In the morning, have you ever had to grab your glasses to see the blaring alarm clock? Do you consider yourself "blind as a bat"? If you nodded your head to either of these questions, you've probably heard about the LASIK eye surgery that can, in some cases, fix all of those problems. LASIK is a relatively new procedure for select candidates who know both the benefits and risks of the operation.
LASIK stands for Laser- Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis. This is an operation in which the shape of the cornea is permanently changed by a laser to correct vision problems. Some of the disorders that can be corrected are: astigmatism, hyperopia, and myopia. An astigmatism is "a distortion of an image on the retina caused by irregularities in the cornea or lens" (Food and Drug Administration). A hyperopia is "the inability to see near objects as clearly as distant objects" (Food and Drug Administration). A myopia is "the inability to see distant objects as clearly as near objects" (Food and Drug Administration). While contact lenses or glasses can help a person see better, they are not a permanent solution. With just a few weeks of preparation and recovery, LASIK is a relatively easy procedure for a patient.
Before surgery, there are a few steps that one must follow in order to increase the likelihood of optimal results. First, schedule an appointment with a neutral eye doctor. Make sure that you have removed hard contact lenses for at least 4 weeks, or soft contact lenses for 2 weeks, prior to the evaluation in order to give your eyes time to adjust back to their natural shape, this is extremely important, because otherwise the measurements will be incorrect, causing unpleasant results. It is a good idea to have a second evaluation done by an eye doctor who knows that you do not intend to have the surgery done by him. This doctor will be more likely to tell you if you are not a good candidate. The day before surgery, you should discontinue use of lotions, makeup, or any unnecessary chemicals, especially around the face. The day of the surgery, you should have transportation home after the surgery. Next, just relax as much as possible (Food and Drug Administration).
The LASIK eye surgery takes less than 30 minutes from start to finish. You will lay on a reclining chair on your back in the operating room. Shortly before the operation begins, a numbing drop will be placed in your eye. The entire eye area will be scrubbed thoroughly. Then, the doctor will use a lid speculum to hold your eyelids open. Next, a suction ring will be positioned over your cornea and high pressure will be applied. This creates suction to the cornea. Then, the microkeratome, the blade, is used to cut a flap of cornea. The instruments are then removed, leaving your vision very blurry. Afterwards, the doctor will lift and fold the flap of cornea, and then dry the tissue of the eye. Next, the laser is arranged over the eye. You are then asked to stare at the light, which is not the laser, but the focal point. Once your eye is in the correct position, the laser will begin and continue as long as you stare at the light. The laser removes the amount of tissue that the doctor programs into it. After it is done, the flap is placed back into position and the lid speculum is removed. Finally, the doctor places a shield over your eye for protection. The doctor will then schedule 3 appointments to see how you are recovering (Food and Drug Administration).
Following the surgery, there are several things you must do to ensure good results. Once you get home after the LASIK eye surgery is done, you should take a three hour nap, with the eye shields in place, to initiate the healing process. Your eyes may burn, itch, or simply be irritated; however, it is very important that you do not rub them. If you do, you risk moving the corneal flap out of position. For the first two days following the surgery, you should wear sunglasses inside and outside. For the first week,...
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