LASIK eye surgery: What you need to know!
Mr Tariq Ayoub - 20 Mar 2021
Are you struggling with contact lenses or don’t like wearing glasses? Do you want clear vision without the need for corrective lenses? If the answer to either question is yes, then you may wish to explore an alternative vision correction procedure. LASIK is the most commonly performed type of laser eye surgery performed worldwide and can help kick people’s dependency on glasses or contact lenses. However, not everyone is suitable for it. In this article, we summarise the key points you need to know about LASIK eye surgery.
How is LASIK performed?
In LASIK (Laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis), a thin flap is created on the cornea after a suction ring is applied to the eye to secure it. The laser is then applied to reshape the cornea to correct your vision. The flap is gently re-positioned at the end of the procedure. A bandage contact lens is sometimes applied over the flap which is removed the next day. During the procedure, the eyes are kept open with the help of specially designed clips. Watch an animation of the procedure here.
Learn more about London and Birmingham’s best laser eye surgeon, Mr Tariq Ayoub.
Is LASIK eye surgery painful?
No, it is not a painful procedure as numbing anaesthetic eye drops are instilled in both eyes. You may, however, feel a little pressure during the procedure which is normal.
What can LASIK correct or treat?
Using advanced laser technology, LASIK can treat short/near-sightedness (myopia), long/far-sightedness (hyperopia), reading vision (presbyopia) and astigmatism. However, extreme prescriptions of myopia, hyperopia or astigmatism may be better treated with an Implantable Contact Lens or Refractive Lens Exchange if you are above the age of 50.
Who is unsuitable for LASIK?
In general, if you are above the age of 18 and have a stable prescription, then you may be a candidate for LASIK. However, factors that make you unsuitable for LASIK include:
- Severe dry eyes
- Thin cornea
- Corneal disease
- Advanced glaucoma
- Cataract affecting vision
- Poorly controlled diabetes
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women
- Extreme glasses prescription
What are the side effects or complications of LASIK?
Most people make excellent recovery and notice they can do most things the day after surgery. However, they may experience some temporary side effects which generally resolve in most people. These side-effects include:
- Hazy or blurry vision
- Difficulty with night vision or driving at night
- Scratchiness, dryness and other symptoms of dry eye
- Glare, halos or starbursts around lights
- Light sensitivity
- Discomfort or pain
- Small pink or red patches on the white of the eye
The flap created during LASIK can dislodge after the surgery, usually due to trauma. This would need urgent surgery to reposition the flap to prevent any long-term problems. Therefore, it is important to follow the post-op instructions.
While these side effects might seem severe, they resolve in most people with no lasting effects. Modern laser technology has improved outcomes with reduced occurrence of these side-effects significantly. At Oculase, we use the latest laser technology to ensure the best outcomes. However, to ensure these outcomes, you must prepare for the surgery as best as you can.
Can you go blind from LASIK surgery?
Total blindness, where you cannot even see light, is extremely rare. The American Refractive Surgery Council reports that no one has ever gone completely blind from LASIK. However, deviating from the aftercare guidelines can result in potential vision problems. Therefore, you must follow the aftercare instructions for a successful outcome.
How to Prepare for LASIK Surgery?
To have an optimal outcome and have the best experience, it is important to follow the instructions of your surgeon. In general, you should prepare by doing the following:
- Stop wearing your contact lenses: Wear your glasses and stop wearing your contact lenses for at least 2 weeks before surgery. The longer you are off the contact lenses the better!
- Stop using eye makeup: It is advisable not to wear any eye makeup, lotions, or cream for 3 days before surgery and on the day of surgery.
- Take a shower: It is advisable not to shower for 2-3 days after surgery. Therefore, take a shower, and wear clean and comfortable clothes on the day of surgery.
- Have a light meal: On the day of surgery avoid heavy meals. Equally, make sure you eat something to prevent any dizzy episodes.
- Have someone accompany you: Make sure you have someone to drive you back home as your vision may be temporarily blurred soon after surgery
- Bring your sunglasses: It is important to wear your sunglasses after surgery to help reduce the photosensitivity people experience after surgery.
What precautions should you take after LASIK eye surgery?
- Use your drops: you must use your drops as prescribed. For the first day after surgery, have someone help you with the drops.
- Don’t take a shower or wash your hair: you can take a bath but avoid taking a shower or washing your hair or getting any water into your eyes for 2-3 days after the surgery
- Don’t touch or rub your eyes: you may gently dab around the eyelids but don’t touch or rub your eyes for at least 2 weeks after surgery. Touching the eyes unnecessarily may dislodge the flap.
- Avoid driving: You must not drive until your doctor tells you it is okay to do so.
- Wear your sunglasses: Invest in a good UV protecting pair of sunglasses. Use this for the first few days after surgery and every time you are out in bright sunlight for at least 6 months after surgery.
- Avoid swimming or heavy exercise: You must allow your eyes to heal. It is best to avoid swimming or heavy exercise for 2 weeks after the surgery
- Avoid eye make-up: Don’t use eye make-up for 1 week after surgery to reduce the risk of infections. . Discard partially used products to prevent infections.
What are the benefits of having LASIK eye surgery?
- Most people notice an improvement in vision the day after surgery.
- Most people can return to work 2-3 days after surgery
- 95-98% of people notice an improvement in vision without glasses after surgery. In a small percentage of people, an enhancement may improve this further.
- The procedure is painless as numbing drops are used.
- No stitches are required for the surgery
What are the alternatives to LASIK?
If you are not suitable for LASIK, you may be suitable for an alternative procedure such as PRK or Implantable Contact Lens or Lens Replacement (RLE) surgery. At Oculase, our experienced and certified refractive surgeon, Mr Ayoub will assess you and discuss the most suitable option for you.