Having poor vision can be a real drag, whether you wear glasses or contacts or just squint and hold the paper far away from your face. But what can you really do about it? If you’re an adult with myopia, hyperopia, or even astigmatism, LASIK may be the answer.
What Is LASIK?
Most vision issues are caused by corneal abnormalities. Nearsighted individuals have an excessively steep cornea, while farsighted individuals have corneas that are too shallow. During the LASIK procedure, then, an ophthalmologist uses a laser to remove part of the cornea and reshape it, thereby correcting vision issues.
Conditions That Qualify For LASIK
Not all vision problems can be treated using LASIK. In general, the treatment is only appropriate for myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. If you have age-related farsightedness, also known as presbyopia, however, LASIK isn’t the right solution for you. Additionally, LASIK is typically only meant for individuals whose vision has largely stabilized. This is one reason that LASIK is only performed on adults – LASIK isn’t very effective when the patient’s vision is still changing.
There are many reasons why LASIK may not be the right solution for a particular patient. Athletes who want vision correction so they don’t have to wear contacts or sports goggles during competition, for example, may not qualify if they play contact sports. You cannot regularly risk blows to the face, head or eyes, as impact can cause the surgical flap to lift and permanently alter your vision.
Individuals with many eye diseases also won’t qualify for LASIK. For example, if you have glaucoma, LASIK can actually make the condition worse by increasing your eye pressure. Similarly, if you have cataracts, you may not be able to have LASIK, but after surgery to remove them, you may qualify for an alternative surgery, such as permanent lenses.
What To Expect
If you’re considering LASIK for better vision, you’ll need to take a number of steps before and after the procedure to protect your vision. First, if you wear contacts, you’ll have to stop using them about two weeks before the procedure. You’ll also have to use prescription eye drops before the surgery, and keep your eyes moist and protected afterward using drops and sunglasses. It’s very easy to damage your eyes in the first few weeks after the procedure, but it’s also easy to forget that anything has happened because LASIK typically results in significant vision improvements within the first 48 hours. It will take longer for your vision to stabilize, but by day two, you should be able to see clearly without glasses.
LASIK was developed over 20 years ago, and there are plenty of people who have been living happily with the results of the procedure since then. So what’s the general consensus? Though some say the procedure wears off over time, most agree that the surgery is well worth the money. After all, regular eye exams, lenses, frames, and contacts are expensive, and need to be replaced regularly – and if they break or get lost, those with serious vision issues can be caught in a bind.
For most people, vision issues are a lifelong problem, but with LASIK, they don’t have to be. Take control of your eyesight with a more permanent solution and talk to your doctor. Even if LASIK isn’t the right solution for you, there may be another option that can help you achieve better vision without corrective lenses.