WHAT IS LASIK?

LASIK is an acronym that stands for Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis.

It is an outpatient procedure that uses an FDA-approved excimer laser to reshape the cornea to correct your vision. This allows the correction of Myopia, Hyperopia and Astigmatism. This also reduces or removes a person’s dependence on eyeglasses or contact lenses

 

HOW DO I KNOW IF I’M SUITABLE FOR LASIK?

You have to undergo the Pre-lasik Screening, a comprehensive eye exam to check the health of your eye.

 

A good candidate should:

(1)   Be at least 18 years of age.

(2)   Have eyes free from severe eye-related conditions such as macular    degeneration, retinal detachment, and glaucoma.

(3)   Have had stable vision without significant increase in eyeglasses prescription for the past one year.

(4)   Suitable range of refractive errors

(5)   Must not be pregnant or breastfeeding.

 

WHAT DOES THE EYE ASSESMENT OR PRE-LASIK SCREENING INCLUDE?

The pre-LASIK assessment includes the following tests:

(1) Vision check

(2) Spectacle power check

(3) Cornea thickness measurement

(4) Cornea surface mapping (topography)

(5) Eye ball pressure measurement              

(6) Pupil size measurement

(7) Pupils are dilated with eye drops

(8) A LASIK education video is screened for you

 

You will undergo a full eye assessment to determine your suitability for the lasik procedure. They will conduct several tests and check for abnormalities. After this, you will watch a video which tells you more about lasik. And you can share with our counsellors (optometrist and nurses ) your concerns or ask further questions. Please be advised to stop wearing your contact lens 5 days to 1 week for soft contact lenses and 2 weeks or more for hard contact lenses prior to the Lasik Screening to ensure accuracy of all eye exams.

 

WHY DO I NEED TO LAY OFF MY CONTACT LENSES BEFORE THE PRE-EVALUATION AND SURGERY?

Contact lenses change the shape of your cornea. Removal of your contact lenses will allow the cornea to return back to it’s original shape so that accurate eye readings can be taken.

 

WHAT ARE SOME EYE PROBLEMS LASIK CAN NOT TREAT?

One condition that cannot be treated by LASIK is cataract. Cataract is caused by the clouding of the lens of the eye. A cataract extraction with intraocular lens implantation is required. And Keratoconus, a very uncommon eye disease due to an irregularly thinned cornea, is another problem which prevents LASIK correction.

 

WHAT FACTORS DETERMINE THE RANGE AND ACCURACY OF TREATMENT POSSIBLE?

There are 3 main factors which affect how much and how accurate the treatment is. The first factor is the thickness of the patient’s cornea. The thicker the cornea is, the greater the amount of correction that can be achieved. The second factor is the size of the patient’s pupil in the dark. Larger pupils require deeper and wider treatments. Finally, the higher the power, the less accurate the correction. This is because more correction requires a larger amount of tissue to be ablated and a longer time of treatment.

 

IS LASIK PAINFUL?

No, it is not. LASIK is performed under topical eye drop anesthesia. No injections or general anesthesia are needed. Most patients describe the sensation during LASIK as a slight pressure.

 

WHAT HAPPENS IF I BLINK?

Blinking is actually stopped by the placement of an instrument called a lid speculum, which gently holds back your upper and lower eyelids and is put into place after you receive anesthetic drops.

 

IS LASIK SAFE? WHAT HAPPENS IF MY EYE MOVES?

LASIK is safe. The chances of complications arising are very remote, especially in an experienced surgeon’s hands.

Eye movement can be controlled with special techniques, however the best method to control movement is for the patient to practice fixing his gaze. Small movements of the eye will be compensated for by the Laser’s eye tracker. All modern lasers have very fast eye trackers.

 

WHAT HAPPENS DURING LASIK PROCEDURE?

LASIK basically involves 2 major processes:

Creation of the LASIK “flap” using a microkeratome (a device with a very fast oscillating blade) & Removal of eye tissue from the surface of the cornea bed with an Excimer laser to correct a patient’s refractive error.

 

HOW LONG IS THE LASIK PROCEDURE?

The actual surgery takes about 5 – 10 minutes on each eye to complete. The whole process may take 1 to 2 hours including registration, preparation, debriefing, post-op consultation.

 

ARE THERE ANY PRECAUTIONS I NEED TO NOTE PRIOR TO LASIK SURGERY?

Should you sustain any injury to the eye prior to surgery, inform your doctor before the surgery is performed. Any infection whether to the eye or the body as a whole should also be communicated to your doctor prior to the surgery.

 

HOW SOON CAN I SEE CLEARLY AFTER THE SURGERY?

For most people, you can do things without eyeglasses the next day. With Lasik, you should be able to regain functional vision within one day. However, some patients take a few days or even a week to see clearly after Lasik. 

 

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR THE CORNEA TO HEAL?

The  cornea flap takes 1 month to heal completely.

 

ARE THERE ANY PRECAUTIONS I NEED TO NOTE AFTER THE SURGERY?

You are required to wear a protective eyeshield for 7 to 10 days. You might subconciosuly rub your eyes when asleep so we advise you to also wear your eyeshield for the first 3 nights. No swimming for a month. No make–up for a week. Patient is advised not to touch the eye for the first few days after the surgery and not rub the eye for at least one month. Vigorous rubbing the eye can lead to shifting and wrinkling of the flap. Wrinkling causes severe distortion of vision.

 

CAN I STILL WEAR CONTACT LENSES AFTER THE SURGERY?

Yes. This question is asked by those that have high myopia but do not have adequate cornea thickness for full correction and are considering partial correction. For example, 1000 diopters but only has enough cornea tissue to correct up to 800 diopters. Or if the patient wishes to wear them for cosmetic purposes (colored contact lenses), they can be worn one month after surgery.

 

WHAT ARE THE SIDE EFFECTS OF LASIK?

The most common side effects of lasik are dry eyes, glare and haloes. Immediately after LASIK, the patient will experience discomfort for 2 to 3 hours. Patients will experience tearing and may also experience a ‘sandy’ feeling in the eye. For majority of cases, if the eye is kept gently closed after surgery, discomfort will diminish rapidly. If the patient takes a 2 to 3 hour nap, the discomfort will disappear almost completely. The patient will usually feel very comfortable six to eight hours after surgery and by then vision should have improved significantly.

Dry eyes are treatable by eye lubricant to ease the discomfort.

Glare usually disappears after one to three months. If it does not disappear after 6 months, it will most probably be permanent. In many cases night glare continues to improve even after 6 months.

 

CAN I DO LASIK WHEN I’M PREGNANT?

It is not recommended to undergo surgery during pregnancy.

Hormonal changes affects the hydration of your cornea, and the reading will not be accurate.

However it will not harm the fetus.

 

HOW SOON CAN I DO LASIK AFTER PREGNANCY?

3 months after pregnancy if not breast feeding. If breastfeeding, you can undergo Lasik 3 months after you stop breastfeeding.

 

IS LASIK COVERED BY MY INSURANCE?

Because LASIK is considered by most insurance companies to be an elective surgery, they most likely will not cover the procedure.You may however review your employer’s insurance policy to see if LASIK or a LASIK discount may be covered.  Your personal insurance provider will be able to advise you on whether Lasik surgery can be covered by your medical personal insurance.