LASIK Surgery - What To Expect During Surgery
LASIK surgery isn't scary, when you know what to expect from your surgeon. Typically the LASIK procedure is performed while a patient is still awake. While this sounds scary, it really isn't.
Most surgeons provide patients with a pre-operative sedative to help them relax. An example is Valium. Your doctor will also provide anesthetic eye drops before conducting surgery. All of this helps improve your comfort and ease during the procedure.
Two Steps During LASIK Procedure
The actual procedure involves two main steps. First, the doctor will use a microkeratome or femtosecond laser microkeratome (if the patient is receiving IntraLASIK procedure) to create a layer or flap of corneal tissue.
During this first phase, you may feel a bit uncomfortable as the surgeon pulls back the thin flap created to access the cornea. Other than this, you'll likely notice little pain or discomfort for the duration of surgery.
The next main step involves using an excimer laser to reshape and form the stroma of the cornea. The laser used vaporizes tissue in a safe way so the healthy tissue surrounding the stroma isn't disturbed unnecessarily, and the cornea can be formed and shaped correctly. If you were to peer in while your doctor conducted surgery you'd notice the layers removed by your surgeon are extremely thin… almost too thin to see!
Typically once the surgeon lifts the corneal flap you'll find your vision a bit blurry. This is natural as your cornea is being shaped and altered. During this time you'll probably be able to detect the light coming from the laser. This may be a bit disorienting, but you shouldn't experience any true pain or discomfort. The more prepared you are for these sensations, the more relaxed you'll be when they occur.
While performing surgery, most surgeons use computer systems to track their patient's progress and eye position. This helps ensure precise shaping and placement of the flap and cornea lens. Once the surgeon has actually reshaped the cornea, they'll replace the thin flap they created to help promote faster and safer healing. This flap serves as sort of a temporary band aide following surgery.
Benefits of LASIK Surgery
LASIK provides most patients the opportunity to see better than they have their entire lives without additional vision correction. All this for a short period of disorientation or discomfort. The recovery time is very brief and the pain associated with surgery most times minimal. Most patients will also experience few complications if screened properly before surgery… but since there are complications, it's best to discuss them.
Some complications may result from surgery. Some patients for example may experience higher-order aberrations following surgery. These are slight visual disturbances a doctor may not pick up on during a run-of-the-mill eye exam. Some controversy exists about the effects of LASIK on higher order aberrations; many doctors are not yet clear the exact impact lasik procedures have on these, whether improving them or making them worse.
Still others suggest another visual disturbance, spherical aberration, may result from the actual Lasik or PRK procedures. Still, there are new technologies providing surgeons more and more ability to correct just as much as necessary and adjust for the tendency to under or overcorrect, thereby virtually eliminating this problem.
Early complications may include development of DLK or diffuse lamellar keratitis, though this condition typically resolves on treatment. Without treatment however, it can cause permanent vision loss, so always go to follow up exams. Post infection problems occur in roughly 1% or less of patients following surgery. More commonly reported side effects include dry eye or glare produced from surgery. Fortunately doctors can use newer equipment in some cases to also address this problem, commonly associated with individuals with pupils larger than average.
Most patients despite the potential complications report they are more than satisfied with the results of their surgery. Talk with your eye doctor to find out whether you are a good candidate for LASIK today.
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