LASIK (laser assisted in-situ keratomileusis) is the most popular form of laser eye surgery, and can be used to treat all the common refractive errors including myopia (short sight), hyperopia (long sight) and astigmatism
What is LASIK?
LASIK is the most common form of elective vision correction surgery in the world and can be used to treat myopia (short-sight), hyperopia (long-sight) and astigmatism.
The principle of LASIK involves using a special type of laser to precisely change the shape of your cornea — the dome-shaped transparent tissue at the front of your eye — to improve vision.
Normally, images are clearly focused on the retina in the back of your eye because the light rays are bent properly to contact the retinal surface. With short-sightedness (myopia), long-sightedness (hyperopia) or astigmatism, the light is bent incorrectly and it ends up being focused elsewhere, resulting in blurred vision. Traditionally, the blurred vision is corrected by bending (refracting) light rays with glasses or contact lenses. But reshaping the cornea itself also will provide the necessary refraction.
What are the benefits of LASIK?
- Quick, painless procedure, lasting less than 10 minutes per eye.
- Rapid results, with patients often seeing well the next day.
- Clinically proven treatment – Research indicates that 92-98% of patients achieve their desired vision after LASIK treatment and complete satisfaction.
- End-to-end laser technology.
- Bladeless surgery.
- No stitches required.
- Further adjustments can be made in the future to correct vision should the need arise.
How is it performed?
- Local anaesthetic eye drops are applied to both eyes.
- The femtosecond laser is used to create a thin flap on the surface of the cornea.
- The flap is gently lifted.
- The excimer laser is then used to reshape the cornea. An average 3 diopter treatment needs less than 6 seconds of laser application.
- The flap is gently replaced and aligned back into its original position.
- The flap will heal naturally and no stitches are required.
What are the alternatives to LASIK?
- Refractive Lens Exchange
- Implantable Contact Lens
- Excimer laser was first invented in the 1970’s.
- Columbia University researcher Stephen Trowel first explored the idea of using it for vision correction.
- The laser used to reshape the cornea uses Ultra-Violet light.
- The first laser eye surgery was performed in 1987 with a technique called PRK.
- In 1990, two European eye doctors enhanced PRK by developing what would become LASIK. Greek eye doctor Ioannis Pillakaris and Italian eye doctor Lucio Burrato developed two types of what was then loosely known as “flap and zap”.This procedure, now known as LASIK, was approved in the United States in 1999.
- One excimer laser pulse removes a quarter of a hundredth of a width of a human hair.
- It is estimated that over 32 million procedures have been performed worldwide.
- It is one of the safest procedures performed today.
- Laser eye surgery involves surgery on the cornea and all our surgeons are dual trained in cornea and refractive surgery.
More Information about LASIK
For more information regarding this treatment as well as any frequently asked questions, please see below.
The AMO IntraLASE™ IFS150 is the longest established femtosecond laser platform present today. It is estimated that over 16 million eyes have been successfully treated with the IntraLASE flap creation and the technology remains a gold standard technology in the current climate.
The Ziemer Z8 femtosecond laser is one of the latest and most advanced femtosecond laser technologies available today with an ability to create 3 dimensional flaps which are more stable and secure. The low energy, high repetition rate laser can create super-smooth flaps results in extremely rapid recovery of vision.
The femtosecond laser uses tiny, rapid pulses of laser to create the corneal flap — instead of using a metal blade — during the first step of LASIK. Each pulse of light passes through the top layers of the cornea and forms a microscopic bubble at a specific depth and position within the eye that is determined by the surgeon. The laser moves back and forth across the eye, creating a uniform layer of bubbles just beneath the corneal surface. Unlike mechanical instruments, femtosecond laser technology is uniquely able to program the dimensions of the flap based on what is best for the eye.
Our focus is to achieve complete satisfaction. All our patients are treated until discharge as part of the inclusive care plan. This includes 2 years of follow up and retreatments after your initial treatment. Although you may be discharged, all our patients remain under our care and positively encourage patients to get in touch should problems arise.
Our success has been dependent on personalised patient care and we believe this is paramount. All patients will see their surgeon at each visit as they are personally responsible for your care so you are safe in the knowledge that you are receiving the best possible standard of care.
Long-term results from laser eye surgery tend to be best in people who are carefully evaluated before surgery to ensure that they are good candidates for the procedure. During your consultation, the team led by your surgeon will ask about your medical and surgical history and undertake a comprehensive eye examination.
In the eye examination, your surgeon will evaluate your vision and look for signs of eye infections, inflammation, dry eyes, large eye pupils, high eye pressure and other eye-health conditions. They will also measure your cornea, noting the shape, contour, thickness and any irregularities. This helps them to assess whether you can undergo the procedure safely and evaluate which areas of your cornea need reshaping. They will calculate and determine the precise amount of tissue to remove from your cornea.
