What happens in LASIK Eye Surgery?

LASIK eye surgery has risen in popularity since it was first approved for use in the mid-1990s. Every year the LASIK procedure is performed thousands of times across Australia. Providing people with freedom from the inconvenience of glasses and contact lenses. LASIK eye surgery is one of several refractive surgery techniques. They surgically correct the refractive error of the eye. Be it long-sightedness (hyperopia), short-sightedness (myopia), or astigmatism.

As the eye is sensitive, the idea of an operation on such a delicate organ can cause some to feel squeamish. You may have heard both success and horror stories from anyone who has done the LASIK procedure. If you’re considering it for yourself, it’s worth knowing about what happens in LASIK eye surgery.

Before undergoing the LASIK procedure, you must get assessed by a trained clinician. The purpose of this is to ensure that LASIK eye surgery is the best treatment option for you.

Factors your specialist will consider in assessing your eligibility for LASIK

Your corneal thickness – the LASIK procedure involves some removal of corneal tissue. This makes up the clear dome at the front of your eye. Patients with insufficient corneal thickness are better off with another refractive technique. One type is PRK, which ensures a corneal thickness remains after surgery. This also maintains the integrity of the eye.

Your lifestyle – this forms an important part of the discussion with your ophthalmologist. Activities that involve a risk of physical trauma or exposure to dirty environments may mean LASIK is not the best option. This is due to the increased risk of post-operative complications from these activities. LASIK and some eye diseases may face exacerbation through surgical disturbances to the cornea and LASIK eye surgery can make eye conditions such as dry eye and keratoconus worse. Patients with an eye disease such as age-related macular degeneration or cataract may find no benefit for their vision.

The two-step LASIK procedure

At the time of your LASIK eye surgery, your eye will be numbed with a topical anesthetic. In Australia, general anesthesia is rarely used for refractive surgery. Particularly anxious or restless patients may be offered a light sedative to help calm the nerves. LASIK is a two-step procedure. Some surgeons prefer to conduct the first step using a manual bladed instrument, others prefer a femtosecond laser. Whichever the tool, the purpose of this step is to move aside the top layers of the cornea, to allow the second step to take place. While on the operating bed, you will fixate on a target light to keep the eye steady. A device will keep your eyelids open. This may be uncomfortable at first but patients tend to get used to the sensation.

The first step of the procedure forms a hinged flap of corneal tissue. This is moved aside to allow an excimer laser to be applied to the underlying corneal layers in a process called photoablation. Guided by a computer, the laser removes selected, pre-calculated areas of tissue to reshape the cornea. This is to change the way light bends through the cornea so that light rays focus to a clear point on the retina. The corneal flap is then repositioned and allowed to self-seal.

After surgery, your clinical team will provide you with care instructions, medicated eye drops, and a protective eye shield. Vision is generally better within the next 24 hours and will further stabilise over the coming weeks.

Eye Lasers Specialists provide a range of eye care treatment options. Contact us on 0390 700 910 for a consultation with an expert vision specialist and discover how we can help in the maintenance of your eye health

Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from a qualified health practitioner.

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About the expert

Dr Anton van Heerden, MBCHB; FRANZCO
Ophthalmologist & Laser Eye Surgeon

Based in Melbourne, but with a reputation that transcends borders, Dr Van Heerden sets the highest bar for laser vision correction surgery in Australia. While his skills and experience are second to none, it is his fun, caring and down to earth nature that truly set’s him apart from the rest. You can sit back and enjoy the journey knowing every detail has been carefully considered.