LASIK is the breakthrough procedure that has helped countless patients achieve clearer, improved vision. At our practice in New York, NY, Dr. Laurence T.D. Sperber, MD PC, can help you achieve that goal. LASIK (Laser In Situ Keratomileusis) is one of the latest developments in laser vision correction. During LASIK surgery, an instrument called a microkeratome is used to create a thin flap in the cornea (much like a carpenter's plane works). The excimer laser then gently reshapes the cornea beneath the flap and the flap is then put back in place. By reshaping the cornea, LASIK can correct nearsightedness, astigmatism, and farsightedness.
How the Excimer Laser Delivers Ultimate Accuracy
LASIK stands for Laser In Situ Keratomileusis. Keratomileusis, which means to change the shape of the cornea, is a form of vision correction that has been performed for over 30 years. Earlier forms of this procedure used only the microkeratome to reshape the cornea. The development and subsequent FDA approval of the excimer laser with its submicron accuracy, combined with improvements in microkeratome technology allows us to perform the precise, accurate procedure of LASIK we use today.
The microkeratome passes over the surface of the cornea creating a flap in the anterior portion. The flap is then moved, and gently held, to one side. The laser is then centered over the pupil and gently reshapes the cornea by removing a minute amount of corneal tissue in a precise, computer-guided pattern, sculpting it into a new shape. Only a microscopic amount of corneal tissue is removed. This part of the procedure usually takes less than a minute. The corneal flap is then repositioned and fluid is used to irrigate beneath it to remove debris. After a few moments, the corneal flap securely adheres back into its original position, completing the entire procedure in about 10-15 minutes.
Typically, if you are over the age of 18, with stable vision—meaning no change in your prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses for about 12 months—and free from ocular disease, then you may be a candidate for the correction of nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.
Before having Laser Vision Correction, you will have a complete pre-operative examination performed by Dr. Sperber or Dr. Sherman. It is important that you remove your soft contact lenses at least one week prior to this examination. Hard or Rigid Gas Permeable contact lenses must be removed at least four to six weeks prior to the pre-op exam. Once a doctor has determined that you are a candidate for Laser Vision Correction, you can be scheduled for your laser procedure.
Prior to Surgery
Before the actual surgery, it is also necessary to be without contact lenses: one week for soft contact lenses; and four to six weeks for hard or rigid gas permeable contact lenses. You can eat and drink normally prior to your procedure.
Upon arrival in the laser suite, anesthetic eye drops will be placed in your eyes. You will then sit down on the laser chair and it will recline until you are lying flat. Once in the laser chair, you will look up at a red light, which you will see in front of you. The doctor will put some anesthetic drops in your eye and then a lid speculum, an instrument that will prevent you from blinking, will be placed in your eye. The doctor will then prepare you for the procedure by telling you exactly what will happen during the procedure. You will be instructed when it is most important to look at the light. The procedure itself will take only a few minutes.
Immediately Following the Procedure
At the end of the procedure, a plastic eye shield will be taped over your eyes. You will then sit up and the doctor will check your eyes. After you leave the laser suite, you will be given your post-operative instructions regarding the drops you will take and then you will be ready to go home.
LASIK Post-Operative Care
After LASIK, the visual recovery is very rapid. On the day of your procedure, your vision will be somewhat foggy or smoky. By the next day, your vision will be significantly better. It is very important to avoid rubbing your eyes for the first week after LASIK, and it is crucial to take your drops as instructed by your doctor.
After LASIK, some patients experience some increased dryness in their eyes, which can lead to some visual symptoms such as halos around lights or problems with glare. These problems are usually short lived and using the prescribed drops and artificial tears should hasten their resolution.
Potential Side-Effects and Complications
LASIK has a very high degree of success. Even though the FDA approved this procedure, there may be a small percentage of patients who experience minor under-correction or over-correction, halos or glare around lights. Usually these symptoms spontaneously disappear. Enhancement procedures may be performed to correct over- or under-correction. 20/20 vision is our goal, but we cannot guarantee perfect vision. Nor can we promise that eyeglasses or contact lenses will not be needed in the future. Our goal is to reduce or eliminate your dependence upon glasses and contact lenses. Any patient at the average age of 40 may require reading glasses.
Schedule a Consultation
If you have questions about LASIK or would like to learn more about your candidacy, please call our office at (212) 753-8300 or contact our team online to schedule your consultation with Dr. Sperber. Patients can also weigh the benefits of LASIK versus photorefractive keratectomy (PRK), a similar procedure, by speaking with Dr. Sperber.