Don’t Throw Away Your Glasses after Lasik Just Yet!
Lasik surgery is an amazing advancement in eye care that helps improve the vision of those who suffer from visual difficulties. With this cutting edge procedure, the patient remains awake and alert throughout the entire process. The Surgeon cuts a flap into the cornea using either a special type of blade or a special type of laser. The surgeon leaves a hinge on one side of this flap so it can be pulled back and replaced later.
While the flap is pulled back, the surgeon reshapes the middle portion of the cornea, which is called the stroma. He accomplishes this by using an excimer laser to vaporize unnecessary tissue without damaging areas that need to be left untouched.
For most Lasik patients their vision is improved almost immediately after the procedure is completed. For other patients, the vision shows gradual improvement over a period of a few days or weeks.
Most people gain 20/20 vision, or even better than 20/20, after undergoing the Lasik procedure. Some people, however, achieve 20/40 or worse. 20/40 is still quite good, and most states consider this level of vision to be good enough for driving a car, but it is less than ideal. In addition, these patients might still find it necessary to wear glasses or contacts in order to feel comfortable with their vision. Their prescription, however, will be much lower.
In addition, some Lasik patients experience regression after the procedure takes place. This means that their vision gradually worsens. If this happens, the surgeon can often perform an enhancement or touch up surgery to improve vision again.
Even for those patients whose vision is improved perfectly by Lasik surgery, it might still be necessary to get reading glasses or bifocals after reaching the 40’s. This is due to presbyopia, which begins to occur between the ages of 38 and 42. If this occurs, distance vision generally remains crisp, but it becomes more difficult to see things up close. Those suffering from presbyopia also often need to hold reading material at arms length to see if not wearing glasses or develop headaches when doing work close up.
Presbyopia is part of the eye’s natural aging process that can be corrected with glasses. With presbyopia, the eye loses its ability to change focus in order to see nearby objects. This condition is often thought of as farsightedness, but the two are actually very different. Presbyopia occurs when the lens within the eye loses its flexibility. Farsightedness, on the other hand, is the result of a misshapen eyeball. This causes light to bend incorrectly after entering the eye.
Currently, farsightedness can be corrected with Lasik surgery because it simply requires altering the shape of the cornea. Presbyopia, on the other hand, cannot be corrected by Lasik surgery. Researchers, however, are studying ways to correct presbyopia with surgery, as well.
Irregular astigmatism can also occur as a result of Lasik surgery. This occurs when the corneal surface is not made sufficiently smooth during surgery, which is the result of failing to center the laser correction properly. Irregular astigmatism can lead to visual blurring, double vision, and ghost images. It may take glasses or contact lenses to correct this problem, though it can also often be rectified through an additional surgery.
The Bottom Line
When undergoing Lasik surgery, it is important that expectations are not set too high. A patient who expects to have perfect vision after the procedure can potentially be highly disappointed, as the procedure does not have perfect results 100% of the time. In addition, complications from the surgery, though rare, can actually cause site to be worse afterward.
Furthermore, regression does occur in some Lasik eye surgery patients. If this occurs, it might be necessary to return to glasses once more. Or, another surgery may correct this problem.
Finally, it is necessary to remember that certain forms of eyesight are a natural part of the aging process. Therefore, although perfect results may occur from the surgery, it might still be necessary to wear reading glasses. This is especially true for older adults who undergo the Lasik procedure and are, therefore, already going through the process of presbyopia. In addition, patients who do attain perfect vision may begin to have difficulties with their vision because of presbyopia.
This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read. This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not intended to “diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease".
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