Since its introduction in the 1990s, LASIK has allowed over 40 million people around the world to throw away their glasses and contact lenses for good. And with a 96% success rate, it’s hard to argue that LASIK surgery hasn’t been a game-changer for people who want to correct their vision and end their dependence on corrective eyewear.
Here at KLM Eye MDs, the corneal specialist performs LASIK surgery, helping men and women regain clear vision. If you’d like to learn more about this laser procedure to see whether you’re a good candidate, we’ve pulled together a quick primer on LASIK.
To understand how the LASIK procedure works, it helps to first take a look at how your eyes work. Light first passes through your cornea and then through the lens. Your lens focuses the light onto your retina, which sends an electrical impulse to your brain through your optic nerve. Your brain receives the information and creates an image.
During this multistep process, your eye refracts or bends the light to focus it right on your retina. That’s the ideal scenario, in any case.
When you’re diagnosed with near- or farsightedness, it usually means that your eyes are refracting light in front of your retina or past it, respectively, resulting in blurry vision.
The third vision problem is astigmatism, which is an irregularly-shaped cornea. As we reviewed above, your cornea is the first point of entry for light, so if it’s misshapen, it can throw off the refraction process, leading to distorted and blurry vision.
With LASIK surgery, which stands for laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis, we go in and reshape your cornea so that it can refract light properly. To do this, we rely on advanced and precise laser technology. Here’s how it works:
After numbing your eyes, your surgeon cuts a small flap in your cornea and peels it back. Using a precision excimer laser, your surgeon reshapes your cornea according to your vision problem — flattening it if you’re nearsighted; making it steeper for farsightedness; and generally reshaping it to correct the astigmatism.
When the reshaping is complete, your surgeon replaces the flap, which stays in place without the need for stitches. While you aren’t under general anesthesia, you should still have someone drive or accompany you home after the procedure.
While LASIK surgery may seem like just the answer you’re looking for — and it often is — it’s still surgery, and you should consider your pros and cons carefully.
The doctors at KLM Eye MDs can be very helpful when making this decision since they know the extent of your vision problem and what you should reasonably expect. While 20/20 vision is always the goal, you may not get there completely if your cornea is severely misshapen.
That said, a lot of patients are good LASIK candidates, with mild to moderate visual problems that can be corrected to 20/20 with laser reshaping.
If this sounds like you, you may be good candidate for LASIK if your lifestyle would improve by getting rid of your need for corrective lenses. Many of our patients opt for LASIK because of contact lens discomfort, the hassle of losing and breaking glasses, or an active lifestyle where corrective lenses are more of a liability than an asset.
Another advantage is that your LASIK procedure is permanent, meaning your cornea won’t reshape itself. You can still experience vision problems down the road, however, due to natural aging and deterioration. But we can handle those problems should they arise.
While LASIK helps over 700,000 Americans see better each year, there are some cases where LASIK isn’t recommended. For example, if you’re under 20, you’re not a candidate since your eyesight hasn’t “settled” in. By the same token, it’s best that your vision (whatever that may be) is stable for at least a year before you undergo LASIK.
LASIK is also not recommended for women who are pregnant or for people who play contact sports. Pre-existing medical conditions like diabetes take the LASIK option out of the picture.
The best way to find out for sure whether LASIK is an option for you is to make an appointment at KLM Eye MDs with Dr.Lebowitz so he can review your situation and your goals. Please give us a call or use the online scheduling tool on this website to book a consultation.