LASIK (Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis) is the most popular refractive surgery available to improve your eyesight to near-perfect condition. Each year, more than one million LASIK procedures are performed in the United States. LASIK is a great option to correct your vision if you have refractive eye errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism. Find out how LASIK is done, what the benefits are, and just how drastically it can improve your vision!
Millions of people have vision problems that require them to have glasses or contact lenses because there is a “refractive eye error”. This means that light focuses in the wrong area of the eye, causing blurry vision. 34 million Americans have nearsightedness, meaning distant objects are blurry. Light enters the eye and will focus before it hits the retina tissue, creating blurry vision. 14.2 million Americans have farsightedness, which is when close objects are blurry.
These conditions happen when light focuses behind the retina tissue, which interprets light and tells your brain what you see. When light doesn’t focus on the retina, you see blurry without corrective lenses. Astigmatism happens to about 1 in 3 people and is when light focuses at two different points instead of one. However, refractive errors can be corrected with glasses, contact lenses, or LASIK surgery.
LASIK is an eye surgery that can help correct your vision when refractive eye errors make it so light focuses at the wrong area in your eye. To correct your vision, a small incision is made in the cornea—or outer clear covering of your eye—and folded back like a book. A laser is used to fix the part of your eye that causes the refractive eye error. Then, the clear covering of your cornea is flapped back in placed, where it heals back together in a few days.
Once proper healing happens, our patients tend to enjoy clear vision that can completely change their life. That change means no more glasses indoors and outdoors or switching to various pairs of glasses, transitions lenses or sunglasses. It also means not needing contact lenses, lens cases, solutions and other products you constantly need to buy for your vision. LASIK is a procedure that can last for many years to come and can allow you to wake up with immediate, clear vision each day. That’s definitely something to consider if you wake up with blurry vision!
After your LASIK procedure, you will use medicated eye drops and clear protective shields to cover your eyes. Patients can open their eyes and will be able to see well enough to walk without glasses, but will not be able to drive home on their own. We provide medicated eye drops several times a day for a week or more to prevent infection and help the healing. Artificial tears can also help the eyes stay moist and comfortable. The eyes should be rested as much as possible the day of surgery for optimal healing.
The next day, you should see well enough to drive and resume your normal activities. Use care though not to rub your eyes until it is safe to do so. You may be asked to return to visit your doctor the following day for an eye exam. They will want to check your vision and be sure your eyes appear to be healing as they should. You will be given any additional instructions necessary about eye drops and/or artificial tears, and you can ask the doctor any questions you may have.
For most patients, LASIK surgery will correct vision to 20/20 vision, which is considered to be “perfect”. Though most patients see clearly within a day or so after LASIK, it can take several months before your eyes completely stabilize. Until then, improvements in your vision can still occur in fits and jumps. If several months pass and your vision is still blurred, be sure to communicate and visit with your LASIK surgeon. It may be appropriate to have a second LASIK surgery—an enhancement—to sharpen your eyesight further.
If an enhancement is not required, eyeglasses or contact lenses may be used to help. We will be happy to examine your eyes and discuss the options available to you. Even if your vision seems perfect after LASIK, you may still require or be more comfortable with eyewear.
When outdoors, it’s optimal and sometimes urgent to protect your eyes from the sun’s strong and sometimes harmful rays. Use sunglasses that provide 100% UV protection. For sports-sunglasses, the lenses need to have poly-carbonate for extra strength and protection. Anytime you work with power tools or do any activity where eye injury is possible, be sure to use safety glasses with poly-carbonate lenses.
If you’re over 40 (or close), you could need reading glasses after LASIK. Many LASIK patients benefit from prescription eyeglasses for night driving while others are fine. Even a mild prescription will make your vision sharper for added safety and comfort at night.
LASIK is not for every patient, although most patients can have this option to correct their eyesight. Not every patients sees a 100% change in their vision, but you must take chronic conditions, diseases and individual health into account for these individual cases. About 30% of patients experience dry eye after their surgery, which can be corrected by using eye drops as symptoms occur. If you would like to have clear vision now and for years to come, ask us about LASIK. Call Peeper’s Optical today at (303) 333-2800!