Your eyes are delicate organs that enable you to take in the world around you and they require the utmost care. Sometimes however, your vision can become impaired resulting in poor eyesight. To correct this, you might need prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses. Technological advancements have also made it possible to correct vision using laser surgery.
In order to understand laser eye surgery, you first have to understand how your eyes work. When you look at an object, light is reflected from that object to the lenses in each of your eyes. These lenses then bend or refract the light rays so that they focus on your retina, creating an image of that object.
However, this process does not always go as expected. The most common vision problems, myopia – short-sightedness – and hyperopia – long-sightedness) – occur when the lenses are unable to accurately focus light rays on your retina.
Glasses or contacts correct your vision by using special lenses to help direct light rays so that they properly fall on the retina.
How is laser eye surgery done?
So, just what’s involved in LASIK surgery and how does the procedure improve your eyesight? LASIK stands for laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis, and is a type of refractive surgery. This procedure involves reshaping the cornea – a thin, transparent covering that protects your eye – to allow light rays to properly focus on the retina for better vision. LASIK surgery slightly changes the shape of the cornea to compensate for the inadequacy of your eyes’ natural lenses.
The surgery is quite simple. You are first given anesthetic drops to numb the eye. Your eyelids are then held open by a suction frame which also pulls the cornea to hold it in place for the operation.
This might be uncomfortable but not painful. Your eye surgeon will then use a femtosecond laser or microkeratome blade (microscopic knife) to cut a thin, circular flap in the cornea. This flap is hinged on one side and allows your surgeon to access the underlying corneal tissue. Some of this corneal tissue is removed using an excimer laser to reshape it for more accurate vision. Finally, the flap is replaced. There is no need for stiches as it will gradually reattach itself with time as the cornea heals.
Before and after the operation
As you can see, there is not much involved in LASIK eye surgery. However, like all surgical procedures, it should be taken seriously and you should do enough research to ensure you are well informed beforehand.
Before the surgery, your eye doctor will conduct a thorough eye exam to determine your eye health as well as evaluate your corneal thickness and curvature, eye shape and other eye conditions. You will also be asked to stop wearing contact lenses and eye make up in the weeks leading to the surgery. Immediately after the operation your eyes might burn or feel itchy. This is temporary and should dissipate in a few minutes.
Overall, laser eye surgery is a revolutionary procedure that has helped millions to achieve 20/20 vision. However, it is not for everyone and you should consult an ophthalmologist to get your eyes tested and to find out if the surgery is right for you.