LASIK Surgery uses a laser to change the curvature of the cornea (outer window of the eye). LASIK (laser in-situ keratomileusis) has become the procedure of choice for most patients due to speedy recovery and fewer side effects. Most LASIK patients notice a significant improvement in their vision soon after surgery. LASIK removes tissue within the cornea to treat low to high levels of near-sightedness, far-sightedness and astigmatism.
Treatment of Near-sightedness
The steep cornea is made flatter by removing tissue from the center of the cornea. This moves the point of focus from in front of the retina to directly on the retina.
Treatment of Far-sightedness
The flat cornea is made steeper by removing tissue outside of the central optical zone of the cornea. This moves the point of focus from behind the retina to directly on the retina.
Treatment of Astigmatism
The cornea is made more spherical like a soccer ball instead of a rugby ball. This eliminates multiple focusing points within the eye and creates one point of focus on the retina. Astigmatism can be treated at the same time as near-sightedness and far-sightedness.
LASIK is for those who:
- want to reduce or eliminate their dependence on glasses or contact lenses
- are at least 18 years of age
- have had a stable eye prescription for at least one year
- have no health issues affecting their eyes
- have no signs of glaucoma or significant cataracts
What to expect
After arriving at the Lasersight clinic in Umhlanga Eye and Laser clinic you will be examined a final time to ensure your eyes are not infected. After admission, you will then be prepared for surgery. The area around your eye will be cleaned and you will be draped in a sterile gown, and taken to the Laser theater. Eye drops will be used to numb your eye. When your eye is completely numb, an eyelid holder will be placed between your eyelids to keep you from blinking during the procedure. The doctor will create a hinged flap of thin corneal tissue with the aid of a microkeratome, and will gently fold the flap out of the way. During this process, you may feel a little pressure, but no pain. You will be asked to look directly at a target light while the laser reshapes your cornea. The Excimer laser will be programmed with the information gathered in your pre-operative examination. The laser treatment will be completed in less than two minutes, depending on the amount of correction needed. Finally the protective layer will be folded back into place, where it will heal without the need for stitches. After your procedure, your eye(s) will be examined with a slit lamp microscope attached to the surgical unit. You will also be given additional eye drops, and your eyes will be shielded for protection. Your vision will be a little blurry at first, so someone will need to drive you home. Approximately 4 to 8 hours of discomfort are to be expected. You may take an analgesic if indicated. You must sleep with the covers over your eyes, and refrain from rubbing the eyes. Dr Wassermann will instruct you on how to use the drops after the surgery and will need to examine your eye(s) the following day. Most patients are able to resume their normal activities the next day.
Is LASIK the same everywhere?
Like every procedure, refractive surgery changes all the time. At Umhlanga Eye and Laser we have upgraded our equipment at regular intervals, and now have the first 500Hz Wavelight laser in Africa. The Occulizer 2 and Topolizer Vario complements this state-of-the-art Excimer laser to ensure a perfect outcome. We have regularly updated our keratomes, and currently use the Moria SBK and M2 systems Older lasers created irregular corneal surfaces and was the cause of night vision problems and halos
Dr Wassermann has presented a number of papers on the management of irregular astigmatism and corneal scarring. With the aid of the state-of-the-art equipment, he was able to improve the profile of irregular corneal surfaces and astigmatism caused by previous surgery, injuries or corneal ulcers. Although it may not always be possible to correct all the optical irregularities, a complete examination will reveal all the options.