With almost 20 million procedures performed in the United States alone, LASIK laser vision correction surgeries have become an extremely popular way for people to decrease or eliminate their dependence on glasses or contact lenses and treat common vision problems like myopia, hyperopia, and even astigmatism. At Georgia Eye Physicians and Surgeons, P.C., we talk to patients about LASIK surgery almost every day. Here are answers to five of the questions we are asked most often about this treatment.
Am I a candidate for LASIK surgery?
Ultimately, whether you are a good candidate for LASIK surgery is determined by the strength and thickness of your glasses or contact lenses, as well as the shape and health of your cornea. Those over the age of 18 who are seeking good uncorrected vision, but are tired of the hassle and ongoing expense of contact lenses can usually benefit from LASIK surgery. However, about 20% of potential patients may be deemed ineligible for LASIK due to preexisting health conditions, such as severe dry eye, certain corneal diseases, previous eye injuries, or diseases that may affect wound healing. Additionally, because LASIK surgery involves the creation of a flap in the outer cornea, physical trauma to the eye can, in some cases, cause significant complications to those who have had the procedure. Photorefractive keratectomy, or PRK surgery, is often performed as an alternative to LASIK surgery for patients in law enforcement or the military, or who regularly participate in boxing, wrestling, martial arts, or other activities in which blows to the face and eyes are a normal occurrence. I recommend that you come in for a free evaluation and bring your old glasses or contact lens prescription for our review in order to determine which procedure is right for you.
Does LASIK surgery hurt?
LASIK corrective surgery itself is not painful and extremely convenient. The eyes are numbed with eye-drops prior to the procedure, although patients may experience some pressure on the eye and the eyelids. Afterwards, most experience little or no discomfort, but in some cases the eyes may feel scratchy, gritty, or watery. These symptoms are usually temporary and pose only a minor inconvenience for most patients. The procedure itself takes only about 15 to 20 minutes. Both eyes are most frequently treated at the same time, however it is possible that the second eye may be done anywhere from one day to a few days to months after the first eye, depending on the circumstances.
What is the recovery time for LASIK surgery?
Many patients notice improved vision immediately after the procedure, and most are functional without their corrective lenses at the one day post-operative exam. The majority of patients are able to return to their normal activities the next day, and continue to see a gradual increase in their visual acuity during the first five to seven days after the procedure.
What are the possible complications of LASIK surgery?
In an extremely small percentage of patients, undesirable side effects can arise which include chronic dry eye and problems with night vision and halos. The majority of these symptoms usually subside, and some patients say that the night vision or halos are no worse than they experienced with their contact lenses. For reasons that are not completely understood, the eyes do tend to be drier than normal for up to six months after LASIK, requiring frequent use of lubricating drops and sometimes temporary punctual plugs to keep the eyes better lubricated.
What are the results of LASIK surgery?
The vast majority of patients (well over 95%) have reported satisfaction with the results of their procedure, with most achieving uncorrected vision of 20/40 or better. In some cases, minor enhancement procedures may be required in order to optimize the final outcome. Although laser vision correction is considered a permanent procedure, it does not prevent any age related conditions that may develop later, such as presbyopia or cataracts. Such conditions, if they occur, would need to be treated in their normal matter.
If you are interested in any of the many services offered at Georgia Eye Physicians and Surgeons, or would like to make an appointment for a comprehensive eye exam, please contact Georgia Eye today. Be sure to follow Dr. William Segal and Dr. Marc Lay on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for more tips for healthy eyes.