LASIK Laser Eye Surgery

LASIK (laser in situ keratomileusis) is a type of laser eye surgery used to treat short-sightedness (myopia), long-sightedness (hyperopia) and astigmatism (blurred vision, particularly at distance).

What Does LASIK Surgery Involve?

The visible part of the eye is covered by a thin, transparent layer called the cornea. As well as protecting the eye, the cornea does much of the work required to focus on images for clear and accurate vision. If the cornea is naturally misshapen, minor visual defects can occur.

How Does LASIK Laser Eye Surgery Work?

In LASIK surgery, the surgeon creates a tiny opening to access the corneal tissue and uses a laser to reshape it for more accurate vision. The opening is then re-closed and because the incision is so small no stitching is required. A typical operation lasts about 30 minutes and is performed under local anaesthetic. After the operation, the surgeon will provide medication to protect the eye against infection, swelling and pain. However, discomfort is usually minimal. While the eye is healing, patients should avoid activities which may irritate it, such as swimming in chlorinated or salty water or wearing eye make up.

Is All LASIK Surgery The Same?

There are three main types of LASIK surgery. They are;

  • Conventional
  • Wavefront-optimized LASIK
  • Wavefront-guided LASIK

Conventional LASIK surgery is a treatment which is based on the patient's existing prescription for glasses or contact lenses. It is effective in most cases, but can trigger side effects such as difficulties seeing at night.

Wavefront-optimized LASIK surgery is an enhanced version of conventional LASIK surgery which incorporates the specific characteristics of the patient's cornea into the treatment and also works on the outer edge of the cornea rather than towards the centre. This form of LASIK surgery avoids some of the side effects which are occasionally seen in conventional LASIK surgery.

Wavefront-guided LASIK surgery is an extension of conventional LASIK surgery in which the patient's eye is examined in minute detail. This allows for treatment of conditions which are outside the scope of conventional LASIK surgery.

Can LASIK Surgery Counter The Effects Of Ageing?

The human body becomes less flexible as it ages. With regards to the eye, this means that an organ inside the eye, called the lens, loses its ability to adjust its shape. As the lens is responsible for fine tuning the images received from the cornea, the result is that the eye finds it increasingly difficult to provide clear vision of objects at different distances. LASIK surgery cannot correct this as such, however there is a procedure which adjusts one eye for long distance vision and the other eye for short distance vision and many people adapt very well to this. To ensure that this is suitable for any particular individual, LASIK surgeons typically provide glasses which simulate the effect of this procedure to see how well the wearer adjusts.

Does LASIK Surgery Eliminate The Need For Glasses/Contact Lenses?

The ageing process is an inevitable fact of life and will reduce the effects of the LASIK surgery over time as the lens becomes increasingly stiff. This may mean that people who have already had LASIK surgery may require another course of treatment or may elect to wear glasses or contact lenses, depending on their circumstances.

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Is LASIK Surgery Suitable For Everyone?

Although LASIK surgery is a simple and low risk procedure, there are some individuals for whom it may be unsuitable.

  • 1. Individuals who regularly engage in strenuous activities: Patients who undergo LASIK surgery need to be aware that there is a lifelong risk of damaging the eye where the surgical incision was made. This risk increases substantially if the patient engages in strenuous activities such as contact sports. This is part of the reason why some employers forbid their employees from having LASIK surgery (e.g. the military and the police).
  • 2. Individuals with health conditions which impact on the body's ability to heal itself: Some medical conditions (such as rheumatoid arthritis) affect the body's repair system and it is generally recommended for individuals with these conditions to refrain from non-essential surgery. This includes LASIK surgery.

In addition to the above, individuals considering LASIK surgery will be given an eye examination to see if there are any other specific reasons why it would be unsuitable for them.

What Are The Risks Involved?

As with any surgical procedure LASIK laser eye surgery in not without its risk and potential complications. There are two notable complications of LASIK surgery which occur in a minority of cases. These are keratoconjunctivitis sicca and visual impairment.

Keratoconjunctivitis sicca is commonly known as dry eye syndrome, which accurately describes the impact of the disorder. It occurs when the production of tears is impeded and can lead to irritation and swelling. It is relatively common for patients to experience this disorder after LASIK surgery, although in most cases it clears up in time. In rare instances, however, it can become permanent, in which case it needs to be controlled continually through medication.

Visual impairment may occasionally occur as a result of LASIK surgery. Depending on the nature of the impairment it may be possible to correct it with further surgery but it may be permanent.

LASIK Laser Eye Surgery

Where Is LASIK Surgery Performed And How Much Does It Cost?

LASIK surgery is now so popular it is performed across the country. It is essential to find a good clinic and the best way to do this is by visiting the premises and speaking directly to at least one member of staff. A good clinic will make its customers feel comfortable from the moment they walk through the door and staff will be happy to answer any questions.

Clinics will charge different prices depending on their location and the specific procedure and the cost of LASIK laser eye surgery can fluctuate depending on a variety of factors. As a guideline LASIK laser eye surgery will cost you between £400 and £800 per eye. Some clinics offer credit facilities to spread the cost, however these do tend to make the procedure more expensive.

Interested in laser eye surgery but unsure of whether you could afford it or not? Why not use our laser eye surgery savings calculator to find out how much you could save by undergoing treatment.

Laser Eye Surgery For Astigmatism

When the shape of the cornea portrays abnormalities in shape, astigmatism is the result. This can occur along with myopia or hyperopia and it is a very frequent eye sight disorder. It is mainly associated with farsightedness and nearsightedness. Lectigular astigmatism is the consequence of an erratically shaped lense found at the back of the cornea. Astigmatism can cause blurred vision and if left untreated it can cause headaches, eye damage and distorted vision at all distances. It can be treated with spectacles and contact lenses or LASIK refractive surgery.

LASIK Treatment And Astigmatism

LASIK surgery can treat astigmatism by constructing a thin flap in the cornea. The surgeon will use a makokeratome blade or feomtosecond laser, by folding back the flap and removing corneal tissue using laser treatment. More specifically if the aim is to improve astigmatism the irregular cornea will be reversed into a more normal shape by removing tissue. LASIK laser treatment known as Laser-in-situ keratomileusis will finally help patients with astigmatism to see clearly again. LASIK doctors offer their services to thousands of people suffering from astigmatism and the results are known to be very encouraging.

Finding A Qualified Practitioner

This is the first step to ensure that you will receive the highest quality of treatment. When finding and comparing potential LASIK surgeons it's important that you consider the experience and background expertise of the clinic and/or surgeon to make sure that they are the right fit for you and ensure the best possible results.

Evaluation And Treatment Procedure

You will be required to stop wearing contact lenses and switch to spectacles for at least 2 weeks prior to evaluation. This will a help in achieving more accurate measures of the cornea. After evaluation the surgeon will determine if you are a suitable candidate to go ahead with the LASIK method to correct astigmatism. This will depend on the severity of the problem and the condition of the patient's eyes. The measure and thickness of the cornea will be evaluated along with the optical prescription. Once a patient is found suitable for treatment the doctor will precede with treatment which is rather quick and painless. He or she will correct the problem by evening out the different curvatures and once the laser treatment has been fulfilled there should not be much discomfort or pain.

Success Rates

The success rate of treating astigmatism through LASIK laser eye surgery is very high. The surgery reshapes the round formed cornea, into a more sphere-shaped one. After successful treatment the incoming light is focused on the cornea so that it comes to a sharp point on the retina and provides the patient with a clearer and sharper visual outcome.

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