Sick of wearing glasses and contacts every day? Wish you had a more permanent solution?
If you’re currently suffering from nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism, a common laser eye surgery procedure called LASIK may be the answer you’ve been looking for.
Although it isn’t for everyone, LASIK can significantly sharpen your vision and improve your quality of life if you are a good candidate for the procedure.
What is LASIK?
LASIK is a laser-assisted surgery that reshapes the cornea—the very front and center portion of the eye which covers the iris and pupil.
The cornea’s primary function is to refract the light entering your eyeball onto the lens, which makes the final “adjustments” necessary to clearly focus the image onto the retina. But if your cornea is too flat, too curved, or not smooth enough, it may lead to visual defects:
- Nearsightedness (myopia) if the cornea is too curved
- Farsightedness (hyperopia) if the cornea is too flat
- Astigmatism (which causes blurry vision) if the cornea is irregularly shaped
During the LASIK procedure, a laser is used to cut a small flap in the surface of the eye. Then, another computer-controlled laser is used to reshape the cornea in order to reduce or eliminate your myopia, hyperopia, or astigmatism.
Although the entire appointment may last as long as 2 hours or so to account for prep and recovery time, the actual surgery usually takes less than 15 minutes.
What Is the Long-Term Outlook?
Most people notice a dramatic improvement in their vision very quickly—often within a day. Your vision should continue to gradually improve until it reaches its maximum performance level several weeks after the surgery.
Temporary discomfort and side effects (burning, itching, blurry vision, dry eye light sensitivity, excess tear production, halos, poor night vision) are normal and common, especially within the first three months. You should try to rest your eyes as much as possible for at least the first few days after the procedure.
Most people are able to return to work or school within two or three days.
Should I Consider LASIK?
LASIK is a great option for many patients. It’s helped millions of people improve their eyesight, and more than 95% of them report satisfaction with the results. However, it isn’t for everyone.
Certain conditions or restrictions may disqualify you as an ideal candidate for the procedure:
- If your corneas are extremely thin, LASIK may not be recommended.
- If your refractive errors are especially severe, LASIK may not be compatible.
- LASIK is only recommended for people with stable vision, so if your prescription has recently changed you may not be well suited for the procedure.
- If you have a dry eye, scar tissue in your eye, or certain other conditions, you may be disqualified.
- We do not recommend LASIK for pregnant women, or for children under age 18.
Weighing the Pros and Cons
Beyond these conditions, it’s important to be realistic about the outcome and weight the positives and negatives carefully.
LASIK is highly successful on average, and long-term side effects or complications are exceedingly rare. Although no surgery can ever be fully guaranteed, it is one of the safest surgical procedures available today, with an outstanding track record of success and patient satisfaction.
That said, keep in mind:
- While most patients do achieve 20/20 vision or better after LASIK, results do vary. It is possible you will still need glasses or contacts at least part of the time even after LASIK, although your prescription will likely be much lower than it was before.
- LASIK is not a cure for aging. Gradual loss of near-focusing ability associated with aging (presbyopia) is normal and unaffected by LASIK. So, you may still need reading glasses later in life.
If your near or farsightedness is not severe, or you don’t mind wearing corrective lenses, you might decide that the temporary side effects and small risk of long-term issues are not worth the potential benefits.
On the other hand, the benefits can be extremely liberating, especially for those with significant visual limitations. Many people tell us that LASIK was the best choice they ever made!
Not sure what to think yet?
Stop in for a visit at the Tucson Eye Institute. We are a team of medically focused eye specialists who can give you a thorough examination and a comprehensive breakdown of your treatment options—risks, benefits, and outcomes. We are always happy to help!
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8:00AM - 5:00PM
By Appointment Only:
First Saturday of the month from 8:00AM - 2:00PM