Types of laser eye surgery

Twenty/ twenty vision is not a gift that is given to everyone. Some people spend their entire lives with eyes that are about as helpful on their own as a grease smudged picture window. Unable to see faces, cars, trees and mountains, these individuals spend hundreds or thousands of dollars each year on ophthalmology appointments, corrective lenses and contacts. Not to mention the amount of time they miss out on with family and friends as they are forced to clean and maintain their implements of sight.

For many of these four eyed individuals, an answer to their misery lies in laser eye surgery. Laser eye surgery was developed in 1990 and is one of the most popular elective surgeries to date. There are several different types of laser eye surgery, and they include:

LASIK: LASIK is the most popular form of laser eye surgery out there. During LASIK laser eye surgery, a laser cuts open a flap in the patient’s cornea. The flap gets folded back and the laser vaporizes part of the middle of the cornea. This reshapes the eye so that any problems with focusing that it once had are resolved. After that the flap is replaced and the patient can see again.

LASEK: Like LASIK, LASEK laser eye surgery focuses on reshaping the cornea, but a thinner flap is created and is generally only used when someone has a very thin cornea.

Corneal Inlays or Onlays: Rather than opening your cornea to change its shape with a laser, corneal inlay or onlay laser eye surgery adds materials that are compatible with your eye to the cornea to change its shape and its focusing power.

Preoperative activities for all laser eye surgery includes taking a long term antibiotic before the surgery and reducing your wearing of both hard and soft contact lenses so that you ready your eyes for the laser. Your surgeon can discuss with you each of the individual things you must do to get ready.

No matter what type of laser eye surgery you choose, there are going to be some post surgery care requirements. First, in order to avoid inflammation, you will be given special eye drops that are antibiotic and must be taken several times each day. You will be encouraged to sleep more often so your eyes can rest and avoid getting irritated. You will be given a special pair of dark glasses to wear that will cover your eyes much more completely than regular sunglasses, which often allow sun in through the sides of the frame. Since you might not produce as many tears directly after surgery, you may be required to moisturize the eye. Lastly, you will be instructed not to rub or touch your eyes.

Once you choose to have laser eye surgery and it is completed, chances are you will not need to wear corrective lenses ever again. In rare cases the corneal misshapenness is so pronounced that laser eye surgery may not completely cure it and you may have to wear corrective lenses in a much lower prescription than you did before the surgery.

Unfortunately, not all who want laser eye surgery will actually be good candidates for it. If you are sick of wearing glasses and tired of having to put in your contact lenses every day (not to mention risking the infections that contact lens wearers often get) then talk to your ophthalmologist about laser eye surgery. He or she may not practice the surgery but will still let you know whether or not you are a good candidate for surgery and can refer you to a specialist who has the tools, knowledge and experience to complete your surgery.

Last updated on Dec 26th, 2011 and filed under Vision Care. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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