There are three primary types of refractive errors: myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism. People who suffer from myopia (nearsightedness) have more difficulty seeing distant objects as clearly as near objects. People with hyperopia (farsightedness) have more difficulty seeing near objects as clearly as distant objects. Astigmatism is a distortion of the image on the retina caused by irregularities in the cornea or lens of the eye. Combinations of myopia and astigmatism or hyperopia and astigmatism are very common.
Glasses or contact lenses are designed to balance the eye’s imperfections. Surgical procedures aimed at improving the focusing power of the eye are called refractive surgery. In laser eye surgery, precise and controlled removal of corneal tissue by a special laser reshapes the cornea changing its focusing power and correcting the refractive errors that the person suffers from.
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When deciding if you want to undertake laser eye surgery, there are many aspects that you will need to consider before making your decision. we recommend that you go over the following factors first before making your choice:
A special instrument called a lid speculum will be used to hold your eyelids open. A ring will be placed on your eye and a very high pressure will be applied to create suction to the cornea. Your vision will dim while the suction ring is on and you may feel the pressure and experience some discomfort during this part of the process. A cutting instrument, called a microkeratome, is attached to the suction ring. Your doctor will use its blade to cut a flap in your cornea.
The microkeratome and the suction ring are then removed. You will be able to see, but you will experience erratic degrees of blurred vision during the rest of the procedure. The doctor will then lift the flap and fold it back on its hinge, drying the exposed tissue.
The laser will be positioned over your eye and you will be asked to stare at a light. Keep in mind that this is not the laser used to remove tissue from the cornea. This light is to help you keep your eye fixed on one spot once the laser comes on.
When your eye is in the correct position, your doctor will start the laser. The pulse of the laser makes a ticking sound and as the laser removes corneal tissue, some people have reported a smell similar to burning hair. A computer system controls the amount of laser energy delivered to your eye. Before starting the process, your doctor will have programmed the computer to vaporize a particular amount of tissue based on the measurements taken at your initial assessment. After the pulses of laser energy vaporize the corneal tissue, the flap is put back into position.
A shield should be placed over your eye at the end of the procedure as protection, since no stitches are used to hold the flap in place. It is important for you to wear this shield to prevent you from rubbing your eye and putting pressure on your eye while you sleep; it also helps to protect your eye from accidentally being hit or poked until the flap has healed.
Just after the procedure, your eye may burn, itch or feel like there is something in it. You may experience some discomfort, or in some cases, mild pain; however, your doctor may prescribe a mild pain reliever for you to feel more comfortable. Both your eyes may tear or water.
Your vision will probably be hazy or blurry. You will instinctively want to rub your eye, but you must refrain from doing so at all costs. Rubbing your eye could dislodge the flap, requiring further treatment. Additionally, you may experience sensitivity to light, glare, see starbursts or halos around lights, or the whites of your eye may look red or bloodshot. These symptoms should improve significantly within the first few days after the procedure. You should plan on taking a few days off from work until these symptoms subside. You should contact your doctor immediately and not wait for your scheduled visit, if you experience severe pain or if your vision or other symptoms get worse instead of better.
To help prevent infection, you may need to wait for up to two weeks after surgery before using lotions, creams or make-up around the eye. Your doctor may advise you to continue scrubbing your eyelashes for a period of time after surgery. You should also avoid swimming and using hot tubs or whirlpools for 1 to 2 months.
During your recovery period, it is of utmost importance to protect your eyes from anything that might get in them and from being hit or bumped.
Before undergoing a laser eye surgery, you should carefully weigh the risks and benefits based on your own personal value system. The decision is, in fact, completely yours and you should not be swayed by your family/friends or doctor into undertaking a procedure you are not 100% sure of. Some complications that can arise with this treatment are:
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