1. What is LASIK ?
2. Am I a good candidate for LASIK ?
3. How is LASIK performed ?
4. What to expect after the surgery
5. What side effects, risks and complications should I be aware of?
6. What will my vision be like after LASIK?
7. Can LASIK correct presbyopia?
8. What if I am not suitable for LASIK?
LASIK or laser in situ keratomileusis is an outpatient surgical procedure used to treat:
Your eye doctor uses a special laser to reshape the cornea (the transparent covering of the eye) to improve the way light rays focus on the retina (the light-sensitive “film” at the back of the eye).
LASIK is performed to decrease your reliance on glasses and contact lenses. In most cases, spectacle and contact lens independence is achieved.
Do note that if you are beyond 45 years of age and require glasses for reading (a condition called presbyopia), you will probably still need your reading glasses after LASIK.
Not everyone can have LASIK or will benefit from it. Your eye doctor will advise you in detail on the conditions that prevent you from being a good candidate for the procedure.
Generally, in order to have LASIK, you should
Most importantly, you must have realistic expectations about the outcome of the procedure, and be willing to accept the potential risks associated with the procedure. Fortunately, LASIK is very safe, and the results excellent, and most patients are extremely happy with how the procedure has changed their lives.
LASIK is performed as an outpatient procedure.
This is what happens:
In some cases, a contact lens that acts like a bandage is placed over the cornea to allow proper healing of the flap to occur. This will be removed by your doctor, usually the next day.
A video showing how Femtosecond (Bladeless) LASIK is performed. The flap created by the femtosecond laser is lifted by the surgeon who subsequently applies an excimer laser to alter the shape of the cornea. The flap is then repositioned. The flap adheres nicely to the cornea without the need for sutures (stitches).
Here are important points to note:
Overall, the surgery and post-surgery recovery is a pleasant experience for most patients!!
Most patients are able to return to work a day or two later. Stabilization of vision takes a few weeks, and varies from patient to patient.
Like any surgery, LASIK has side effects that you need to know about and carefully consider before deciding on having the surgery. Fortunately, LASIK is a very safe procedure and most of the side effects are mild and temporary. These include redness, dry eyes, discomfort, hazy vision, fluctuating vision, haloes, glare, starbursts and light sensitivity. Over- or under-correction may occur, and additional surgery (enhancement surgery) may be required in some cases. The serious side-effects that can result in permanent loss of vision are very rare, and these include severe inflammation, infection and cornea ectasia (weakening and thinning of the cornea).
Imagine being able to see the face of the clock when you open your eyes the first thing in the morning. Imagine not needing to wear your glasses and contact lenses to read, drive, use the computer, swim and during other sporting activities. This is the freedom that LASIK can give you. The surgery is life-changing, and is gratifiying for both patient and surgeon.
However, it is important for you to have realistic expectations when considering LASIK for yourself. LASIK allows most patients to perform their everyday tasks without glasses or contact lenses, but in some cases, these corrective aids may still be required.
Standard LASIK cannot correct presbyopia, the age-related loss of near near vision due to a loss of autofocusing power of the eye. With or without LASIK, most patients will require glasses for reading after the age of 45. Some people choose a vision correction method called monovision, which leaves one eye slightly short-sighted to allow for close work, while the other eye is adjusted for distance vision. Monovison works well for many patients. Your eye doctor will help you decide if you are suitable for this.
Do not despair! Alternatives to LASIK are available. Dr Cordelia Chan performs a wide variety of refractive surgical procedures that aim to give good vision, and if you are not suitable for LASIK, there are likely to be alternatives for you. In fact, for every patient, Dr Chan selects a procedure that best suits their needs, rather than to see if they fit into the criteria of just one particular procedure.
If you’re not suitable for LASIK, other options are available to you.