A surgical technique that can enhance your vision is laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK). The tissue is permanently reshaped in the front of your eye, and these changes last for your entire life.
As part of the normal ageing process, though, most people’s vision gets worse over time. LASIK will not avoid this because as you grow older, your vision can get fuzzy again. When you have LASIK and if you have any other progressive eye disorders, how long these adjustments take place after the LASIK operation will depend on how old you are.
What is LASIK?
As light reaches the translucent outer layer of the eye (the cornea), it twists so that the back of the eye reflects on the retina. This is known as refraction. Light is not centered on your retina when it doesn’t bend properly, and your vision becomes distorted. This is considered a mistake in refraction.
Through using lasers or tiny blades to reshape your cornea, LASIK corrects those conditions. Light bends correctly until it’s finished and is concentrated on your retina. Clear, sharp vision close up and far away is the outcome. The aim is to fix your vision so that you don’t need to wear glasses or contacts anymore.
How long does LASIK take?
While it varies from person to person, performing LASIK on one eye usually only takes 10 to 20 minutes. Healing normally happens swiftly. As soon as 24 hours after the operatioLess extreme complications that usually clear up as the heals, including halos, haze and glare, on their own.n, you can see results.
Possible LASIK Complications
LASIK carries a minor risk of problems in the short and long term. Most people respond well to care, but some cases are more difficult. Quite rarely, the outcome may be lifelong issues. Fewer than 1% of LASIK patients encounter severe, vision-threatening complications, according to recommendations from the Eye Surgery Education Council (ESEC), established by members of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery.
Complications with LASIK can include:
- More severe issues, such as eye inflammation, chronic dry eye and complications with the LASIK flap.
- Less extreme complications that usually clear up as the heals, including halos, haze and glare, on their own.
The ESEC says that most LASIK problems can be treated within several months and typically clear up. Studies consistently show that problems with LASIK decrease as the experience of the surgeon increases. So by selecting an experienced surgeon, you will improve the chance of a successful outcome.
It is also important to note that the likelihood of such complications is both affected by your general health and eye health. For instance, if you have a disease like diabetes that can interfere with the normal healing responses of your body, you might be at greater risk of LASIK complications. Of course, with your eye doctor, you will need to discuss your general health.
Also, remember that every patient reacts and recovers differently after eye surgery, even in the most optimal conditions with a technically flawless surgical procedure.
What to expect after LASIK
You may have one or more of the following symptoms after the operation, which typically improve over the following weeks to months:
- blurry or hazy vision
- dry, itchy eyes
- sensitivity to light
- Double vision, glare, and halos are visual irregularities including
After LASIK, it is really important to not rub or poke your eye because it will force the flap out of place and hinder the healing process. Often, once you have LASIK, you may not need to wear your glasses or contacts anymore. However for some activities such as reading or driving, you may need them if your vision is not completely corrected.
LASIK reshapes the cornea permanently and irreversibly. This doesn’t guarantee, though that your vision will stay sharp for the rest of your life. LASIK does not avoid changes in the eyes that are part of the natural phase of aging.
Almost everybody has to read glasses around the age of 40, so close-up vision has become distorted due to presbyopia. LASIK can’t repair this condition.
How Well Can You Expect To See After LASIK?
In response to patient concerns about the safety and efficacy of LASIK surgery, the LASIK Quality of Life Partnership Project (LQOLCP) was launched in October 2009 by the FDA, the National Eye Institute (NEI) and the Department of Defense (DoD).
The aim of this project is:
- To help to better understand the complications of surgery with LASIK
- Identification of visual symptoms that may arise from LASIK
- To assess the percentage of patients who have difficulty conducting their regular activities after LASIK
- To assess general patient satisfaction with surgery with LASIK
On the FDA website you can find more detail about the LASIK Quality of Life Partnership Project and the PROWL studies.
In other LASIK safety and efficacy studies, researchers from the U.S. and Germany recently carried out a literature review of 97 peer-reviewed LASIK vision correction clinical studies conducted between 2008 and 2015. Those trials involved a total of about 68,000 LASIK-treated eyes and 30 separate laser systems.
Results of this analysis revealed:
- In 90.8 percent of the 56,000 eyes which recorded visual acuity data, 20/20 or better vision was achieved.
- 99.5 percent of patients after LASIK were able to see 20/40 or better without corrective lenses.
- Overall, 90.9 percent of patients were within the intended vision correction of 0.5 diopter (D), and 98 percent were within 1.0 D.
Bear in mind that after LASIK surgery, you might have small refractive mistakes that may be too trivial to undergo a second laser operation, but that may cause some blurriness.
If this is the case, for things like driving at night, you might want to buy a pair of glasses for use as needed. You will also need progressive lenses, depending on your age, to see your best at all distances or to read glasses to see small prints.
Glasses with photochromic lenses will also offer relief if sensitivity to light is an issue after LASIK. Lenses with an anti-reflective coating can give you the greatest comfort and visibility, no matter what glasses you select.