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LASIK eye surgery is performed to correct certain vision problems, with the goal to eliminate, or at least reduce, the need for corrective lenses. LASIK stands for laser assisted in-situ keratomileusis. As the most common refractive surgery, this procedure is performed to change the shape of the cornea. The ultimate goal of the surgery is to make vision sharper and clearer.
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There are a few things patients should do to prepare for LASIK eye surgery. As part of a LASIK information packet, there will be preparation instructions. Patients should carefully follow all physician instructions. The following are general preparation guidelines. Patients should have a ride home because they will not be able to drive after having LASIK. Patients may still have blurry vision or feel the effects of surgery.
For the few weeks prior to surgery, patients should stop wearing contacts and start wearing eyeglasses. This is because contacts can distort cornea shape, which can lead to a poor surgical result.
The day prior to and the day of surgery, patients should not wear makeup or eye creams. Patients may also have to wash their eyelashes, per their doctor's instructions. This is all to help reduce the risk of infection.
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Patients are awake during LASIK eye surgery, but they are usually given a medicine to help them relax. The surgery typically takes less than 30 minutes. Numbing drops are placed in the eye, and once the eyes are numb, they are held open with a special instrument. A suction ring is placed on the eye, and some patients report feeling pressure with this, as well as dim vision. The doctor then makes a small cut to access the area of the cornea in need of reshaping. Once reshaped, the piece that was cut is put back in place. Stitches are usually not needed. A laser is used for reshaping the cornea. The patient will focus on a point of light during the surgery.
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Recovery and Results
Many patients report watery eyes, itching and burning immediately following surgery. Blurry vision is also common. Eyedrops and pain medicine is often given to ensure the patient is comfortable for up to several hours following the procedure. An eye shield may be worn several hours after the procedure as well to protect the eyes.
It will take about three months for patients to notice the full results of how good their vision will be. Patients often have to refrain from eye makeup and creams, hot tubs, swimming and contact sports for several weeks.
On average, eight out of 10 patients report no longer needing corrective lenses or contact lenses after this surgery for the majority of activities. Overall, several factors play into a patient's results.
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LASIK is a surgical procedure, so there are possible risks. They include:
- Dry eyes
- Flap problems
- Halos, glare and double vision
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Randleman, B.J. MD. (2011). LASIK Eye Surgery. Retrieved on April 14, 2011 from MedicineNet: http://www.medicinenet.com/lasik_eye_surgery/article.htm
Segre, L. (2011). The LASIK Procedure. Retrieved on April 14, 2011 from All About Vision: http://www.allaboutvision.com/visionsurgery/lasik.htm
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