What is LASIK?
Most people have heard about LASIK and that it is a procedure to correct blurry vision. But you may not know what is involved in the process and how LASIK (laser in-situ keratomileusis) can change your vision from being blurry to clear without the use of glasses or contact lenses. Studies have shown about 92.6% of patients reach 20/20 or better. Read on to learn more!
First, it’s important to know how your eyes work. Your cornea (outer layer of your eye) refracts (bends) light so it can move through the lens and land on the retina (the back layer of your eye). If your cornea is not ideally shaped, light will not land properly on the retina, causing a refractive error:
- Astigmatism: a common vision condition that causes blurred vision and objects appear distorted. It occurs when the cornea is not perfectly spherical or round.
- Nearsightedness: a condition in which you can see objects near to you clearly, but objects farther away appear blurry. It occurs when the shape of your eye causes light rays to focus images in front of your retina instead of on your retina.
- Farsightedness: a condition in which you can see distant objects clearer, but objects nearby may be blurry. The image falls behind the retina instead of directly on the retina.
LASIK corrects these refractive errors by altering the corneal shape so light can focus on the retina.
3 Steps of LASIK
The entire LASIK procedure takes about 10 minutes for both eyes to be completed. Most patients only experience a sensation of pressure and slight discomfort during the process. We do use a topical numbing agent along with giving each patient a light sedative prior to the procedure.
- The first step of a LASIK procedure is the creation of the corneal flap, which is a thin segment of the outer layer of the cornea. At Skyline LASIK, we use the bladeless femtosecond laser to create your flap. This process takes 13 seconds per eye and we will make both flaps before proceeding to your refractive treatment.
- Next, we lift the LASIK flap. The WaveLight® EX500 excimer laser is used to reshape the underlying corneal tissue to correct your prescription. This process will take anywhere from 3 seconds to 20 seconds depending on your prescription. Individuals who are nearsighted and have astigmatism can have CONTOURA® Vision which is topo-guided refractive surgery. This customized option is based on an individual 3D map taken of the eye, so the most precise corrections are possible. If you are farsighted you will still have the advantages of using wavefront optimized LASIK to give you your optimal results.
- Finally, the flap is gently repositioned into place where it adheres quickly. Your vision will appear like you’re underwater initially. This will improve quickly during the first day as you heal; most people can return to work the next day. It also is not uncommon to feel discomfort the first night after surgery and for vision to fluctuate as you are healing. This is due to the dryness that occurs after the procedure but will improve over time.
Upon check-in, we will review and have you sign the consent forms and handle payment for the procedure. If you are anxious, we will provide relaxation medication. You will not be able to drive immediately after the procedure. Please make sure you have someone available to take you home after your procedure. Taking an Uber or other form of transit is acceptable.
Most patients drive themselves to their exam for their first post-op appointment. You may notice during the brief healing period that your vision fluctuates periodically and you may experience some mild dryness. These symptoms are normal and will improve over time. We ask that you return to our office for all of your follow-up exams at approximately one week, one month, three months and six months.
Safety of LASIK
NASA has approved the use of advanced, all-laser LASIK as safe and reliable enough for astronauts. The U.S. Navy also permits advanced, bladeless LASIK for its fighter pilots. These two official recognitions of the safety and reliability of LASIK should be very reassuring if you are hesitant about having LASIK.
Dream of a Life with Clear Vision? Take Action!
Schedule a consultation at Skyline LASIK today. Our doctors will assess your eye health and determine if LASIK at our Colorado Springs location would be a potentially life-changing procedure for you.