What Is Laser Vision Correction (LASIK)?
Laser vision correction is a very common type of corrective eye surgery available for people who are nearsighted or farsighted.
The most popular form is LASIK, which is the single most commonly performed refractive surgery procedure. You may hear people calling it "LASIX," but the name is actually short for "Laser-assisted in Situ Keratomileusis". During the procedure, a flap on the front surface of the eye (the cornea) is folded back and a laser is used to reshape the cornea. The flap is then placed back to its original position. Most patients experience good vision results the very next day.
LASIK has a relatively painless recovery and quick results.
Eye anatomy differs from person to person. If you are not a candidate for LASIK, then PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) maybe for you. With PRK the top layer of the cornea, known as the epithelium, is removed, then the excimer laser is applied to reshape the cornea.
Understanding Your Eyes – Myopia, Hyperopia and Astigmatism
The cornea and lens of the eye focus rays of light by bending them in a process called refraction. The light rays form an image on the retina in the back of the eye, much like a camera lens focuses images onto film.
The figure above shows an ideal eye with perfect focus. All the rays of light traveling through the eye focus as a single image on the retina. When the path through an eye contains imperfections, light is refracted onto the retina abnormally, and the resulting image is distorted or blurred. This condition is known as a refractive error. Many people with refractive error need corrective lenses or laser vision correction to help them see more clearly.
The three most common refractive errors are:
- Myopia (nearsighted)
- Hyperopia (farsighted)
Nearsightedness occurs when the cornea is too steep or the eye is too long. Light passes through the eye but focuses before it reaches the retina, and it is out of focus on the retina, causing blurred distance vision. Patients are usually able to see objects at near but not at distance. Glasses, contact lenses, or excimer laser reshaping of the cornea diverge light rays to focus on the retina, bringing distant object into focus.
Astigmatism occurs when the cornea is more curved in one direction than the other, shaped like a football rather than a basketball. Light passes through the eye and focuses in more than one plane, causing distorted vision. In one plane, light is focused on the retina but not in another. Patients with significant astigmatism often have blurred vision at both distance and near. Most patients have some astigmatism associated with the myopia or hyperopia. Glasses, contact lenses or the excimer laser correct astigmatism by bringing the astigmatic plane into focus on the retina.
Farsightedness occurs when the cornea is too flat in relation to the length of the eye. Light passes through the eye and comes into focus past the retina and is out of focus on the retina, causing blurred distance vision. Patients with mild hyperopia are able to see both distance and near when young. As they age, they first lose near vision, then distance vision. Glasses, contact lens or excimer laser reshaping of the cornea converge light rays to focus on the retina, bringing distant objects into focus.
Presbyopia is the loss of the eye’s ability to focus on near objects because of age-related thickening and hardening of the natural lens. Learn more about prebyopia here.
HOW LASER VISION
Laser vision correction is a simple procedure. First, a flap is created in the cornea. Traditionally, the flap was created using a microkeratome, which is a type of surgical blade. A newer technique is to use a laser for this critical first step.
The flap is folded back, and the second step of the LASIK procedure is to reshape the cornea. When the excimer laser reshapes the cornea and it is reshaped properly, the cornea is better able to focus light onto the retina, providing clearer vision. The corneal flap is then laid back in place. LASIK procedures are performed on an outpatient basis and most patients attain good vision by the very next day.
Both nearsighted and farsighted people can benefit from LASIK eye surgery. With nearsighted people, the goal is to flatten a cornea that is too steep. With farsighted people, a steeper cornea is desired. Also, laser vision correction can also correct astigmatism by smoothing an irregular cornea into a more ideal shape.
LASER VISION CORRECTION TREATMENT OPTIONS
There are many types of laser vision correction procedures. Sharper Vision Centers offers the latest LASIK treatment options to fit your unique needs. These are only brief descriptions; please speak with Dr. Oyakawa to learn more about laser vision surgery options.
All-laser LASIK with IntraLase® uses a laser, not a metal blade, to create a more precise flap in the cornea.
Wavefront LASIK/PRK uses a wavefront measuring system to guide the laser in reshaping the eye.
Allegretto Wave™ wavefront-optimized excimer laser provides highly precise, customized laser vision correction.
