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LASIK, or Laser In-Situ Keratomileusis, is a vision correction procedure that has been available in the United States since the 1990’s. The way it works is by using a cool laser beam to reshape the curvature of your cornea. By doing this, we are able to correct refractive errors that include nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. With this procedure, you may reduce or eliminate your need for glasses or contact lenses.
Is LASIK Right For Me?
LASIK and laser vision correction are among the most successful surgical procedures performed today. To determine if you could be a candidate for LASIK, ask yourself whether you:
- Are at least 18 years of age?
- Have had a stable eyeglass or contact lens prescription for two years?
- Wish to reduce your dependence on eyeglasses and contact lenses?
If you are considering LASIK, then a thorough diagnostic eye evaluation at Gulfcoast Eye Care is highly recommended. During this visit, one of our experienced eye doctors will meet with you to perform pre-operative testing and discuss with you risks, alternatives, and expected outcomes. Your doctor will assess a number of factors with you, including your age, the health of your eyes, your overall health, anatomical variations of your eye, and your vision goals to determine if LASIK is an option for you. This evaluation utilizes the most advanced technologies, takes approximately 90 minutes of your time, and is well worth it. Even if you are not a candidate for LASIK, you and your doctor could decide that PRK (Photo Refractive Keratectomy), Implantable Contact Lenses, Refractive Lens Exchange, or cataract surgery might be a better option for you.
If you would like to get a general idea as to whether you may be a candidate for LASIK, please take our LASIK Self-Evaluation Test.
At Gulfcoast Eye Care, we invest heavily in the most advanced diagnostic and treatment technologies available. A number of these technologies are not available at all LASIK centers. These include custom wavefront optimized and wavefront-guided vision correction with the Alcon® WaveLight® EX500 Excimer Laser. This utilizes outstanding technology to provide some the fastest treatments available today. The WaveLight® FS200 Femtosecond Laser is the fastest femtosecond laser available in the U.S., with a typical flap creation time of approximately 6 seconds.
While the many LASIK procedures today are performed with a microkeratome, a mechanical device that creates the flap, Dr. Michael Manning instead performs the “all-laser” or “bladeless” option for LASIK surgery. Using the Wavelight Femtosecond laser, a computer-controlled femtosecond laser is used to create the corneal flap through delivery of rapid, painless pulses of light. The femtosecond laser can provide a more precise way of creating the corneal flap that produces improved accuracy and superior visual outcomes.
What to Expect on the Day of Surgery
When you arrive at our laser vision center for your treatment, you should expect to stay for approximately 90 minutes. You will need to have someone drive you. Once you arrive, we numb and prepare your eye(s) with a series of eye drops. An eyelid holder is then used to prevent you from blinking during the procedure. We have you lie comfortably in a reclining position while our doctor performs your treatment under the laser. Depending on the type of LASIK you select, there may be two different lasers used. One is a femtosecond laser used to prepare the cornea for treatment and the second is an excimer laser used to reshape the cornea. Because the eye is fully anesthetized, you should not feel the laser performing the treatment.
After the corneal flap has been precisely reshaped, it will be returned to its initial position. There is no need for stitches of any kind since the flap should seal itself back into place.
Should I have anesthesia during the procedure?
It’s very common for patients to have a certain degree of nervousness about the prospect of anything coming near their eyes. In fact, some individuals request general anesthesia during the LASIK procedure in order to be “asleep” while the treatment is performed. While general anesthesia can accomplish this, it’s also important to be aware that general anesthesia involves additional risks.
We utilize some of the most advanced LASIK technologies and techniques available, and the actual reshaping of the cornea typically takes less than a minute for each eye. The total length of the LASIK treatment is generally about 10 minutes. Plus, our standard LASIK procedure is all-laser, meaning a surgical blade should not be coming anywhere in the vicinity of your eye. With these factors in mind, it is worth considering that the risks of general anesthesia may ultimately outweigh the benefits for a procedure this short in length. Also, remember that numbing eye drops will be applied to the eyes beforehand, allowing for a virtually painless procedure.
What to Expect After Surgery
Our technicians will advise you about what eye drops you should use and how often to use them during your healing process. You will be given a kit with the drops and instructions along with eye shields for you to wear while sleeping during the first week. A post-operative visit is scheduled the following day with one of our doctors. During the first 12 to 24 hours, you may feel slight discomfort, sensitivity to light, and a scratchiness or foreign body sensation. These symptoms are generally improved with use of moisturizing eye drops as well as an over-the-counter pain reliever.
One of the major advantages of LASIK surgery is that, for the vast majority of patients here at our practice, the results last for decades. This makes it possible for individuals to enjoy reduced reliance, and possibly even total freedom from eyeglasses or contact lenses for many years. With this in mind, it’s important to note that future changes inside the eye can still occur over time, which can have an effect on your vision. Since every person’s anatomy is different, some individuals may experience changes in the natural lens of the eye sooner than others. Fortunately, there are a number of treatment options that can address post-LASIK refractive errors for those who may need it long after the initial surgery. One of the more common procedures is referred to as LASIK enhancement. This treatment makes slight adjustments to your vision to correct any refractive errors that have developed over time. For some patients, refractive errors that develop over the years may only affect certain activities, and they simply choose to wear glasses or contacts while they engage in those activities.
Overall, the thing to remember is that LASIK is specifically designed to correct common refractive errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism with results that last for a very long time, and most patients experience the effects of LASIK for many, many years after surgery.
Please visit our LASIK FAQs page for answers to some frequently asked questions about this procedure. You can also learn more about some of the more common LASIK myths on our LASIK Fact and Fiction page. Dr. Manning is extensively trained and experienced with a variety of laser vision correction procedures and will be happy to address any concerns you may have.
In order to determine if you are a good candidate for LASIK or another vision correction procedure, you should undergo a comprehensive eye examination. To learn whether you may be a candidate for LASIK or other types of vision correction procedures and to find out which would be the most appropriate procedure for you, please contact Gulfcoast Eye Care to schedule a consultation with one of our highly skilled eye doctors.