Laser eye surgery, often called LASIK surgery, is one of the most successful treatments available to restore poor or diminishing vision. A successful laser eye surgery means saying goodbye to glasses, contacts, and looking at the world with a perpetual squint. There are several conditions for which laser surgery has been successful:  Myopia, Hyperopia, and Astigmatism.  These conditions are usually the result of a misshapen or damaged cornea.  Once a patient has healed from LASIK surgery, improved vision is immediate.

Before understanding how this procedure works, it is important to understand a bit about how the eye works.  The main parts of the eye responsible for vision include:

  • Cornea
  • Sclera
  • Iris
  • Lens
  • Pupil
  • Retina
  • Vitreous
  • Humor
  • Optic Nerve

The cornea covers the outer center of the eye. Its role is to bend, or refract, the light that enters through the pupil.  The light is directed into the iris, and continues through the lens and the vitreous. Eventually, this refracted light comes to a sharp point in the rear of the eyeball – focused on the retina. The retina uses photoreceptor nerve cells to translate the light into electric impulses which travel down the optic nerve.

These electrical impulses are translated into an image by the brain.  Unfortunately, a damaged or misshapen cornea distorts the light and it can appear as more than one point on the retina.  This creates blurred and/or distorted images.

Laser Eye Surgery: A Solution For Myopia, Hyperopia, or Astigmatism

As mentioned above, a distorted cornea often causes the following conditions:

  • Nearsightedness (Myopia)
  • Farsightedness (Hyperopia)
  • Astigmatism – a separate condition where light fails to merge to a single point on the retina.

Laser eye surgery can usually fix the above conditions. After a routine eye exam, an optometrist or ophthalmologist can confirm whether or not laser eye surgery is an option for a patient.

There are three situations in which laser eye surgery should not take place:

  • If a patient is younger than 18 years of age
  • A patient who is pregnant
  • A patient who is nursing

What Is Laser Eye Surgery?

Laser eye surgery amends the shape of the cornea in about 15 minutes.  There are no stitches involved.  Patients should notice visible improvement within about 24 hours.

The patient’s eye is completely numbed prior to the procedure and s/he will only feel a slight pressure. The doctor will create a small “flap” using a microkeratome – a very small oscillating blade. The flap will be gently folded back to expose the cornea.  A laser will be used to contour the cornea to the correct proportions, depending on the patient’s prescription.  After the cornea is re-contoured, the flap is gently replaced.  The eye heals so quickly that no stitches are necessary.

Preparation for Laser Eye Surgery

First, the patient will have a pre-operative exam to verify that s/he is a candidate for the procedure. It is advised that contact lenses are not be worn for at least a week prior to the pre-operative exam.  This time period is even longer for patients who wear hard contact lenses.  Patients will also have to refrain from wearing contacts prior to receiving LASIK surgery. The specific period of time will depend on the types of lenses worn.

Post-Op Treatment For LASIK Surgery

After the quick and painless procedure, patients will be prescribed anti-inflammatory drops, as well as an antibiotic, to be taken for a week after the procedure. Patients should also wear dark lenses to protect vulnerable eye tissues from bright light. The eyes should not be rubbed, in order to allow tissues to heal properly, so special goggles should be worn at night until the eyes are completely healed.

In just 15 minutes, LASIK surgery safely provides patients with fresh, positive, and unencumbered views.


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