Is LASIK Safe? Real Answers to Common Questions
Is LASIK safe? If you are considering laser vision correction, that is likely one of the main questions on your mind. You have done your research, so you know that laser vision correction at LASIK MD is an affordable treatment for myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism. Chances are you also know that studies have proven that laser vision correction provides effective results. Lastly, you may have read that LASIK MD’s doctors are among the most experienced in the world. But despite glowing testimonials and word of mouth from friends and family, you might have a lingering concern whether LASIK really is safe?
How It Works
The first step in evaluating LASIK’s safety is understanding how the procedure works. Laser vision correction is a very precise method of correcting the refractive error in your cornea, which is the outer part of your eye. If the cornea is too flat or too steep, then the light that enters the eye doesn’t focus on the retina at the back of the eye, this is what causes nearsightedness or farsightedness. Every LASIK MD patients begins with a very thorough eye exam to determine what’s causing your blurred vision. Once we know your refractive error, we’re able to use advanced laser technology to reshape your cornea so that it is able to focus light directly on the retina.
The laser used in LASIK is called an excimer laser. It’s so precise, it’s capable of writing your initials on a strand of hair. It is capable of removing very small amounts of corneal tissue without heating or damaging the surrounding tissue–which makes it ideal for laser vision correction. The laser isn’t the only part of the LASIK procedure; creating a corneal flap is also very important. Your LASIK surgeon creates a corneal flap using an instrument called a microkeratome. This flap is created using the outer layer of the cornea. Once the flap is lifted, the excimer laser is able to reshape the inner layer of the cornea. Creating a flap isn’t always ideal for patients with thin corneas or who jobs where a blow to the head is likely (like boxers or mixed martial artists). For those patients, PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) can be performed. It’s just as safe as LASIK, but is characterized by longer recovery times. For this reason LASIK is usually the preferred choice for surgeons and patients alike.
So what if you move during the procedure? Well first of all, the entire procedure takes under 10 minutes of operating room time, but the laser itself is used on average less than 30 seconds per eye. You don’t need to worry about blinking because your eyes will be held open with an instrument called a speculum. Now what if you have to sneeze? Impressively, the technology used by LASIK MD is equipped with high-speed eye movement trackers which record the position of your pupils 400 times per second; the human eye moves only about 100 times per second. This allows the laser to target exactly where it needs to. If your pupils moves too much–in the event of a sneeze–then the laser automatically shuts off. So really, you have nothing to worry about. Just lie down, relax and it’ll be over before you know it.
What Can I Expect?
Beyond safety is security, and that means understanding what to expect during the procedure. First of all, no pain is involved. You won’t see anything as the flap is created, and your focus will become distorted as the laser does its work. As soon as the treatment has been completed, patients with higher prescriptions will notice an immediate improvement in their vision, lower prescriptions will notice an improvement later in the day or the next day. In addition, expect some dryness and the feeling of something caught in your eye for the next couple days; you will be prescribed lubricating and numbing eye drops to alleviate these symptoms along with a pair of sunglasses to prevent involuntary eye-rubbing during sleep.
So what is the verdict? Is LASIK safe? By using cutting edge technology, highly trained doctors, and a procedure honed through years of successful practice, the answer is a resounding “Yes.”