LASIK is an advanced form of laser vision correction that’s used to treat nearsightedness. In many cases, it can also successfully address those with longsightedness and astigmatism. The acronym stands for Laser In Situ Keratomileusis.
The procedure is carried out to remove tiny imperfections of the cornea (the thin dome on the front of the eye) that cause light to refract incorrectly through the eye. Corneal abnormalities might be unevenness (astigmatism), be too flat (causing longsightedness), or too curved (nearsightedness). The surgeon removes thin layers of the cornea, reshaping it, creating a correctly functioning eye with resulting clear, sharp vision.
While not every person can benefit from LASIK surgery, advancements in technology mean that it’s now suitable for the vast majority—even those who’ve been deemed unsuitable in the past.
The LASIK procedure differs from other forms of laser vision correction in many ways. One of these is that two different lasers are used. It also doesn’t require any direct contact with the eye from the surgeon. The first laser is used to create a small flap in the cornea. This provides access for the second laser, which is then used to make the tissue alterations that permanently correct your prescription.
Another huge benefit of LASIK is the short, usually painless, recovery period. The treatment is quick to carry out (15-30 minutes) and many patients report rapid improvement to their eyesight—usually within 24 hours. While you will need to wear eye shields for the first day and night, and then overnight for about a week, you’ll be able to return to near-normal activity almost straight away. Many people return to work the day following their treatment.
How Do I Know if I Need LASIK Eye Surgery?
The best results of LASIK eye surgery are when it’s used to address mild to moderate levels of nearsightedness, mild farsightedness, and astigmatism. While the decision to undergo the procedure will be made jointly with your laser eye surgeon, the following will be taken into account to determine whether you’re a suitable candidate for LASIK.
- You have a prescription within certain limits: Very high refractive errors might not be best treated with LASIK. Because layers of tissue are removed to reshape the cornea, very high prescriptions would warrant too much tissue removal. If this is the case, your expert ophthalmologist will discuss other more suitable treatment options.
- You’re over 18 years of age: In general, you’re required to be over 18 (occasionally 21) to undergo LASIK treatment. However, there are exceptions. In certain circumstances, and at the surgeon’s discretion with permission from a patient’s parent or guardian, LASIK might be deemed appropriate for someone younger than 18.
- You must have a stable prescription: Your vision must have stabilized for at least 12 months (in some cases, 24 months) before the procedure is carried out. This is one reason that children and young adults should wait to have LASIK vision correction performed, as they will usually have further prescription changes until their eyesight settles and becomes stable.
- Your eyes are healthy: Because the procedure requires a healthy recovery response, any condition that affects your eyes would be a contraindication to treatment. Any eye infection, trauma, or issues such as conjunctivitis (pink eye) or severe dry eye syndrome would need to be rectified before LASIK can be carried out. Cataracts and glaucoma may present challenges as well, although not in all cases. In such an event, you’ll discuss your suitability with your eye surgeon.
- Your corneas can’t be too thin: Because the procedure removes layers of the cornea, it has to have sufficient thickness for this to be carried out. Happily, recent advances in the treatment mean that those who might have been told in the past that they couldn’t undergo LASIK might now be an acceptable candidate.
- Your pupils aren’t too large: The size of your pupils will affect your suitability for LASIK. This is because, in some cases, those with naturally large pupils are at increased risk of side effects, such as halos and glare.
- You’re not pregnant: The procedure is not carried out on pregnant or nursing women. This is because the hormonal changes to the body can cause temporary changes to the shape of the cornea.
- You’re generally in good health: Those suffering from any condition that affects the body’s natural healing mechanisms or those taking certain prescription medications will need to discuss this with their provider. No two cases are the same and it will be up to your LASIK surgeon to determine the risk level and whether or not the procedure can be carried out with an acceptable level of risk.
What Happens During LASIK Surgery?
The most advanced LASIK surgery begins with a 3D scan of your eye. This provides your surgeon with a visual map of your unique eye anatomy so he or she knows exactly how to correct your vision. Once this is complete the procedure continues as follows:
- The surgeon will apply anesthetic eye drops. These will effectively numb the eye so you won’t feel anything during the surgery apart from, perhaps, a slight pressure.
- A small eyelid holder is attached to keep your eye open while the surgeon carries out the procedure.
- A laser (called a femtosecond) is used to make a tiny flap that’s lifted to reveal the cornea.