Sharper Vision Center, has been recognized as a leading LASIK eye center in South Bay, Torrance area
Led by a renowned and award-winning LASIK eye surgeon Dr. Oyakawa
WHAT TO EXPECT WITH LASIK SURGERY
LASIK screening: First, we will perform a screening to determine whether you are a candidate.
LASIK examination: This includes determination of your glasses prescription (refraction), measurement of your vision with and without glasses (visual acuity), evaluation of eyelids, pupils, eye muscle balance, and confrontational visual fields, measurement of the pressures inside your eye (tonometry), measurement of the curvature of your cornea (keratometry), Wavefront analysis and OCT of the cornea, microscopic examination of the anterior segment (cornea, anterior chamber, iris, lens, and anterior vitreous) of your eye (slit-lamp examination) and a dilated examination of the retina and vitreous.
Contact lens wearers: Do not use your contact lenses for the appropriate time prior to exam and procedure.
- Soft lenses, 2 days
- Soft Toric, 7 days
- Gas-permeable: 2–3 weeks
- Hard lenses: 3–4 weeks
Hygiene: Do not wear face or eye makeup, facial moisturizer, perfume, cologne, or body sprays from the neck up. Wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing. The laser room is kept at 68° so bring a sweatshirt. Please do not bring a sweater because they bring in lint.
Food: You may eat and take all your medications as usual unless otherwise instructed. However, please do not eat two hours prior to your arrival time at the laser center. The sedative will have less of an effect on a full stomach.
Arrival: Arrive one hour prior to surgery. Traffic conditions in the area can be very unpredictable, so please allow yourself extra travel time to make it to your appointment on time. Upon arrival, you will complete surgical center registration forms. Then you will take a sedative.
Location: Surgical Center
Length of stay: Plan to be at the facility for up to two hours. You will need someone to drive you home.
LASIK Surgery: Dr. Oyakawa creates a flap in the cornea using the Intralase® for the critical first step. After a short wait you will be taken into the excimer laser room. Then Dr. Oyakawa folds the flap back and second step of the LASIK procedure begins to reshape the cornea. An excimer laser removes (ablates) tiny bits of tissue from the cornea.
After LASIK surgery: You may experience some mild discomfort following your treatment, which may include sensation of a foreign object in the eye, burning, itching, light sensitivity, scratchiness, and tearing—these are all normal. When you get home: You may eat. We recommend that you sleep. This will make you more comfortable. Medication will be given to you to help you relax. We would prefer you refrain from watching television, reading, or working on the computer on day of surgery. Also try to remember to fully blink your eyes every few minutes for moisture.
Protective eyewear: You will need to sleep with protective eyewear goggles for three nights after the LASIK procedure. On the first night of surgery, you will sleep with hard shields taped on and goggles on top. The following two nights, be sure to sleep with goggles.
Eye drops: You will be using antibiotic and anti-inflammatory eye drops four times a day for five days after surgery starting the day after your procedure.
Artificial tears: The surgery center will provide an eye kit that contains Refresh/Systane tears. Your eyes may feel dry due to the laser; you may use artificial tears as often as needed. If you purchase artificial tears yourself, make sure that they are preservative-free.
Contaminated water: Avoid getting non-sterile water into your eyes for 14 days, including water from swimming pools, hot tubs, jacuzzis and the ocean. It’s okay to shower and wash your hair and face, as long as you keep your eyes closed as you normally would. Do not rub for four weeks after your LASIK treatment.
Makeup: Do not use eye makeup for five days following your LASIK procedure.
Pets: Do not sleep with pets for 24 hours following your treatment. Their fine hair may get into your eyes. We recommend laundering bed linens prior to your LASIK procedure.
Back to work: Most people return to work the day after surgery.
Exercise: You may return to your exercise routine after five to seven days. DO NOT get sweat into your eyes. Use a sweatband and wash your face before and after exercising.
When to call your doctor: Call if you notice any of these eye problems after surgery:
- Increasing pain
- Discharge or increased irritation
- Abrupt changes in vision 24 hours or more after surgery
Remember, always feel free to call us with any questions regarding your eyes.