What is LASIK's history?
LASIK is a surgical procedure that is capable of correcting a wide range of nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia) and astigmatism.
LASIK is the acronym for laser in situ keratomileusis, sometimes referred to as laser assisted in situ keratomileusis. The name refers the use of a laser to reshape the cornea without invading the adjacent cell layers.
LASIK has been performed internationally for over 20 years. No evidence has ever emerged to suggest that LASIK may have deleterious long term effects on the health of the eye.
Is LASIK for me?
LASIK can benefit a great number of people with myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism. Candidates should have a strong desire to be less dependent on corrective lenses, have established realistic expectations, and understand the risks associated with the surgery.
There are a number of factors that may preclude some people from LASIK such as unstable refraction, abnormally thin corneas, keratoconus. Dr Perrott will examine your eye thoroughly and perform diagnostic tests to ensure that LASIK is safe for you.
LASIK is only one type of refractive surgery available to patients. Although you may not be eligible for LASIK, you may be eligible for a different procedure. You would need to discuss your options with Dr Perrott.
Most surgeons agree that if you are comfortable wearing contact lenses and are not bothered by being dependent on them, you should carefully evaluate the risks and benefits of LASIK. If you find the concept of being free from contact lenses appealing then LASIK may be the right choice for you.
How much does it cost?
Most Medical Aids do not cover the procedure. Very few will cover the entire cost. Many medical aids will allow you to use you “Savings” and others will allow you to use your annual “Optical Benefits”(benefits usually used for glasses and contact lenses) You will need to check your particular circumstances with your medical aid. You should check with your accountant to see if you can include LASIK as a tax-deductible health expense. There are also companies that offer credit to help you finance the cost of LASIK.
What can I expect my vision to be like after LASIK?
LASIK improves the uncorrected vision -vision without glasses or contacts – in virtually every patient that has the procedure. Over 98% of patients with low to moderate myopia will achieve 20/40 vision, which is considered the minimum required to drive without having to wear contacts or glasses. Over 90% of all patients can expect to achieve 20/20 vision or better. However, there are no guarantees that you will have perfect vision and patients with high myopia (more than -7D) and high hyperopia or astigmatism (more than +4D) may have to have more than one session of laser to achieve optimum results. People who are most satisfied with the results of laser correction have realistic expectations of what their vision will be like after surgery.
Fast visual recovery is what makes this operation so amazing. Most patients achieve good vision the day of surgery and find that their eyes feel fairly normal within a day. Over 95% can drive the day after surgery. However, vision can continue to improve, and the best vision can still take two to three months to occur. If necessary, adjustments to the surgery called enhancements can be done. Patients who undergo hyperopic LASIK or PRK often need to wait longer to able to see clearly.
Most patients who have LASIK do not need to wear glasses for their daily activities. However, patients may need to wear reading glasses if they are over the age of 40. This is caused by the normal condition of the ageing eye known as presbyopia. This condition occurs with or without LASIK. Some patients may need a minimal prescription for some activities such as night time driving. Those patients who currently have bifocals will still need reading glasses after the surgery unless they opt for a treatment plan called monovision, wherein one eye is corrected for distance and the other for near vision.
Most patients do not notice a change from glasses or contacts; however, some patients will notice glare, halos or starburst around objects in dim or low-light conditions. For the vast majority, these symptoms are temporary. However, others will continue to experience them for several months or longer. These symptoms do not necessarily interfere with visual acuity and usually fade with time. For a small minority of patients they can be a source of irritation (<1%) With the newer lasers, such as the WaveLight EX500 that Dr Perrott uses, these issues are now extremely rare.
Some patients who seek LASIK have underlying dry eye syndrome that has not been diagnosed. There appears to be a correlation between pre-operative dry eye syndrome and developing more pronounced dry eye symptoms post-operatively. Therefore, Dr Perrott will test for dry eye prior to making a decision regarding eligibility.
LASIK is a surgical procedure that permanently removes corneal tissue to reshape the eye in order to improve refraction. The physical changes are permanent. You should be aware, however, that the eyes can change over time. These changes are for most, minimal and greater spectacle freedom can be anticipated to last your lifetime. LASIK does not affect any visual conditions associated with age. For example, LASIK does not prevent presbyopia or macular degeneration or glaucoma.
Yes, retreatment is most certainly a possibility, and other treatment options may also exist. You would need to see Dr Perrott determine which option is best for you.
Yes, although the need does not usually arise . If you regress slightly an enhancement with the laser is usually performed but if this is not possible contacts can be worn again.
Does the procedure hurt?
Patients are given a topical anaesthetic (eye drops) to numb the eye, so you will experience no pain during the procedure. For several hours after the procedure, some patients describe a mild burning or scratchy sensation. After the first few hours, this uncomfortable feeling usually subsides. Taking a nap for the first 2 to 3 hours after LASIK is recommended.
The procedure is done using eye drops to numb the eye. Some patients are given a small pre-med to help them relax.
According to several large studies, there is approximately a 1% intra-operative and 3% postoperative complication rate. Most of these complications are minor and temporary and do not result in loss of visual acuity or interfere with vision long term. The rate of severe complications is substantially less than 1%. Bilateral blindness is unheard of. It is important for patients to understand that LASIK is surgery, and a small incidence of complications is to be expected.
Will having LASIK inconvenience me?
Yes, that is the standard of care and Dr Perrott always does both eyes at the same surgery.
Most patients return to work the day after surgery. However, some people may feel a bit tired for a day or two following surgery so Dr Perrott usually gives a day off work if requested.
You can resume normal activities immediately after surgery. However, for at least 10 days you will need to avoid swimming. You will also need to avoid contact sports for a week. It is important to talk specifically with Dr Perrott about limitations on activities after LASIK.
No, your vision will be a bit too blurred to drive immediately after LASIK. In addition, the effects of the pre-med could slow your reflex time making it risky to drive.
For the first 24 hours, you will wear clear plastic shields that cover and protect your eyes. You will be able to see through them clearly enough and your eyes will look exactly the same. Sorry, no colour changes possible!