Could LASIK change your life?
Needing glasses or contacts to see may cramp your lifestyle. Glasses fog up, fall off, scratch, and break. Frames and thick lenses interfere with side vision. Contacts can irritate your eyes, especially if dust gets under a lens or you have dry eyes or allergies. Both glasses and contacts can limit your choice of careers or sports. LASIK may be an option that could reduce or eliminate your need for glasses and contacts.
Is LASIK right for you?
The success of LASIK depends mainly on your eyes. LASIK may be right for you if your vision is stable and you have myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness) with or without astigmatism (oval-shaped curve of the cornea, a clear covering on the front of the eye), and no other eye problems. You also need to understand the possible risks and be realistic about what to expect. LASIK works well for most people. But, for the best results, you may need a second LASIK procedure. Know that there is no guarantee that you'll have perfect vision or never need distance or reading glasses again. It takes just several days to a few weeks for your eye to heal and your vision to clear. You'll feel minimal discomfort during and after the procedure.
Evaluating your eyes
Your eye doctor will examine your eyes to make sure LASIK is right for you. Your eyes will be dilated and your refraction (the way light focuses in your eye) measured. Your doctor will also examine your cornea, take computerized measurements (corneal topography) of its shape, and measure its thickness using ultrasound. Corneal topography shows the shape of your cornea. You'll look into a lighted cone as the computer analyzes the surface of your cornea.
Risks and Complications
Before LASIK, you'll be asked to sign a consent form. Some of the risks your eye doctor will discuss with you may include the following:
- Greater sensitivity to glare or seeing halos around lights (most often temporary)
- Farsightedness changing to nearsightedness
- Nearsightedness changing to farsightedness
- New or increased astigmatism
- Tiny wrinkles in the corneal flap, requiring a repositioning of the flap
- A haze in the cornea during the first few days or weeks after surgery (rare).
- Vision may remain cloudy for a month or more (very rare).
- Blurry vision, even with glasses (very rare)
- Infection, which could scar the cornea and decrease vision (very rare)
Correcting your vision with LASIK
Your cornea takes the light that enters your eye and focuses it onto the retina (the back of the eye). Problems with the shape of the cornea can keep you from seeing clearly. During LASIK, special instruments reshape the cornea. This lets the cornea focus light better so your vision is closer to normal.
With myopia, the curve of the cornea is too steep. This makes the distance between the cornea and the retina too long. Light rays from distant objects focus in front of the retina, making them look blurry.
With hyperopia, the curve of the cornea is too flat. This makes the distance between the cornea and the retina too short. Light rays from close objects focus behind the retina, making them look blurry.
With astigmatism, the cornea is oval-shaped instead of round, making both distant and near objects look distorted.