LASIK (Laser Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis)
LASIK is a procedure performed with the Excimer Laser to reduce or eliminate the need for glasses or contact lenses in cases of myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism. The Excimer laser beam does not cut the tissue with heat, as other lasers do, it works by separating chemical bonds within the cells. Therefore, it can be used to reshape the eye’s surface by vaporizing tissue with a cool beam of ultraviolet laser light. It is extremely accurate, capable of removing a 39 billionth of an inch per pulse. The LASIK procedure combines the accuracy of the Excimer laser with lamellar surgery (flap) to surgically alter the corneal curvature. The corneal flap is performed with a special instrument known as a microkeratome. The Excimer laser procedure has been performed for over 13 years.
The concept of raising a corneal layer and removing central tissue (keratomileusis in situ) was performed for the first time in 1966. The modern LASIK technique, which uses the combination of the laser and the keratome was first performed as part of a clinical study in the US in 1992. The Eximer Laser’s computer is pre-programmed with the patient’s correction, which allows our doctors to have precise accuracy in correcting your refractive error. Only a small amount of the cornea is removed so the corneal structure is not weakened. With the LASIK procedure, there is less risk of healing haze or scar tissue, less chance of post-operative infection, rarely post-operative pain or discomfort and faster visual recovery.
With any surgical procedure there are risks, although most patients feel the benefits they enjoy outweigh the possible risks. Patients will be given antibiotic eye drops to be used following the surgery to prevent infection. Also, it is imperative that patients not rub their eyes for at least one month following surgery to protect the corneal flap. In some cases, small amounts of over-correction or under-correction may occur therefore, corrective lenses or further surgery may still be needed by some individuals. The final vision stabilizes in 6-12 months.
The procedure itself can be as brief as 10 minutes for both eyes. Medicated drops will numb the eye and most patients remark that they did not experience any pain but rather a slight feeling of pressure around the eye during the creation of the flap. Clear plastic eye goggles will be worn over the operative eyes until seen by Dr. Dillon or Dr. Van De Velde the next day.