Lasik Ė The Down and Dirty Details.

By: Thomas Hunter

Lasik eye surgery is a relatively simple procedure that causes very little stress to the body. Patients of the surgery are capable of walking into the surgery center without assistance and walking out without assistance. In addition, the procedure itself generally takes less than one minute to complete and the patient remains awake the entire time!

Getting Prepped for Surgery

Sometimes, a doctor chooses to provide the Lasik eye surgery patient with a mild oral sedative before beginning the procedure. This is generally used for a patient who is particularly nervous or worried about the procedure. In addition, the doctor will place a few drops of anesthetic in the patientís eyes to help reduce the pain. In fact, most patients donít feel any pain at all during the procedure.

Getting Started

After the doctor sufficiently prepares the patient for surgery, he will ask that she lie down. This serves to get the eye placed directly beneath the laser. Only one eye is operated on at a time. For the selected eye, a special type of retainer is put over the eye in order to keep the eyelids open. The retainer also has a suction ring, which keeps the eye pressurized. This generally is not uncomfortable for most patients, but it greatly helps with the surgeonís ability to cut the corneal flap.

X Marks the Spot

After getting the retainer in place, the surgeon uses a special ink marker to mark the position of the flap that is to be created. He then creates the flap with either a microkeratome blade or with a laser. Which method is used depends upon the surgeonís preference. The patient doesnít actually see this flap because it is very thin.

The Procedure

After creating the flap, the doctor will use a computer to help adjust the laser to meet the patientís specific needs. The doctor asks the patient to look at a target light for a period of time. During this time, the doctor watches the patientís eye through a microscope as the laser sends pulses of light to the cornea.

It is sometimes critical that the patientís eye remains fixated on the target light with some lasers. Otherwise, the results might not be as good. Yet other lasers have a special tracking device. This device follows the eye even when it moves to help ensure the best results.

As the laser sends pulses of light to the cornea, it removes tissue in order to reshape the cornea. This is generally pain free for most patients. As this occurs, the patient will be able to hear a steady clicking sound. This is simply the laser at work. In addition, the patient will probably smell a mildly acrid scent. This is the result of the tissue being removed. The poorer the patientís eyesight, the longer this surgery will take.

While the Lasik eye surgery is actually performed by the laser and computer, the surgeon has complete control of the laser at all times and can turn it on and off as necessary.

Now That Youíre Done

After the procedure is complete, it is necessary for the patient to rest for a little while. If both eyes are being done on the same day, the surgeon generally waits for a short period of time before proceeding to the other eye. In some cases, patients prefer to wait for a week to get the second eye operated on.

In addition, the doctor might prescribe medication to assist with the post-operation pain. Many people, however, feel little more than mild discomfort after the procedure is completed.

Down the Road

After being released by the doctor, it is important for the patient to strictly follow the doctorís instructions. Prescriptions should be filled and used and the patient should be sure to get proper rest. In addition, the patient should contact the doctor immediately if he suspects a problem. Events after the surgery can affect the outcome of the surgery just as much as the surgery itself.

It is necessary for a Lasik patient to have someone available to drive him home after surgery. Once home, the patient should rest for at least a few hours to give the eye time to heal. It is often possible to return to work the day following the procedure, but it is really best for a patient to take a couple days of in order to rest. Strenuous exercise should also be avoided, as it can cause trauma to the eye and impede the healing process. In addition, patients should avoid rubbing the eye, which can cause the corneal flap to become dislodged.


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 ďdiagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease".

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