LASIK laser eye surgery can be a transformative procedure for many patients, allowing for clear, sharp vision without glasses. While LASIK isn’t right for everyone, it can be a powerful way to make permanent corrections to vision.
At Howerton Eye, we’re proud to provide expert LASIK eye surgery to patients throughout the greater Austin, TX area, helping patients improve their quality of life for years to come. If you’re considering LASIK laser eye surgery, there are a number of things you’ll want to know – starting with the mechanics of the surgery itself.
What is LASIK?
LASIK is a procedure in which a specially-developed medical laser makes changes to the shape of the cornea, which is the focal lens of the eye. The LASIK procedure uses what’s called an excimer laser, which relies on high-wavelength, ultraviolet light to remove (ablate) tissue. By removing microscopic pieces of corneal tissue, your eye doctor is able to change the focusing effect of the cornea, helping to reverse common eyesight problems. We can correct farsightedness by making the cornea steeper, treat nearsightedness by flattening the cornea, and correct astigmatisms by normalizing the shape of the cornea. Overall, the surgery provides you clearer, sharper eyesight without the need for glasses.
Am I a Candidate for LASIK?
Roughly 4 in 5 people are eligible to receive LASIK surgery, but there are a few things that can affect your eligibility for the treatment. For one, you’ll need to be at least 18 years old to get the procedure, and while LASIK can treat common vision problems like nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatisms, it can’t treat other issues like glaucoma or cataracts. Anyone receiving LASIK surgery should be in good general health, have strong tear production, and have a thick cornea.
Also important, you should only have LASIK if your refractive error is stable. LASIK permanently changes the curvature of your cornea, and those changes are only helpful if the cornea isn’t already changing on its own – otherwise, the benefits of the surgery could be undone. Accordingly, you should only get LASIK if your glasses or contact prescription has been the same for at least a year. We want to be absolutely sure your eyes aren’t changing before performing the surgery.
What’s the Actual Procedure Like?
While the LASIK procedure isn’t performed under general anesthesia, it’s still eye surgery and will require some preparation and a recovery period afterward. If you wear contact lenses, you’ll need to switch to glasses for a few weeks following the procedure. The day before the surgery, we’ll give you medicated eye drops and specific instructions for how to take them. Consisting of a mix of anti-inflammatory and antibacterial compounds, these drops will help prep your eyes for the surgery itself.
During the procedure, your eye doctor will give you anesthetic eye drops that immobilize your eyes and prevent you from feeling any pain during the procedure. Your eye doctor will then use a tiny surgical tool called a microkeratome to cut a thin, circular flap out of your cornea and fold it back to expose the inner cornea. With the inner cornea exposed, your eye doctor will use the excimer laser to reshape the cornea and remove any irregularities. After the necessary changes have been made, the flap will be closed and the cornea can heal naturally. While LASIK surgery is performed on one eye at a time, many patients have the procedure done on both eyes in one sitting – the surgery itself only takes about five minutes.
After your surgery, we’ll give you a regimen of medicated eye drops along with instructions for when and how to take them. Following these instructions and using the eye drops correctly is critical to the success of your surgery; the eye drops play a role in helping your eye heal, which directly impacts the long-term success of your vision correction. We’ll provide detailed instructions, but it’s important to make this postoperative care a top priority.
Schedule a Consultation with Your Kyle & Austin, TX Ophthalmologist
LASIK laser eye surgery isn’t right for everyone, and you should talk carefully with your Austin, TX ophthalmologist to ensure it’s the best solution for your health and eyesight. That said, LASIK has helped millions of patients across the world achieve clearer, brighter eyesight without the need for glasses, and if it’s right for you, it can correct your vision for the rest of your life. The only way to know for sure if LASIK is right for you is to speak with a qualified eye doctor. If you’re interested in LASIK, we encourage you to schedule a consultation at Howerton Eye. We’ll explain every part of the process in detail and perform an evaluation to determine if LASIK is the best choice for your eye health. Call us today at (512) 443-9715 to find out if LASIK can help you achieve better vision for a lifetime!