The procedure itself
You will be escorted to the operating room where you and your surgeon will again discuss the procedure you are about to undergo. Feel free to ask your surgeon any additional questions.
LASIK Procedure (Standard and Custom)
The LASIK procedure involves two steps; the creation of the corneal flap by a precision flap making instrument, and the reshaping of the cornea with an excimer laser. Essentially, the excimer laser is used to reshape the cornea by removing tissue from its middle layer.
The procedure generally requires ten minutes of operating room time, during which the laser is used for less than a minute on each eye. However, the actual duration of the procedure may vary according to the type and amount of correction needed.
- Before the procedure begins, eye drops are used to numb your eyes.
- While you relax on the treatment bed, your eyelids are gently held open and a precision flap-making instrument is carefully positioned.
- You will be asked to focus on a special fixation light. The surgeon activates a precision instrument electronically and seconds later is able to fold away a corneal flap, revealing the middle layer of the cornea.
- The cornea is then reshaped by an excimer laser. More specifically:
- To treat myopia (nearsightedness) the cornea is flattened to reduce converging power of the eye. This is achieved by removing more tissue from the centre of the cornea than around.
- To treat hyperopia (farsightedness) the central cornea is steepened to enhance the converging power of the eye. This is achieved by removing more tissue from the periphery than the centre.
- To treat astigmatism, the cornea must be made more spherical (uniformly curved). By changing the pattern of the beam, tissue is removed in one direction more than the other.
- The corneal flap is then repositioned. Natural forces hold the flap in place until surface healing is complete.
At LASIK MD, our clinics use the latest excimer lasers from the world leaders in laser vision correction technology, including lasers manufactured by Bausch & Lomb, AMO’s Visx and the Alcon WaveLight.
The LASIK procedure offers extremely fast recovery: within hours of the surgery, the flap has usually begun to heal. Most patients are able to resume day-to-day activities just 24 hours after the surgery. You will receive a prescription for eye drops to use for five days after surgery. You must also wear sunglasses at night to prevent rubbing your eyes for the first two nights after surgery.
The PRK technique is used for people whose cornea may be too thin or too soft to allow for the creation of the corneal flap required for the LASIK procedure. During PRK, a small area on the corneal outer surface is gently polished away, renewing skin cells on the surface. The laser reshapes the corneal surface in exactly the same way as the LASIK procedure. In very few cases, someone may choose the PRK procedure if their profession causes them to be at much greater risk of getting hit in the eye and causing a LASIK flap movement (e.g., boxers, martial artists, wrestlers).
After the PRK procedure, your surgeon will place a soft contact lens on the cornea to protect the eye and reduce discomfort while healing. The contact lens will be removed after the initial surface healing is complete, usually within five days of the procedure. Your vision will gradually improve during the first two weeks, and in most patients, stabilizes between four to eight weeks after surgery. The surgeon will prescribe eye drops to take during this period.
For the first few days after the procedure, you are likely to experience some degree of discomfort. During this time, your vision may be blurry and/or may fluctuate between being clear and being blurry.
In some cases, a patient’s vision improves immediately after the procedure, but later becomes blurry. These conditions affect patients differently. The final outcomes of PRK and LASIK are very similar; the difference is the healing time.
The (intraocular lens) IOL procedure will be performed on an outpatient basis at LASIK MD. It generally requires roughly 20 minutes of operating room time per eye, during which phacoemulsification, the process in which the lens is carefully removed from the eye, is administered. The actual duration of the procedure may vary according to the hardness of your natural lens. If you would like to take a mild sedative prior to your procedure, inquire with your clinical counsellor.
IOL is a surgical procedure to replace the natural lens of the eye with an artificial one of a preselected power. The principle is that in a myopic eye, the cornea and lens combination is too powerful for the length of the eyeball so an image is out of focus. Conversely, for long-sighted patients there isn’t enough focusing power. The artificial lens is calculated using a sophisticated device to provide the correct focusing power for the length of the eye. While all IOL procedures (RLE, Lens PresbyVision™ and cataract surgery) are similar, the reasons for performing each procedure differ.
- Before the procedure begins, you will be given eye drops to dilate your pupil and numb your eye.
- While you relax on the treatment bed, a tiny incision will be made in the cornea, and an ultrasonic probe will be used to soften the lens and remove it (a laser will not be used to complete this surgery).
- An intraocular lens implant (or IOL) is then inserted into the space left where the natural lens used to be.
- The lens membrane, or capsular bag, is left intact to provide support for the new lens.
IOL procedures offer extremely fast recovery: Within hours of the surgery, the incision will begin to heal. Most patients are able to resume day-to-day activities just 24 hours after the surgery. Your surgeon may prescribe eye drops for one or two weeks after surgery. You may also be required to wear eye shields at night to prevent rubbing your eyes for the first week.
You should not drive for at least 24 hours after any vision correction and in no event should you drive until your vision is clear.