new technology. The first laser was approved for LASIK eye surgery in 1998. Therefore, the long-term safety and effectiveness of LASIK surgery is not known.
As you can see, Lasik can be very dangerous if you don't choose a good surgeon. The smallest error could cost you the vision, so it is important not to jump on the first doctor you meet and ask for laser eye therapy to get you rid of your prescription glasses. Read a lot, ask a lot more, ask for testimonials from former patients before committing into any kind of agreements.
Last but not least, be aware that laser procedures are not cheap. They are expensive and they are not reimbursed by health insurance companies, so you need to make sure you have the money before thinking of Lasik eye surgery.