There are approximately 225 million Americans who need corrective lenses, and about 125 million people using contact lenses around the world, according to Statistic Brain. For a very long time, the only way to correct your vision was with the use of different lenses, but beginning in the 1950s there were advancements in Colombia and Russia which laid the groundwork for later innovations into altering the cornea permanently for better vision. The United States patent for LASIK was granted in 1989, and since then LASIK eye surgery has been growing in popularity and precision. If you are considering this procedure, or one similar to it, then it is helpful to know the LASIK eye surgery process from start to finish so that you can make an educated decision.
A visit to the ophthalmologist.
Whether you are currently using eye glasses or contact lenses, an eye exam is still necessary to determine if LASIK or some other surgery is appropriate for your case. Having chronic dry eyes, or other eye irregularities might disqualify you as a candidate for the surgery. Typically, three conditions are treated with laser eye surgery.
- Myopia, nearsightedness.
- Hyperopia, farsightedness.
- Astigmatism, blurred vision.
If you wear corrective lenses, you will be asked to abstain from wearing them for several days or weeks to allow the ophthalmologist to get an accurate assessment of your eyes.
Going under the laser.
The entire process only takes around half an hour for both eyes to be treated. Numbing eye drops ensure that you will not feel any pain. Speculums, eye-tracking mechanisms, and vacuum rings will all help to ensure that your eyes do not move during the laser procedure. First, a laser or a microkeratome blade will create a flap on the outer layer of your cornea so that the LASIK laser can make adjustments to the shape of your cornea. During this time you will stare at a red light. Once finished, the flap is allowed to attach to your eye, your eyes will be rinsed, and you will be finished with the surgery.
A short road to recovery.
The one rule after surgery is that you are not allowed to rub your eyes, or you risk disturbing the cornea flap. You may be prescribed eye drops to keep your eyes moist during the healing process, which is completed mostly over a few days, and then is finished through several more weeks. If you experience an eye infection, though these are rare and temporary, you may be prescribed an antibiotic eye drop, or some other medication. Fluctuating vision, light sensitivity, dry eyes, and tearing are all normal after surgery.
According to the CDC, of Americans over the age of 40, there are about 3.4 million who are visually impaired, or completely blind, but it is important to know that there has never been a reported case of blindness as a result of LASIK surgery in America. Also, you may find that your insurance covers some of the costs of LASIK eye surgery, but only 42% of Americans have eye-related healthcare as a part of their health insurance.
As of the fourth quarter of 2012, there are approximately 1,067 LASIK eye surgery centers in the United States. Knowing the process of a LASIK surgery from start to finish can help you to decide for yourself whether it is a course that you want to pursue, and it may even help to relieve doubts or worries about the procedure. More.