Developed in the 1980s, LASIK eye surgery has been performed in the United States since 1990 and has helped millions of people improve their vision. Yet there are some myths about LASIK that persist. Here are five no-nonsense facts about LASIK surgery:
1. LASIK is Not Painful
It’s understandable for people to think that anything that re-sculpts a person’s eyeball would hurt, but LASIK actually doesn’t. Before the surgery, the doctor numbs the eyes with anesthetic drops that take about 15 minutes to work, and patients who are really anxious can ask for a sedative beforehand. The patient may feel a bit of pressure at some points during the surgery, but not pain.
2. LASIK Corrects More Than Nearsightedness
LASIK not only corrects nearsightedness, but astigmatism and farsightedness as well. It’s the shape of the person’s eyeball that determines whether the image focuses in front of the retina as in nearsightedness or behind the retina as in farsightedness. Astigmatism occurs when the front part of the eye called the cornea is irregular. LASIK surgery reshapes the cornea so that the image focuses directly in the center of the patient’s retina.
3. Patients Don’t Go Blind From LASIK Surgery
LASIK surgery has been performed long enough and has been technically advanced to the point that complications from it are rare, and loss of vision is exceptionally rare. The surgeon operates only on the cornea and uses an excimer laser. This type of laser can remove tissue targeted by the surgeon with great precision. The tissue around it is untouched.
4. The Operation Doesn’t Take a Long Time
Because of the quickness and precision of the surgery, LASIK now only lasts a few minutes. It’s also an outpatient procedure, which means the patient can go home shortly after their eye is treated.
5. The Patient May Still Have to Wear Glasses
There’s a type of farsightedness called presbyopia which means something like “old eye.” This is a natural consequence of aging and means that the person will have to take up reading glasses, whether they’ve had LASIK surgery or not. Indeed, some people over 40 who’ve had LASIK surgery suddenly find that they need reading glasses.
People who are considering LASIK surgery should not be frightened of it. Over 90 percent of patients who have had LASIK are pleased with the results and would recommend it. Ⓡ