Laser Vision Correction (LASIK)
LASIK is a popular surgical alternative to glasses and contact lenses. LASIK is short for Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis, which could be roughly translated to mean ‘laser used on the cornea’. It has major advantages over alternative treatments, primarily the speed of observable results and a relative lack of pain.
The first step of the process is a small incision made in the cornea, which is then lifted and a laser is used to remove and reshape the tissue underneath. After the cornea is reshaped to maximise light intake, the incision is closed. The result is more precisely focused light onto the retina, which results in much clearer vision. Both near and far sightedness can be helped with this procedure as well as any abnormalities in the shape of the cornea, known as astigmatism.
Discerning whether or not LASIK is appropriate is a simple process. A specialist checks the health of the eye, the amount of current tissue, and what kind of treatment is required. If there is any evidence of dry eye disease, this must be corrected before proceeding.
The procedure itself takes less than 10 minutes, and a local anaesthetic eye drop is used. Sometimes a mild sedative can be taken as well. A brace is placed over the eye to prevent accidental blinking, though this is not painful. The eye is kept pressurised using this device, to allow the surgery to take place.
A target light is set up for the eye to focus on while the laser performs the operation. This is done quickly, and does not cause any pain. Sometimes an odour can be smelled as the tissue is removed, but this is entirely normal. Both eyes are usually done on the same day.
Medication can be prescribed post-operation, but this is usually not necessary as most patients feel no pain, and occasionally only mild discomfort. In nearly all cases, the results are clear within hours, but rarely the results are visible in up to a few weeks.
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