Am I A Good Candidate for LASIK?

At Optique this is one of the most common questions our doctors get from patients, so Dr. Z wanted to talk about the process and dispel some LASIK myths to give everyone a better understanding.  

What is LASIK?

LASIK (Laser Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusisis) is a refractive surgical technique developed in the late 1980s to provide permanent vision correction or to reduce the need for glasses or contact lenses.  To date nearly 20 million LASIK procedures have been performed in the United States.  Since its introduction, LASIK surgery has gone through many revolutions, and the procedure and equipment being used are continually being improved.

How is LASIK performed?

The goal of LASIK is to permanently alter the shape of the cornea in order to allow light to be properly focused on the retina without the need for corrective lenses.  In order to achieve this, a thin layer of the cornea is lifted to create a flap.  The laser then reshapes the underlying corneal layers before the flap is placed back over the cornea.  Once the corneal flap is in place, light can properly focus through the newly reshaped cornea onto the retina.

Who can get LASIK?

  • LASIK works much better on myopic or near-sighted individuals as opposed to hyperopic or far-sighted individuals.
  • With today’s advanced LASIK technology, astigmatism correction is possible with LASIK, but depending on the severity of the astigmatism, this procedure may not be advised.
  • It is very important that a patient considering LASIK has a stable refractive prescription, and I recommend 2 years of stability before going through with LASIK.
  • LASIK does not correct reading vision, and people needing reading glasses will still need them after LASIK, and some individuals who do not need reading glasses already will need them after LASIK
  • Before LASIK can be considered, very detailed measurements of the cornea have to be taken to determine if the procedure will be successful

What happens before and after the surgery?

At Optique we are happy to assist with all pre and post operative care for our LASIK patients.  Once the initial measurements are taken, it is important for contact lens wearers to go without lenses for a set amount of time determined by the surgeon (usually 1-4 weeks) before the pre-operative exam.  Several days before the surgery, final corneal measurements will be taken, and a dilated refraction will be performed.

A set followup schedule is required after LASIK with post-operative exams occurring 1 day, 1 week, 1 month and 3 months after the procedure to assess healing and vision.  Annual exams are then required to assess the stability of the procedure.

How long does LASIK last?

Ideally the vision correction from the LASIK procedure will last indefinitely.  It is not uncommon, however, several years after the surgery for some refractive error to re-emerge.  This can usually be addressed by glasses or contact lenses, and sometimes it can be addressed by a second LASIK procedure.  Since LASIK does not address near vision complaints, individuals will still need reading glasses as they get older even after LASIK.

Overall LASIK is a great option for the right person who has the right expectations.  If you have been considering LASIK, please let us know so we can discuss your options.  We work closely with several LASIK clinics in the Austin area, and we would be happy to help you make the right decision.

15 February, 2016