By The Princess of Quite a Lot
“I’ve done it- we’ve done it! Finally!” In the 1990’s, this is probably what was heard for those who were there when Corneal Flap Surgery and PRK were combined to create the LASIK procedure- the most popular eye correction surgery in the world. One million people have it yearly, and only few people are disappointed. In this report I’ll tell you what LASIK is, what it does, how many people have it yearly, the risk of it and advantages, what LASIK stands for, who was the first person who had LASIK, people who can’t have LASIK, how much LASIK costs, and much more!
What IS LASIK?
This paragraph is about what LASIK is and does... and what it stands for! According to Mr. Welch, LASIK is a laser-assisted surgery that is for people with glasses. People all over the world get sick and tired of glasses and contacts. So, LASIK is invented.
In LASIK, an eye surgeon cuts a layer of the cornea about the size of a contacts lens and as thin as a hair, then, with the help of a laser, reshapes your eye. How? With each laser beam, a tiny piece of eye tissue is removed. The surgeon can then control where the tissue is removed, and how much is removed. Fancy, huh?
LASIK stands for Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis! WOW! Keratomileusis means ‘to carve the eye’. (Ewwww!)
5 things you need to know if you are contemplating LASIK:
Can anyone use it? The answer to that is, surprisingly, no. According to the Mayo Clinic, some people, unfortunately, such as people with certain diseases are not good ‘candidates’ for LASIK, because their condition could prevent them from recovering from LASIK. Other people, may do things at their job (or anywhere) that hold the risk of tearing the flap that was folded back during LASIK. Those people may not want to have LASIK because of such risks.
Who uses LASIK? People who use LASIK are people who, for various reasons do not want glasses or contacts anymore. They are willing to pay the high prices of LASIK to have better vision. That is something millions of people have in common. (Mayo Clinic)
How long does LASIK take?
Believe it or not, LASIK takes a little over thirty minutes. And most people have both eyes done in same day. But then there’s recovery. LASIK recovery is amazingly fast. After LASIK, you may have watery eyes for a while and your vision is not always better from the start. It takes a while to get adjusted. Some doctors give their patients masks to wear for the first day of recovering the surgery. LASIK patients’ ‘flaps’ usually recover into place without stitches. (Yuckkkk!) (Mayo Clinic)
What are some risks of LASIK?
This paragraph is about the risks of LASIK. LASIK, like all surgeries, has some risks. If people are considering LASIK, they want to know the risk. Risks may include the following:
* Some patients lose vision. Some patients lose lines of vision on the vision chart that cannot be corrected with glasses, contact lenses, or surgery as a result of treatment.
* Some patients develop debilitating visual symptoms. Some patients develop glare, halos, and/or double vision that can seriously affect nighttime vision. Even with good vision on the vision chart, some patients do not see as well in situations of low contrast, such as at night or in fog, after treatment as compared to before treatment.
* You may be under treated or over treated. Only a certain percent of patients achieve 20/20 vision without glasses or contacts. You may require additional treatment, but additional treatment may not be possible. You may still need glasses or contact lenses after surgery. This may be true even if you only required a very weak prescription before surgery. If you used reading glasses before surgery, you may still need reading glasses after surgery.
* Some patients may develop severe dry eye syndrome. As a result of surgery, your eye may not be able to produce enough tears to keep the eye moist and comfortable. Dry eye not only causes discomfort, but can reduce visual quality due to intermittent blurring and other visual symptoms. This condition may be permanent. Intensive drop therapy and use of plugs or other procedures may be required.
* Results are generally not as good in patients with very large refractive errors of any type. You should discuss your expectations with your doctor and realize that you may still require glasses or contacts after the surgery.
* For some farsighted patients, results may diminish with age. If you are farsighted, the level of improved vision you experience after surgery may decrease with age. This can occur if your manifest refraction (a vision exam with lenses before dilating drops) is very different from your cycloplegic refraction (a vision exam with lenses after dilating drops).
* Long-term data are not available. LASIK is a relatively new technology. The first laser was approved for LASIK eye surgery in 1998. Therefore, the long-term safety and effectiveness of LASIK surgery is not known.
Additional Risks if you are Considering the Following:
Š Monovision (Mayo Clinic & the-LASIK-directory)
There are SO many risks, but many are unlikely, that risks are almost never occur.
What are some of the advantages of LASIK?
Most people think that the risks of LASIK are not worth worrying about. The results are more likely, and very good. People who don’t want glasses pay for LASIK. When LASIK GOES well, these are some of the advantages:
Š Better vision. People all over the world enjoy better vision after LASIK. Remember: Your vision will not be perfect right after LASIK. Your eyes need rest, and you need to get adjusted. After a while though, you will be able to join others in saying how much you enjoy 20-20.
Š No more glasses. People with jobs that have to do with activeness, instead of sitting in an office, enjoy LASIK as well. In construction for example, instead of worrying about keeping you glasses clean, LASIK makes it so they don’t have to worry about glasses at all.
So you see, just a few of the advantages outweigh the many risks of LASIK.
What are the top 5 fears of people thinking about LASIK?
“… I lay in the bed at the LASIK surgical facility, eyes pried open with what appeared to be some medieval torture device, the wild-eyed surgeon coming at me with a scalpel. His accomplice, the nurse, stood ready behind him, aiming the high-tech laser system that was to obliterate my entire ocular cavity.” says Danielle Briones.
