The human eye can be a truly amazing thing, but as well all know, it is very rarely perfect. In fact, the majority of people have small imperfections in the shape of their eyes that result in refractive vision errors, the distortions and blurriness that are commonly known as nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. According to the National Eye Institute (a division of the National Institutes of Health) approximately 75% of Americans use some type of corrective lenses (in the form of eyeglasses or contact lenses) to address these common refractive vision errors. However, even though eyeglasses and contact lenses continue to improve every year, advanced technology can also provide another option in the form of LASIK vision correction surgery. More than 700,000 LASIK procedures are performed every year in the United States alone, but many patients still do not fully understand all of the benefits and risks of this potentially life-changing procedure.
The Potential Benefits of LASIK
A LASIK ( or laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis) procedure works by using a cool (non-thermal) laser to gently shape the tissue of the cornea, smoothing out irregularities so that light passing through the lens at the front of the eye focuses clearly on the photosensitive cells at the back of the eye. LASIK vision correction surgery usually takes less than fifteen minutes per eye to perform, and both eyes can be treated during a single visit. The procedure itself is painless and in most cases no bandages or stitches are required; patients can resume their normal schedule within 24 hours. While it may take a few weeks for your vision to fully adjust, and eye prescriptions can always continue to change over time, the results of LASIK surgery are immediate and long-lasting. An estimated 95% of patients who undergo LASIK improve their vision to 20/40 or better, while 85% return to 20/20 vision. Many patients discover that they no longer need eyeglasses that they have worn for years.
The Potential Risks of LASIK
Although LASIK vision correction is extremely safe and boasts a patient satisfaction rate far higher than virtually any other form of elective surgery, it is important to remember that it is a serious medical procedure requiring significant skill and experience, and it is possible that complications may occur. Most commonly, patients may experience a temporary “sandy or gritty” feeling which can be treated with artificial tears and typically subsides on its own after three to six months. In rare cases, this dry eye may become chronic and must be treated with punctual tear plugs that prevent excess tears from draining and keep the eyes better lubricated. An extremely small percentage of patients have also reported seeing glare or halos around light sources, or found that their vision has been either over or under-corrected. These issues can usually be addressed with a follow-up LASIK revision procedure. Multiple long-term follow-up studies have found that more than 95% of LASIK patients are satisfied with their results and would recommend the procedure to other patients and Dr. William has more than a decade of experience performing LASIK vision correction procedures.
Not every patient is a suitable candidate for LASIK surgery, but during a diagnostic eye examination for LASIK surgery, Dr. Segal or Dr. Lay can fully examine your eyes and determine the best options for you. If you would like to learn more about your LASIK options, or about any of the vision services we offer, please contact Georgia Eye Physicians and Surgeons today. Don’t forget to follow us on social media for more information about how to keep your vision healthy and sharp.