Benefits, risks and what to expect
Laser eye surgery, which some people call LASIK surgery, can correct several vision problems. However, there are potential side effects, although not everyone can have the procedure. Surgery can also be expensive, depending on where a person lives.
The eye has an outer layer called the cornea. The cornea of some people can undergo shape changes, leading to vision problems, such as astigmatism and nearsightedness. Laser eye surgery is a medical procedure that reshapes this layer.
The precise way in which laser eye surgery reshapes the cornea depends on the state of vision that the treatment aims to correct. Laser eye surgery can solve vision problems, such as nearsightedness and farsightedness.
The surgery is quick and people stay awake throughout the procedure. It is also usually painless – if a person experiences pain, it usually indicates that there have been complications.
This article explains what laser eye surgery is, who it can help, costs, duration of surgery, recovery time, and associated short and long term risks.
LASIK stands for laser-assisted keratomileusis in situ and is the most common type of refractive eye surgery. LASIK was first patented in 1989 and has become the
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, more than 150 million Americans use corrective glasses, such as eyeglasses or contact lenses, to compensate for refractive errors.
Refractive errors occur when the eye does not bend – or refract – light to focus properly on the retina at the back of the eye. This is usually due to the shape of the cornea.
The clinical name for hyperopia is hyperopia. People with this condition can clearly see objects in the distance, but other things may appear blurry at close range. Hyperopia is due to the curvature of the cornea being too flat. Laser eye surgery can correct this by reshaping the cornea to have a steeper curve.
Myopia, known as myopia or nearsightedness, is where a person can clearly see objects near them. However, distant objects may appear blurry. This is because the curvature of the cornea is too steep. Healthcare professionals can correct this with laser eye surgery by reshaping the cornea.
People with astigmatism have a different shaped eye that characterizes this condition. The eye of an unconditional person is round, like a soccer ball, while with astigmatism the eye can be shaped like a soccer ball. It is possible to correct this irregular curvature of the cornea with laser eye surgery in some cases.
People who are
- have had a change in their eye prescription in the past 12 months
- taking medications that can cause changes in vision
- are in their twenties or younger, although some experts recommend you be no younger than 18
- have thin corneas, which may not be stable after laser surgery
- are pregnant or breastfeeding
The main advantage of laser eye surgery is that
- be unable to wear contact lenses but prefer not to wear glasses, possibly for cosmetic reasons
- wanting to undertake activities, such as sports, that require a person not to wear glasses or contact lenses
- have the convenience of not having to wear corrective glasses
- eye infections, such as keratitis or ocular herpes
- severe cataracts – people with this condition will not have corrected vision after laser surgery
- great students
- keratoconus, a disease that makes the cornea thinner and unstable over time
As with all surgeries, a person can have complications, including:
- Dry eyes: Up to
95%people who have laser eye surgery may experience dry eyes after the procedure, where the eyes produce fewer tears. Lubricating eye drops can help with this symptom.
- Glare or halo: 20% of people having laser eye surgery may experience visual changes such as glare, halo, or sensitivity to light.
- Double or blurred vision: Up to 1 in 50 people may report a blur and feel something in their eyes. Diffuse lamellar keratitis – also known as “Sahara Sands” syndrome – may be the cause.
Other complications that a person may experience include:
- eye infection
- corneal flap complications
- red or bloodshot whites of the eyes
Most symptoms should go away after the first few days, so a person showing symptoms after this time should see a healthcare practitioner.
People undergoing laser eye surgery should expect the following:
- They sit on a chair and recline, so that they are flat on their backs under a laser device and a computer screen.
- The surgical team will clean the area around the eye and place numbing drops in the eye.
- Surgeons will use an eyelid speculum, a medical instrument, to hold the eyelids open.
- A laser will cut a flap in the cornea, and the surgeon will then lift it up to open it.
- People will need to stare at a light to keep their eyes still while the laser is working.
- The laser will then reshape the surface of the cornea.
- The surgeon will then put the flap back in place and apply protection to protect the eye.
Surgeons will provide people with eye protection to protect their eyes, as there will be no stitches to hold the flap in place. The protection helps to avoid rubbing your eyes or accidentally applying pressure, such as while sleeping.
People usually take a few days off to recover. They must make an appointment with their ophthalmologist within 24 to 48 hours of surgery for an eye exam. The doctor will make sure the eyes heal as they should. After that, a person will need several more appointments during the first 6 months.
It may take up to
However, it is common for vision to vary during the first few months after surgery.
Additionally, laser eye surgery can sometimes accidentally over-correct or under-correct a person’s eyesight. This may require additional surgery to correct, which healthcare professionals generally refer to as improvement.
It is also important to remember that corrected vision can regress years after the procedure.
The cost of LASIK surgery will be different depending on where the person lives. Other surgeons may use a variety of equipment or techniques, which the price may reflect.
Health insurance companies generally classify LASIK as an elective or cosmetic procedure and generally do not cover these treatments.
In 2020, the American Refractive Surgery Council estimated that LASIK surgery could cost around $ 4,200 per eye, on average.
Although laser eye surgery can be expensive, it is crucial that people do thorough research before undergoing discounted treatment. There may be a reason the price is so low, which may increase the risk of complications.
Laser eye surgery may be of benefit for some people to remedy sight problems. However, while these improvements may last for a few years, they are usually not permanent.
This is a quick but often expensive procedure that health insurance usually does not cover.
It’s also important to remember that this procedure may not correct presbyopia – the need for reading glasses as people get older.
People should talk to their eye doctor to see if laser eye surgery is right for them.