LASIK (Laser-Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis) is a laser vision correcting procedure which continues to bring clear vision to people around the globe every day. It was first approved by the FDA in 1998. Since then, LASIK has been used to improve the vision of over 19 million people.
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LASIK is used to correct myopia (nearsightedness) and hyperopia (farsightedness), as well as astigmatism. Since the advent of SMILE, many nearsighted patients choose to have SMILE in place of LASIK; however, LASIK is able to correct higher prescriptions of nearsightedness and astigmatism than SMILE. Also, LASIK is able to treat hyperopia whereas SMILE is not. LASIK continues to be the laser vision correction procedure of choice for people with hyperopia or large amounts of myopia or astigmatism.
LASIK creates an ultra thin flap in the surface of the cornea using a femtosecond laser. This laser is painless and takes 16 seconds to complete. Once the flap has been created, a second laser — called an excimer laser — is used to reshape the cornea beneath the flap. The excimer laser is also painless and takes between 1–15 seconds to complete, depending on the treatment prescription.
LASIK is safe, effective, and able to treat higher prescriptions than any other laser vision correction procedure. Following the procedure, the corneal flap created by LASIK fits securely in place in the same position where it started. Once it is healed, the flap will remain fastened to its natural position on the eye. The flap is clear and unnoticeable to the naked eye. With specialized equipment, the flap edges can be seen by the doctor. If someone were to have LASIK repeated later in life, the surgeon may be able to lift the original flap to re-treat the cornea; otherwise, the flap will remain unmoved and unnoticeable indefinitely.
LASIK is used to treat up to +6 diopters of hyperopia (farsightedness), -12 diopters of myopia (nearsightedness), and 6 diopters of astigmatism. As with SMILE and PRK, the procedure is only recommended for people who are 18 years or older, with healthy corneas, a stable glasses prescription, and who have no signs of cataract.
For 2 weeks following LASIK surgery, patients should be extra cautious to avoid getting anything in their eyes. This means avoiding eye makeup and swimming. Patients are also asked to wear shields over their eyes while sleeping to prevent them from accidentally rubbing their eyes while they are semi-awake. Following surgery, medicated drops are used for the first week. Preservative-free artificial tears are also used frequently for the first month, then less often after that. Exposure to wind and dust are discouraged during the first 2 weeks following surgery while the eyes are healing. UV-blocking, polarized sunglasses are recommended when out in the sunlight to protect the eyes from UV light while healing.
Following surgery, patients are scheduled for follow-up examination the next day, the following week, 1 month after surgery, and 3 months after surgery. After the 3-month visit, annual exams are recommended to continue monitoring the ongoing health of the eyes.
Laser Vision Correction FAQ
Am I a Good Candidate for Laser Vision Correction?
So, you have made the decision to inquire about laser vision correction. Bravo to you for taking the first step! But are you a good candidate?
Below is a list of requirements:
- You must be over the age of 18
- You have "healthy eyes," meaning free from eye diseases or any corneal abnormalities, including scarring or infections
- You are willing to stay out of soft contact lenses for 1–2 weeks prior to your consultation (4 or more weeks for hard contact lenses)
- You are willing to use your post-op medications and come to your post-op visits
If you have answered yes to these questions, you are ready to schedule a laser vision correction consultation, where you will learn more about the procedure.
What Results Can I Expect from Laser Vision Correction?
With today's precise technology, combined with the expertise and experience of our surgeons, most patients achieve 20/20 or better vision!
Vision following laser vision correction is often better than it was with glasses or contact lenses.
Visual outcomes are dependent on the underlying health of the eye. If the vision is limited by issues in other parts of the eye such as the retina or optic nerve, laser vision correction can focus the eye so that images are as clear as possible, but vision will still be limited by the underlying issue.
Can I Get Laser Vision Correction Even with My Dry Eye Condition?
It depends on the severity of your dry eye issues. If the dry eye symptoms are resolved with hydration, artificial tears, supplements, or medications, laser vision correction may be an option.
Your surgeon will help you treat your dry eye issues prior to planning laser vision correction. Depending on the severity of your dry eye symptoms, your surgeon may recommend a vision-correcting surgery that has a lower impact on corneal dryness, such as SMILE, ICL, or RLE.
5 Reasons You Should Choose Heart of Texas Eye Care for LASIK Eye Surgery
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- Personalized Care — Our surgeons spend time getting to know every patient and their specific needs before planning vision correction surgery. Every person is unique, and therefore every surgery plan is unique. We ensure that patients receive their desired outcomes by very clearly discussing their goals and what to expect following laser vision correction surgery.
- Customer Service — Every step in your journey to better vision is given deep consideration. We offer convenient scheduling with our online self-scheduler, continuous access to your personal surgery counselor, and efficient use of your time in our modern, beautiful office. These are just a few of the touch points that will make your experience at Heart of Texas Eye Care pleasant and enjoyable.
- Technology — We are dedicated to providing the very best and most up to date diagnostic and treatment options. This allows us to customize the best treatment plan to meet each specific patient’s needs. For this reason, we are the first practice in central Texas to provide SMILE, which we offer along with every other modern vision correction option, including blade-free, all-laser LASIK, PRK, ICL, and RLE.
- Experience — Both of our board-certified ophthalmologists have combined experience of over 100,000 procedures, fellowship training in cornea and refractive surgery, and are industry leaders in refractive surgery.
- Flexible — We accept many forms of payment, including cash, check, and credit. We offer great financing options through Alphaeon Credit and Care Credit. Furthermore, you can use your Flex Spending Account (FSA) for laser vision correction!