Posted by: Focal Point Vision in Blog

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Most people have heard of LASIK and understand that it has helped millions of people experience greater visual freedom. You may even know someone who has experienced the life changing results firsthand!

But do you know how LASIK works? There is a lot of information on the web to sort through, and unfortunately, not all of it is accurate. 

Keep reading to learn more about what LASIK is, what it can do, and what you can expect if you decide to go through with it!

What is LASIK?

LASIK is the world’s leading type of refractive surgery and has been for some time. A refractive surgery corrects refractive errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. 

Typically, refractive errors are caused by the shape of an irregular cornea or an eye that is too short or too long. The cornea is the dome of tissue at the front of your eye. 

The cornea is transparent so that light can pass through it. The opening behind the cornea is the pupil. 

After the light enters the pupil, it is focused through another clear piece of tissue called the lens. The goal is for the light to perfectly focus onto the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye, known as the retina. 

However, the lens is not the only part that focuses the light. In fact, the cornea does most of the work right at the beginning. 

A normal cornea is curved just right, so the light is already about seventy percent focused by the time it reaches the lens. If the cornea does not curve correctly, though, it causes problems. 

A cornea that is too flat or too steep will cause the light to be focused in front of or behind the retina. With astigmatism, the cornea’s curvature is uneven, causing the light to be focused into multiple points. 

LASIK corrects the problem by changing the shape of your cornea so that the light can be focused correctly. The procedure is surprisingly fast and incredibly effective. 

How Does LASIK Work?

LASIK takes less time than you might think. Within about thirty minutes, a LASIK surgeon could change your life forever. 

For most people, LASIK lasts a lifetime! You may need enhancement surgeries down the line, but overall, your vision should remain improved. 

During LASIK, your LASIK surgeon uses two different lasers to subtly but significantly change the curvature of your cornea. Before the surgery begins, your eyes are numbed with anesthetic eye drops.

Once your eyes are numb, your LASIK surgeon will use a machine called a femtosecond laser to carefully create an opening in the top layer of your cornea. 

This opening is a flap, which is a very important part of the procedure. The thin piece of tissue is not totally removed from your eye. It is left attached by a small piece, like a trapdoor. 

Once your LASIK surgeon can get into the thicker middle layer of the cornea, the reshaping can begin. A separate laser, called an excimer laser, is used to strategically remove corneal tissue and reshape your cornea.

During the entire process, your LASIK surgeon is guided by computers, so the amount and location of tissue removed are carefully monitored and precise. 

Once the necessary corrections are made, the flap is closed. You don’t even need to get stitches. 

The incision is so clean the tissue reattaches extraordinarily quickly. You will just need to be very careful as you heal from the surgery. 

The entire LASIK procedure is fairly short, and you will get to go home afterward!

What Should I Expect During LASIK Recovery?

Although recovering from LASIK is not typically very difficult, it is important to know what to expect. Your personal results may vary, but here is a typical timeline for LASIK recovery.

Immediately following the surgery, you may notice some minor discomfort as the numbing effects wear off. Temporary dry eye is a common symptom, and you may be prescribed eye drops for relief and to prevent infection. 

Use eye drops often so you won’t be tempted to rub your eyes. Putting pressure on your eyes can cause complications with the healing flap. 

You may notice your vision fluctuating for the first few weeks. Your sight should stabilize quickly, though. 

Avoid getting water in your eyes, or you could get an eye infection. Be careful using soap and shampoo when you shower. 

You should also avoid wearing makeup or contacts until your doctor gives you the okay. For the last few months, your routine should be mostly back to normal.

 You can return to most types of work and exercise. However, you should still protect your eyes with sunglasses and basic safety.

You will get all the information you need to stay safe during recovery at your LASIK consultation. You will also learn what it means to be a good candidate for LASIK and if you are eligible or not. 

Do you want to learn more about LASIK or determine if you may be a candidate for the procedure? Schedule an appointment at Focal Point Vision in San Antonio, TX, today!