Have you been considering vision correction surgery like LASIK , but had questions about what the procedure involved or if you were a good candidate?
Vision correction includes several surgical procedures designed to eliminate or reduce your need for glasses or contact lenses. The two most common types of vision correction surgeries using lasers include laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK ) and photorefractive keratectomy (PRK ).
- LASIK and PRK are both procedures that help correct refractive errors, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. During both procedures, an excimer laser gently reshapes the cornea which reduces your need for glasses or contacts. When choosing an eye surgeon, look for someone who uses the most advanced vision correction technology such as bladeless femtosecond technology and wavefront-based treatment options.
- With LASIK , a laser first creates a precise, thin flap of cornea tissue. The flap is then gently lifted, so that a second laser can be used to reshape the cornea. The flap is then put back into its original position and acts like your body’s own biological bandage. It re-adheres naturally, so recovery is fairly rapid. Most LASIK patients can go to work two days later.
- PRK is sometimes recommended when a patient has a history of dry eyes, a cornea that’s too thin for LASIK or participates in contact sports such as martial arts or boxing. In PRK, the surface layer of cells of the cornea—called epithelial cells—is gently removed before the customized excimer laser reshapes the cornea. Patients usually return to work within five to seven days.
Lasik Eye Surgery Candidate Checklist
■ Are you at least 21 years old?
Refractive procedures are approved for people over age 18. Most patients will need to wait until they are 21 for their eyes to stabilize.
■ Do you have generally healthy eyes?
Candidates should be free of eye diseases including keratoconus, glaucoma, cataracts, corneal disease and certain retinal and optic nerve diseases.
■ Are you in good general health?
Patients who have certain health problems, including uncontrolled diabetes, autoimmune or collagen vascular disease, or take any medication or have any condition that compromises their immune response are not good candidates for laser correction surgery. Certain medications (such as reinoic acid and steroids) may prevent proper healing after a refractive procedure.
■ Are you nurse or pregnant?
Candidates should not be nurse or pregnant when undergoing LASIK. Hormones may affect the stability of your prescription. Previously nursing women are not eligible for surgery until menstrual cycles have normalized, usually after two menstrual cycles.
■ Is your vision stable?
A good candidate must have vision that is stable for at least one year prior to the procedure date.