Am I a LASIK Candidate?

Laser Eye Surgery

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Are you wondering if LASIK eye surgery is a possibility for you? Anyone with a desire to free themselves from the endless routine of glasses or contact lenses should consider LASIK.

The ideal candidate for LASIK:

  • is at least eighteen years old, although some eyes are still developing and maturing at this age.
  • has not had a change in their glasses prescription for a year (has a stable refractive error)
  • is within the correctable range
  • is free of eye disease
  • is willing to accept the potential risks, complications and side effects of LASIK

    LASIK stands for Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis and simply put is a procedure using an excimer laser that permanently changes the shape of the eye. A small flap is cut into the cornea and folded over to allow access to the part of the eye called the stroma, where the laser is used to reshape the cornea and the flap is closed.

    Most doctors will provide a free consultation prior to surgery. During this consultation, your eyes will be tested and evaluated for several different criteria. Because contact lenses alter the shape of your cornea, you will be asked to discontinue wearing them for several weeks before your consultation to provide an accurate measure of the shape of your eye. If you do not give your eyes enough rest from contact lenses before this measurement, the readings may not be as accurate. Your doctor will reconfirm these measurements before your surgery to be absolutely sure your eyes haven’t changed. LASIK surgery is painless and usually takes less than 30 minutes. Your eye will be numbed and held open by a small instrument. A ring is then placed over the eye to create suction while your doctor makes the incision. The knife used to make this incision is called a microkeratome. The ring and microkeratome will then be removed for the doctor to position the laser on the area of your eye that is to be corrected. During this time, you will have to remain focused on a light straight in front of you. After the tissue is removed, the flap will be returned to its original position. At this time, a small shield will be placed over your eye to protect it while the flap begins to heal.

    You shouldn’t wear any lotion or makeup the day before the procedure. It is important that no debris or foreign substances enter your exposed eye to prevent risk of infection. Driving to or from your LASIK procedure is not recommended because your vision may be blurred and your doctor may give you some medication to help you relax.

    In the days following the procedure, you may experience itching or burning and you may feel like something is caught in your eye. Your eyes may also water occasionally or be blurry, but it is extremely important not to rub your eye to keep the flap in place. After a day or two, you will have a follow-up visit with your doctor to ensure that the procedure produced the desired results. For the next few months, you will need to pay special attention to the environment you expose your eyes to. It may not be possible to swim or use a hot tub for a while. Strenuous exercise is forbidden for at least 4 weeks after surgery.

    Some patients experience fluctuation is their vision for the first few months following surgery. It may be up to six months before all of those side effects completely disappear. Some of these side effects include irregular glare, haloes around lights, and difficulty with night vision.

    Certain individuals are not suited for the LASIK procedure for various reasons. If your prescription changes frequently, you are pregnant or nursing, a diabetic, or if you have excessively dry eyes, be certain that your doctor is aware of these risk factors.

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