For people who do not like to wear glasses or contact lenses, laser eye surgery seems the obvious choice. Though getting the perfect 20/20 vision is a myth, but not having to fiddle with lenses or glasses seems a fair charm for most. But are laser eye surgeries good or bad? Is everyone happy years after getting LASIK? And what are the pros and cons. For most it is the idea of laser surgery that inspires more than its pros or cons, as it will help relieve from the pain of carrying glasses or lenses.
Let us first understand what is laser
Laser or more popularly known for its one method LASIK, is a laser procedure. It creates a thin flap in the cornea and surgeon folds back this flap and removes some cornea tissues using laser. It is a method used to correct short-sightedness, far-sightedness and astigmatism. All laser surgeries work by reshaping the cornea. LASIK stands for Laser in situ keratomileusis. Simply for a layman, the light travels through the cornea and reflects on retina from where we envision. This light must reach clear and so the cornea is reshaped to improve vision.
Types of laser eye surgeries
There are many types of laser eye surgeries depending on your need and choice. Some of them include:
1- LASIK: LASIK is the most popular of laser eye surgeries. It stands for Laser in situ keratomileusis. It works for people with mild short-sightedness, far-sightedness or with astigmatism.
2- PRK or photo-refractive keratectomy. It helps in correcting mild to moderate cases.
3- LASEK: Laser epithelial keratomileusis. Alcohol is used to dilute first
4: Refractive lens exchange. It is more like cataract surgery.
Advantages of Laser eye surgery:
1- It corrects vision for most. Around 96% have the desired vision after Laser. And some enhancements further can improve the rest
2- Little to no pain in the procedure
3- Vision is corrected immediately and hardly in few minutes the patient can herself drive back home
4- It takes meagre 5 minutes for the surgery
5- No cuts or skin closures and hence no pain of stitches
6- Majority of patients do away with glasses and lenses post laser
7- Aging may bring back power, but corrective lenses can be used
Potential side effects of laser eye surgery:
1- Glare in the vision.
2- Halos or double vision around images
3- Severe dry eye syndrome may also develop
4- Difficulty in driving at night
5- Fluctuating vision
6- Pain in eyes that lasts even more than 6 months
1- LASIK or any laser procedure is not recommended for less than 18 years of age
2- For people with very thin corneas Laser must not be performed
3- People taking heavy dose prescription drugs must avoid these drugs do not get laser done
4- Not recommended for pregnant mothers or nursing mothers
5- People with a history of eye ailments like optic nerve damage or any other serious issues must not get laser performed
6- People with extremely large pupils must not get it done
7- For very low power, do not proceed with laser just for ornamental value.
8- It is costly and before proceeding, check your insurance coverage
Care after laser eye surgery:
1- Do not wash your eyes, until the ophthalmologist asks to do so
2- Don’t take shower until a day post surgery
3- Do not apply soap on the face or shampoo a week post surgery. Soap must not enter the eyes
4- Avoid scratching or rubbing your eyes at least 2 weeks post surgery
5- Wear the eye shield you received in the post operative kit.
6- Do not workout for at least 3 days post surgery
7- No eye makeup or moisturizer also around eyes for 2 weeks post surgery
8- No swimming for at least 2 weeks
9- Sunglasses must be used extensively at least 12 months post surgery as sun glare can be very harmful
10- Don’t get your hair colored or or straightened/ permed for at least 2 weeks post surgery
For any questions and specific cases, contact your ophthalmologist immediately. Laser eye surgeries must be done only after proper check up with a specialist. Don’t proceed if chances of eye sight correction are bleak. Some eye conditions are difficult to correct with laser so do not take chance. Keep eating a healthy diet for good eyesight and proceed with effective fitness regime.
For any emergency call 911.
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By Minu Manisha