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Guide To Laser Eye Surgery
Laser Surgery Options For Vision Correction
For all patients, not just Brisbane eye patients, it’s always imperative to be well informed regarding all relevant medical information. This article explores the ins and outs of different types of vision correction procedure, and hopefully, you can be more confident that you have all the information you need to help you make more a informed decision.
A change in the shape of the cornea is the primary cause of farsightedness, nearsightedness and astigmatism. These can be effectively treated with modern eye laser surgery. There are countless eye specialists globally that are skilled in laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK), Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) and Phototherapeutic Keratectomy (PTK) vision correction surgery
Vision Correction Quick Links
What Is Eye Laser Surgery?
Simply put, in case your cornea has the wrong shape, then you are likely to have blurry vision. Essentially, laser vision corrective surgery changes the shape of the cornea, thus enabling light entering the eye to be correctly focused.
None of the laser eye surgery treatments is universally suitable, and they don’t provide a remedy for every eye problem. In this regards, it’s essential to consult with a surgeon or ophthalmologists regarding the ideal option for you.
Eye surgeons are highly trained and skilled to reshape the cornea with a special surgical laser. Consequently, the images received by the eye are focused on the retina with maximum clarity. Based on research; the results of LASIK are permanent. However, you have to consider that our eyes do change once we reach a certain age. As a result, further surgery might be necessary later in life.
About Lasik Eye Surgery
The primary goal of refractive surgery is to change the shape of the cornea of the human eye in order to bend light properly and focus the light on the retina accurately.
For many years, LASIK has been globally adopted to provide treatment for a number of eye refractive errors including
- Myopia, nearsightedness, or short-sightedness
- Hyperopia, long-sightedness, or farsightedness
Am I A Good Candidate For Lasik Eye Surgery?
If you are in good health, then chances are that LASIK is a viable option for you. Many eye specialists prefer that your eye prescription is stable for the last couple of months. It’s worth noting that LASIK surgery is not a remedy for long-sightedness due to ageing or ‘presbyopia’. This LASIK surgery checklist will help you determine if you are a good candidate.
- Medical conditions
- Career impact
- Eye conditions
- Stable refraction
- Refractive error
- Tear production
- Corneal thickness
- Pupil size
For example, do you have a chronic illness that might affect healing?
Does your job prohibit refractive surgery?
One of the fundamental factors to consider is whether or not you can afford the procedure.
Have you had any severe eye problems in the past?
Do you take drugs that might affect healing, e.g. steroids?
How constant is your eye prescription?
Do your eyes have a low or high refractive error? How strong is your prescription? Is it within the normal range? Do you use glasses and contacts simultaneously? A suitable candidate for LASIK must have a refractive error that has been stable for at least 12 months.
Do you have dry eyes?
Do you have thin corneas?
How large are your pupils, especially in dim light? The pupil size is a fundamental consideration when determining eligibility for LASIK laser surgery.
What Are The Steps Of The LASIK Process?
The LASIK procedure takes minimal time (can be completed within an hour). The laser surgery can be done on an outpatient basis, from your choice of Brisbane locations. The eye patient is usually awake during the procedure. However, the vision is blurred. A local anaesthetic is applied to minimise any discomfort and numb the pain. Below are the steps you should expect after visiting the eye clinic for the LASIK procedure:
- The eye surgeon will ask you to sit down on the reclining chair
- Anaesthetic drops applied on the eyes (for numbness and to minimise discomfort)
- Eyes thoroughly cleaned with an antibacterial wash
- The eyelids are held in place using a special medical instrument (your eyes have to remain open during the surgery)
- A suction ring will be placed on the eye
- The eye doctor asks you to focus on a coloured light
- A flap will be cut on the cornea surface using a microkeratome and subsequently folded back. As a result, the doctor can reach the tissue underneath it.
- The exposed tissue will be dried
- The laser will be put into position and subsequently used to extract the corneal tissue
- A computer will be used to guide the laser in reshaping the cornea
- After removing the appropriate amount of tissue, the eye doctor repositions the flap back into place.
When the laser is reshaping the cornea, you may notice a burning hair like smell.
