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LASIK Explained

How LASIK eye surgery improves vision

What is LASIK?

LASIK, (Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis), is a surgical procedure performed on the eye by a physician using a laser. In most cases, LASIK can reduce or eliminate the need for the patient to wear glasses or contact lenses.

How does LASIK surgery help improve vision?

The cornea of the eye focuses light onto the retina to create an image. The typical cornea isn't perfectly shaped, but the imperfection isn't severe enough to distort the image.

But some people have imperfect corneas that do actually create a distorted image on the retina, resulting in poor vision. Until fairly recently, the only option for seeing clearly for those people was the use of corrective eyewear.

Developments in eye research and care in recent years have changed all of that however. Today, many patients are "candidates" for Laser Eye Surgery, the most commonly used form of which is LASIK.

LASIK surgery uses a special laser (under the direct control of an eye surgeon) to reshape the cornea by removing tiny portions of tissue. This allows the cornea to focus light onto the retina correctly resulting in clear vision.

Can anyone benefit from LASIK?

No. Certain eye characteristics and specific health problems make some people poor candidates for LASIK surgery. The only way to find out if LASIK is a possibility for you is to consult your eye doctor.

What are the benefits of LASIK surgery?

LASIK provides several important benefits for many patients, including:

  • LASIK has the potential to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.
  • LASIK surgery reduces or eliminates the need to wear corrective eyewear in most patients.
  • The procedure is generally safe when compared to other types of surgery.
  • There is little or no pain involved with the procedure or during the recovery period.
  • Recovery time is very short. Most patients can drive an automobile and even return to work within one day of having LASIK surgery.
Are there any risks associated with LASIK surgery?

Yes, LASIK isn't risk-free. Here are a few of the risks that LASIK patients may face:
  • There is a chance that the surgery will actually make your vision worse (and sometimes in ways that cannot be corrected with glasses or contact lenses).
  • Some patients develop severe "dry eye syndrome" following LASIK surgery.
  • For some patients, the procedure causes unusual vision problems such as poor night vision, glare, and/or "halos", and these problems often cannot be reversed.
  • The LASIK might not give the patient 20/20 vision, requiring additional surgeries and/or the continued wearing of glasses or contacts.
  • The benefits provided by LASIK surgery in farsighted patients tend to diminish as the patient ages, possibly requiring the use of glasses or contacts in later years.

As you can see, while LASIK eye surgery isn't for everyone, it has great potential for helping many people live with less dependence on glasses or contacts.

If you're interested in having the LASIK procedure performed on yourself or a loved one, consult your eye doctor and consider the benefits and risks described above.

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