- About LASIK
- Blade-Free LASIK -- The Newest Technology at Ochsner’s LASER Vision Center
- Is LASIK for me?
- Special note for those with presbyopia:
- I’m now scheduled for LASIK, what can I expect?
- Day of Your Procedure:
- After The Procedure:
- Outlook (Prognosis)
Also referred to as Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis; Laser vision correction
For millions of people, irregularities to the cornea, the dome-shaped clear cover over the front of the eye, leads to poor vision and a life of either wearing glasses or contacts. Today however, that can all change with one procedure known as LASIK.
It’s estimated that nearly four million people undergo LASIK surgery every year. Widely regarded as one of the safest of all medical procedures, LASIK has been referred to as a “modern medical miracle” because the procedure permanently changes the shape of the cornea in order to improve vision.
Simply explained, LASIK is a procedure a highly trained eye surgeon will perform as a means of reshaping the cornea of the eye. Utilizing laser technology, doctors can now treat refractive issues of the eye and improve vision in order to reduce a person's dependency on glasses or contact lenses.
LASIK is most often done on people who are nearsighted, medically known as myopia. It is also used to correct farsightedness and astigmatism, but LASIK is rarely recommended for those with presbyopia, or the inability to focus on objects up close.
If you are interested in learning more about LASIK, the Laser Vision Center at Ochsner Baptist offers a free consultation. For more information or to schedule your free consultation call 504-894-2020.
It’s called Blade-Free LASIK and currently the LASER Vision Center at Ochsner Baptist is the only center in the New Orleans area performing this procedure.
During LASIK surgery, the doctor must create a flap, or opening, over the cornea. Up until now, this was done by using a thin blade, but
Ochsner now offers Blade-Free LASIK where a laser is used to create the thin flap, not a blade.
With everything, there are risks and rewards and both must be considered before undergoing LASIK. The FDA and American Academy of Ophthalmology have developed guidelines and recommendations that indicate which people would be good candidates for LASIK.
- You should be at least 18 years old (21 in some cases, depending on the laser used), because vision continues to change in people younger than 18. A rare exception is a child with one very nearsighted and one normal eye. Using LASIK to correct a very nearsighted eye may prevent amblyopia (lazy eye).
- You should not have this procedure if you are pregnant or breast-feeding, because these conditions can affect eye measurements.
- You should not have this procedure if you take certain prescription drugs, such as Accutane, Cardarone, Imitrex, or oral prednisone.
- Your eyes must be healthy and your prescription stable. If you are nearsighted, you should postpone LASIK until your condition has stabilized. Nearsightedness may continue to increase in some patients until their mid to late 20s.
- You should be in good general health. LASIK may not be recommended for patients with diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, glaucoma, herpes infections of the eye, or cataracts. You should discuss this with your surgeon.
- Other recommendations:
- Weigh the risks and rewards. If you're happy wearing contacts or glasses, you may not want to have the surgery.
- Make sure you have realistic expectations from the surgery.
It’s just a fact of life; as you age so do your eyes. When those “over-40-eyes” begin to surface the preferable method of seeing up close is to use reading glasses. So it must be noted that for patients with presbyopia LASIK cannot correct vision so that one eye can see at both distance and near. However, LASIK can be done to allow one eye to see near and the other far, which is called "monovision." If you can adjust to this correction, it may eliminate or reduce your need for reading glasses.
Before your LASIK surgery can be scheduled, you will undergo a complete eye examination to make sure your eyes are healthy. Other tests will be done to measure the curvature of the cornea, the size of the pupils in light and dark, the eyes' refractive error (to make sure LASIK is an option), and the thickness of the cornea (to make sure you will have enough corneal tissue left after surgery).
A signed informed consent form is needed before the procedure. This form confirms that you know the procedure's risks, benefits, alternative options, and possible complications.
Every patient is different, but generally speaking, on the
- You will need to arrive at the LASER Vision Center about an hour prior to your scheduled surgery time
- Once checked in, you will be assigned a room and if needed, offered a sedative to help you relax while being prepped for surgery
- Once in the procedure room, your eyes will be cleaned and numbed with anesthetic drops. An eyelid holder will be placed between your eyelids to keep you from blinking during the procedure.
- Over the next few minutes, your doctor will perform the procedure, first making an opening to expose the cornea. Within a few minutes and using a laser, your physician will make the appropriate changes using a laser. Once complete, the flap will be folded back over the cornea.
- Following your procedure, your eyes will be examined and post-procedure care instructions will be given, which will include the use of eye drops and a temporary eye shield for protection.
- Immediately following the surgery, you may have burning, itching, or a feeling that something is in the eye. This usually doesn't last for more than 6 hours.
- The doctor may prescribe a mild pain reliever medication. It is very important NOT to rub the eye after LASIK, so that the flap does not dislodge or move.
- The day of surgery, vision generally is blurry or hazy, but by the next day the blurriness improves. Call the doctor immediately if you have severe pain or any of the symptoms worsen before your scheduled follow-up appointment (24 - 48 hours after surgery).
- At the first doctor visit after the surgery, the eye shield will be removed and the doctor will examine your eye and test your vision. You may receive eye drops to help prevent infection and inflammation. Do not drive until your vision has improved enough to safely do so.
- Other things to avoid include swimming, hot tubs, whirlpools, contact sports, lotions, creams, and eye makeup for 2 - 4 weeks after surgery. The doctor will give you specific instructions.
Most people's vision will stabilize in a few days after surgery, but for some people it may take up to 3 - 6 months.
Some people need an additional surgery to get the best possible results. Although a second surgery may improve distance vision, it may not relieve other symptoms such as glare, haloes, or problems with night driving. These are commonly reported complaints after LASIK surgery, especially when it is done using older methods. Often, these problems will go away by 6 months after the surgery, but a small number of people may continue to have problems with glare.
If your distance vision has been corrected with LASIK, it is likely that you will still need reading glasses at around age 45.
LASIK has commonly been performed in the United States since 1996. Most people seem to have stable and lasting vision improvement.
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