The procedure requires zero stitches.
We highly recommend taking care of yourself after the procedure per specific instructions, and you should have someone to drive you home.
What to Avoid Immediately After LASIK?
Not sure what to avoid and when it would be best to return to your regular routines and activities? You should consult your doctor to avoid disrupting the healing phase, but common things to avoid include:-
Makeup – It’s profoundly important to avoid using makeup before the eyes have healed. Also, you want to prevent any foreign objects from getting into your eyes.
Contact sports – Doctors recommend not playing any contact sports to protect the eyes from trauma. During the weeks after LASIK procedure, your eyes tend to be more vulnerable to trauma and infection than they usually are.
Water-related activities – One of the profound perks of LASIK is that you can now see clearly underwater, and no longer feel half-blind whenever you are swimming. That being said, you must take a break from all water-related activities after the procedure.
These include swimming, surfing and even sauna. After laser eye surgery procedure, it won’t be too long until you return to your favourite water activity. Most patients can go back to swimming within a week or two (with goggles of course).
What Should You Expect After The LASIK Surgery?
After the procedure is done, you can expect your eyes to feel somehow itchy, water and blurry. The eye doctor generally prescribes some eyed drops or medications to deal with any discomfort. You may be required to wear eye patches while you sleep, which is essential to fast-track the healing phase.
The patient is typically able to see right after the procedure, albeit not very clear at first. So, how long does it take after LASIK the eye to completely heal? The recovery period generally varies from one individual to the next. However, it typically takes a few months for your vision to stabilize completely.
The probability of having crystal clear vision after LASIK surgery primarily depends on the clarity of your vision before the surgery. Your doctor may recommend subsequent visits after a day or two to ensure your eyes are healing properly. The healing process must be closely monitored, such that any complications are identified early on.
Benefits Of LASIK Surgery
LASIK is the most prevalent form of vision correction and entails two forms: blade and ‘bladeless’. LASIK using ‘blade’ version involves using a microkeratome to cut a small flap on the outer surface of the cornea. This flap is lifted on one side while the laser is then used to reshape the cornea and consequently correct the vision. One of the profound benefits of LASIK is that there is minimal or no pain/discomfort.
No need for eyeglasses or contact lenses
More often than not, an individual who undergoes LASIK laser eye surgery does not need to wear eyeglasses or contact lenses anymore. Through the procedure, millions of people from different careers and background have been able to enjoy new independence and a lifestyle free of glasses and contacts. For example, LASIK has been widely adopted by athletes looking to enjoy the sports they love without being limited by prescription glasses and contacts.
LASIK procedure provides relatively faster recover time, given that the flap is not removed. The eye patient essentially uses their tissue as a natural bandage over the area of operation. It’s worth noting that the majority of patients have busy lives hence want to get back to daily routines and duties much sooner. Consequently, LASIK tends to be a more popular procedure than PRK.
When it comes to PRK procedure, the outer layer of the cornea is removed before the laser is subsequently used to reshape the cornea. In this regards, the eye patient will undergo a more extended recovery period after the PRK procedure.
How Much Does LASIK Laser Eye Surgery Cost?
The bladeless procedure generally cost me than the blade version, especially because newer and more advanced bladeless technology is used. Ultimately, the prices for LASIK surgery varies based on whether you would prefer the blade or bladeless version.
Cost for LASIK may vary depending on the clinic you visit. When it comes to bladeless procedure, the eye surgeon utilizes high energy lasers; ‘excimer’ and ‘femtosecond’. Are you considering LASIK surgery? Consult your doctor for a detailed cost of treatment. The LASIK clinic may offer some customized payment plans.
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What Are The Risks Associated With LASIK Surgery?
LASIK is a tried and tested surgery with thousands of success stories globally. That being said, nothing in life is 100% risk-free, and LASIK surgery is not an exception. The procedure is safe, but complications can occur, albeit in a negligible minority of cases. It’s profoundly important to consult your eye specialist before deciding to have the LASIK surgery.
