What is LASIK? LASIK is a type of eye surgery that uses an extremely precise laser to modify the surface of the cornea (the front part of the eyeball, the white part).
Facts about lasers
There are many types of lasers, all man-made for specific purposes.
Lasers are divided into 4 classes according to their potential for causing biological damage. All lasers come labeled as to their class. Class I lasers pose no hazard and class IV lasers are a fire hazard and skin hazard and must be carefully controlled.
Lasers used in eye surgery are called excimer lasers
Excimer lasers are cool. They emit no heat; just a highly focused ray of ultraviolet light that penetrates only a microscopic depth into the outer layer of corneal tissue
Excimer lasers are so precise they can focus a beam that’s only 0.25 microns wide. Compare that to a human hair, which is typically 50 microns wide! The laser could chip away at the width of the hair in half-a-percent increments.
How is LASIK done?
First there’s a detailed eye examination to see if you’d be a good candidate. A good eye surgeon performs LASIK only on good candidates, as opposed to some eye facilities which make money on their sheer numbers of patients and work on a “low cost, minimal service, cheap equipment, no follow-up” basis.
A good candidate for LASIK:
Your present vision must be within a certain range of clarity
Your corneas must have a certain minimum thickness
Your pupil diameter should be under a certain width
You’re not pregnant or trying to become so
You have no severe heart problems, no auto-immune disease, and no eye disease
You’re not diabetic
Dr. Khanna, Los Angeles LASIK surgeon, will use a number of sophisticated tools to exactly measure your vision and calculate exactly what correction it needs.
The procedure itself
Your eyes will be numbed with anesthetic eye drops
You’ll lie down on a comfortable bed, which will be rotated to place your head beneath the laser. An eye speculum is placed against the eyelids of the eye to be worked on to keep it open for surgery.
Dr. Khanna will treat one eye at a time, placing a shield over the other one. He’ll calibrate the laser for each eye because our two eyes are not necessarily identical in shape.
Using a hand-held device called a microkeratome, in combination with a small suction cup, the surgeon will make a small round flap on the outer surface of your cornea, and gently fold it back out of the way.
While you look at a red light, the laser is directed at the tissue exposed by the flap being folded back, for somewhere between 10 and 20 seconds. The laser vaporizes tiny amounts of excess corneal tissue that have been impairing your eyesight.
The surgeon replaces that little flap and applies a bit of antibiotic ointment to its edges. Immediately, it starts healing itself, with no stitches or bandages required.
There’s no pain at all during this whole procedure. The worst you might feel is the urge to close your eyes against having somebody touch them. So a little self-control is needed to hold yourself still, but the eye speculum does the work of keeping your eyes open.
As soon as you’re back in the preparation room, you’ll notice that you can see more clearly. There might be some temporary blurriness from the antibiotic.
You’ll be given an eye shield and asked to keep it on till the following day. It’s like a pair of curved glasses but made of plastic with dozens of small holes in it. So you can see well enough to walk around, but it prevents you from touching your eyes.
You’ll be given some things to put in your eyes over the next few days.
Within a month most people are completely healed and their vision stabilized. You’ll notice a dramatic improvement in your eyesight!
If you would like to learn more about LASIK and whether or not you’d be a good candidate for this procedure, please contact Dr. Khanna at the Institute of LASIK & Refractive Surgery, serving LASIK patients in Los Angeles and Orange County, California.