We rely on our vision more than virtually any other sense, so as you can probably imagine, living with less than perfect vision is far from ideal. In the past, the options for patients with vision problems was very limited, with only glasses and contact lenses the only choices. While these are effective, they both require the patient to make a number of compromises. These include remembering to take your glasses with you and being careful not to break them, or in the case of contact lenses, additional expense, and taking the time to care for them and keep them clean. Neither option is permanent. Fortunately, there is now a treatment that is – LASIK.
Laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis or LASIK has transformed the lives of countless patients who had previously been reliant on wearing glasses or contact lenses and is the most popular elective eye surgery in the world. We are delighted to be able to offer LASIK laser vision correction to our patients who are looking for a permanent way to see clearly.
Refractive eye errors are caused by issues with the way that light passes through the eye, and instead of hitting the back of the eye precisely, it falls in front or behind it. This normally happens when the eyeball has grown too long or there is an unusual curve to the cornea, which is the transparent disc covering the front part of the eye. LASIK can be used to correct all types of refractive eye error:
Myopia (nearsightedness): patients can see nearby objects clearly, but those further away appear blurred.
Hyperopia (farsightedness): patients can see distant objects clearly, but those nearby are out of focus.
Astigmatism: patients have blurred vision at all distances.
LASIK works by making changes to the cornea so that light is refracted correctly, hitting the retina at the back of the eye perfectly so that the message sent up the optic nerve to the brain can be interpreted clearly. Since every patient has slightly different eyes, LASIK is planned with pinpoint precision to ensure that the alterations made by the laser are completed with unrivaled accuracy and precision. This is done after the laser is first used to make a flap in the outer corneal tissue which will be used to access the part of the cornea to be reshaped. Once the reshaping is complete, the flap is closed and left to heal naturally, which it will do over the coming days and weeks. There’s no need for sutures of any kind.
If you have myopia, the laser will be used to make your cornea flatter.
If you have hyperopia, the laser will alter the cornea to make it steeper.
If you have hyperopia, the laser will create more a more even, a domed shape that is equal on all sides.
The entire LASIK process can usually be carried out in less than an hour, with only a maximum of 10 minutes of that time actually carrying out the procedure.
LASIK eye surgery is minimally invasive, but you will still need to give yourself plenty of time to rest and heal after your laser vision correction procedure. Your eyes will be very sensitive during this time, and it’s normal to experience some soreness, itching, and general discomfort. Most patients are recommended to take up to 5 days off work while their eyes heal, although you may need a little longer depending on the type of job that you have. It’s essential that you follow all post-surgical advice, including staying out from behind the wheel of your vehicle until our LASIK team has confirmed that your vision meets the legal standard required for driving. Following these instructions will help ensure minimal risk of complications and accelerate your recovery.
It could take up to two weeks for your vision to reach optimal improvement, although you may notice that you can start to see more clearly within 24 hours of your surgery. Although patients aren’t guaranteed to be able to see without glasses or contact lenses following surgery, the majority have little to no reliance on vision aids following LASIK. If you think you may not be a candidate for LASIK there is another refractive surgery called PRK. For more information click here!
If you would like to find out more about LASIK laser vision correction or to schedule a consultation to see if you are a good candidate for this revolutionary treatment, please contact Santa Barbara Eyecare and Drs. Douglas Nina and Cailyn Katsev will assist you.