Your doctor should take you step by step through the benefits and risks associated with the procedure. In this regards, we recommend disclosing all relevant details to your doctor. Subsequently, the doctor and patient can both decide on the suitability for the LASIK procedure or not. Let’s explore some of the risks associated with LASIK surgery.
Under correction after LASIK surgery occurs when not enough tissues is extracted from the eye. Consequently, the clarity of vision will not be as desired. The complication is especially prone to nearsighted eye patients. In case of under correction, the patient may require another refractive surgery within a year
In some cases, excess tissues are removed from the eye, thus causing the vision to be over corrected. It’s worth noting that over correction is much harder to rectify than an under correction.
More often than not, the patient is likely to experience dry eyes for the first few months after LASIK. Your eye doctor may prescribe some eye drops to help with the problem. However, there is almost no probability for severe dry eyes. Have you recently undergone dry eyes after Laser surgery? It’s imperative to consult a doctor, however mild it is.
In case uneven tissue was extracted from your eye during LASIK, the patient may develop astigmatism. The complication may occur due to too much eye movement during surgery. Further eye surgery is an effective solution for the condition.
Glares, double vision, night blindness and halos
You may see halos, glaring, and double vision after LASIK surgery. Also, some people may experience difficulty seeing at night. Your eye specialist may provide a remedy through eye drops. Also, subsequent eye surgery may be an appropriate solution.
Pre-Operative, Operative, And Post-Operative Expectations For LASIK
You should not wear contact lenses before LASIK evaluation and surgery. In this regards, you want to consider how long you can go without wearing contact lenses. By not wearing contacts in the days leading up to the eye examination, the eye specialist can reliably get the most accurate measurements before the LASIK procedure.
Comprehensive eye exam
Once the eye specialist has determined that you’re a suitable candidate for LASIK, then you can expect a thorough a pre-operative LASIK eye examination. It primarily entails measuring your refractive error and subsequently determining an ideal LASIK treatment. Additionally, the surgeon will discuss any lifestyle changes that you need to make during the recovery phase after the procedure.
Signing the informed consent form
Make sure you understand all the ins and outs before signing the document. At this point,your eye specialist should answer any questions that you might have.
No makeup before surgery
You have to go as much as 24-36 hours without makeup before the laser surgery.
Arrange for transportation
During laser eye surgery, the eye patient is given sedatives to ensure comfort during surgery. The medication may take some time to wear off, thus making it unsafe to drive yourself after the procedure. Also, some blurriness is common for several hours. We highly recommended that you arrange for a close friend or relative to drive you home after surgery. Also, the surgeon will recommend that you wear sunglasses on the way home.
How soon after the LASIK surgery can I drive? It’s worth noting that each patient’s recovery is unique. In this regards, the actual length of time before you feel safe and comfortable to resume driving may vary. We recommend seeking approval from your doctor before you are behind the wheel again. It’s always prudent to wait for the post-operative exam.
You should have adequate rest after the LASIK procedure. Ideally, this should take several days or a week if necessary. You can expect blurred vision for a few days. A huge proportion of LASIK patients report not seeing clearly for a few days after the procedure. However, the vision improves with time.
After the LASIK surgery, you should be willing to take prescribed drops and/or medications depending on specific doctor instructions.
Know when to seek help
You can expect some pain or discomfort in the eyes after laser surgery. That being said, eye patients should understand possible problems arising after LASIK surgery, and when to seek medical intervention.
We recommend consulting your doctor regarding vision expectations after surgery. Eye patients should be aware that the final results could take several months. It’s critical that your refraction is stable before any further surgery. You should not have any enhancement until the prescription becomes constant.
Is PRK Procedure Ideal For Me?
Both LASIK and PRK procedures provide excellent vision correction and freedom from glasses for nearly 100% of patients. Also, both procedures are comparably safe, effective and give highly predictable results. Today, eye surgeons across the world routinely perform both LASIK and PRK procedures with excellent results. A lot of eye patients are keen to know which method best suits their needs.
The PRK procedure is primarily ideal for eye patients who do not fit the profile for LASIK. For example, it is highly recommended to remedy refractive errors for patients with a very thin cornea. As much as LASIK is one of the most common, quickest and successful laser surgery to correct refractive errors, PRK is another excellent option available not just in Australia but across the world.
