Ophthalmologist in the San Francisco East Bay Area
The most well known name in refractive eye surgery, LASIK (laser in situ keratomileusis) provides vision correction through the use of a laser by reshaping the cornea and changing its focusing power. Since 1993, LASIK has been performed in the United States on millions of patients with the use of a wide variety of different lasers. This procedure can be used to correct myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism (misshapen cornea).
Before you undergo LASIK surgery, or any refractive surgery, you will be instructed to discontinue the use of contacts for 1 to 4 weeks prior to surgery to allow the cornea to return to its original shape. The day of surgery, you will go to your ophthalmologist's office or surgical center where the procedure will be performed. A mild anesthetic will be given, usually orally, before surgery, and numbing eye drops will be administered, which eliminate the element of pain, although some patients do experience some discomfort.
A small device, called a microkeratome is attached to a suction ring placed on your eye, the blade of which is used to cut a thin flap on the surface of the cornea. The flap is folded back, exposing a layer of tissue called the stroma, which is inspected for debris and dried.
You will then be asked to focus on a fixed spot as Dr. Lerner begins the laser, cutting and removing corneal tissue based on the measurements taken at the initial examination. The flap is then repositioned and left to heal. Because no stitches are used, you will be required to wear an eye patch to prevent rubbing, irritation, and pressure that might disturb the healing process.
Both eyes can be operated on at the same time if you are healthy enough and have ample recovery time. In some cases, however, Dr. Lerner will recommend that their patient receive monovision treatment, which is the correction of only one eye for near or far vision. LASIK surgery typically takes about 5 to 10 minutes per eye.
There are now several different lasers that have received FDA approval for LASIK surgery. There are different lasers for use in myopic and hyperopic patients, but most allow for correction of astigmatism. Because the lasers are capable of vision correction within a specified refractive range, patients with uncommonly poor vision may not be a candidate for LASIK, but may benefit from other refractive procedures such as IOL implants.
After surgery Dr. Lerner will schedule you for a follow up exam within one or two days in order to remove the eye patch and gauge recovery, and he or she may also wish to see you at periodic intervals throughout the next six months. Soreness, a burning or itching sensation, and the feeling that something is in your eye are all typical for the first several hours to few days following surgery. Vision is usually hazy or blurry for the same period of time, and tearing or watering is not uncommon.
It is important to remember to not rub your eyes as this might interfere with the healing process of the flap. Strenuous activity, contact sports, and swimming should be discontinued for the first one or two months following surgery, although you may feel comfortable enough to return to work as early as three days after surgery. Dr. Lerner may place additional restrictions on your activity and return to work based on your individual case. If pain becomes intolerable you should see Dr. Lerner immediately.
During surgery, complications related to the cutting or hinging of the flap occur in less 0.5% of patients. Other complications occurring at less than a 1% rate include the development of an irregular astigmatism due to scarring, healing, or beam problems, infection, or other vision problems (halos around lights, blurry night vision) due to decentration, surgery performed off the center of the pupil due to surgeon error or the inability of the patient to focus on a fixed point.
The minimum requirements are that a patient must be at least 18 years old and has had no drastic change in vision over the past year. For patients with severe refractive errors LASIK may not be an option, but with the advancements in refractive surgery, almost anyone with stable and healthy eyes can be treated with some type of surgery.
Call the Lerner Eye Center today at 888-820-9600 or email us here to make an appointment or request more information.