If you have a refractive error, such as near-sightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), astigmatism or presbyopia, refractive surgery is a method for correcting or improving your vision.
There are various surgical procedures for correcting or adjusting your eye’s focusing ability by reshaping the cornea, or clear, round dome at the front of your eye. The most widely performed type of refractive surgery is LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis), where a laser is used to reshape the cornea. With LASIK, your ophthalmologist uses a laser to change the shape of your cornea. This improves the way light rays are focused on the retina.
Day of surgery
Your ophthalmologist will thoroughly examine your eyes and make sure you are a candidate for LASIK. Here is what he or she will do:
- Test your vision. This is to make sure that your vision has not changed. It also shows how high your refractive error is and whether LASIK can be used to correct your vision.
- Check for other eye problems. Your ophthalmologist will make sure that you do not have eye problems. This is because other problems could affect your surgery, or LASIK could make those other problems worse. For example, if you have dry eyes, they may be worse after LASIK.
- Measure and map the surface of your cornea. Your ophthalmologist will check the thickness of your cornea and make precise measurements of the cornea’s surface. Your eye surgeon uses these measurements to program the computer-based laser used during surgery.
- Measure your pupil size. He or she will also measure the size of your pupil. If your pupil is very large, you could see halos (rings of light) at night after LASIK.
What are the risks of LASIK?
Like any surgery, LASIK carries risks of problems or complications you should consider.
Some people have side effects after LASIK that usually go away over time. However, in rare cases, they may not go away. For example, almost everyone who has LASIK will have dry eyes and changing vision during the day. These symptoms usually fade within a month. For some people, though, they may take longer to disappear, or they may remain.
Other side effects, either temporary or permanent, could include:
- The ophthalmologist may place a see-through shield over your eye or ask you to wear a shield while sleeping for a few days. This is to help protect your eye while it heals.
- You should plan to go home and take a nap or just relax after the surgery.
- For a few hours, your eyes may feel scratchy or feel like they are burning. You will be given special eye drops to reduce dryness and help your eye heal