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Last Updated: Sep 19, 2019
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LASIK Surgery - Types, Procedure, Risks, Cost, and Side Effects

What is LASIK surgery? What are the different types of LASIK? How LASIK surgery is performed? How does LASIK work? Are there any side effects? How long does it take to recover? What is the price of the treatment in India? Are the results of the treatment permanent? What are the risks of LASIK? What are the alternatives to the treatment? What should be your LASIK checklist?

What is LASIK surgery?

LASIK stands for laser in-situ keratomileusis. This surgery is used to rectify vision problems in people who suffer from farsightedness (hyperopia), nearsightedness (myopia) or astigmatism.

LASIK, like any other refractive surgeries, works by restructuring the cornea of the patient i.e. the clear front part of the eye. This allows the light entering the eye to be properly focused on the retina for a clearer vision. An ophthalmologist performs this surgery by using a laser or a microkeratome (a surgical instrument).

In the majority of the cases, performing a LASIK surgery on both eyes can take up to 15 minutes. This treatment is painless and provides the patient with improved vision. Also for most patients, this surgery offers a permanent solution to wearing contact lenses or eyeglasses.

What are the different types of LASIK?

LASIK, a short form of Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis is the safest type of surgery which promises to let you live freely without the help of contact lenses and eyeglasses. It helps in treating myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism and many other eye diseases. The different types of LASIK include:

  • Conventional LASIK:

    This type of LASIK is helpful in treating the problems which are based on the prescription of a patient’s eyeglasses with therapeutic parameters. This treatment is 99 times effective but sometimes it can also result in halos, glare and night vision problems.

  • Wavefront-Optimized LASIK:

    This treatment is performed on a wavelight laser. Like conventional LASIK, it is also based on the patient’s eyeglasses prescription and accounts corneal curvature and thickness. This type of surgery also helps in curing halos, glare which occurs during conventional LASIK.

  • Wavefront Guided LASIK:

    Also known as wavefront or custom LASIK, it is helpful in treating refractive error. Undergoing this type of laser, specific alterations (high order aberrations) can also be cured.

  • PRK:

    It is known as photorefractive keratectomy which is helpful in treating short-sightedness and long-sightedness. An ophthalmologist performs a special laser to reshape the cornea.

  • LASEK:

    LASEK also known as Laser Epithelial Keratomileusis is the latest form of surgery which is a combination of both LASIK and PRK. During this treatment, no cut or scraping will be performed. It helps in curing astigmatism, short and long-sightedness.

  • How LASIK surgery is performed?

    The treatment includes the following steps:

    • The eye surgeon primarily creates a circular, thin ‘flap’ in the outer layer of the cornea.
    • For doing so, the surgeon uses a surgical mechanical tool known as femtosecond laser or microkeratome.
    • The surgeon then lifts the flap in order to access the ‘stroma’, i.e. the underlying layer of the cornea. He/she then removes some corneal tissues with the help of an excimer laser.
    • The excimer laser uses an ultraviolet beam of light to remove a microscopic amount of the corneal tissue. This allows for the reshaping of the cornea thus allowing light to be focused more accurately on the retina. This improves the vision.
    • People who suffer from myopia, the cornea is flattened whereas people who suffer from hyperopia the corner is made comparatively steeper.
    • This treatment is also used to cure astigmatism where the irregularly shaped cornea is smoothened into a more standard shape.
    • After the cornea is reshaped, the flap is put back into its place. This successfully covers the operated area and allows the cornea to heal naturally.
    • Topical anesthetic drops are required during this surgery. Post-surgery, no stitches or bandages are needed.

    Is Lasik surgery painful?

    During the entire procedure, your doctor will put anesthetic drops into your eyes to make it numb. Now, the entire treatment will be done while keeping your eyes numb. You might feel slight pressure while the laser will be applied, but there will be no pain at all during the surgery.

    How does LASIK work?

    An ophthalmologist creates a thin corneal flap using microkeratome during the treatment. After doing this, the practitioner will pull the flap back to expose the underlying corneal tissue. The excimer laser will reshape the cornea in a pre-specified pattern. The flap is now re positioned onto the underlying cornea without sutures.

    What are the advantages of LASIK eye surgery?

    A few advantages of LASIK are listed below:

    • It helps in treating myopia, presbyopia, hyperopia, astigmatism and others.
    • The treatment usually lasts for about 10 to 15 minutes.
    • The treatment is painless or in some cases, a patient might feel a little bit of discomfort.
    • LASIK is guided by computer, therefore, the results are very accurate.
    • This treatment lasts for many years. The enhancements are, however, needed after a particular time period.
    • No stitches or bandages are required after the surgery is completed.

    What are the Disadvantages of LASIK eye surgery?

    Disadvantages of LASIK treatment are listed below:

    • The result may vary from person to person, as the treatment will be performed in a slightly different way to each of them.
    • It could increase the chances of making night vision worse.
    • It can worsen your vision.

    Are there any side effects?

    After the surgery, some patients usually experience discomfort. However, it only remains for a day or two. Apart from these, there are several other side effects, but they are very rare. The side effects are -

    • Loss of vision – This is a very rare side effect of LASIK. As per research, 1 in 10000 suffers from loss of vision.
    • Seeing halos, starbursts, ghostlings – These visual problems are referred to as higher order aberrations. While some associate them with post-surgery consequences others believe that these problems are present pre-surgery. Aberrations largely depend on the size of the pupil. A person who underwent LASIK surgery may face these aberrations post sunset when the pupil tends to dilate. However, this happens on rare occasions.
    • Dry eyes – Some people may experience dry eyes post LASIK surgery.
    • Several other complications which may arise post-surgery include infection, flap complications, corneal scarring, retinal detachment, slipped flap, Diffuse lamellar keratitis, etc.

