What is Lasik? Lasik Eye Surgery
There are a wide variety of vision correction options available today from very stylish glasses to discreet contact lenses. However if you have worn glasses or contacts for a long period of time, perhaps since childhood, you may want to consider another alternative.
Lasik is a laser surgical procedure designed to improve the common vision ailments of nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism, also known as refractive errors. The procedure employs laser instruments to precisely reshape the cornea and improve the overall focusing power of the eye.
What Is Involved In The Procedure?
Lasik is performed in an outpatient setting, either the surgeon’s office or a surgical center, under a local anesthesia. In preparation for surgery medicated drops will be applied, numbing the eyes to prevent discomfort during surgery. Some surgeons may offer an oral tranquilizer in addition prior to the procedure.
The surgeon aligns the instrument over the affected eye. He will guide the laser to create a sheer corneal flap, which is folded back to expose more of the corneal tissue. At this point the patient is asked to stare directly at a pinpoint of light. Another laser instrument is employed to remove some of the exposed tissue, reshaping the cornea. The surgeon restores the sheer corneal flap in position smoothing the edges in place. If both eyes are to be treated the second eye will be completed at this time. No stiches are used so the surgeon may prescribe a transparent shield to be worn over the eyes to protect the corneas during the healing period.
What Are The Side Effects And Complications?
Most patients experience mild side effects that tend to disappear in 3 to 6 months post treatment. Some of the most common side effects are: inflammation, hazy or blurry vision, halos and glaring, and sensitivity to light. Other more serious complications which may appear are infection, bulging of the cornea, an irregular healing of the corneal flap, over or under correction, and severe dry eye. Any side effect of a more serious nature should be immediately reported to the physician.
Am I A Good Candidate For Lasik?
While Lasik is a safe and effective procedure there are some people who are not good candidates for this type of treatment. Those who should not consider Lasik are: pregnant or nursing mothers, anyone under the age of 18, or anyone with specific medical diagnoses such as diabetes, lupus, glaucoma, etc. Be sure to disclose your complete medical history to your physician so that together you can determine if Lasik is a good fit for you.
Also, be aware that some career fields actually prohibit refractive surgery, so consider how Lasik may affect your ability to work in your chosen field.
How Much Money Will I Have To Spend?
Lasik prices are determined by a variety of factors. Your medical history and visual diagnosis are the key aspects considered in determining the course of treatment. While cost can differ greatly from one surgeon to the next, there is an accepted practice of quoting treatment by the eye, as opposed to both eyes as a package. The average cost ranges from $1,600 to $2,300 per eye. Lasik is regarded as elective surgery and generally not covered by insurance companies.