Laser eye surgery is a surgical vision correcting procedure in which eye’s cornea is reshaped, and poor vision is corrected by using an extremely precise excimer laser. These surgeries may successfully and safely bring back 20/20 vision, reduce and even eliminate the need for glasses or contact lenses. There are several laser eye surgery types, including LASIK, Epi-LASIK, LASEK, and PRK. LASIK is the most common laser eye surgery among them which has high success rates and patient satisfaction. According to a study, a total of 98.5% of patients was satisfied with their surgery reporting that their main goal for surgery was achieved.
In this article, we have gathered the questions and answers related to LASIK eye surgery together, by considering your possible questions for your doctor about this life-changing treatment.
LASIK Eye Surgery – What Is It?
Laser-Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK) eye surgery is a refractive error correction for farsightedness, nearsightedness, astigmatism, and presbyopia. It has the widest range of uses among all laser vision correction surgery and permanently changes the shape of the cornea.
The eye doctor makes an ultra-thin cut on the epithelium (thin tissue that covers the surface of the eye’s pupil) with microkeratome knife, creates a flap of tissue and reshapes the eye’s cornea with the excimer laser to repair poor vision. The surgery takes only 15 minutes per eye and provides satisfying results.
LASIK vs. PRK – Which Is the Best?
During the LASIK procedure, your eye surgeon creates a thin flap on the cornea to allow reshaping of the tissue beneath. During PRK, on the other hand, initially, your surgeon leaves the eye exposed and removes the cornea’s outer layer entirely before the reshaping process. Then that layer grows back over time.
The most important difference between LASIK and PRK are the post-op discomfort and visual recovery timeline of the surgery. PRK patients are likely to have more discomfort following the surgery because the outer tissue of the cornea is removed during the operation and it needs time to heal. A PRK patient generally has to use antibiotic eye drops for about 3 months to fasten the healing process. LASIK recovery time is relatively shorter than PRK recovery time. PRK can be more painful, and it can take several months for your vision to stabilize after the surgery. Nevertheless, LASIK can only be performed if your cornea is thick enough. If your cornea is thin, the risk of complications may increase, such as loss of vision. If your cornea isn't thick enough for LASIK, PRK will be a better option.
Your ophthalmologist chooses the best treatment for you depending on your cornea’s thickness, your eye’s humidity level, and a few other conditions.
Is LASIK Eye Surgery Permanent?
The improved vision which LASIK surgery provides is mostly permanent. But in a limited number of cases, nearsightedness, farsightedness and/or astigmatism can return over time result in blurry vision. If this kind of regression occurs, a follow-up procedure called a LASIK enhancement is usually performed to restore clear vision.
Likewise, you may experience some negative changes in the quality of your eyesight because of some age-related conditions such as presbyopia and cataracts as you age.
LASIK Eye Surgery Complications – Dry Eye After LASIK
LASIK eye surgery complications are generally very rare. Dry eye is the most commonly seen complication after the LASIK procedure. However, most of the patients who will undergo LASIK eye surgery have already had dry eye condition due to using contact lenses before they have the surgery done. Fortunately, eye surgeons make a lot of evaluation tests to help treat this condition before and after LASIK eye surgery. These tests are wide-ranged and include Schirmer test, MMP-9 testing, tear breakup time testing and eye imaging. Treatment of post-LASIK dry eyes involves tear supplementation and medications.
How Much Does LASIK Cost?
LASIK surgery cost can change from $300 per eye to up to $6,000. It is unfortunately not covered by health insurance because the surgery is generally considered to be cosmetic or elective surgery. The cost of LASIK surgery changes widely depending on several factors. For example, the expertise and reputation of the eye surgeon, the technology requirements that the surgeon uses or geographical location of the eye hospital you have the surgery plays an important role in determining the price. LASIK cost in Turkey or LASIK cost in India is likely to be less than LASIK cost in the USA. There are many options in laser vision correction today and determining what is right for you generally includes the pre-search including MD reviews, success rates, preparation and recovery tips and the consultation process with your eye surgeon.
This content is edited by Flymedi Medical Editors in April 2019.