If you have ever thought that there must be something better than glasses and contacts, you may want to consider laser vision correction. Laser vision correction is a permanent procedure that corrects refractive errors by reshaping the cornea.
What is Laser Vision Correction?
Laser vision correction refers to procedures like LASIK and PRK. These procedures permanently reshape the cornea, resulting in corrected vision.
If you have refractive errors like nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism, you may be a good candidate for laser vision correction.
How Do I Know if I am a Good Candidate for LASIK?
To undergo a procedure like LASIK, you must first schedule a LASIK consultation. This is the only way to know if you are a good candidate for the procedure. Several factors are considered for LASIK candidacy, including:
- Age: Due to FDA mandates, you must be at least 18 years old to undergo LASIK.
- Unchanged prescription: You must have a prescription that has remained unchanged for at least one year to two years before you can get LASIK.
- No current eye conditions: You cannot have any eye conditions like glaucoma or cataracts. If you have dry eye syndrome, it needs to be under control and managed before you can get LASIK.
- Not currently pregnant or planning to become pregnant: Because of hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy, you cannot get LASIK while pregnant. You should wait to get the procedure until you are done having children, as every pregnancy can cause your eyes to change.
- In good health: You do not need to be in perfect health to get LASIK, but you should be in good enough health that recovering from a procedure will not be a problem.
- Thick enough corneas: To perform LASIK, you must have thick enough corneas to remove a small amount of tissue during the procedure.
There are other factors used to determine LASIK candidacy, but these are some of the main ones that you can prepare for before your consultation.
What if I Do Not Qualify for LASIK?
Although LASIK is an amazing procedure, that does not mean that it is right for everyone. About 15-20% of people that want to get LASIK will not be good candidates for it.
If you do not qualify for LASIK, you may instead want to consider a procedure like PRK. Talk to your ophthalmologist about PRK to see if this is something that may be a better fit for you.
Is LASIK Permanent?
Yes, LASIK is a permanent procedure. This is because it involves reshaping the cornea to correct all refractive errors.
LASIK uses two lasers, a femtosecond laser, and an excimer laser. The femtosecond laser creates a flap in the cornea, which is then pulled back.
After pulling back the flap, the excimer laser then reshapes the cornea and corrects all refractive errors. The flap is then placed back down and left to heal on its own without needing any stitches.
What is the Recovery After LASIK Like?
Like any surgical procedure, there is a recovery period after having LASIK. The great thing about LASIK is it is an easy recovery period that will let you get back to your everyday activities after a short amount of time.
For the first day or two after LASIK, your eyes will be more sensitive than normal. Your vision may be blurry, but this will go away on its own.
One of the most common things that people experience after LASIK is symptoms of dry eye. If your eyes feel dry or itchy, use artificial tears to keep them moist and lubricated.
The last thing you want to do is rub your eyes, which could damage the fragile flap created during LASIK.
As you recover, it is a good idea to stay away from any bodies of water like rivers, lakes, the ocean, hot tubs, or pools. When showering, make sure to keep your eyes closed so you do not get any water in your eyes.
Water is the perfect place for bacteria to breed, especially when your eyes are more susceptible to infection after LASIK. You should avoid swimming and putting your head underwater for about a month after LASIK.
If you find yourself in any serious pain after your procedure, let your ophthalmologist know, as this could be a sign of a complication or an infection.