April 24, 2024

Laser Vision Correction Procedures Can Improve Your Eyesight Without Glasses or Contact Lenses

What is Laser Vision Correction?
Laser vision correction is a safe and effective surgical procedure that uses laser technology to correct vision problems such as nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and astigmatism. During laser eye surgery, an excimer laser beam reshapes the cornea, the clear dome-shaped surface at the front of the eye, to correct vision errors and reduce dependence on glasses or contact lenses.

Types of Laser Vision Correction Procedures
There are three main types of laser vision correction procedures:

Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK)
LASIK is the most common type of laser vision correction. In LASIK surgery, a specialized instrument called a microkeratome is used to create a thin flap on the corneal surface. The flap is lifted to expose the underlying corneal tissue. Then, an excimer laser is used to remove a small amount of corneal tissue, effectively changing the shape of the cornea to correct vision. The flap is placed back into position, where it naturally heals on its own.

Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK)
In PRK, also known as laser surface ablation, a laser is used to reshape the corneal surface without creating a corneal flap. This procedure requires a slightly longer recovery time than other laser vision correction surgeries as it involves removing material from the outer layer of the cornea. However, PRK may be an option for people who are not good candidates for LASIK due to thin corneas.

Laser Epithelial Keratomileusis (LASEK)
LASEK is a hybrid procedure that involves combining aspects of both LASIK and PRK. In LASEK, an enzyme is used to lift the surface layer of the cornea instead of using a microkeratome. This preserves the internal structure of the eye better than PRK, allowing for a more predictable postoperative course. However, the recovery time is typically longer than LASIK.

Who are Good Candidates?
In general, good candidates for laser vision correction include those who:

– Are nearsighted, farsighted, or have astigmatism
– Have a stable prescription for at least one year
– Have a healthy eye examination
– Do not have other underlying eye conditions
– Are over 18 years old
– Are uncomfortable wearing contact lenses or glasses
– Have realistic expectations of the procedure’s results and limitations

Candidates should understand that even with successful laser vision correction, some people may still need occasional glasses. The benefits of surgery may also decrease over time and require enhancement procedures down the road.

Preparing for Laser Eye Surgery
Before undergoing laser vision correction, patients will need:

– A complete eye examination including measurement of corneal thickness, prescription strength, and tear film quality
– Consultation with an experienced refractive surgeon to determine eligibility and discuss risk/benefits of different procedures
– Discontinuation of contact lens wear as instructed by their surgeon prior to the procedure
– Arrangement of transportation and having someone available to drive them home after surgery

The Day of Laser Eye Surgery
On the day of surgery:

– Patients arrive at the surgery center and have pre-operative tests to confirm their eye measurements
– Drops are administered prior to surgery to dilate the pupil and disinfect the eye
– For LASIK and LASEK, a microkeratome or other device is used to create a corneal flap
– The excimer laser then reshapes the underlying corneal tissue
– For PRK, the excimer laser works directly on the corneal surface
– The corneal flap is repositioned for LASIK/LASEK or an eye shield applied post-PRK
– Eyedrops are provided to promote healing and comfort following the procedure

Recovery and Follow Up Care
It is important to follow the surgeon’s instructions carefully during the recovery period:

– Vision will be blurry for the first day after LASIK or LASEK, up to a few days after PRK
– Protective eye shields or goggles must be worn overnight for the first few nights
– Steroid and antibiotic eyedrops are used as prescribed to minimize discomfort and healing time
– Sunglasses or hats are recommended when outdoors in bright light for several weeks
– Follow up appointments are essential to monitor healing and ensure vision is stabilizing

With proper care, most patients experience significantly improved vision within 1-2 days after LASIK and 1-5 days after PRK/LASEK. Contact sports and heavy lifting should generally be avoided for a week or two until fully healed.

When to Consider Enhancements
In rare cases, follow up laser procedures known as enhancements may be required if results are not as clear or sharp as expected. Typical reasons for enhancements include:

– Residual refractive error (prescription still not fully corrected)
– Overcorrection or undercorrection of astigmatism
– Changes in prescription from the initial procedure

Enhancements are usually performed within 3-6 months after the original surgery while the cornea is still naturally stable. With enhancements, the overall success rate for achieving 20/20 vision or better with laser vision correction is around 95%.

In summary, laser vision correction is a highly effective and minimally invasive option to reduce dependence on glasses and contact lenses. With the right precautions and recovery process, most patients are able to enjoy clear sight immediately after surgery and for many years to come. Speaking to an eye surgeon can help determine if laser eye surgery may be right for someone to see clearly without vision aids.

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  1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
  2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it