What is Laser Eye Surgery?
Laser eye surgery is an all-encompassing term for a number of eye surgeries used to treat refractive errors. The most common types are LASIK, LASEK, Epi-LASEK and PRK. All the four types of laser eye surgery make the use of a special type of laser called the “excimer” laser. This helps in reshaping the cornea. One can achieve correct vision with the help of this technology. For most the technology of laser eye surgery provides a long-term solution to the problem of wearing eyeglasses or using contact lenses.
This groundbreaking discovery by the researchers at an IBM research facility, in the 1980s, showed that now by the use of their laser they could incise animal tissue without the problem of leaving behind a scar. This made it possible for surgeons to use the laser first time on human tissue. Eye surgeons or ophthalmologists were among the first who approached these researchers to understand and learn the potential of the use of laser in medical sciences.
When Should One Get Laser Eye Surgery Done?
To get a laser eye surgery it is of the utmost importance to have, for at least a year, a stable record of vision before undergoing a laser eye surgery. In some cases, it might be required of you to provide a record of stability of two to three years. Only a trained professional will be able to find out if you are a suitable candidate to undergo a surgery of the eye with the help of a laser.
What are the Precautions to be Followed After Laser Eye Surgery?
During your postoperative period, it is very important for you to be under strict conditions and take good care of your eyes. The following are the precautions that you must abide by after your laser eye surgery:
- Do not take a shower and do not especially wash your hair at least after the next day of your surgery.
- Avoid the possibility of getting soapy water in your eyes while bathing or washing your hair for at least the next one week after laser eye surgery has been done.
- Avoid getting other products like lotions, hair spray, shaving lotion etc, in your eyes while your eyes are healing from the effects of the laser eye surgery.
- You should not rub your eyes for at least the first week after the laser eye surgery.
- You should wear the eye shield or the eye goggles that has been given to you in the postoperative kit. You should wear the goggles for at least the first 3 nights after the laser eye surgery.
- Do not allow tap water to enter in your eyes at least after a week of the laser eye surgery.
- Avoid swimming for at least 10 days post laser eye surgery, as the chlorine in the pool may have adverse effect on your eyes.
- You should not apply eye makeup for at least a week after laser eye surgery.
- You should not get your hair permed, colored, or treated with any such hair products for at least ten days after laser eye surgery.
- Avoid doing any exercises for 2 days after the laser eye surgery.
- You should wear the eye protection provided to you at least after a month of your surgery if you go out to do exercise or sports activities.
- Exposure to bright sunlight may cause scarring in your eyes, in which case it is advised to put on sunglasses during bright days spent outdoors for over a period of 12 months after your laser eye surgery.
- You should follow the eye drop dosage that has been prescribed to you that will be given to you in your post operative kit. You should use the eye drops exactly according to the instructions given by your eye surgeon. You should always wash your eyes well in advance of putting your eye drops and also instill your eye drops by someone else to minimize wastage. You should shake the eye drop bottle thoroughly if the directions ask for it.
- You should rest for the whole day of laser eye surgery, particularly 6 to 8 hours after the surgery and you should also pay close attention, as it is expected, that your eyes may develop irritation, redness, light sensitivity and tears.
- It is typically expected that functional vision will be restored to your eyes by the next morning of your laser eye surgery. However, as the recovery takes place in the line of your sight, there might be days when your vision feels particularly hazy and blurry while on the other days it might be absolutely clear. The fluctuations are to last for about 7 to 10 days and are normal.
- You should avoid driving at all cost until your doctor permits you to do so.
- You should avoid places with heavy air pollution for at least a week after your laser eye surgery.
- As the cornea is still healing, you should avoid doing any tasks that are particularly serious. If you are the parent of children, you should let other members of the family do the works, in order to save yourself or your children from any kind of hazards.
- You should diligently follow up with your surgeon after the laser eye surgery. These follow ups are of severe importance, because they will let the doctor understand how the healing process of the eye is continuing.
What Are The Benefits Of Laser Eye Surgery?
Laser eye surgery has a number of benefits. It can actually correct a person’s vision! Around 96% of patients who have undergone laser eye surgery have reported to have the desired result. An enhancement will further help in increasing the percentages. Since laser eye surgery involves very little pain due to the numbing drops, the patients feels quite at ease during the surgery. The results are really fast and can be observed immediately after the surgery or by the next day. The hassle of bandages or the fear of ugly scars does not even arise; the laser leaves behind no mark. If someone’s vision changes with age, there is no need to fret. Adjustments can be made years after the first surgery to further correct the vision to make sure you can always see clearly. Laser eye surgery can make you say goodbye to your glasses or contact lenses in most cases; even if a person cannot completely get rid of them, the dependency reduces dramatically.
What Are The Cons of Laser Eye Surgery?
There are some cons to this as well. The laser eye surgery being a very complex procedure can be responsible for rare problems when the surgeon creates the cornea flap. This can permanently affect the vision. This is one of the primary reasons the patients prefers to choose an experienced doctor to perform laser eye surgery on them. A person’s best vision is the highest degree of vision that one can achieve while using glasses or contact lenses. The laser treatment can rarely cause the loss of one’s ‘best’ vision. Some patients have reported to experience discomfort or irritation 24 to 48 hours after going through a laser eye surgery. Other rare side effects may also occur. It includes glares, having problems while driving at nighttime, seeing images with halos around it, drying of eyes and there also might be cases of fluctuating vision.
Which Is The Most Common Laser Eye Surgery?
LASIK which is also known as “laser assisted in situ keratomileusis” is the most common surgery type that is used in order to cure myopia and hyperopia and astigmatism at all ages. It is important for you to know what the doctor will be performing on you during the laser eye surgery. The eye surgeon may use a mechanical surgical tool called the microkeratome or a femtosecond laser to create a thin flap on the cornea. The surgeon then gets access to the underlying cornea called the stroma and removes certain corneal tissue using the excimer laser. This laser can also cure astigmatism. During the Lasik eye surgery, you may feel more pressure on the eye but the surgery process takes only about five minutes.
After the completion of the laser eye surgery, you will be needed to take some time off. You might temporarily feel a burning or itching sensation immediately after the procedure. Blurry vision is quite a common temporary side effect which will, however, terminate by the next morning.
Your eyes are extremely sensitive organs and even after the surgery they are in need of your attention and care. You should abide by these basic guidelines in order to avoid any unbearable circumstances. If you have any queries about your activities during the postoperative period of laser eye surgery, you should ask your doctor in great detail about what you should and should not be doing. In case you experience a sudden pain in your eyes that is not normal and is of a minor or extreme stature, you should consult your doctor immediately. If you feel a sudden decrease in your vision, outside the fluctuation and it makes your daily functions impossible, you should also see the doctor. If at any point you find that your eyes have become excessively red or if there are any unusual discharges from your eyes, you should get it medically checked immediately. Laser eye surgery is a great blessing and advancement in the medical sciences field, and if followed by good care, will yield you great results.