What is LASIK?
LASIK stands for Laser Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis. It is an elective surgery that treats vision problems, like nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. The process involves reshaping the cornea, the front part of the eye that covers the iris and pupil.
Flattening the corner improves farsightedness. Near vision, on the other hand, involves the steepening the curve of the cornea. Smoothing out irregularities in the eye fixes astigmatism.
To do this, a surgeon creates a thin flap in the cornea. Then a computer-controlled laser directs pulses of light into the eye, which changes the shape.
For people with vision problems, LASIK can greatly improve their everyday life. Poor vision affects things like reading and driving. For older people, it also increases the risks of falls and other accidents, hindering their ability to live independently. Many people get by with glasses or contact lenses, but LASIK helps to permanently improve vision.
Other benefits of LASIK include:
- Fast procedure — the whole process only takes about 15 minutes!
- Many people report immediate improvement, or see vast improvement within eight hours
- No necessary bandages or stitches after surgery
- Relatively painless procedure
Many of the complications of LASIK result from the surgical lifting of the cornea flap, not from the lasers themselves. Potential flap-related issues include:
- Epithelia ingrowth, which occurs when cells from the cornea grow under the flap after surgery
- Inflammation underneath the flap, called diffuse lamellar keratitis
- If too much tissue is removed from the cornea, a condition called karatectasia, or bulging of the eye, can occur
It’s also possible for some people to not have ideal results after LASIK. This could be because too much or too little tissue was removed during the surgery, or simply because the eye is not reacting in a predictable way.
If a surgeon uses improper techniques or equipment, serious infection or permanent damage can also occur. When this happens, it may be considered medical malpractice. If you are considering LASIK, read up on the possible risks and complications, and research well-rated and professional LASIK surgeons in your area.
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