Laser eye surgery
As the name suggests laser eye surgery is a medical procedure meant for sculpting the cornea with the help of laser beam in order to eliminate refractive error.
What are the different types of laser eye surgeries and how are they performed?
LASIK- It stands for Laser-Assisted In situ Keratomileusis. It’s one of the most common types of eye surgeries for refractive errors. The process involves changing the shape of the cornea with laser beam so that it can refract light just on the retina, instead on some other spots. A circular flap is created with a laser surgical tool to access the corneal tissue.
PRK- It stands for photorefractive keratectomy- a procedure that uses excimer laser to reshape the size of the cornea. The outer protective layer of the epithelium of the cornea is removed by application of computer-controlled pulses of cool laser light. Deeper layers of the cornea are not operated on.
LASEK- It is the abbreviation for laser epithelial keratomileusis. As doctors say, “LASEK is a hybrid of laser assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) and photorefractive keratectomy (PRK)”. In this technique the epithelial “flap” of the cornea is first pushed aside to gain access to the cornea for laser reshaping. After the correction is made, the epithelial tissue is placed back on the cornea.
What is the purpose of laser eye surgery?
Laser eye surgery is a wonderful way to correct eye problems like myopia, hypermetropia, presbyopia and astigmatism. All these problems arise due to refractive error in the eyes.
What to consider before undergoing laser technique
Secondly, your doctor may not advise you laser eye surgery if you have family history of keratoconus, rheumatic conditions or diabetes. Furthermore, the refractive error also needs to be stable.
Lastly laser eye surgery is not recommended for individuals below 20 years
How to prepare for laser eye surgery?
You will need to undergo pre-surgical eye exam which involves re-checking your medical history and the cornea. Complete analysis will be done pertaining to the shape and size of the cornea, probability of irregularities and charting the area in the cornea that needs sculpting. The procedure is known as corneal mapping
Should you continue wearing or remove your glasses prior to the surgery- your doctor will let you know. Also remember not to wear eye make-up on the day of surgery.
What to expect during the surgery?
You may be given a mild sedative and your eyes will be numbed with anaesthetic drops.
An eyelid holder is placed between the eyelids to keep your eyes dilated and a suction ring is attached to the eyes to prevent them from moving. You might experience slight pressure due to the instruments but won’t experience any pain during laser sculpting.
The laser excimer is placed just over the eye. You will have to look into a pinpoint light source while the laser beam reshapes the cornea.
What happens after surgery?
Laser eye surgery takes 30 minutes. Itching, burning, dry or watery eyes, glare, etc. post surgery are some common side effects.
Your doctor will give you a bandage contact lens or a transparent shield to protect your eyes. Other precautions that you need to take will be explained.
Your vision would be blurry for a week and improvement will show up only after three to six months of surgery. Follow up treatments will be scheduled by your eye surgeon.
Success rate of laser is 96%. It eliminates the necessity of wearing heavy glasses and lenses and patients tend to feel better and free.
Date last updated: April 22, 2014