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.
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.
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.
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.
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.