If you wear contact lenses, which can change the shape of your cornea, you’ll need to completely stop wearing them and wear only your glasses for at least one week before your evaluation and surgery. The team will provide specific guidelines depending on your situation and how long you’ve been a contact lens wearer.
Before surgery, your doctor will discuss the risks and benefits of the procedure, discuss any alternative treatment options, what to expect before and after surgery, and answer any questions you may have.
LASIK surgery is usually completed in 20 minutes or less. During the procedure, you lie on your back in a reclining chair. You may be given medicine to help you relax. After numbing drops are placed in your eye, an instrument is gently positioned to hold your eyelids open.
A ring placed on your eye just before cutting the corneal flap may cause a feeling of pressure, and your vision may dim a little. The femtosecond laser creates a small hinged flap which is then gently lifted to allow for the structure of the cornea to be reshaped with the excimer laser. With each pulse of the excimer laser beam, a tiny amount of corneal tissue is removed. After reshaping the cornea, the flap is gently positioned back into place. The flap usually heals without stitches.
The vast majority of patients who need LASIK surgery in both eyes will have both eyes treated on the same day.
You may feel a gentle pressure during the flap creation process which usually lasts about 30 seconds.
The vast majority of patients have no pain but some may feel a little grittiness in the eyes for a couple of days.
All patients will be given a set of eye drops that help vastly reduce the risk of infection and inflammation. These generally last for the first 4 weeks but some patients may require lubrication drops for the first few months.
Although you will be able to see immediately after surgery, your vision will improve over time. Whilst you should be legal to drive the next day, it may take between 4 and 12 weeks after your surgery before your eye heals and your vision stabilizes.
You’ll have a follow-up appointment with the team one to two days after surgery. They will check the flap in detail and look for any complications. Plan for other follow-up appointments during the first six months after surgery as your doctor recommends.
It might be a few weeks before you can start to use cosmetics around your eyes again. You might also have to wait several weeks before resuming strenuous contact sports or swimming.
Although complications are rare, it should not be forgotten that laser eye surgery is a surgical procedure. No procedure is risk-free but steps are taken throughout the process to reduce these risks to a minimum. Listed below are some of the risks with LASIK surgery,
- Dry eyes – It is estimated that over 90% of patients will experience dry eyes after LASIK surgery, mainly during the day. In the vast majority of cases, these symptoms settle in the first few months but a very small proportion of patients may experience long-term issues with dry eye. Dry eyes can reduce the quality of your vision
- Halos, glare and double vision – After surgery you may have visual symptoms at night. You might notice glare, halos around bright lights or double vision. This generally lasts a few days to a few weeks. Even when a good visual result is measured under standard testing conditions, your vision in dim light (such as at dusk or in fog) may be reduced to a greater degree after the surgery than before the surgery.
- Floaters – Some very short sighted patients may notice floaters in their vision after surgery.
- Flap problems – Folding back or removing the flap from the front of your eye during surgery can cause complications, including infection, inflammation and excess tears. The outermost corneal tissue layer (epithelium) may grow abnormally underneath the flap during the healing process.
- Reduction of best potential vision – Some patients lose lines of vision on the vision chart that cannot be corrected with glasses, contact lenses, or surgery as a result of treatment.
- You may be under treated or over treated – Although a very high proportion of patients achieve 20/20 vision without glasses or contacts, approximately 3-5% of patients may require additional treatment once the vision has stabilised. A very small proportion of patients may still need glasses or contact lenses after surgery. This may be true even if you only required a very weak prescription before surgery. If you used reading glasses before surgery, you may still need reading glasses after surgery.
- For some long-sighted patients, results may diminish with age – If you are long-sighted, the level of improved vision you experience after surgery may decrease with age. This can occur if your manifest refraction (a vision exam with lenses before dilating drops) is very different from your cycloplegic refraction (a vision exam with lenses after dilating drops).
Certain health conditions can increase the risks associated with LASIK surgery or make the outcome less predictable. Your surgeon may not recommend laser refractive surgery for you if you have certain conditions, including:
- Autoimmune disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis
- A weakened immune system caused by immunosuppressive medications or HIV
- Persistent dry eyes
- Unstable vision due to medications, hormonal changes, pregnancy, breast-feeding or age
- Keratitis, uveitis, herpes simplex affecting the eye area, glaucoma, cataracts, eye injuries or lid disorders
LASIK is usually not advisable if you:
- Have an eye disease called keratoconus, or if you have a family history of it
- Have fairly good overall vision
- Have severe myopia
- Have very large pupils or thin corneas
- Have the onset of cataract
- Participate in contact sports that may be associated with blows to the face
LaserVision was initially founded in Guildford, Surrey. Now with clinics in over 6 locations, we are able to treat the eye conditions of patients nationwide. This treatment is available at: