Errors of refraction cause visual problems to millions of individuals worldwide. Two common types include near-sightedness and far-sightedness. Laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) surgery has been proven effective in correcting these refraction errors.
With normal refraction, parallel rays of light enter the eye and are focused exactly at the retinal surface. In near-sightedness, AKA myopia, the eyeball shape is abnormally long, causing the rays of light to converge too soon in front of the retina instead. This leads to vision problems when focusing at a distance. Conversely, far-sightedness, or hyperopia, is caused by short eyeballs, with the light rays converging behind the retina, making it difficult to focus on nearby objects.
Both problems can be resolved by using corrective lenses, however, these may cause variable degrees of inconvenience. Without their eyeglasses, myopic individuals will be unable to drive, while hyperopic individuals will be unable to read close range, among other things.
Fortunately, undergoing LASIK surgery may render eyeglasses obsolete. This procedure uses an excimer laser to reshape the cornea, a superficial layer of transparent eye tissue that provides most of the eye’s refractory power.
LASIK for myopia involves the creation and lifting of a corneal flap, with subsequent “flattening” of the underlying curvature, reducing converging power so that light rays will focus at the retinal surface. LASIK for hyperopia involves reshaping the cornea to make it more conical, giving it more converging power to focus the light rays at the retinal surface.
The surgery can be easily performed at various LASIK clinics on an outpatient basis. Usually, only topical anesthetics are used, unless the patient requests sedation. LASIK eye surgery cost around $1250 to $2150 per eye, depending on the LASIK surgery clinic patronized. The prices may also vary depending on the type of technology used. LASIK eye surgery cost a bit more, ~$1600 to $2500 per eye, when using Wavefront technology while the use of Intralaser instead of the usual microkeratome can increase the price to $1700 to $2900 per eye. Though prohibitive, the LASIK eye surgery costs may be offset by the permanent results.
Contraindications to LASIK surgery include active eye inflammation, unstable connective tissue diseases such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, pregnancy and unstable causes or refractive error.
Common LASIK side effects include negligible eye discomfort, dry eyes, fluctuating vision, glare, seeing halos around objects. Rare complications include the inadvertent removal of the corneal flap.
LASIK surgery is an effective procedure for correction of refractory vision problems. Factors to consider when deciding on whether to undergo LASIK include the contraindications to surgery, surgery costs and the surgery side effects.