A Guide to Laser Eye Surgery (LASIK)
If you have impaired vision, chances are you’ve heard about one of the most common forms of laser eye surgery — LASIK.
LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) is one of the most popular forms of eye surgery in Australia. If you’re considering LASIK, this guide will answer any questions you may have about laser eye surgery risks, benefits, procedures and more.
What is LASIK?
LASIK is a medical procedure used to treat a variety of vision-related problems such as short-sightedness, long-sightedness and astigmatism. It uses a laser to remove tissue from the eye and recontour the cornea, thus dramatically improving sight.
The whole process takes only minutes, the procedure is relatively painless, and the results are life-changing. This makes LASIK a popular alternative to common vision correction methodslike glasses and contact lenses.
The process: What to expect when getting LASIK
If you’re wondering, “how does laser eye surgery work?” the answer isn’t too complicated. Most LASIK clinics, such as NewVision, will do their best to ensure you’re well-acquainted with the LASIK procedure from the moment you express interest in it. Find a simple guide to the process below or get in touch with our experienced surgeon or staff for further questions.
The first step at NewVision Clinics is to perform a consultation and assessment to ensure you are a good candidate for LASIK laser surgery. During your first consultation, we will:
- Discuss your expectations and goals
- Go over your general and ocular health history
- Discuss the risks and benefits of LASIK
- Address any of your questions or concerns
- Create a detailed map of your cornea using our state-of-the-art topography devices
- Examine your eyes thoroughly to ensure this is the best course of action
If you and our surgeon decide to proceed, keep in mind that:
- You may be asked to stop wearing contact lenses for up to three days before surgery. This will allow your corneas to return to their normal shape and function.
- You must arrange for transportation home following the surgery, as you will not be able to drive yourself.
The day of surgery
On the day of your surgery, be sure to wear loose, comfortable clothing and refrain from using makeup. You may eat and drink as you normally would. We recommend you arrive early to allow yourself time to relax, ask questions and prepare for the procedure.
Once you’re ready for your surgery, the process will look like this:
- You’ll recline in a chair, and we will position your head under a cushioned operating microscope.
- We will clean around your eyes and use a special instrument called a lid speculum to help keep you from blinking during the procedure.
- You’ll receive local anaesthetic eye drops to help prevent any pain or discomfort during the procedure. Our surgeon may prescribe some medication to help you relax as well.
- We will create a small flap on the cornea and fold it back to allow access to the underlying stroma.
- Using state-of-the-art tracking equipment and a customised laser, we will remove corneal tissue and reshape the front surface of the eye to correct your vision.
- We replace the corneal flap which will adhere to its natural position.
Many of our patients wonder, “are you asleep during LASIK?” The short answer is no — because the procedure is so simple and quick, it wouldn’t make sense to put you to sleep! The whole process will take only 15 minutes for both eyes.
After completing the procedure, you can rest and enjoy light refreshments in our comfortable waiting area. Many people may feel a slight itching or burning sensation or experience hazy vision immediately following surgery — this is normal.
After your surgery, we will give you comprehensive instructions regarding post-surgery care while you are recovering. You may be fitted with transparent eye shields to help prevent bumping or rubbing at your eyes overnight. You will also receive antibiotic eye drops.
The day after your surgery, you will come back in to meet with an experienced team member and receive a post-surgery eye exam. This will help ensure your eyes are healthy and responding well to the treatment. We will also help you schedule several follow-up appointments to ensure you have excellent visions.
Common side effects of LASIK surgery
Does laser eye surgery hurt after the procedure is complete? The answer is no; very few people experience any long-term side effects from LASIK surgery. There are, however, some common short-term side effects that may last a few hours, including:
- Blurry or hazy vision
- Watery, light-sensitive eyes
- A gritty or irritable feeling in your eyes
- Mild itching or burning
Long-term effects of LASIK surgery
LASIK can dramatically improve your quality of life by quickly improving your eyesight — most people experience 20/20 or 6/6 vision the day after surgery. However, outcomes vary from patient to patient. Most patients will experience excellent vision, while some may still need to wear glasses occasionally under low light.
But how long does laser eye surgery last? For most people, LASIK improves vision immediately and lasts indefinitely. It is important to note, though, that your vision will naturally decline for reading as you age, even if you have received LASIK treatment before.
Is laser eye surgery safe?
How risky is laser eye surgery? Well, LASIK is considered one of the safest corrective procedures used today. While any surgery carries a risk of complications, that risk is very low in experienced hands.
Does laser eye surgery hurt?
No. LASIK is a quick and pain-free procedure. While you may feel a small amount of pressure during the procedure, our surgeon uses a local anaesthetic to help ensure there is no pain. Aside from some short-term dryness or itching, you should not experience any pain post-surgery either.
Is there a minimum prescription required to get laser eye surgery?
When it comes to laser eye surgery, the minimum prescription requirements may vary from doctor to doctor. Generally, those with extremely high prescriptions are advised about alternatives to LASIK laser eye surgery.
Am I suitable for laser eye surgery?
Generally, good candidates for laser eye surgery:
- Have healthy eyes and good general health
- Have sufficiently thick and well shaped corneas
- Are 18 years or older
- Have had stable vision for a year
- Are not pregnant, nursing or on certain medications
If you aren’t sure whether or not LASIK is right for you, our skilled surgeon can help you learn more.
Have any questions that we didn’t answer above? Visit our FAQ page or reach out to one of our knowledgeable staff members for more assistance.