There are different types of refractive surgeries that improve eyesight problems and eliminate dependence on visual aids. Laser Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK) is one solution that has become quite popular because of the many benefits it offers.
What is LASIK and What Are It’s Benefits?
LASIK is a laser operation that uses ‘excimer’ UV rays to alter the shape of the cornea. This corrects any errors that cause visual impairment, when light does not focus accurately on the retina.
Data collected by research firm Market Scope estimated that over 600,000 LASIK procedures were performed throughout the USA in 2011 alone. Why, then, is there such a high patient count for a procedure that has been around since 1991?
The answer lies in the benefits that patients enjoy. Here’s why is a good treatment choice for those who qualify for it:
- Lasting Solution and Quick Vision Correction – Sight improvement after a LASIK procedure is, in most cases, permanent. Sometimes, blurry vision can reoccur, in which case patients have to follow up with LASIK enhancement to restore their vision. However, the American Academy of Ophthalmology reports that LASIK surgery has a success rate of up to 90%, with most patients recovering anywhere between 20/20 and 20/40 vision. As it is a laser procedure, it is quick and almost painless. This is hugely beneficial and convenient for the patient. The surgery only takes around 10 to 30 minutes.
- Low-Cost Procedure and Saves Money – Compared to other refractive procedures, LASIK surgery is more affordable. The average cost ranges between $1,700 and $4,000 per eye, depending on your chosen eye care center, geographical location, your vision problem, etc. Many eye clinics also provide flexible financing methods (medical insurance, monthly installments, credit card payments, etc.). Since the results of this surgery last for years to come and may also last a lifetime. This saves you a lot of money as you no longer need to invest heavily in eyeglasses or contact lenses.
- Fast Recovery and Minimal Pain – Your eye surgeon will make a small incision on the cornea, to create a flap of tissue that will be lifted during the surgery. Since the laser correction surgery is minimally invasive, recovery times tend to be fast. Some patients report improvements within a day or two, and most recover full vision function within a week. Contrary to the belief, this procedure is minimally invasive and hence is almost painless.
- Natural Facial Attributes – An added bonus of this procedure is that it allows you to maintain your natural facial look. After prolonged periods of wearing prescription glasses, the eyes eventually look smaller or larger, since corrective lenses increase the eyes’ axial length (the retina continually adjusts backward or forward for clearer vision).
- Ability to take part in different activities – Professional activities such as acting, athletics, defense etc., require correct vision. LASIK provides safe, reliable, quick, long lasting results and a near perfect vision. This allows the person to take up different activities which require correct vision.
- Reduced Risks of Allergies and Infections – Many patients who underwent LASIK have shared cases of reduced allergy symptoms. These include reduction in sinus due to lack of pain resulting from glasses sitting on the nose, lesser headaches and lack of irritation and redness in the eye due to constant use of contact lenses.
- Better Quality of Life – By eliminating visual aids, LASIK provides many other benefits. For instance, there will be less eye irritation, redness or allergic reactions caused by contact lenses. What’s more, not having to wear glasses will:
- Eliminate sinus pain caused by the bridge of prescription glasses pressing on your nose
- Get rid of headaches caused by the muscles in your eyes becoming overworked by corrective lenses
- Improve side vision, which is usually blocked by the frame of eye glasses
- Reduce glare from lenses that causes poor night time vision
Who Makes a Good Candidate?
LASIK is often recommended to patients who suffer from hyperopia (farsightedness) myopia (shortsightedness) or astigmatism (a vision defect associated with distorted or blurry images).
It can also correct vision problems caused by glaucoma disease, but only if there is no damage to the optic nerve and intraocular pressure remains normal when wearing contacts or eyeglasses. A vision test will determine the severity of glaucoma symptoms and determine whether this refractive surgery is a viable treatment option or not.
Patients with dry eyes or thin corneas may not qualify for this procedure, and it cannot restore cataract-triggered vision loss. If you’re unqualified for Lasik surgery, an ophthalmologist can suggest alternative refractive or laser technology procedures like PRK, which offer similar results.
Is LASIK Safe?
Like any surgical procedure, LASIK has risks. For instance, migrations of the corneal flap can cause complications such as inflammation, infections or even excess lacerations. There is also a possibility of developing dry eyes, double vision or haloes (mild glare) in the eye.
In rare cases, vision clarity may even deteriorate further, especially when patients miss follow-ups or fail to abide by post-operative care instructions. Some patients may be more predisposed to complications than others, in which case other alternative treatment options should be considered.
A professional consultation will help determine if you meet the medical requirements for a LASIK procedure. Contact the specialists at Insight Vision Center today!