The dream of being able to wake up and see the alarm clock without
glasses has now become a reality for millions of people worldwide. LASIK
has become the most popular and safest surgical option for correction
of almost all prescriptions, a huge benefit to people who were “chained” to their glasses and contact lenses.
LASIK has offered freedom to go swimming at the beach and not worry about
your contacts getting splashed out or not being able to find your towel
or spouse. It has allowed people to go camping, hiking, fishing
or hunting without having to drag along contact lens cases or solutions.
It has helped golfers play in the rain without having to constantly
wipe their glasses.
It makes SCUBA diving, cycling, running,
water skiing, sailing and boating easier and more enjoyable. LASIK makes
it safer to get out of your house in the event of a midnight emergency.
LASIK makes life better for numerous reasons and truly is a miracle of
our modern times.
Laser in-situ keratomileusis, otherwise known as LASIK, is the most advanced and tested refractive surgery procedure for correcting nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. In 1991, Ionas Pallikaris, MD, in Heraklion, Crete, was the first to use a microkeratome to cut a thin flap of cornea and then apply the excimer laser to remove tissue from within the cornea.
"Keratomileusis" is derived from two Greek words that mean "to shape the cornea." "In-situ" means "in place." Therefore, the term LASIK means "to reshape the cornea in place using laser."
Over the last decade, LASIK has been perfected to become the most popular and trusted technique for correcting vision, exceeding 1 million cases per year.
The LASIK procedure combines two sophisticated techniques of surgery to achieve these miraculous results. The first part involves the use of an instrument, the microkeratome, to create a thin protective layer of corneal tissue that covers the area to be sculpted by the laser. This flap allows for rapid recovery of vision, reduces discomfort after surgery and prevents scarring.
The second part uses a computer-controlled excimer laser — a cold, invisible, ultraviolet laser — to sculpt the underlying cornea, correcting the refractive error. It restores a more natural shape to the surface of your cornea, thereby correcting your vision.
It literally carves your contact lens prescription into your cornea, so you’ll never have to wear contacts again. The protective layer of tissue is repositioned without sutures and is secure after a few seconds of drying so that a patch is not required. Visual recovery is typically rapid, and there is little or no postoperative pain. Eye drops need only to be used for a week.
The actual procedure takes only 15 minutes to do both eyes. LASIK is painless and easier than having your teeth cleaned. A mild sedative (such as Valium) and anesthetic eye drops are all that are used to relax you and make you completely comfortable. A small wire spring keeps you from blinking, and because your eye is numb you won’t realize your eye is being held open.
A sophisticated infrared pupil tracker ensures that all eye movements will be safely followed and the laser will precisely etch the intended area.
Patients can usually see quite well immediately after the surgery and frequently resume normal activities within 24 hours, allowing them a quick return to work, usually the next day. Over 90% of patients drive themselves back to the return appointment the following day. Minor fluctuations and dryness usually resolve after one to two weeks.