LASIK or Laser-Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis is becoming more and more popular as a form of treatment for common eye problems, such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and even astigmatism. Unlike using eyeglasses or contact lenses to correct an impaired vision, LASIK has a more lasting effect after surgery, has a quick recovery time, and does not need any follow-up method after the surgery. LASIK does not only help correct the vision of people who suffer from common eye problems such as near or far-sightedness, but it also helps them reduce their reliance on using eyeglasses or contact lenses to see more clearly and correctly. It also does not involve the use of any sharp tools or even bandages and stitches for recovery. Most patients can go back to their regular schedule a day after the procedure has been done.
Due to this surgical method’s apparent benefits, more and more clinics worldwide started to offer LASIK to their patients. More and more patients are also undergoing LASIK to repair their vision, despite the procedure’s cost. Nevertheless, the general process of LASIK remains the same. With that, here’s a general flow of how LASIK flows and what happens after surgery.
What Happens During LASIK?
As the name implies, LASIK uses lasers to correct someone’s vision. However, other steps needed to be done before the surgery. This is the reason why a patient needs to be in the clinic early for LASIK surgery. These preoperative procedures, such as additional tests, patient check-in, and administering a mild oral sedative for relaxation, typically take around two hours. However, this already includes the surgical procedure itself and the dissemination of postoperative information for patient recovery.
In the first step of the LASIK procedure, a specially trained eye surgeon will create a flap from both eyes’ cornea using a laser. During the process, numbing drops will be put in the eyes to ensure that the surgery will remain painless. However, note that you could feel a little bit of pressure during the surgery, which is expected. The sensation usually lasts around 30 seconds, and it usually takes up to five minutes to finish this step.
The second step is considered to be the most important one in delivering the results that LASIK is widely known for. After a flap has been created from the cornea, the eye surgeon will then use another laser to reshape the cornea into a predetermined shape. This helps correct vision since the cornea’s primary function is to refract or bend the light coming to the eye. Therefore, if the cornea has issues refracting light due to its shape, it could cause problems with vision. This step will be done for each eye, and while reshaping the cornea takes around a minute to finish, this entire step could take up to ten minutes to complete for both eyes. This is the case since after the cornea has been reshaped, the flap that was made in the first step will have to be realigned, and at the same time, wrinkles and creases have to be smoothened. More numbing drops will be put into the eye during this step to ensure a comfortable and painless operation.
After the procedure, the eye surgeon will check the final time’s eyes, and the postoperative instructions that you would need to follow for recovery will be reviewed. After the operation has been done, you will be asked to go home and then get at least four to six hours of sleep to recover from the surgery.
Do’s and Don’ts After LASIK Surgery
Knowing what things to do and avoid following your LASIK surgery is vital to a quick and safe recovery. The first thing to keep in mind is to obey your surgeon’s instructions. He will lay out a comprehensive aftercare plan so you can be guided throughout the recovery process.
In most cases, surgeons recommend wearing protective eyewear, especially during sleep. For example, an eye shield is commonly prescribed to keep the eyes protected throughout sleep, giving you peace of mind that you won’t rub or scratch your eyes unknowingly.
It’s also a good idea to avoid any form of strenuous activity. Focus on getting as much rest as you can. In about two to three days, you can start simple exercises like brisk walking or jogging, but it’s best to consult your surgeon beforehand.
As for the things you shouldn’t do after LASIK, first on the list is driving. Your eyes are still adjusting after surgery, so it’s risky to drive alone. Have a friend or family member drive you home after the procedure and the first few days following it.
You must also avoid touching your eyes at all costs. It’s common to experience itching and discomfort in your eyes, but refrain from rubbing or scratching your eyes. Also, do not use eye drops not prescribed by your surgeon as this might interfere with your recovery.
LASIK is a surgical method proven to be effective, long-lasting, and painless in treating the most common eye problems that many people experience in their lifetimes. If you want to see if this procedure is right for you, you may check with Kraff Eye Institute of Chicago, one of the leading providers in the United States, for a LASIK consultation.