Following are the common questions about LASIK:
- What is LASIK?
- What are the different types of LASIK?
- Who is the right candidate for LASIK eye surgery?
- What happens during LASIK surgery?
- Are there any risks or complications associated with LASIK?
- Is the patient awake during LASIK surgery?
- How much does LASIK cost?
- Is LASIK eye surgery covered under insurance?
- Does LASIK hurt?
- How long will it take for the vision to stabilize after LASIK?
- Who cannot undergo LASIK?
- Does LASIK provide permanent results?
- Is it possible to perform LASIK again?
- How long does it take to recover after LASIK?
- How much time is needed off from work to undergo LASIK eye surgery?
Q. What is LASIK?
A. LASIK stands for laser in situ keratomileusis and is a minimally invasive surgical procedure performed to reshape the cornea to correct vision problems. LASIK is a suitable option to correct refractive errors, including myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. It is an elective treatment method for people who are tired of wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses.
Q. What are the different types of LASIK?
A. LASIK is primarily categorized into two types-
- Traditional LASIK or blade LASIK uses a microkeratome to cut the corneal flap.
- Bladeless LASIK uses a femtosecond laser to create the corneal flap.
Q. Who is the right candidate for LASIK eye surgery?
A. A person is considered a right candidate for LASIK eye surgery when he/she meets the following conditions-
- The patient is 18 years or older.
- His/ her vision is stable for at least a year or so.
- Corneal thickness is adequate so that the tissue can be safely removed to reshape the cornea.
- The eyes are healthy, i.e., the patient does not have any other eye condition that can affect vision.
- The patient is not pregnant or breastfeeding.
Q. What happens during LASIK surgery?
A. The LASIK surgery procedure is carried out in the following steps-
- The eye surgeon will put anesthetic eye drops in the eyes to ensure that the patient doesn’t feel any kind of pain or discomfort during the procedure.
- A lid speculum is placed to keep the eyes open and a suction ring is used to restrict the eye movements.
- Laser is used to create a small flap in the cornea and the flap is folded back.
- The laser machine is activated to remove the corneal tissues bit by bit. For myopia, the cornea is flattened, for hyperopia, the cornea is steepened, and for astigmatism, the corneal surface is smoothened.
- Once the reshaping is complete, the corneal flap is placed back and left to heal naturally without stitches.
- The same procedure is then carried out in the other eye.
Q. Are there any risks or complications associated with LASIK?
A. Similar to any other surgical procedure, LASIK surgery also has some complications-
- Infection in the eye after the surgery
- Under correction or overcorrection
- Glare, halos, dryness, hazy vision, and night vision problems for some time.
- Flap complications can arise if the flap gets dislocated or disturbed accidentally.
- Regression of vision
An eye specialist carries out the procedure carefully and makes sure there are negligible chances of these complications.
Q. Is the patient awake during LASIK surgery?
A. Yes. The patient is awake during LASIK surgery and a lid speculum is placed over the eyes to hold them open during the procedure. The doctor will ask the patient to focus on a point to reduce the movements while the corneal tissues are removed. Once the corneal flap is lifted, the vision will become blurry and the patient will hear the sound of the laser activating and deactivating. During the surgery, the patient will also be able to smell the burning corneal tissues.
Q. How much does LASIK cost?
A. In India, the cost of LASIK surgery varies from Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 1,25,000 approximately. The exact cost will vary for each patient as it depends on the below factors-
- The severity of the refractive error
- The technique used for treatment
- Choice of hospital
- Surgeon's fee
- Diagnostic tests
- Eye center admission and discharge fee
- Post-surgery support
- Follow-up consultations
All these factors will determine the final cost of treatment.
Q. Is LASIK eye surgery covered under insurance?
A. Generally, LASIK treatment is an elective procedure which is why it is not covered under insurance. However, if the patient’s eye power is higher than 7.0 Diopters, the insurance providers will cover the entire treatment expense.
Q. Does LASIK hurt?
A. No. LASIK treatment is entirely painless as the doctor gives anesthetic drops to numb the eyes. The patient won’t feel any sensation in the eyes until the anesthesia wears off. Afterward, you may feel slight pressure around the eye or feel like something is stuck inside the eye for a few hours. The doctor will prescribe some eye drops and medications so that you can rest properly. After a while, the after-effects of the procedure will go away.
Q. How long will it take for the vision to stabilize after LASIK?
A. Each eye is different. Therefore, there is no correct answer on how long your vision will take to restore completely. It can be around one day to one week.
Your vision will take around 24-48 hours to stabilize after having LASIK surgery. For most people, the vision restores very quickly whereas others have to wait for a while. As the eyes start to heal, the majority of patients realize that their vision is improving and the side effects of surgery are also disappearing gradually.
Q. Who cannot undergo LASIK?
A. A person cannot undergo LASIK if he/she is under the following conditions-
- The person has an autoimmune disease that will make it difficult for the eyes to heal after surgery.
- The patient must not have any pre-existing eye conditions, such as chronic dry eye conditions, cataracts, glaucoma, etc.
These conditions can impact the outcome of LASIK surgery and also cause serious complications. Therefore, the eye specialist evaluates the patient’s eye health thoroughly before proceeding with the treatment.
Q. Does LASIK provide permanent results?
A. Yes. During the procedure, the surgeon reshapes the cornea by removing them. Thus, the results of LASIK are permanent. Your vision will be stable for a long time and may possibly start to change due to age-related conditions, like glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration, etc.
Q. Is it possible to perform LASIK again?
A. Yes, if required, a patient can get LASIK multiple times. It often happens in case of overcorrection or under-correction. The patient can undergo LASIK surgery 3 months after the initial treatment. Only one eye is treated at a time and a difference of 4 weeks is kept between the procedure.
A retreatment is a viable option for many people who experience vision changes later in life. However, sometimes, there are better options available to correct vision problems. And the patient can opt for them too.
Q. How long does it take to recover after LASIK?
A. The overall recovery time after LASIK surgery is 3-4 weeks. Normally, the vision restores in 1-2 days and the patient is able to resume daily activities smoothly. However, the corneal flap will need some time to heal completely. Until that, you will have to take precautions and avoid activities that can harm the eyes. The flap will take around one month to heal on its own. During this period, you’ll also need to take follow-ups with the doctor to monitor your eye health.
Q. How much time is needed off from work to undergo LASIK eye surgery?
A. The amount of time you’ll need off usually depends on your occupation. If you work in a profile that involves physical work, the doctor will ask you to wait for at least 10-14 days before returning to the work. However, if you have a sitting job that requires computer work, you may be able to resume within a couple of days.