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LASIK (Laser Assisted In-situ Keratomileusis)

LASIK has the ability to improve vision in a matter of minutes! The procedure combines the precision of the excimer laser with a technique called lamellar keratoplasty to reshape the cornea so that light entering the eye is properly refracted (focused) on the retina. LASIK patients normally achieve partial or complete independence from glasses and/or contact lenses after surgery.

Am I a Candidate for LASIK?

LASIK candidates are evaluated individually by the team at MECA Eye and Laser Center.

You may be a suitable candidate for LASIK if you:

  • Need glasses for nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism
  • Are at least 18 years of age
  • Are in good health
  • Do not suffer from an eye disease, infection or injury
  • Do not suffer from continuous dry eye
  • Have a stable vision prescription (one that has not changed within the past six months but preferably a year)
  • Are not pregnant or nursing

One of factor that plays an important part in determining LASIK candidacy is corneal thickness. Your corneas will be evaluated to ensure they are thick enough to accommodate the creation of the corneal flap prior to laser treatment.

How LASIK Is Performed

LASIK is performed on an outpatient basis. The eyes are numbed prior to surgery, and a sedative medication may be given to help calm any nerves.

First, a thin layer of the cornea, or corneal cap, is raised. MECA uses the IntraLase Method™ — a 100% blade-free approach to creating your corneal flap — to expose an internal layer of the cornea called the stroma. This portion of the procedure is called "lamellar keratoplasty" or keratomileusis.

Then, in less than 60 seconds, ultraviolet light and high-energy pulses from the excimer laser reshape the stroma, with accuracy up to 0.25 microns.

The procedure is designed to treat moderate to high levels of nearsightedness and, by adjusting the pattern of the laser beam, it may also be possible to treat farsightedness and astigmatism. After the tissue has been reshaped, the raised corneal flap is replaced in its original position. Because of the cornea's extraordinary natural bonding qualities, healing is rapid and does not require stitches. The entire procedure takes less than 30 minutes.

LASIK Recovery and Results

An eye shield should be worn at night and eye drops should be used for about a week. Most LASIK patients see well enough the next day to resume work, driving and the rest of their regular activities. The visual results of LASIK continue to improve over the next few days. There is little to no pain or other side effects during the recovery period.

How well and how quickly you recover your vision depends on your prescription, among other factors. But the majority of patients achieve 20/20 vision or better.

Common Questions about LASIK

How long does LASIK surgery take?
The actual procedure takes less than 10 minutes per eye. However, patients should expect to be at the surgery center for a few hours on the day of surgery.

Does LASIK surgery hurt?
No. Some patients say the procedure is a little uncomfortable, but it doesn’t hurt. After surgery, patients may experience a foreign body sensation or eye irritation for several hours. Eye drops can and should be used to alleviate dry eye symptoms.

Can both eyes have LASIK on the same day?
Generally both eyes are corrected on the same day.

Can I drive home after surgery?
No, you will need to arrange for a ride home from surgery.

Does insurance cover LASIK?
Health insurance usually does not cover LASIK costs. Some patients opt to use funds from health savings accounts, or may look into financing options.

Can I undergo LASIK if I have cataracts?
No, LASIK is not appropriate for candidates with cataracts. LASIK is designed to reshape the clear covering of the eye (the cornea), and cataracts affect the eye’s lens. People with cataracts must have them removed and an artificial lens placed in order to see clearly.

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