LASIK Eye Surgery
Vision is one your most important senses, and in a sense, it’s one of the most fragile. As a result, doctors and researchers have looked for better ways to correct vision problems since the invention of eyeglasses. The invention of the excimer (ultraviolet wavelength) laser in the 1970s provided a new tool, and in 1988, the first laser eye surgery was performed. The LASIK procedure was approved in the U.S. in 1999.
LASIK stands for Laser-Assisted-In-Situ Keratomileusis. Keratomileusis is the technical term for surgically reshaping your cornea, which is the rounded, transparent cover over your iris and pupil. Your cornea helps you focus on the images you look at. LASIK surgery changes your cornea’s shape to correct common vision problems, such as:
- Hyperopia (farsightedness)
- Myopia (nearsightedness)
In a very short time, LASIK eye surgery has become the most popular elective surgery in the country. The procedure — also known as laser vision correction or refractive surgery — has a proven track record as an outpatient procedure. Corrective eye surgery with the LASIK procedure can improve your eyesight to the point that you no longer need corrective lenses.
Before Your LASIK Eye Surgery
Don’t undergo LASIK eye surgery if you’re pregnant or nursing, as your hormones affect many different parts of your body, including your eyes. For example, during these times, you may have different eye measurements. Your eyes have to be stable to get the most from a LASIK procedure. Also, don’t have the procedure if you take such prescription medications such as:
Before your eye surgeon performs your corrective eye surgery, he examines your eyes to ensure that they are otherwise healthy. Laser eye surgery isn’t a miracle cure; it only fixes the shape of your cornea. In fact, it works best when your prescription hasn’t changed in a while. Your eyes have to be healthy for you to bounce back with improved vision.
The eye surgeon or ophthalmologist who performs the LASIK surgery has special training with the laser, and most eye surgeons have successfully completed the procedure hundreds of times. Since it’s an outpatient operation, you can recover at home — just make sure you bring a friend or family member to drive you to and from your appointment.
The LASIK Procedure
This corrective eye surgery begins with anesthetic eye drops. You may be given a mild sedative so you can relax during the operation. Laser eye surgery takes just 10 to 15 minutes for each eye, and you don’t need to be put under general anesthesia. Note that there are different kinds of LASIK surgeries.
Your eye surgeon then cuts a precise flap of corneal tissue with a specialized laser called a femtosecond laser. Once the flap has been cut, which is not painful, you’ll notice that your vision gets blurry. The LASIK procedure continues with the excimer laser, which flashes as it reshapes the inner layers of your cornea.
This is the main part of the operation. The computer-assisted laser sends pulses into your eye. The laser light itself is invisible, as it uses ultraviolet light, but you hear the clicking sounds of the laser turning on and off. This part of the process is also painless. When the laser has completed its work, your eye surgeon realigns and closes the flap over your cornea. Finally, a protective shield is placed over your eye(s) while your corneal tissue heals naturally.
Risks of Laser Eye Surgery
Complications and side effects from LASIK eye surgery are rare, but you should be aware of all risks before you submit to the procedure. Among the potential risks are:
- Itchy eyes
- Abnormally dry eyes
- Red or pink patches on your sclera, a temporary condition
- Infection of your cornea
- Scarring on your cornea
- Sensitivity to bright light
- Halos in your vision
- Abnormal shape to your cornea so contact lenses don’t fit
- Contrast issues that make objects look blurry or fuzzy
- Contrast issues that make night driving impossible
- In very rare cases, worse vision or even permanent loss of vision
Recovering from Corrective Eye Surgery
Immediately after your laser eye surgery, you’ll likely feel some discomfort, but it shouldn’t feel painful. Most often, the short-term effects of the procedure disappear within six hours. These include the itching and burning sensations you feel as the anesthetic wears off. It may feel like you have something in your eye.
For all these reasons, your ophthalmologist provides you with an eye shield so you can’t scratch or accidentally poke your eye while it’s healing. You can usually remove the eye shield the next day or at your follow-up exam; by then, the itchy feeling has subsided. You’re encouraged to keep your eye closed until it has a chance to heal. If you do open your eye, don’t worry if your vision isn’t immediately clear.
Your eye doctor may prescribe a mild pain medication, but you should feel a lot better and your vision should improve by the following day. You need to visit your ophthalmologist within a day or two for a follow-up. In the meantime, don’t go swimming or participate in contact sports. Stay out of hot tubs and don’t drive. And contact your doctor immediately if you experience any severe pain.
Your vision continues to improve over time until it stabilizes into clarity. This can take just several days, although sometimes it can take three months or longer. This is because everyone is a little different and some people just take longer to heal. Regardless how long it takes, your recovery ends with dramatically improved vision in almost all cases.
There have been cases of people needing a second laser eye surgery because the eye surgeon under- or overcorrected the cornea. It’s rare when this happens, though. Symptoms such as vision glare or seeing halos may be an issue for up to six months following your procedure, but they eventually disappear.
LASIK corrective eye surgery modifies your cornea to resolve one issue, whether that’s nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism. Laser eye surgery can’t correct more than one problem. If you had surgery to correct your farsightedness, for example, you may still need reading glasses, especially as you age. But most people get lasting results of clearer vision from the procedure.
Important Reminder: This information is only intended to provide guidance, not a definitive medical advice. Please consult eye doctor about your specific condition. Only a trained, experienced board certified eye doctor can determine an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.
Do you have any questions about LASIK Eye Surgery procedure in NYC? Would like to schedule an appointment with Midtown Manhattan Ophthalmologist, Optometrist Dr. Saba Khodadadian of Manhattan Eye Specialists, please contact our office for consultation with New York eye doctor.
Dr. Saba Khodadadian, Optometrist (NYC Eye Doctor)
New York, NY 10010
(Between Madison Ave & Park Ave)
☎ (212) 533-4821