- A second laser is used to reshape the tissue of the cornea. This only takes a minute or so to complete.
- The flap is then gently folded back in place where it heals naturally.
- If you’re having both eyes treated at the same time the procedure is then repeated on your other eye.
After the treatment is complete you’ll be required to wear eye shields for the rest of the day and overnight. These will also need to be worn while sleeping for the next week to prevent you from accidentally rubbing your eyes. You’ll probably find your eyes are sensitive to light for the first 24 hours or so—for this reason, you’ll be told to bring dark sunglasses with you to wear post-op.
Discomfort after LASIK is, if anything at all, very mild. If necessary, you can take over-the-counter pain relief. Your vision may be blurred for the first few hours but this usually returns within 24 hours.
How Does WBEC Provide the Best LASIK Surgery Near Me?
The West Boca Eye Center is headed by the renowned laser eye surgeon, Dr. Brent Bellotte. A skilled clinician, he’s pioneered cutting-edge laser vision correction procedures, providing his patients with state-of-the-art treatments that give life-changing results. His LASIK eye surgery, Boca Raton FL clinic offers a supreme diagnostic facility equal to, and frequently exceeding, those of an academic level. Bellotte leads an advanced clinical team who perform the very latest in laser technology treatments.
While the WBEC does, of course, carry out a wide variety of ophthalmologic procedures for those lucky enough to live locally, many of Brent Bellotte’s clientele are prepared to travel quite some distance to take advantage of his expertise. With the clinic boasting a truly outstanding global reputation, it comes as no surprise to learn that, for many, it’s not about simply seeking out LASIK surgery near me. It’s about finding the right laser surgeon to whom you feel wholly comfortable entrusting your eyesight.
This is where Brent Bellotte MD and the whole WBEC team excel. With every patient treated with the same care as he’d wish for a member of his own family, you benefit from the compassion and expertise that makes the complete LASIK procedure run smoothly from the very first consultation.
LASIK procedures can vary, depending on where they’re carried out, the complexity of the procedure, and the surgeon who does the procedure. A rough figure is around between $1,000 - $3,000 per eye, although it can be more in some instances. Pre and post-operative measures, the use of certain medications, and any follow-up treatment will also have a bearing on the cost.
LASIK eye surgery is a procedure that improves vision through reshaping the cornea. This is carried out using a laser and is suitable to treat shortsightedness, longsightedness, and astigmatism. It stands for Laser In Situ Keratomileusis.
The procedure is fast and painless, taking about 15 minutes per eye (that includes pre and post-operative interventions—the actual laser treatment only takes about a minute per eye). In 95% of cases, patients can expect to achieve 20/40 vision or better and live a life without, or with far less dependency, on eyeglasses or contact lenses.
For the majority of people, the improvement to their eyesight through LASIK is permanent. There is a small chance (less than 6% of the millions of procedures that are carried out annually) where there’s a recurrence of the original problem (nearsightedness, longsightedness, or astigmatism).
If this does occur it tends to be over a long period. For the small number of people for whom this is relevant, it tends to be minor—so much so that many individuals choose not to undergo further treatment. Instead, they opt to use eyeglasses or contacts for some of their visual needs.
However, this isn’t necessary as there is a follow-up procedure that can be carried out to restore clear vision. This is called LASIK enhancement and is safe, quick, and fast to perform.
Most insurance companies consider LASIK to fall under the same umbrella as cosmetic surgery. Because of this, it’s normal to find that LASIK often isn’t covered with many policies. Some, however, offer partial cover. Rarely, you might find that some policies cover the majority of the cost.
While every surgical procedure does come with an element of risk, LASIK is a well-established form of laser vision correction with an enviable safety record. The surgery is carried out millions of times each year, with over 95% of people experiencing great results.
The most common side-effects are dry eyes and temporary visual problems (such as being sensitive to glare). However, these are usually short-lived and settle down after a few months.
No, LASIK doesn’t hurt. Your eyes will be numbed with antiseptic drops before the procedure commences. Many people report experiencing nothing at all while the surgery is carried out, others report feeling a slight pressure.
Post-surgery, you may feel a little discomfort for a few days. If this occurs, It’s easily controlled with over-the-counter pain relief.
Yes, absolutely. In fact, because the procedure reshapes the shape of the eye it’s one of the best treatments for the condition. It’s true that in the past the treatment wasn’t recommended, but advances in technology have honed the technique to be a popular choice to permanently rectify astigmatism.