What is LASIK and Who Needs it?
LASIK stands for (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis); In other words laser-assisted corneal reshaping. It is primarily used to treat myopia (distance vision issues / nearsightedness). It can also treat astigmatism and hyperopia (farsightedness).
LASIK a simple procedure but requires very specific and detailed measurements of the eye shape, corneal thickness, and current glasses prescription. The examination takes anywhere from 1 to 3 hours. Once your pre-op examination has been thoroughly completed you can then have the procedure, if you are a candidate.
The procedure takes 5-20 minutes to complete and is done in 2 stages. First, a flap is created on the cornea. By using a laser, a small incision is made on the surface of the eye. Then, the flap is lifted and a 2nd laser is used to reshape the cornea. The flap is then put back in place and healing can begin.
90% of patients see 20/20 or better the very next day. Many premium LASIK practices have a 98% - 20/20 success rate. There are very few, and rarely ever any complications with LASIK. The most common complaint is dry-eye, which gets better in time.
Types of LASIK
There are 2 types of LASIK - Microkeratome (blade) and All-Laser. The reshaping of the cornea is always performed with an excimer laser. However, the cutting of the flap can be done with a blade or a laser.
Premium LASIK practices are All-Laser. Instead of a blade to cut the flap, they use a femtosecond laser to create the flap. With the microkeratome blade, you are leaving it up to the surgeon to do the best job he can. Whereas with the laser there is almost no chance of error, as the measurements are programmed into the machine and done with “laser precision.” The method of flap creation is an important question to ask your surgeon, before proceeding with surgery. Lasers are expensive.
Cornea Reshaping Excimer Lasers
There are many types of excimer lasers that can be used for the reshaping of the cornea. Conventional excimer lasers generally aim to simply recreate your eyeglasses prescription. Millions of people have the same glasses prescriptions. However, no 2 eyes on Earth are identical, not even your own 2 eyes. Premium LASIK practices use wavefront technology also known as “custom LASIK.” By measuring refractive errors in your eye in more increments and at hundreds of points on the surface of the eye, Wavefront LASIK is 25X more precise than conventional LASIK.
Contacts vs. LASIK
Glasses and contacts can be very frustrating. They can also be expensive. If you like to fall asleep on the couch every night, contacts can even be dangerous. If you are active, glasses and contacts can hinder your performance greatly. The risk of infection or permanent damage to your eyes from contact lenses is far greater than any risk associated with LASIK surgery.
Regarding cost, the average yearly cost of glasses and contacts is $1,000. LASIK surgery can last 30+ years. The national average for All-Laser LASIK is $2,300 per eye. After just 5 years, you’ll start to have massive savings. Most practices offer 0% financing and extended payment plans as well.
How to Choose an Eye Surgeon
Everyone has a different motivation for getting LASIK. You may be into the great outdoors, you might spend a lot of time in the car, you might like bird watching, you might be taking a vacation to the Caribbean soon, you might lose your glasses all the time, you might work at a computer, or maybe you’re just plain sick of glasses getting in the way of your life. Regardless, it’s important to choose the right surgeon. There are some general questions you can ask to ensure that you have the best result possible.
DOES THE SURGEON USE A BLADE OR A FEMTOSECOND LASER TO CREATE THE FLAP?
HOW MANY SURGERIES HAS THE SURGEON PERFORMED?
IS THE SURGEON BOARD CERTIFIED?
ON WHICH BOARD IS HE OR SHE CERTIFIED?
DOES THE SURGEON HAVE SPECIALTY TRAINING IN CORNEA, REFRACTIVE, AND CATARACT SURGERY?
DOES THE SURGEON USE WAVEFRONT TECHNOLOGY?
HOW MUCH TIME DID THE SURGEON SPEND WITH YOU AT THE CONSULTATION?