    What are the post-treatment guidelines?

    The post treatment guidelines include the following:

    • Patients should take enough rest and avoid exerting pressure on their eyes.
    • It recommended wearing dark eyeglasses, protective goggles to prevent harsh lights from entering the eye and rubbing the eyes. It also helps to cure dry eyes which are a side effect of LASIK.
    • Patients are recommended to follow the course of anti-inflammatory and antibiotic eye drops as prescribed by the doctor.
    • Patients should also use eyes drops as prescribed by the doctor to keep their eyes moisturized.

    How long does it take to recover?

    Eyes start to heal immediately after the surgery. One may start having improved vision within 24 hours post surgery. However, the entire recovery process continues for a longer period of time. It usually varies between 3-6 months depending on the condition of the patient. It will thus allow him/her to live a healthy life with better eyesight.

    How long do the results of Lasik surgery last?

    There are many people who think that LASIK treatment lasts for only a few months, but this is not more than a myth. The treatment could last permanently by treating myopia, farsightedness, and astigmatism. Yes, your eyes can show some kind of changes in the course of your lifetime, but it could not become as bad as it was before the LASIK surgery.

    What is the best age to do Lasik?

    The age between 25 to 40 is the best according to the surgeons to perform LASIK surgery. The surgery is generally not performed on the patients who are less than 18 years as the vision tends to change during adulthood.

    What is the price of the treatment in India?

    The price of LASIK treatment falls in the range of Rs.5000/-Rs.100000/-.

    Are the results of the treatment permanent?

    LASIK treatment in the majority of the cases provides with permanent improvised vision. A rare percentage of people again face the problems in the long run. However, such consequences may arise due to the change of the lens within the eye. While some people don’t feel bothered by the changes, few may feel the need to wear prescription eyeglasses or opt for a LASIK enhancement surgery sometime in the future.

    What are the risks of LASIK?

    There could be many risks factors associated with LASIK which will depend on the surgical procedures, health and age. A patient must consider all these before undergoing the treatment. He/she must clear all the doubts before the treatment is performed. The risk factors may include:

    • Unstable vision
    • Dry eyes
    • Large pupils
    • High refractive error
    • Active autoimmune disorders or degenerative diseases
    • Corneal scarring
    • Fuzziness
    • Thin and irregular corneas

    What are the alternatives to the treatment?

    LASIK Surgery has both surgical and non-surgical alternatives. The surgical alternatives include Wavefront-Guided LASIK, Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK), LASEK (Laser-Assisted Sub-Epithelial Keratectomy), Refractive Lens Exchange, EpiLasik, Corrective contact lenses, Laser Thermal Keratoplasty, Radial Keratotomy, Conductive Keratoplasty and many more. Non-Surgical alternative includes Overnight Vision Correction.

    What should be your LASIK checklist?

    1. You must have the information about your refractive error.

    2. You must know what type of laser is recommended to you and why this specific was chosen for you.

    3. You must know the possible risks associated with the surgery like:

    • You may still need to wear glasses or lenses.
    • Visual aberrations.
    • Overcorrection or under correction.
    • Dry eyes.
    • You may lose vision.
    • The result of the surgery may not be permanent.

    Popular Questions & Answers

    I had lasik 16 days ago and now since two days i’m taking flotral and soliten, as I was experiencing some bloating in the lower abdomen and frequent urination. Will flotral affect my lasik recovery? And will I have to take flotral and soliten forever?

    MBBS, DNB - Ophthalmology, FCE
    Ophthalmologist, Mumbai
    Regarding how long you will have to take the medications- you will need to speak with the Dr. who prescribed them since he would have examined and prescribed accordingly. And just for 2 days there won't be any effects on your lasik surgery outcome...

    Sir ji LASIK Leger surgery ke ba da me Army navy medical test me eyes test me pass to ho skte hai. LASIK ke kya side effects hai and fess. LASIK ke ba da me eyes kb tak perfect rhte hai.

    MBBS, MS - Ophthalmology, Fellowship in Cornea and Anterior Segment
    Ophthalmologist, Delhi
    LASIK is approved by the Indian army. That's how accurate it is. The few common side effects can be dryness and glare which subsided with drops in most cases.
    25 people found this helpful

    Can I use itone eyedrop? Its been 6 months since my laser surgery. And sometimes there is irritation in my eyes so all I have is itone.

    MS - Ophthalmology, MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery
    Ophthalmologist, Gurgaon
    Itone should not be used. Please consult the doctor who did your laser- they will prescribe you suitable eye drops to comfort the irritation.
    12 people found this helpful

    I read one of the article from wavikar eye institute which says Lasik surgery at 45000. Is that the only charge or it can be more than that?

    Fellowship In Comprehensive Ophthalmology, DOMS
    Ophthalmologist, Sangrur
    Hello Charges of lasik usually depends on type of lasik Usually it's package So. This may or may not include test charges which may be around 2000 and no extra charges.
    3 people found this helpful

    Is lasik best for me as I am wearing glasses since 2006 today my age is about 23 and glasses create problem for me in getting a job. Please advice

    Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS)
    Ophthalmologist, Ludhiana
    LASIK is best for people above age of 18 year if the refraction is stable. You need to get cornea examinations (pentacam) done before you decide anything.
    1 person found this helpful

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