Over the years, newer and more advanced technology in laser surgery has helped achieve highly effective and predictable visual outcomes with PRK procedure. Also, eye patients have to deal with fewer haze reactions. Ultimately, this has significantly expanded the range of quality photorefractive keratectomy (PRK).
When it comes to the PRK procedure, the surgeon extracts the outer layer the cornea cells, as opposed to the creation of a flap. The extraction is done through the application of an alcohol-based solution, before the use of an eye surgical laser. The surface cells typically grow back within a few days.
Following PRK procedure, the eye is covered with a tiny contact-like bandage. Patients may experience some minimal irritation and light sensitivity for a couple of days until the tissues fully heal. It’s worth noting that the recovery period for PRK is relatively longer than for LASIK.
Given that no flap is created with PRK, there is minimal risk of post-procedure complications as a result of flap incision.
Highly ideal for contact sports
With PRK surgery, there is minimal chance for future flap dislocation.
In this regards, PRK has been widely adopted by patients who regularly engage in contact sports and other vigorous physical activities. For example, PRK is recommended for wrestlers and MMA fighters who have a high risk of direct eye trauma that comes with the profession.
PRK might be an ideal choice for you in case you have a very thin cornea or previous eye surgeries. More often than not, thin corneas can trigger complications after LASIK. In this regards, eye surgeons will recommend alternative vision correction methods such as PRK for patients with a thin cornea.
Have you had cataract removal in the past? It’s highly likely that you are a suitable candidate for PRK and not LASIK surgery.
Recovery after PRK
It may take several weeks for your eyes to completely heal after PRK. Patients typically experience a higher level of discomfort during the first few days after the procedure. Also, you can expect temporary haziness of vision, glare or light sensitivity. There is minimal to zero pain after LASIK procedure. It’s advisable to have some ample rest after the procedure.
You can expect your vision to settle down within a week. After getting home, you may experience some discomfort such as ‘itching’ once the anaesthetic has worn off. This is quite normal. As much as you may feel some ‘itchiness,’ Doctors highly warn against rubbing your eyes, especially before within the first few days.
As much as it’s possible to go back to regular work routine the next day, surgeons strongly advise against this. You should take a few days off and avoid any strenuous activities or sports during this period.
LASIK vs PRK vs PTK
How does LASIK differ from PRK and PTK? The primary difference is the use of a special medical blade (microkeratome) to extract a small outer layer from the cornea. LASIK surgery can effectively correct majority of refractive error, ranging from mild through to severe levels. However, the procedure may not be ideal for extremely high-level refractive errors, thus the need for other laser vision correction methods.
LASIK, PRK and PTK procedure have all been widely adopted across the world. However, PRK has been around for a longer period.
How do the procedures work?
All the three procedures are similar in that they involve reshaping the cornea tissue using either lasers or tiny blades. However, there are some critical differences between the three. When it comes to PRK, only the outer layer of the cornea tissue is extracted.
The removal process takes roughly 30 seconds. A special surgical tool (excimer laser) is then used to rectify any irregularities in the deeper tissue layers of the cornea. Finally, a special bandage is placed on top of the cornea for the deeper tissues to heal effectively.
During vision correction laser surgery, the surgeon has to access the cornea and subsequently reshape it using an excimer laser. The process involves either removing the cornea or temporarily moving it out of the way before the laser’s energy is applied to the cornea. Simply put-PRK involves extracting the first tissue in the first step, while LASIK is characterized by temporarily moving the skin tissue out of the way to direct laser’s energy to the cornea.
Phototherapeutic Keratectomy (PTK) is a minor surgical treatment that involves using an excimer laser to provide a remedy for several diseases affecting the surface of the corneal or corneal injury. However, it does NOT eliminate the need to wear contacts or glasses. PTK has been widely used to treat scars on the cornea. During the procedure, the surgeon extracts a tiny outer layer of tissue from the cornea.
