Are you constantly looking for your glasses when you get up in the morning? Are you tired of all the work involved in wearing contact lenses? You are probably one of the many people who have considered Lasik surgery, but have wondered if it is right for you and/or if this is the right time to have the procedure done.
Laser in situ Keratomileusis, commonly called Lasik, is a procedure which uses a laser to reshape the cornea and eliminate nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism.
There have been many new developments with Lasik over the past few years. During the procedure, a flap is created using a precision instrument (a microkeratome) to pull back a part of the superficial cornea allowing the laser to then reshape the cornea. This flap used to be made by a blade, however, full-laser Lasik is now possible and reduces complications.
Another recent advancement is wavefront guided Lasik which offers more customized surgery and improved results. Both eyes can be operated on the same day and in most cases patients notice the difference in their vision the next day. Usually eye drops are needed for a limited time to help healing, but there is no pain involved. Patients are slightly sensitive to light while healing.
So how do you know if Lasik is for you? When considering the procedure, it is important to determine your goals and to discuss them with your surgeon. Here are a few things to consider:
- Lasik will not eliminate your need for reading glasses if you are over 40.
- Your eye glass prescription should be stable for at least one year prior to surgery. If your prescription is changing, this may not be the best time to consider Lasik.
- People with really strong prescriptions are not good candidates because the laser can’t correct these prescriptions.
During your screening exam, the ophthalmologist will examine your eyes and make sure that no other eye conditions are present like cataracts, glaucoma or macular degeneration.
If dry eyes are present, patients should be treated for that before undergoing Lasik surgery. Another thing the surgeon will look for is the corneal thickness since thin corneas might not have enough tissue to undergo the reshaping process.
If you wear contact lenses don’t wear them to your screening exam because contact lenses change the shape of your eye. In fact, patients who wear soft lenses shouldn’t wear the contacts for a week or two prior to the exam, and hard lenses you should not be worn for up to six weeks prior.
The results of Lasik are excellent, and recent studies have shown between 92 and 98 percent of people undergoing this procedure are happy with their results.
And remember, Lasik is eye surgery, so always consider a doctor with proper qualifications with whom you feel confident and comfortable.
Dr. Wallace Goldban is a board-certified ophthalmologist specializing in Lasik surgery and cataract removal. He has over 20 years of experience and is a graduate of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He has office locations in Palm Springs and Palm Desert and can be reached at 760.320.8497.