Could a laser procedure be suitable for me?
A laser procedure could be suitable for you if you have the following attributes:
- You have reached the age of 20.
- Your vision has been stable for the last 24 months.
- You are generally in good health.
- You have no ophthalmic diseases interfering with such a procedure.
- You have realistic expectations.
What is LASIK?
LASIK is a procedure used to correct defects in vision, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. LASIK is the most common refractive procedure done. Lasik procedures will not cure presbyopia, but in certain instances it is possible to help people with presbyopia by implementing monovision, where one eye is corrected to see well in the distance, while the other eye is corrected to see well up close.
Are LASIK procedures new?
LASIK procedures have been performed in other countries for about 10 years. The procedure has a longer history, and it can be said that ophthalmologists have been trying to shape the cornea for more than half a century.
What are the main advantages of the LASIK procedure?
LASIK is the commonest refractive procedure performed. Its main advantages over other procedures are:
- The wound heals quickly.
- The eyesight becomes relatively sharp after a few days.
- Fewer re-examinations are required.
- The visual acuity often becomes permanent after several weeks.
Is it risky to undergo a LASIK procedure?
A LASIK procedure is complex and costly. Side effects are possible in the procedure, and in the wake of them, problems can make another procedure necessary. Nevertheless, this seldom happens and very seldom involves a permanent reduction of vision. Retreatment can also be necessary to achieve the set goal. The risk of the procedure is minimal, and with the latest equipment there is only a 1-2% risk of side effects, and even in such instances, extremely few sustain permanent damage after further treatment has been preformed. It is nevertheless right to take the risk seriously and consider the procedure carefully, compared with the discomfort and risk involved in the use of glasses and contact lenses.
What can I expect from the procedure?
After the procedure 95-98% of the eyes treated see sufficiently well without glasses for daily activities. It is not unrealistic to expect the visual acuity to be 1.0 after the procedure. Regardless of the procedure, all individuals have some small defect in vision that must be corrected with glasses. Most people achieve visual acuity close to 1.0 after the procedure, but some deviate from this, and it is thus necessary to redo the procedure or make a correction with glasses.
What are the main after-effects?
The first months, and occasionally for a year or more, some complain of temporary discomfort, dryness or stinging in the eye. This stems from the regrowth of nerves damaged during the procedure, which are sensitive. Many feel better using artificial tears while this is going on.
Who will benefit the most from a LASIK procedure?
A LASIK procedure can help many who are nearsighted, farsighted or have astigmatism. Those who are interested should nevertheless be strongly determined to be less dependent on glasses or contact lenses and be prepared to take the risk, however little, inherent in the procedure.
Who cannot undergo a LASIK procedure?
There are numerous factors that doctors must assess before concluding whether an individual can undergo a LASIK procedure. Generally, however, individuals under the age of 20 cannot undergo such a procedure, or those whose vision is still changing. Individuals with a disease of the cornea are not desirable candidates for such a procedure.
Those who are severely diabetic, have severe conjunctivitis or a serious eye allergy can sometimes not undergo a procedure, but it is not possible to preclude anything before a preliminary examination.
I am happy with my contact lenses. Should I consider a LASIK procedure?
Most specialists agree that if a person is happy with contact lenses, then he or she should carefully consider the advantages and disadvantages of the procedure.
What results can I expect?
The effect of the procedure is permanent. They will not reverse over time. It is important to realize that the eyes can change. It is advisable that the procedure not be done while the eyesight is still changing. A LASIK procedure, for example, is not suitable for children because their eyes have yet to grow and change. After the age of 18, long-term correction can be expected although this is not absolute. You shall therefore carefully consult the ophthalmologist so he can better orient himself to the changes that have already occurred and thus assist you in deciding whether or not it is best to wait with the procedure. The outcome, although final, can be finely adjusted if required.
Clearly those who are very nearsighted, very farsighted or have a high degree of astigmatism are more difficult cases than those with milder visual defects; however, proportionally greater results are often achieved in such cases.