If you are one of the thousands of people considering LASIK laser eye surgery, then you will probably be gathering as much information as possible about the treatment. By this point, you are probably aware of the benefits that LASIK offers, such as a reduced or eliminated need for DISTANCE glasses or contact lenses and greater convenience in your day to day life. However, for many patients, despite the advantages of LASIK, the thought of surgery on their eyes is still a cause of anxiety and fear. One of the best ways to alleviate this concern is to find out more about what the procedure entails.
Before you can be approved for any form of laser vision correction, including LASIK, you will need to have a Comprehensive Eye Exam and laser surgery consultation with Dr. Kubota. Once it is determined that laser vision correction is right for you, then you will need to see your surgeon for a consultation. During the two consultations, Dr. Kubota and your surgeon will discuss the expected outcome from your surgery, making you aware that while LASIK will dramatically improve your eyesight, there is no guarantee that you will not need to wear glasses in some situations, such as while driving in the dark or for close work.
LASIK uses a cool, excimer ultraviolet laser to reshape the patient’s cornea. Doing this will more accurately align the light that enters the eye and focuses onto the retina, thus improving the patient’s vision. The way in which the cornea needs to be reshaped will depend on the visual needs of the patient. For example, a patient who is far-sighted will need their cornea reshaping to be steeper to experience better eyesight. Alternatively, a patient who is near-sighted will require their cornea to be flattened in order to improve their vision. LASIK can also smooth an irregular cornea into a more standard shape, meaning that the procedure can also be used to correct astigmatism.
The LASIK procedure is very fast and straightforward. Although you will probably be in the surgical facility for a few hours, the actual process only takes a couple of minutes per eye. The rest of the time will be spent preparing you for the surgery and ensuring that you are comfortable. Anesthetic eye drops are given to patients before their procedure so that the entire process is pain-free. If you are particularly anxious, it may also be possible for you to be slightly sedated – this should be discussed with your surgeon at your consultation appointment.
Once you are in position, a femtosecond laser or microkeratome are used to cut a thin, circular flap in the outer part of the cornea. This can then be pulled back to reveal the underlying corneal tissue, known as the stroma, so that it can be reshaped using the laser. The exact path that the laser needs to take will have been pre-programmed ahead of the procedure and can be followed with complete precision and accuracy. Once the reshaping is complete, the flap is replaced back over the eye and the surgery is complete. There is no need for sutures or bandages as the cornea will start to heal immediately.
After your surgery, your eyes may feel a little sore, scratchy or itchy, but this should resolve relatively quickly. Blurriness is also expected, but again this should disappear within a few days. After being discharged you will need to have someone pick you up, as you will not be allowed to drive until Dr. Kubota has seen you the following day and confirmed that your eyesight meets the legal standard for driving. In most cases, you will be asked to refrain from doing any intense physical activity for at least a week while your eyes begin to heal, but you should be able to return to work within 48/72 hours of your procedure.
LASIK is considered to be extremely safe, and any side effects are minimal and disappear within a few days. However, a very small number of people do report complications following LASIK, which can range from mild problems such as irritated, watery or dry eyes to more serious side effects like a thinning cornea. Your surgeon will discuss any potential side effects with you during your consultation, and give you the opportunity to ask any questions that you may have.
If you are looking for the very best quality LASIK procedure and patient care, then ask Dr. Kubota for more information.