We've all heard of LASIK - but what actually IS it? Dr. Millicent Grim, MD at Gulf Eye Center sheds light on the treatment
22 January 2019| Last updated on 22 January 2019
Is your eyesight dwindling and you're seeking options to restore your sight?
We wouldn't blame you for considering LASIK - especially as it's widely spoken about. But does everyone, and you, know exactly what LASIK entails?
Dr. Millicent Grim, MD and Specialist Ophthalmologist and LASIK Specialist at Gulf Eye Center shares the truth about the procedure; whether it's safe, who's the ideal candidate and what could go wrong.
LASIK is a form of Laser Vision Correction (LVC), which was first performed almost 30 years ago. This procedure can take many forms, depending on the individual requirements of the patient and the condition of their eyes.
The other forms of Laser Vision Correction (LVC) include: PRK, StreamLight PRK, LASEK, Epi-LASIK, Supra-LASIK, Femto-LASIK and ReLex SMILE.
These procedures all aim to remove a person’s dependence on glasses or contact lenses.
During the LASIK procedure a flap is created. The cornea is reshaped under this flap, using the precision laser to suit the patient’s requirements. The flap is then returned to cover the treated area, acting as your own bandage contact lens, enabling a shorter recovery time.
What makes me an ideal candidate for LASIK?
- You're over 18 years old, the legal age of consent
- You're not pregnant, and in good health
According to your eye doctor, you have:
- A vision prescription that has remained stable for the past 12 - 18 months
- Enough corneal tissue to allow for the required correction
- No hint of structural weakness, and your cornea shape is regular and symmetrical
- Healthy eyes with good, natural tear film quality
How safe is a LASIK procedure?
There is never a 100% guarantee of success for any surgery.
Each method of Laser Vision Correction has positives and negatives, as each patient’s eyes have individual corrective needs.
However, if the rules are obeyed, and the candidate is carefully chosen, one can expect the desired outcome.
Post-op medications curb infection, limit post-op inflammation and lubricate the treated healing cornea.
Regular post-op reviews enable the surgeon to monitor the recovery process and adjust treatments if needed.
How can LASIK go wrong?
- Unrealistic expectations.
- Surgical shortcuts which include hasty preparations and exclude essential preparatory tests.
- Contact lens irritations, where the lens sticks to the surface of the eye and thus warp the shape of the cornea.
- LASIK does not cure irritated and dry eyes. Operating on a dry eye could exacerbate the symptoms, leading to a longer recovery time
- The usual surgical risks of infection and inflammation.
- Operating on an eye which is has not been granted sufficient time to recoup its natural shape after you stop wearing contact lenses. This waiting period is at least 10-14 days, or more.
- Glare and Halos at night.
- Not using copious amounts of lubricating drops to assist in the smoothing and healing of the corneal surface. This enables your surgeon to operate on the most accurate natural shape of your eye.
So, is LASIK still a good idea?
Yes, but not necessarily for everybody.
LASIK is the more popular option with its quick vision recovery. Your surgeon might however advise another option such as PRK or other Surface based options, if your eyes will thereby have a better long term outcome.
LASIK works well in the long term in well prepared patients where all potential limitations for success has been ruled out.
Authored by Dr. Millicent Grim, MD
Specialist Ophthalmologist and LASIK Specialist