LASIK – Come Experience the Excitement
LASIK (“laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) is laser eye surgery that permanently changes the shape of the cornea (the clear window on the front of the eye) in order to improve vision and reduce a person’s dependency on glasses or contact lenses. LASIK has now been safely performed, with stable and consistent results, as an FDA-approved surgery for over 15 years. LASIK surgery Denver is most often performed on people who are disappointed with their glasses or contact lenses. The surgery corrects nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.
For clear vision, the eye’s cornea and lens must bend (refract) light rays perfectly, so that images are focused clearly on the retina. Otherwise, the images will be blurry, also known as “refractive error.” This refractive error is caused by an irregularity in the curvature of the cornea and the length of the eye. LASIK uses a femtosecond laser to create a very thin layer of protective tissue and an excimer laser to precisely reshape the cornea, allowing light rays to be focused clearly on the retina. It is an outpatient surgical procedure and takes 4 to 5 minutes to perform.
Anesthesia involves eye drops that numb the surface of the eye. The procedure is done while you are awake, but patients receive a mild sedative to help relax. LASIK surgery Denver is typically done on both eyes consecutively. LASIK involves creating a protective flap of corneal tissue which is then lifted so that the excimer laser can reshape the cornea underneath. The amount of tissue the laser will remove is accurately calculated ahead of time and depends upon the level of refractive error. The surgeon then ensures the flap is safely repositioned without the need for sutures or tissue glue. The cornea and eyelid will naturally hold the flap in place, and the patient returns home to rest. Most patients can see clearly enough to return to work the next day.
The FDA and American Academy of Ophthalmology have developed guidelines for LASIK candidates:
- You should be at least 18 years-old (21 in some cases) because vision may continue to change in younger people. A rare exception is a child with one very nearsighted and one normal eye. Using LASIK to correct a very nearsighted eye may prevent amblyopia (lazy eye).
- You should not have this procedure if you are pregnant or breast-feeding as these conditions can affect eye measurements.
- You should not have this procedure if you take certain prescription drugs, such as Accutane, Cardarone, Imitrex, or oral prednisone.
- Your eyes must be healthy and your prescription stable.
- You should be in good health. LASIK may not be recommended for patients with diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, glaucoma, herpes infections of the eye, or cataracts. All conditions and medications taken should be discussed with your surgeon.
- The risks and rewards should be weighed carefully. If you are completely satisfied wearing contacts or glasses, you may not want to have the surgery.
- Make sure you have realistic expectations from the surgery.
For patients with presbyopia (the inability to see near typically after 40 years of age), it is important to note that LASIK cannot correct vision so that one eye can see at both distance and near, simultaneously. However, LASIK can be done to allow one eye to see near and the other far, called “monovision.” Ask Dr Kouyoumdjian or your Colorado LASIK optometrist if this is a good option for you.
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