LASIK has quickly become the laser procedure of choice for most patients because they recover quickly and have fewer side effects and complications than with other methods of vision correction. In fact, most LASIK patients notice a significant improvement in their vision soon after surgery. LASIK removes tissue within the cornea to treat low to high levels of nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism.
LASIK improves the uncorrected vision for distance - one's visual capacity while not wearing corrective lenses - in most patients who have the procedure. Nearly all patients can expect to achieve 20/40 vision, which most states consider good enough to drive without having to wear contacts or glasses, and many can expect to achieve 20/20 vision or better. However, there are no guarantees that you will have perfect vision. People who are most satisfied with the results of laser correction clearly understand the potential risks and complications and possess realistic expectations of what their vision will be like after surgery.
Traditionally, doctors have used an instrument called a microkeratome for the creation of corneal flaps. The microkeratome is a hand-held blade that moves across the eye, cutting the corneal flap as it goes. While LASIK is extremely safe, if complications do occur the microkeratome is most often the cause. The IntraLase Method, by contrast, enables your doctor to create your corneal flap without a blade ever touching your eye. Montgomery Eye Physicians was the first in Alabama to bring blade-free technology to our patients. We are the only iLASIK Certified Center in Central and South Alabama.
Using LASIK to Treat You:
To treat nearsightedness, the steep cornea is made flatter by removing tissue from the center of the cornea. This moves the point of focus from in front of the retina to directly on the retina.
To treat farsightedness, the flat cornea is made steeper by removing tissue outside the central optical zone of the cornea. This moves the point of focus from behind the retina to directly on the retina.
To treat astigmatism, the cornea is made more spherical -- like a basketball instead of a football. This eliminates multiple focusing points within the eye and creates one point of focus on the retina. Astigmatism can be treated at the same time as nearsightedness and farsightedness.
The effects of LASIK are permanent. The effects of LASIK do not wear off. But, it is important to realize that a person's eye can still change internally. That is why many surgeons recommend having the procedure done after the major eye changes have occurred in one's life. For instance, LASIK is not recommended on children because their eyes change a great deal. They would need the vision fine-tuned in a few years. If the procedure is performed after the age of 18, the chance of long-term stable correction is more likely. Even the eyes of patients over the age of 18 can still be changing. Therefore, we recommend a good conversation with your surgeon to review the changes you have had and help you make a decision whether or not you should wait until the changes have slowed down. Patients should also note that while results are usually stable, they can be modified by enhancement procedures - procedures performed after the initial one - if necessary.
You can resume most normal activities immediately after surgery. You should wear safety glasses while playing contact sports whether or not you have had surgery. But, if you do not routinely wear safety glasses, your surgeon may recommend wearing them for at least one month after LASIK. You will also need to avoid such activities as contact sports and swimming for several weeks. It is important to talk specifically with your doctor about limitations on activities after LASIK.
Fast visual recovery characterizes this operation. Most patients achieve good vision the day after surgery and find that their eyes feel fairly normal within a day. However, vision can continue to improve, and best vision can still take two to three months to occur. Most patients who have LASIK do not wear glasses for their daily activities. However, patients may need to wear reading glasses if they are over the age of 40. This is caused by the normal aging of the eye known as presbyopia. This condition occurs with or without LASIK. Some patients may need a minimal prescription for some activities such as night driving.
Most people in their 40's or older will need reading glasses if their eyes are corrected for distance because the eye's lens loses flexibility as we age. Some patients in this age group select monovision, such as is done with contact lenses. This option allows patients to use one of their eyes for distance and the other to see up close. Although monovision proves to be satisfactory for some patients, many are not comfortable with this arrangement. We will be happy to discuss this with you to meet your individual needs.
Is LASIK for YOU?
- Do you want to reduce or eliminate the dependence on glasses or contacts?
- Are at least 18 years of age?
- Have you had a stable eye prescription for at least one year?
- Have no health issues affecting your eyes?
- Have no signs of glaucoma or cataracts?
Your LASIK Provider Checklist: