In today’s world, many individuals suffer from vision problems, and one common condition is astigmatism. Fortunately, advancements in medical technology have led to various treatments, and LASIK (Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis) has emerged as an effective solution. This article aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of LASIK for astigmatism, including its benefits, procedure, and potential risks.
Astigmatism refers to an irregular curvature of the cornea or lens, leading to blurred or distorted vision. Unlike nearsightedness or farsightedness, astigmatism occurs when the cornea has an uneven shape. This condition can be hereditary or develop due to eye injuries or eye diseases.
Individuals with astigmatism often experience symptoms such as blurry vision, eyestrain, headaches, and difficulty seeing at night. To diagnose astigmatism, an eye care professional performs a comprehensive eye exam, which includes measuring visual acuity, assessing refractive errors, and determining the degree and axis of astigmatism.
What is LASIK?
LASIK (Laser-Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis) is a surgical procedure performed to correct vision problems. It is specifically nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and astigmatism. It is a popular and effective method of refractive surgery. This aims to reduce a person’s dependence on glasses or contact lenses.
During LASIK, a surgeon uses a specialized laser to reshape the cornea, which is the clear, front part of the eye. The cornea plays a crucial role in focusing light onto the retina at the back of the eye, allowing us to see clearly. In individuals with vision problems, the shape of the cornea is not ideal, causing light to be improperly focused and resulting in blurry vision.
Explanation and Procedure
Here’s a detailed explanation of the LASIK procedure:
- Preoperative Evaluation: Before the surgery, you will undergo a comprehensive eye examination to assess your overall eye health and determine if you are a suitable candidate for LASIK. This evaluation includes measuring the corneal thickness, mapping the cornea’s shape, assessing pupil size, and conducting a general eye health assessment.
- Anesthetic Eye Drops: On the day of the procedure, numbing eye drops are applied to ensure that the eye remains comfortable throughout the surgery. Some clinics may also provide a mild sedative to help you relax.
- Creation of Corneal Flap: The surgeon begins by creating a thin, hinged flap on the outer layer of the cornea. This can be done using either a microkeratome (a mechanical blade) or a femtosecond laser. The choice of method may depend on the surgeon’s preference or the specific characteristics of your eye.
- Microkeratome: The surgeon attaches a suction ring to the eye to stabilize it, then uses a microkeratome to create a thin corneal flap.
- Femtosecond Laser: A laser is used to create the flap, guided by a computer-controlled system. This method is often considered more precise.
- Corneal Reshaping: After the flap is created, the surgeon lifts it and exposes the underlying corneal tissue. At this point, you may experience a temporary decrease in vision.
- Excimer Laser: An excimer laser is used to reshape the cornea by removing precise amounts of tissue. The laser uses cool ultraviolet light to precisely remove microscopic layers of the cornea without generating heat. The surgeon guides the laser using the measurements and calculations determined during the preoperative evaluation. The laser treatment is usually completed within a minute or two.
- Flap Repositioning: Once the cornea is reshaped, the surgeon carefully repositions the flap onto the treated area of the cornea. The flap adheres naturally without the need for stitches.
- Postoperative Care: After the procedure, you may be given eye drops to help prevent infection and inflammation. You may be advised to wear protective shields over your eyes while sleeping to avoid accidentally rubbing them. You will also be provided with specific postoperative instructions regarding activities, medications, and follow-up visits.
It’s important to note that LASIK is a highly specialized procedure that should be performed by a skilled and experienced eye surgeon. The specific details of the LASIK procedure may vary depending on the technology and techniques used by the surgeon or the clinic.
Candidacy for LASIK
LASIK (Laser-Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis) candidacy depends on several factors, and it’s important to consult with an experienced eye surgeon for a thorough evaluation. However, here are some general factors that are considered when determining LASIK candidacy:
- Age: LASIK is typically recommended for individuals who are 18 years or older. This is because the eyes are still developing during adolescence, and it’s important to ensure that the prescription has stabilized before considering surgery.
- Stable Prescription: Your vision prescription should be stable for at least one to two years before undergoing LASIK. This stability indicates that your refractive error has stopped changing significantly.
- Healthy Eyes: You should have overall good eye health, free from any conditions such as corneal diseases, glaucoma, cataracts, or severe dry eye syndrome. Certain eye conditions may disqualify you from LASIK or require alternative treatments.
- Corneal Thickness: LASIK involves reshaping the cornea, so it’s crucial to have a sufficient corneal thickness for the procedure. The thickness is measured during the preoperative evaluation to ensure that enough tissue can be safely removed without compromising the cornea’s structural integrity.
- Refractive Error: LASIK is primarily used to correct nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and astigmatism. The severity of your refractive error will be assessed to determine if LASIK can effectively address your vision needs.
- Pupil Size: The size of your pupils may affect the potential for postoperative side effects like halos and glare. Your surgeon will evaluate your pupil size to determine if you are at a higher risk for these complications.
- General Health: Your general health plays a role in determining LASIK candidacy. Conditions such as autoimmune diseases, uncontrolled diabetes, or pregnancy may affect healing and increase the risk of complications. It’s important to disclose your complete medical history to your surgeon.
Preparing for LASIK
Preparing for LASIK (Laser-Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis) involves taking certain steps to ensure a smooth and successful procedure. Here are some general guidelines to help you prepare:
- Find a Qualified Surgeon: Research and choose an experienced, board-certified ophthalmologist or eye surgeon who specializes in refractive surgery. Consider their qualifications, expertise, reputation, and patient reviews.
- Schedule a Comprehensive Consultation: Make an appointment for a thorough consultation with the chosen surgeon. During this visit, your eyes will be evaluated to determine if you are a suitable candidate for LASIK. The surgeon will assess your eye health, measure your corneal thickness, map the shape of your cornea, and discuss your expectations and any potential risks.
- Stop Wearing Contact Lenses: If you wear contact lenses, you will need to discontinue their use for a specific period before your LASIK evaluation and surgery. Soft contact lenses should be stopped for at least a few days to a week, while rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses may require a longer discontinuation period. This is necessary to allow your corneas to return to their natural shape and provide accurate measurements for the surgery.
- Discuss Medications: Inform your surgeon about any medications you are currently taking, including prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, and supplements. Certain medications, such as those that thin the blood or affect wound healing, may need to be temporarily discontinued or adjusted before the surgery.
Recovery and Post-Operative Care
These are the steps for recovery and post-operative care:
Following LASIK, patients may experience temporary discomfort, dryness, or a foreign body sensation in the eyes. The doctor will provide lubricating eye drops and may prescribe medications to alleviate these symptoms. It is crucial to rest and avoid any strenuous activities or rubbing the eyes during the initial recovery period.
To ensure proper healing and monitor the patient’s progress, several follow-up appointments will be scheduled. These visits allow the ophthalmologist to assess vision improvement, check for any complications, and address any concerns or questions. It is vital to attend these follow-up appointments as recommended by the doctor.
Benefits and Risks
However, like any surgical procedure, LASIK also carries certain risks and considerations. Let’s explore both the benefits and risks associated with LASIK:
Benefits of LASIK
- Improved Vision: The primary benefit of LASIK is the correction of refractive errors, including nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and astigmatism. Most patients experience a significant improvement in their vision, allowing them to reduce or eliminate their dependence on glasses or contact lenses for daily activities.
- Quick Results and Recovery: LASIK often provides rapid visual recovery. Many individuals notice improved vision within a day or two after the surgery, with further stabilization occurring over the following weeks. The recovery process is generally quick, allowing patients to resume their normal activities soon after the procedure.
- Convenience and Lifestyle Freedom: LASIK can enhance daily activities by reducing the need for glasses or contact lenses. It can be particularly beneficial for individuals involved in sports, outdoor activities, or occupations that require excellent visual acuity.
- Long-Term Results: LASIK outcomes are typically long-lasting. While vision can change naturally with age or other factors, the corneal reshaping achieved through LASIK tends to remain stable over many years. It also provides sustained visual improvement.
Risks and Considerations of LASIK
- Dry Eyes: Dry eye syndrome is a common side effect after LASIK, as the surgery can temporarily disrupt tear production and distribution. Symptoms may include dryness, itching, burning, and sensitivity to light. Most cases of dry eyes following LASIK are temporary and can be managed with artificial tears or other prescribed treatments.
- Visual Disturbances: Some individuals may experience visual disturbances, such as glare, halos, double vision, or difficulty with night vision, especially in low-light conditions. These symptoms are usually temporary but can persist in rare cases.
- Undercorrection or Overcorrection: While LASIK aims to correct refractive errors accurately, there is a small risk of undercorrection or overcorrection. Undercorrection may require additional enhancements or adjustments, while overcorrection may necessitate the use of glasses or contact lenses for certain tasks.
- Flap Complications: The creation and healing of the corneal flap during LASIK can carry risks, although they are relatively rare. In some cases, the flap may dislocate, fold, or develop irregularities, requiring immediate medical attention.
LASIK has revolutionized vision correction and offers a reliable solution for individuals with astigmatism. By understanding the causes and symptoms of astigmatism, as well as the LASIK procedure, candidacy factors, and post-operative care, patients can make informed decisions about their vision correction options.
If you have astigmatism and desire improved visual acuity, LASIK may be an effective choice. Consult with a qualified ophthalmologist to determine your eligibility and explore the possibilities of LASIK to enhance your quality of life.
LASIK eye surgery is a safe 10-minute procedure to help you get rid of glasses. EyeMantra offers the most advanced LASIK options including PRK, Femto Lasik, SMILE surgery, Standard LASIK, ICL, and Contoura vision. If you have any questions on Lasik surgery in Delhi, Lasik surgery cost, and Lasik procedure, call us at 9711116605 or email at [email protected].