LASIK vision correction

Imperfect vision is a very common problem and for many people can be a constant hassle. If you're near-sighted , you understand the inconvenience of having to pick up a pair of glasses before venturing off to the movies. If you're far-sighted , you may need glasses in order to read the morning paper, and if you wear contact lenses, you have the daily hassle of putting them in every morning and taking them out every night. With the technological advances available today, there is no longer any need to put up with these inconveniences,

The procedure

Shortsightededness, and long-sightedness occurs when the eye doesn't focus light correctly onto the retina. The part of the eye that focuses most of the light is called the cornea. This is the clear, curved structure at the very front of the eye that sits in front of the iris and pupil. Usually, the cornea focuses light exactly onto the back of the eye (the retina) and this creates a clear sharp image. However, in people who are short- or long-sighted the cornea is too steep or to flat and light is focused in front of, or behind, the retina which causes a blurry image.

Newly developed surgical procedures such as Laser-in-situ keratomileusis , or LASIK , can correct many of the most common vision problems. LASIK eye surgery uses lasers to reshape the clear dome at the cornea , the part of the eye that focuses most of the light onto the retina . It corrects the excessive steepness' or latness' of the cornea and allows light to once again be focused perfectly onto the retina.

Your ophthalmologist will begin by marking the outermost layer of cornea with a special type of water-soluble surgical ink. A device called a microkeratome is then used to create a very thin flap in the cornea, and then a laser reshapes the cornea underneath this flap. The flap is then replaced and helps the healing process. Finally, the doctor administers eye drops to minimize inflammation and the risk of infection. The surgery takes about 5 to 10 minutes per eye, and both eyes can usually be done in the same day.

LASIK eye surgery is generally performed in a surgical suite and patients are often given a mild sedative to help with relaxation. You'll be awake but relaxed, and although you may feel some mild discomfort, there is not usually any pain and you'll be allowed to return home immediately afterwards.

After your procedure

Your ophthalmologist will be able to instruct you on the most appropriate post-operative care. You should be able to return to everyday activities within 2-5 days after the operation, and it's recommended that you do not wear makeup for a short period of time. Your doctor will prescribe special eye drops in order to prevent infection and inflammation, and you should avoid high-impact activities.

Long term outcome

The recovery period for LASIK eye surgery is relatively short. Short-term side effects, such as sensitivity to light, usually disappear within a couple of days and blurred vision or visual distortions occur in some patients, but usually disappear within several weeks to and up to 3 months.

The long-term outcome for LASIK patients is very good, with the results of the surgery being permanent. However, laser eye surgeries have only been available for about ten years and because it is a relatively new procedure, life long results have not been determined.

Risks and limitations

All surgery carries some risks, such as infection. There are other risks that are more specific to this procedure, and it is important that you talk to your eye surgeon about the possible complications prior to surgery. Most patients are pleased with the outcome of their surgeries; however, LASIK eye surgery is not guaranteed to restore perfect eyesight.

Pre-existing medical conditions can alter the level of risk associated with any procedure, and it is important that you notify your surgeon of any medical problems prior to surgery. It is also important to follow your surgeon's instructions both before, and after, surgery to ensure that these risks are minimised


LASIK eye surgery typically costs around $3400 per eye.

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