Eyes are our windows to the world. And it’s very frightening when our eyes develop any issues.
Until contact lenses became popular, spectacles or eyeglasses were only way to correct refractive vision errors. But now, with the advancement of technology, we have several approaches to corrective eye surgery. They range from laser reshaping of the eye’s surface in procedures such as LASIK and PRK to surgical insertion of artificial lenses to correct eyesight.
So today I am going to tell you a little about LASIK, the results, after-effects and my own experience with it.
When I was in final year of my graduation my vision started weakening, but I always avoided getting my eyes checked for the fear of wearing glasses. And one day while going somewhere with my brother I noticed an advertisement hoarding and was very amused to see that. I told my brother, “How funny these people are!!! They have put a girl’s face on the hoarding but nothing is written on it!!!” Next day itself my brother took me for an eye checkup and I got to know that I have myopia (near-sightedness) and my power was quiet high for a starter, mainly because I was avoiding the checkup for quiet long. *sob*
While coming back, my bro made me read that hoarding and there was hell lot of stuff written on it, only I wasn’t able to see that earlier. I soon started using contacts, but then you cannot wear it for the whole day. And my IT job was making it worse, I had to stare at my computer screen whole day and by the end of the day my eyes would pain. I always wanted to get rid of my glasses, but something held me back.
But few months back I did a lot of research, consulted my doctor, checked with my friends who had undergone the procedure and finally took the plunge.
So What is LASIK?
LASIK, or “Laser-Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis,” is the most commonly performed laser eye surgery to treat myopia, hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism. The cornea is reshaped in this procedure to enable light entering the eye to be properly focused onto the retina for clearer vision.
A micro thin corneal flap is created in the procedure which is lifted to expose the inner cornea which is reshaped using laser. There are different forms of LASIK depending in how the flap is created.
- LASIK: a super thin flap is created using a blade
- IntraLase: bladeless LASIK, in which the flap is created using epithelial separator.
Before LASIK Surgery:
Thorough eye exams are performed to ensure that your eyes are healthy for the procedure, firstly to evaluate whether you can go for the procedure or not and if yes, which procedure will suit you best. The shape and thickness of your cornea; pupil size; refractive errors and other eye conditions are tested.
I used to go for regular eye check-ups (once I started wearing glasses) and made sure that my power doesn’t fluctuate much. I had dry eyes so eye lubricants were prescribed along with the instructions to not wear contact lenses and any kind of eye make-up for 7-10 days before taking the tests. (no eye creams as well)
Surgery is done under tropical anesthesia. In most cases, the surgery is pain-free and is completed within 15 minutes for both eyes resulting in improved vision without eyeglasses or contact lenses. Results can usually be seen in as little as 24 hours.Since you are under tropical anesthesia, you don’t feel anything except a little discomfort as they keep your eyes open. But my surgeon kept chit-chatting with me throughout the procedure (which lasted only for 10 minutes) and before I could think about what’s going on; it was over. 😀
There is some blurry vision along with slight burning and irritation immediately after surgery which goes away in sometime. Clarity improves within 24 hours. Eyesight stabilizes and continues to improve within a week, although in rare cases it may take several weeks or longer. You may be able to go to work the next day, but it is advisable to rest instead. I went for the procedure on Friday so that I could give rest to my eyes over the weekend before heading back to office.
After the procedure, I was asked to follow the below instructions:
- No head bath for 7 days, it’s better not to wash face as well since water should not go in your eyes at all. I used facial wipes but not around the eyes. And to top it all, I got it done during scorching month of May!! :S
- No eye makeup for a month, no application of any kind of cream around the eye area.
- Apply all medication at the right time.
- Ensure your hands are clean while applying medication. I always kept a bottle of sanitizer in my eye drops kit.
- No cooking, preferably for a week.
- Do not discontinue any medication without instructions from your doctor.
- Consult your doctor immediately if you there is any increase in eye pain, redness.
- Refrain from any strenuous exercise for at least a week, since this can traumatize the eye and affect healing.
- No swimming for a month, since the chlorine in the pool will cause adverse effects.
- Do not scratch/rub your eyes.
- No water in eyes for a month. I used to take bath with my eyes closed so that even accidently I don’t splash water in my eyes. And used wet towels to clean my face, my hubby used to give me a head bath. 😛 I thought of getting that done at the parlor but my hubby did a better job. 😉
I was advised follow up within 24 hours, after 1 week and after 1 month.
The surgery offers numerous benefits and can improve your quality of life. Most of the people achieve perfect vision but results do vary. You may still have to wear glasses or contacts, though your prescription level typically will be much lower than before.
While the procedure is very safe, some complications may occur which may include infection or night glare.
Checklist before you take the plunge ( very important ):
- Choose an experienced LASIK surgeon. Check out how many LASIK procedures has your doctor performed. His experience and profile. The same holds good for the hospital as well.
- Be honest with your doctor. Tell him if you are allergic to some medicines or if undergoing some medication.
- Find out everything, about the procedure being performed on you like the cost of surgery and so on. Some people can go for either of the 2 procedures (bladeless, which is a bit expensive than the latter; and with blade) whereas for some any of the 2 would work. Find out which is the best for you.
- Be aware of the complications and limitations of the procedure.
- Most important, have realistic expectations from the surgery.
- Though all my results were normal and both the procedures suited my eyes, my doc advised me to go for the blade one. Since the same results could be achieved in my case by spending a little less money. Genuine person, I would say. 😛 How many doctors will tell us this now a days. 😉
Now my eyes are as good as new (well…literally new 😛 )and I am a happy girl. 😀
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