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Everything you need to know about LASIK eye surgery


Photo: Paper Boat Creative / Getty Images

It's been nearly two decades since the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) launched LASIK eye surgery has approved. Since then nearly 10 million people have used the visual acuity surgery, but many are afraid of staying under the knife – and the possible side effects of outpatient treatment.

"LASIK is a fairly straightforward operation, I did it myself almost 20 years ago, and I operated on many family members, including my brother," says Karl Stonecipher, MD, a clinical ophthalmologist at the University of North Carolina and Medical Director of the TLC Laser Eye Center in Greensboro, NC.

It may seem like a godsend, but before you run your peepers through the process, you should look at these eye opening instructions for LASIK.

What is a LASIK eye surgery?

Tired of relying on glasses to see contacts sharply? (Or, do not you want to worry about 28 years of contact jamming in your eye?)

"LASIK or" laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis "is the most commonly performed laser eye surgery to treat myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism says Samuel D. Pierce, OD, the current president of the American Optometric Association (AOA) and a practicing optometrist in Trussville, Alaska. After surgery, the vast majority of people who received LASIK underwent eye surgery in 20/40 vision (the level Better, he says.

LASIK eye surgery is a two-part process, Dr. Stonecipher explains.

  1. The surgeon cuts a small rag off the top of the corneal layer (the clear cover on the front of the eye that bends the light when it enters the eye).

  2. The surgeon forms the hor with a laser new (so that the light entering the eye is accurate

If you spend about an hour in the operating room, you are on the operating table for only 1

5 minutes, says Pierce. "LASIK is performed with a topical anesthetic, and many surgeons give an oral drug to help the patient relax." (That means, yes, you are awake, but you will not feel any of this cutting and lasering.)

The lasers used in LASIK are remarkably sophisticated, using the same tracking technology that NASA used to deliver the shuttles to the International Space Station, says Eric Donnenfeld, MD, clinical professor of ophthalmology at New York University and founding partner of Ophthalmic Consultants in Long Island, Garden City, NY.

"The advanced technology protects patients from damage and ensures that the procedure proceeds appropriately," says Dr. Donne field. No surgery is 100 percent effective, but estimates show that 95-98.8 percent of patients are satisfied with the results.

"Six to ten percent of patients may require an additional procedure, which is often referred to as improvement. Eyeglasses or contacts could be disappointing," Dr. Stonecipher. (PS Did you know that you can also eat for better eye health?)

What is the history of LASIK eye surgery?

"Radial keratotomy, a procedure in which small radial incisions are made in the cornea, became popular in the 1980s as a way to correct nearsightedness," says Inna Ozerov, MD, ophthalmologist at the Miami Eye Institute in Hollywood , Florida.

After the Kremer excimer laser was introduced in 1988 as a tool for biological purposes (not just computers), eye surgery progressed rapidly. The first LASIK patent was granted in 1989. In 1994 many surgeons introduced LASIK as an "off-label procedure" according to Dr. med. Stonecipher or performed the procedure prior to official approval.

"2001". bladeless & # 39; LASIK or IntraLase has been approved. In this procedure, a lightning-fast laser is used instead of the microblade to create a valve, "says Dr. Ozerov.While traditional LASIK is slightly faster, leafless LASIK generally produces more consistent corneal valves, both of which have pros and cons, and Doctors choose the best option on a patient-by-patient basis.

How to Prepare for LASIK

Prepare Your Wallet First: The Average Cost of LASIK on the Internet According to a report by All About Vision the US average in 2017 is $ 2,088 per eye then you become sociable and screened.

"Talk to your ophthalmologist and talk to your friends. Millions of people have had LASIK so you can hear their personal experiences, "says Dr. Louis Probst, the medical director and a surgeon for TLC laser eye centers in the Midwest." Do not just go to the cheapest laser center. You have only one pair of eyes, so you are researching the best centers with the best doctors. "

Dr. Pierce confirms these feelings:" Patients should beware of those who promise or guarantee a perfect result or low prices without or offer little discussion of aftercare or possible side effects. "

When you land with a doctor and decide Stonecipher

" To skip LASIK from a medical perspective, screening is crucial. "

" We He now uses profound learning technologies and artificial intelligence in ophthalmology to better test for eye problems that could potentially lead to eye problems, worse quality results in correcting laser vision – and have shown incredible results, "he continues.

Aim of the previous evening The surgery is to get a good night's sleep and alcohol or medication to pay attention to those who could dry out their eyes. Your doctor should explain if and how you need to optimize medication and contact lenses to LASIK. (Related: What you need to know about Digital Eye Strain)

Who is qualified for LASIK (and who is not)?

"LASIK candidates require a healthy eye and normal corneal thickness and scan," says Dr Probst. The surgery is for many an excellent option with myopia [nearsightedness] astigmatism [an abnormal curve in the eye] and hyperopia [farsightedness] he says. "About 80 percent of people are good candidates."

If you need stronger contacts or glasses each year, you may have to wait: your prescription must be relatively stable for at least two years before LASIK. adds Dr. Donnenfeld added.

You may want to avoid LASIK eye surgery if you visit Drs. Ozerov and Donnenfeld:

"The AOA recommends that candidates for LASIK should be at least 18 years old, in good general condition, stable eyesight and have no abnormalities of the cornea or the outer eye, "says Dr. Pierce. "Patients who are interested in corneal abnormalities should first have a comprehensive eye exam performed by an optometrist to assess their eye health and determine their vision needs." (Yes, did you know that you also need to train your eyes?)

What is a recovery from LASIK eye surgery?

"LASIK recovery is surprisingly fast," says Dr. Probst. "They feel good and only look good four hours after the procedure, so you have to be careful with your eyes for a week to heal well."

During the first 24 hours (mostly in the first 24 hours), some symptoms are normal to post five LASIK), it can often be handled with over-the-counter painkillers. Donne field. In addition, prescribed lubricating eye drops can help to keep the eyes comfortable, prevent infections, and promote healing. Plan the start of the day of your operation and the day after to rest.

The surgery usually requires a follow-up with your doctor about 24 hours after the procedure. Then you will probably get the green light to return to normal daily activities. He or she will likely schedule follow-up visits one week, one month, three months, six months and one year after surgery.

"After the first day, patients may have transient side effects as part of the surgery The healing process involves halos around the eyes, tears of the eyes, swollen eyelids, and photosensitivity at night, which should decrease within a week, but the healing period may be three to six months The patients have some follow-up appointments so that the doctor can monitor their progress, "Dr. Donne field.

You may also have heard of a rarer and more sinister side effect of LASIK eye surgery, such as 35-year-old Detroit meteorologist Jessica Starr died of suicide while recovering from the procedure. She had LASIK a few months ago and admitted that she had "a bit of a fight" afterwards. Starr's suicide is not the only one that has been questioned as a potential impact of LASIK. However, it is not clear why or if LASIK played a role in these deaths. The fight with pain or visual disturbances after the procedure (or another invasive procedure) could definitely be annoying. Most doctors point to the large number of successful procedures as a reason not to worry about these isolated and mysterious cases.

"Suicide is a complex mental health problem and for the news media the direct link between LASIK and suicide is irresponsible and frankly dangerous," says Dr. Ozerov. "Patients should feel comfortable returning to their surgeon if they have difficulty recovering, and the good news is that most patients will recover and achieve a successful outcome."

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