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 are far-sighted, you may need glasses in order to read the morning paper. If you wear contact lenses, you have the daily hassle of putting them in every morning and taking them out every night. Technological advances are making these partial solutions to vision impairment obsolete. Newly developed surgical procedures utilize the precision of lasers, and one of the most successful eye surgeries is Laser-in-situ keratomileusis, or LASIK. Doctors are able to correct the most common vision problems, from far and near-sightedness to astigmatism, with the LASIK procedure. Cumbersome corrective lenses no longer bother patients who have received successful LASIK surgery.
If you are considering LASIK, the following information will provide you with a good introduction to the procedure. For more detailed information about how this procedure may help you, we recommend that you consult an eye care physician with experience in this procedure.
*The 2010 average price for Lasik Eye Surgery in the United States is approximately $2,150 per eye.
* Eye Surgery is one of the top five cosmetic surgical procedures in 2010.
Laser Eye Surgery is a procedure with long-lasting results.
- What are the most common benefits of this surgery?
- How is the procedure performed?
- How long does the surgery take?
- Where will the procedure be performed?
- How much pain is there?
- What can I expect after the procedure?
- What is the recovery period like?
- What is the long-term outcome like for most people?
- Ideal Candidate:
- Other important information
- Risks and Limitations
What are the most common benefits of LASIK surgery?
LASIK eye surgery is used to correct and restore vision to individuals who currently wear glasses for near-sightedness, far-sightedness, or astigmatism.
Using surgery to correct vision is not necessarily a new idea; other older procedures, such as radial keratotomy, have been used to correct vision for many years. Now, LASIK is able to achieve the same or better results with less pain and a shorter healing time.
How is the LASIK procedure performed?
LASIK eye surgery uses lasers to reshape the clear dome or front surface the eye called the cornea, the part of the eye that focuses light onto the retina. If a person is far-sighted, the cornea is too flat. If a person is near-sighted, the cornea is too steep. In either of these situations, the light does not focus perfectly onto the retina.
Your doctor will begin by marking the outermost layer of cornea with a special type of water-soluble surgical ink. A device called a microkeratome creates a thin flap in the outer layer of the cornea. The laser reshapes the exposed layer of cornea, and the flap is realigned. The flap acts like a natural Band-Aid during the healing process. Finally, the doctor administers eye drops to minimize inflammation and risk of infection
How long does the surgery take?
The surgery takes about five to 10 minutes per eye. Both eyes can be done in the same day.
Where will the procedure be performed?
LASIK eye surgery is generally performed in a surgical suite. A mild sedative is usually administered orally before surgery as well. You'll be awake but relaxed, and although you may feel some mild discomfort, you probably won't feel any pain. Usually, you'll be allowed to return home immediately afterward.
How much pain is there?
The amount of discomfort experienced varies from person to person. Most patients report very little discomfort or none at all. The procedure is performed quite quickly – a few minutes per eye. After the procedure, you may experience some mild discomfort or increased light sensitivity.
What can I expect after the procedure?
Your physician will instruct you on the most appropriate post-operative care for you. You should be able to return to everyday activities within two to five days after the operation. Consult with your physician about driving, swimming, and Jacuzzi activity. No make-up for a period of time is also recommended. Your doctor will prescribe special eye drops in order to prevent infection and inflammation. You should avoid sports and any other activities that may cause injury or sweat to run down into the eyes for at least two weeks following LASIK surgery. We recommend you follow all post-operative care regime prescribed by your physician.
What is the recovery period like?
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. Blurred vision or visual distortions occur in some patients, but usually disappear within several weeks and up to three months.
What is the long-term outcome like for most people?
The long-term outcome for LASIK patients looks promising. Laser eye surgeries have only been used for a little over ten years now. Most patients have found that they are very satisfied with their results.
In general, the best candidates for LASIK are:
- Knowledgeable about the procedure
- In good physical and psychological health
- Willing to follow directions for optimal results
- A desire to improve myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), or astigmatism
- Realistic in their expectations and know the risks and benefits.
- Good corneal curvature, pupil size and good corneal thickness. (Consult with your physician.)
Other important information
There are several alternatives to LASIK eye surgery. Lasers are also used in a procedure called PRK, a procedure similar to LASIK. There are also older, non-laser surgeries such as radial keratotomy. These procedures involve cutting the cornea using very fine surgical scalpels. Other newer non-laser procedures are additional options to consider.
If you are considering surgery to improve your vision, talk to your doctor about each of these alternatives, as well as your goals, budget, and pain tolerance in order to help him/her determine the procedure, or combination of procedures, that will produce the best results for you.
LASIK Risks and Limitations:
Most patients are pleased with the outcome of their surgeries; however, LASIK eye surgery is not guaranteed to restore perfect eyesight. There is a small risk that distortions from the procedure, such as blurred or hazy vision, will be permanent. On rare occasions, results of the surgery are worse than before.
Still, over 90 percent of patients with mild to severe myopia achieve at least 20/40 vision, and many are able to see 20/20. This is from a –1.00 to –10.00 dioptors of nearsightedness. Individuals with more severe sight impairment should expect less from the surgery. For them, LASIK is usually able to improve vision, but not necessarily perfect it.
The information on this web site is only intended as an introduction to this procedure and should not be used to determine whether you will have the procedure performed nor as a guarantee of the result. The best method of determining your options is to consult qualified surgeons who are able to answer specific questions related to your situation.
*Disclaimer: Sorces: American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS), nationally in 2010 and Lasik Surgery News. Most surgeons offer convenient payments plans for this procedure. Cost does not include anesthesia, operating room facility, hospital stay, and other related expenses. Costs may vary depending the extensiveness of the procedure, location, and other factors. Costs are provided solely for research purposes. We are not a plastic surgery company and do not represent any plastic surgeons. For specific estimates, please contact a qualified plastic surgeon.