All About LASIK Treatment
LASIK (Laser In-Situ Keratomileusis)
The information given to you here allows you to make an informed decision about having excimer laser refractive surgery for your short-sightedness (myopia), long-sightedness (hyperopia) and/or astigmatism. Please take your time to consider this information carefully. If you feel the information is incomplete or you do not understand it fully, we ask that you question your eye care professional on any aspect of the procedure that is unclear. We would like all your queries answered to your satisfaction and to the best of our knowledge before you sign the form.
* Laser In-situ Keratomileusis (LASIK), in use since 1991, now an accepted standard form of refractive surgery internationally (1 million treatments). It is used to correct higher degrees of short-sightedness (myopia), long-sightedness (hyperopia) and astigmatism. To help you understand the above terms it might be helpful to refer to the glossary.
LASIK: A microkeratome (mechanical surgical cutting instrument) is used to form a thin flap in the front of the cornea. The flap is lifted and the laser is applied to the exposed deeper corneal bed. The flap is then replaced and correctly repositioned over the modified corneal bed, conforming to the new shape. LASIK offers quicker visual recovery and less post-operative discomfort.
PRK (Photo Refractive Keratectomy)
Is an earlier form of laser refractive surgery. No corneal flap is made. The front cell layer (epithelium) of the cornea is removed, then the cornea reshaped with the excimer laser. It takes approximately three days for the epithelium to heal. During that time one can experience pain, or moderate discomfort and the vision will be blurred for a week or more.
PRK was first performed in 1988. It is a procedure that produces good results in low to moderate levels of myopia and some astigmatism.
Other Refractive Options
In deciding to have excimer laser surgery, you should understand that there are other successful methods of restoring useful vision to patients with short-sightedness, long-sightedness, and/or astigmatism. These are:
- GLASSES: glasses have been and still are the most common method of correcting vision for patients suffering short-sightedness, long-sightedness and/or astigmatism.
- CONTACT LENSES: contact lenses are available for the correction of short-sightedness, long-sightedness, and/or astigmatism as either gas-permeable hard lenses, soft lenses or disposable lenses. Not everyone is able to wear contact lenses and this may be for a variety of reasons.
With both the above methods of treating short-sightedness, long-sightedness, and/or astigmatism, the treatment is only effective during the period the patient wears the glasses or contact lenses.
- RADIAL KERATOTOMY(RK): Radial keratotomy is a surgical procedure that involves making a number of radial cuts in the cornea. These radial cuts cause the cornea to "flatten out", thereby refocusing the light on the retina giving a clearer image. This procedure has been widely performed since 1980, but has been replaced by the more reliable and safer excimer laser surgery method.
- I.C.L'S: (Phakic) A contact lens is inserted inside the eye, no corneal tissue is removed. This is a more invasive procedure - normally for those not suitable for laser surgery.
- INTRACORNEAL RINGS: Ring segments are implanted within the periphery of the cornea to alter the shape (permanent foreign body). This is for abnormally shaped corneas such as keratoconus.
- KERATOPLASTY: Pulses of radio frequency energy heat and shrink the outer edges of corneal tissue to reshape the centre of the cornea. Treatment most commonly used for hyperopes. Now been replaced by more stable and reliable laser treatments.
- LASEK: A flap of corneal epithelium is created and lifted. Laser is then carried out on the corneal surface similar to PRK. The epithelial flap is then replaced over the corneal surface acting as a temporary dressing.
- CLEAR LENS EXTRACTION: A biological lens is replaced with an artificial lens in exactly the same fashion as commonly performed cataract surgery. The lens power is calculated according to the desired refraction afterwards plus lenses are now available to correct astigmatism and presbyopia.
- ORTHOKERATOLOGY: Specially designed gas permeable contact lenses that you wear overnight, while you are asleep. The lenses gently reshape the front surface of your eye (cornea) so you can see clearly the following day after you remove the lenses when you wake up.
- KAMRA: Indwelling foreign body difficult to reverse. One eye has a disc inserted in the cornea with a small pinhole in the centre with rationale being to increase the depth of field and give near vision. However, there is a permanent indwelling 'foreign body', this often not being reversible and may cause compromise in low light situations.