WHAT IS LASIK TREATMENT?
LASIK, or laser-assisted keratomileusis, is a procedure that consists of the use of an Excimer laser to remove a layer of corneal tissue of the appropriate thickness to correct the specific refractive defect of the patient. Due to the use of anesthetic eye drops the procedure takes only a few minutes, is painless and is done on an outpatient basis.
How do you correct refractive disorders such as myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism?
Refractive disorders can be corrected through the use of an Excimer laser, a power source that enables the molding and changing of the curvature of the cornea. Through the elimination of a certain amount of tissue, changes are made to the refraction and thus allow for the correct placement of visual images in the retina. With this procedure, patients can achieve the same vision they had with glasses or contact lenses.
What does the procedure entail?
LASIK surgery is performed with the patient lying down. The eye is numbed with an anesthetic eye drop, while the lids are secured to prevent blinking. Using a special instrument called a microkeratome, a thin flap (160 microns) of corneal tissue is cut and raised to allow for the application of the laser. The necessary number of diopters (unit of measurement of optical power) and the form required to correct the patient’s specific refractive disorder is pre-programmed into the laser’s computer. Each procedure is customized according to the characteristics of the individual cornea, which has been predetermined by the latest generation of laser (LASIK TOPO-LINK). The cut made by the laser is then covered with the flap of corneal tissue previously made with the microkeratome. During the treatment, which does not last more than 40 to 60 seconds, the patient must look at a fixed light source. Cooperation of the patient throughout the procedure is essential. Following the treatment, antibiotic eye drops are applied. For the patient’s comfort, both eyes are generally treated at the same time.
How long does the procedure take?
The LASIK treatment itself lasts only 40 to 60 seconds depending on the refraction to be corrected, but the patient should be prepared to be in surgery for approximately 5 to 10 minutes for each eye.
How long is the recuperation?
Reintegration into normal working life generally can happen the day following the treatment, provided that work is done in a clean environment (free of smoke, dust, etc.). In the case that the patient works in a contaminated environment, they must wait 2 or 3 days before returning to work. Regardless, the patient can expect to return to their normal life the day after surgery, because in most cases visual recovery is complete within 24 hours. It is always recommended that the day of the treatment be spent resting and avoiding activities that require visual effort. The recovery rate is directly proportional to the number of diopters to be corrected. The results are better and the recovery faster in cases of low refractive disorders, particularly if there is no astigmatism.
Can the refractive disorder return after surgery?
Yes, it is possible for the refractive disorder previously suffered by the patient to reappear (myopia, hyperopia, presbyopia or astigmatism). Anyone interested in LASIK surgery must have a stable refraction for at least a year. If the refraction has varied at all in the year prior to the treatment, the patient cannot expect the same long-term benefits. The true results of the treatment can be seen within 3 or 4 months following surgery. With age, certain other visual disorders can appear, such as cataracts or presbyopia and these will be treated the same as if the patient had not had the LASIK surgery.
Will I have to wear glasses after the surgery? The goal of refractive surgery is to eliminate the refractive defect and therefore also the need for glasses or contact lenses.
How much time between the initial consultation and the actual treatment?
First, the patient must complete a preoperative consultation in which the pros and cons of LASIK refractive surgery or cataract surgery are explained. Preoperative exams consist of two parts. The procedure itself can take place the day after the preoperative test results have been received and the patient approved for the procedure.
Can presbyopia be corrected?
For several years, Eyecos has successfully treated presbyopia through the use of PRESBILASER, a procedure similar to LASIK but intended to correct farsightedness that is associated with the refractive defects of myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism in patients over 40 years of age. The operation intends to eliminate the need for reading glasses, bifocals and progressive lenses in most situations.
What are the postoperative risks of LASIK surgery?
In general, LASIK is a very safe procedure. The possible complications that exist are due to the need to access the inside of the cornea. A thin flap of corneal tissue must be cut through the use of a device known as a microkeratome. This microkeratome works well in 99.9% of cases. The success of this first part of the operation depends largely on the experience of the surgeon, though problems very rarely occur. LASIK surgery is low-risk, but the few risks that do exist depend on the state of the eye and can only be assessed15 days after the surgery.
What type of anesthesia is used?
The procedure is carried out using topical anesthesia, a few drops of which are administered before, during and after the treatment (the whole process takes between 5 and 10 minutes). Irritation from the eye drops is very rare.
What is the goal of LASIK surgery?
The goal of LASIK surgery is to decrease the dependence on glasses or contact lenses. In most cases, the need for glasses or lenses is completely eliminated, but if the patient has a high refractive error, they may need to continue using glasses or contact lenses for reading, watching TV or driving at night.
Is it possible to retouch or repeat the surgery?
In cases where it is necessary and/or feasible, the procedure can be repeated in order address any residual defects. If the treatment is repeated within 6 months, reuse of the microkeratome is not necessary.
Is it possible to achieve 100% visual acuity?
The visual acuity that the patient can expect to achieve with LASIK is, at most, the same as that which they had with glasses or contact lenses. It will not improve visual aquity to levels above what the patient had with glasses or contact lenses.
Can both eyes be operated on in the same procedure?
Both eye are always treated at the same time in procedures to correct myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism and cataracts because the surgery is very reliable and the recovery speedy. The reason to operate on both eyes at the same time is to eliminate the discomfort associated with unbalanced vision. To operate on on eye and not the other is like wearing a high heel on one foot and a flat on the other.
What can I expect during the post-operative period?
After surgery, the patient can return home. The only precaution is that the patient should not rub or scratch the eyes and always protect the eyes from sunlight with sunglasses. During the first three hours following surgery the patient may notice some minor discomfort. Visual recovery begins after the first 3 hours, the speed of which depends on each patient and on the extent of the defect corrected. Within 24 hours the patient can expect to resume their work and social life. To avoid complications, the patient should use antibiotic and anti-inflammatory eye drops for one week following surgery. The results are life-long; the defect will never return.
How many visits are necessary before and after surgery?
Before the procedure, there are two visits required to conduct all of the various preoperative tests to determine the best treatment for the patient. The first of three postoperative visits takes place within 24 hours of the surgery. The other two postoperative visits should take place 15 days and 3 months following treatment.
Who can undergo LASIK surgery?
Persons over 18 who have a stable, moderate refractive disorder. In all cases, the potential patient needs to undergo an eye exam to rule out any problems that may contraindicate surgery. After this first consultation, the ophthalmologist has the necessary information regarding the type and grade of disorder to assess the possible outcomes of the surgery. Implantation of intraocular lenses is sometimes necessary for patients with a very high refractive defect, whether it is myopia, hyperopia or astigmatism. This technique involves inserting a lens into the eye to the exact degree necessary to achieve a perfect correction. This lens is fixed; it will not change over time, nor be bothersome to the patient. The procedure is performed with only anesthetic drops and therefore does not require hospitalization. Visual recovery is very rapid (24 hours) and allows the patient to return to work immediately. With over 20 years of experience, we at Eyecos guarantee that this technique does not harm the eye and that the defect will not reoccur with time. The reliance on the Excimer laser is based on its ability to cut the surface of the cornea with high precision and without causing damage to the ocular structures. The Excimer laser is used to treat corneal scars, corneal infections, irregular or high astigmatism and corneal degenerative diseases.