PTK typically takes a few minutes, with the eye surgeon using the laser for only a matter of seconds. The doctor will prescribe eye drops to prevent possible scarring an infection after the surgery. The results for PTK procedure may vary between different eye patients. However, the chance of this procedure, further damaging the condition or vision is minimal.
The therapeutic treatment has been widely adopted to manage various corneal diseases, especially where traditional treatments have failed. PTK is proven and tested to treat various cornea dystrophies, including:
- Scars on the cornea
- Granular dystrophy
- Recurrent epithelial erosion syndrome (REES)
Is Phototherapeutic Keratectomy (PTK) The Same As LASIK Surgery?
As much as the preparation, procedure and post-operative care are similar for the two types of surgery, PTK is merely used to treat cornea diseases affecting the surface level. In this regards, PTK does not include vision correction reshaping, thus not used to correct vision.
PTK laser surgery is minimally invasive, thus hardly any risk. It offers long-term results. However, some patients may need more than one PTK treatment. In LASIK, a flap enables an opening to the tissues below the cornea. Subsequently, the flap is closed again once the LASIK surgery is completed. There are infrequent complications as a result of the LASIK flap. Through the use of modern, highly innovative bladeless technology, eye specialists utilize utmost precision in laser surgery.
Finding the Right Brisbane Eye Specialist
How many procedures has the doctor performed? What is the reputation of the eye clinic or surgeon? The importance of working with an experienced doctor cannot be overstated.
You want to make sure the eye surgeon uses approved equipment, especially laser.
Ideally, the eye surgeon should be willing to spend the time to answer any questions or provide clarifications for any issues that you may have.
Majority of patients prefer eye surgeons that encourage follow-up, even after a successful procedure. We recommend choosing a specialist that provides the right pre-op and post-op care.
The surgeon and patient must be comfortable with an equal exchange of information. The patient should feel free to reveal any worries that he/she might have. On the other hand, the doctor should be completely honest with the patient and provide valuable feedback. As a patient, it’s imperative that you have an idea regarding sights, smells, sounds of surgery.
Before the procedure, the surgeon should make you feel more comfortable by explaining the actual steps of the surgery. Is the surgeon too ‘pushy’ or trying too hard to ‘sell’ the procedure? Then it’s probably wise to go somewhere else.
Quality Guarantee on Laser Eye Surgery
Today, eye patients have a wide range of vision correction options available, not just in Australia but around the world. As an eye patient, you want to consult a qualified and reputable specialist that can recommend the optimum procedure that is ideal for your eyes and your lifestyle.
Before deciding to undergo laser eye surgery, the surgeon or ophthalmologist sure you are a suitable candidate (one in five patients won’t be). Upon carrying out a comprehensive eye examination, your eye specialist can reliably determine which, if any, treatment is right for you. Incase laser surgery is not for you, the specialist should offer informed advise on best alternative options.
As an eye patient, you want to be in the hands of highly trained experienced eye specialists with many procedures under their belt. Also, the eye clinic must utilize the latest equipment and techniques, besides supportive and convenient aftercare.
Overwhelmingly, even serious post-procedure complications can be treated through medications such as eye drops, long-term care or further surgery. Ultimately, your visual sharpness can be effectively restored, especially if you consult the right eye surgeon with high ratings, advanced training, and high-quality and latest equipment.
If you have vision corrected with laser, whether it is LASIK or PRK, the majority of eyes surgeons are so confident in their ability to get you to 20/20 vision that they will stand behind your results. That being said, each situation requires a well-balanced, decision-making approach to recommend both or either of the procedures. Whether an eye patient is best suited for PRK and/or LASIK deserves careful consideration by a qualified ophthalmologist or surgeon.
Book Appointment with Us Today
When it comes to laser eye surgery, there are many considerations and suitable treatment options that better suit your vision correction needs. Before undergoing any procedure, the eye surgeon or ophthalmologist will schedule a meeting to explain the treatment, outline the results you can expect, discuss alternative treatment methods where appropriate, and answer any questions you have.
So, now, with this overview of LASIK, PTK and PRK fresh in your mind, contact our surgeon today for valuable advice on the best option for you.