Clearly, I had a number of fears associated with LASIK surgery before undergoing the procedure in 2006. My paranoid visions of a crazy surgeon doing irreversible damage to my eyesight caused me to put off the procedure for five years. After undergoing surgery, I found that most of my fears were exaggerated and that 20/20 vision was definitely worth all the apprehension I had felt about LASIK.
Although millions of Americans are candidates for LASIK surgery, a significant portion elects not to undergo treatment due to fears associated with the procedure. It's not surprising, considering how heavily we rely on our vision. Remember the frustration that came from being blindfolded when playing games at birthday parties as children? Fumbling around to pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey or wildly bashing a candy-filled piĖata while engulfed in utter darkness? Experiences such as these have helped us to understand the importance of our vision and have led some people to avoid vision correction surgery altogether. Here are the reasons why:
1. Going blind as a result of the procedure
Many potential LASIK candidates fear that they will go blind as a result of the procedure. But according to the FDA, there has not been one case of a patient going blind as a result of LASIK surgery. LASIK may have to be preformed twice, but going blind from LASIK is pretty much a fabled fear.
Fear of pain is one of the main reasons people avoid undergoing medical procedures. Fortunately, LASIK is one of the least invasive forms of surgery performed today. Patients are typically offered a sedative prior to treatment, and numbing drops are applied to the eyes to alleviate pain. During LASIK, it’s pain free, and after, only minor pain is experienced.
3. Having the eye cut with a scalpel
Aside from those who are addicted to plastic surgery, no one really wants to have their bodies sliced up with a scalpel. LASIK patients don't have to worry about "undergoing the knife" if they don't want to. A scalpel is not used during the LASIK procedure; rather, the corneal flap that allows the surgeon access to the tissue underneath is created with use of the Intralase® laser or a blade known as a microkeratome. So don’t let that worry you. No ‘knife’ will contact your eye. Just a small blade, and even that you can’t feel.
4. Laser contact with the eye
Yes, an excimer laser is used to shape the cornea. No, the excimer laser is not a lightsaber-esque instrument used to battle evil forces, like in Star Wars. While many potential LASIK patients fear the part of the procedure in which the laser comes into contact with the eye, it lasts for only about 10 seconds per eye. And the majority of patients say they did not experience pain, just slight pressure, when the laser shaped their corneas. And remember, the laser doesn’t hurt your eye- it helps it.
5. Being awake during the procedure
LASIK surgery is an outpatient procedure during which patients are awake. Fear of seeing the microkeratome or laser come into contact with the eye is enough to convince some prospective patients to stick with their eyeglasses or contact lenses. However, contrary to popular belief, LASIK patients can't see the microkeratome or excimer laser during surgery. LASIK surgeons apply eye drops that cause the eyes to black out during treatment. So, nothing to fear… You won’t see any device that looks like the most evil weapon ever invented.
Danielle experienced each of these fears prior to her own LASIK surgery. In the end, she found the procedure itself to be a minor inconvenience that is certainly worth the benefits. She did experience some pain in my eyes a couple hours after the procedure. Her LASIK surgeon had recommended that she go to sleep as soon as she got home - but she didn't take his advice. When the numbing drops wore off and she began to feel some pain, she decided to sleep it off. She fell asleep and woke up about five hours later, around midnight, feeling no pain. When she opened my eyes and saw that the illuminated numbers on her clock were clear, not fuzzy, she realized the treatment had worked – and that her fears regarding LASIK were unfounded. (Danielle Briones) Fears are the things that keep most people from having LASIK- but really, there is nothing to fear. (Danielle Brion)
How many, and how much: How much does LASIK cost, and how many people get LASIK yearly?
How much does LASIK cost? The cost of LASIK is a concern to people contemplating it. Finding a good price for LASIK can be hard. A leading industry analyst in 2007 said only 6.9% of conventional LASIK procedures cost less than $1,000 per eye. These procedures are performed with the less expensive options of bladed microkeratomes and conventional excimer lasers, not guided by wavefront analysis. Most customized wavefront procedures that also use laser-created flaps cost from $1,000 to $2,500 per eye.
How many people have LASIK yearly? ONE MILLION! One million people have their lives changed because of LASIK results. Not everyone gets twenty-twenty, but most get very good results!
LASIK History… it’s amazing!
Who was the first person to have LASIK? Dr. Fyodorov was treating a young boy. The boy had fallen, and his glasses had broken and cut into his eye. Rather than significantly hurting the boy, the damage was minimal and simply shaved a layer off of the outer surface of the eye. The boy, previously very myopic (nearsighted) had improved vision in that eye. Dr. Fyodorov was intrigued and studied the matter. He published his discoveries, but it was not until American doctors with adequate funding could begin serious research and computer models of the procedure. It was Dr. Leo Bores who brought the procedure to the U.S. after witnessing it performed in the former U.S.S.R.
When did refractive surgeries gain popularity? In the 1950’s and 1960’s refractive surgeries began to be popular. One million people were estimated to have the refractive surgery in the year 2000 alone. That is a TON! (History of LASIK???)
LASIK has changed millions of people’s lives. It has had a huge impact on America alone. Since 1990, LASIK has improved, and I’m sure that the doctors who invented it never thought that it would change so many people’s lives. So kiss your glasses and contacts goodbye – GET LASIK!