An Insight into Lasik Eye Surgery
Lasik is actually the short form of the term “Laser in situ
Keratomileusis”. This is a procedure for correcting some vision
problems and getting improvements in the vision that is performed
by ophthalmologists who are trained to do this surgery.
In the year 1970, Dr. Jose Barraquer started off with a surgical
procedure that laid the foundation stone for Lasik. He began to
use a device called the microkeratome to alter the corneal surface
and to reflect the corneal flap to reach the inner layers. This
surgery was called keratomileusis.
It was only in the year 1990 that Lasik was actually developed
by Dr. Lucio Buratto, an Italian doctor and Dr. Ioannis Pallikaris
from Greece. They combined the system developed by Dr. Jose Barraquer
with another procedure called photorefractive keratectomy (PRK).
PRK is a surgical procedure that uses lasers to alter the shape
of the corneal surface by removing some tissue from the stroma layer
of the cornea. These days this procedure is generally not performed
as the recuperation time is longer and the procedure is much more
painful when compared to Lasik.
Therefore, the combination of the techniques is used as the amount
of complications that arise is much lesser and the procedure is
more accurate in improving the sight. In 1991, the procedure was
introduced in the United States by Dr. Stephen Slade and Dr. Stephen
Brint. In Munich in the same year, two German doctors Thomas Neuhann
and Tobias Neuhann were the first to perform the surgery by automated
Prior to the Surgery
Prior to going for the surgery, the patient’s eyes have to
be evaluated using a scanner that is computer controlled. This helps
in assessing the shape of the cornea. With the help of lasers, mapping
of the corneal surface is then done. This enables the surgeon to
assess if there are any signs of astigmatism and other problems
associated with the shape of the cornea.
This evaluation helps the doctor to assess the amount of tissue
that has to be removed during the surgery. It also helps the surgeon
know the exact location from where the tissue needs to be removed.
The patient is usually advised to take antibiotics prior to the
surgery to eliminate the risk of an infection once the surgery is
If the person is wearing contact lenses, he/she will be asked to
avoid wearing it for many days and in some cases weeks before the
stipulated date of surgery. This is to allow contact of the cornea
with the atmosphere so that it can absorb oxygen. If the person
is wearing contacts, the corneal surface does not get to absorb
oxygen. This leads to a condition called corneal neovascularization
where more blood vessels develop in the cornea. When Lasik is performed
in such a case, there is more amount of inflammation seen and the
healing time is also increased. There is also more discomfort when
the surgery is taking place.
The Actual Surgery
The patient is given a sedative depending on their level of anxiety.
If the patient is relaxed and calm, no sedative is given. The patient
is alert and awake when the procedure is in progress and an anesthetic
eye drop is put in the eye to avoid any discomfort during the procedure.
With the help of lasers, the surgeon makes the desired cuts. The
eye position is tracked with a tracking device that works at a rate
of 4,000 times every second. This helps in accurate guidance of
the laser to the required area.
The surgeon makes an incision with a microkeratome blade or a femtosecond
laser that helps in creating a flap. The flap has a hinge that allows
it to be placed back after the surgery. The created flap is reflected
to expose the stroma layer of the cornea. The stromal layer is then
reshaped by the surgeon with the help of an excimer laser. There
is no removal of tissue from the neighboring layers of the stroma.
After the Surgery
There is the risk of complications arising from the procedure,
although they are not very common. Some of the possible complications
that may occur are dry eye syndrome, debris below the flap, double
vision, epithelium erosion, halos occurring around light sources
in low-light, induced astigmatism, increased sensitivity to light,
overcorrection or under correction and wrinkles occurring in the
Most of the possible complications happen because of the flap getting
displaced from its position. To prevent this from happening, your
doctor will advise you to take rest and sleep once you get back
home from the surgery. There is also the possibility of an infection
occurring below the flap.
Lasik corrective eye surgery is a wonderful and amazing procedure
that uses latest and advanced technology for providing you better
vision. But, it is essential to learn completely about the procedure
and its advantages and possible risks involved before the procedure.