Lasik – The In and Out of the Procedure
Lasik is a fairly simple surgery that is performed on an outpatient
basis to help in correcting vision problems. The patient can walk
out of the operating room after the procedure is completed without
any assistance. The procedure is very short and does not take more
than half hour to get over with the patient remaining alert through
Before the Surgery
Depending on the anxiety levels of the patient, the doctor may
or may not advise the patient to take a sedative. This helps in
keeping the patient calm and relaxed during the procedure. Before
the surgery is initiated, the eye is anaesthetized using an eye
drop. This will avoid any pain during the surgery.
Once the initial preparations are complete, the doctor advises
the patient to lie down and positions the eye with the laser. Usually,
a single eye is operated in one session. A retainer is placed over
the eye to be operated to prevent the eyelids from closing down.
A suction ring on the retainer helps in maintaining the pressure
in the eye. This procedure aids the surgeon to cut the flap in the
cornea and does not cause any kind of discomfort to the patient.
Marking the Area
Once the retainer has been placed, the surgeon marks the zone where
the flap has to be cut by using a special marking ink. The flap
is then shaped using a microkeratome blade or with the help of a
laser. The methods used depends on the technique opted for by the
surgeon. The flap created is not visualized by the patient owing
to it being very thin.
The Actual Surgery
Once the flap has been reflected, the laser is placed in line with
the eye. The patient will be asked to gaze at a target light until
advised otherwise. The doctor then visualizes the eye through a
surgical microscope and the laser is used on the eye which works
on the data fed to the computer based on measurements taken during
There are certain lasers that require the patient to look at the
target light constantly failing which the outcome might not be very
good. There are some lasers that are fitted with a tracking device
that follows eye movements and helps in getting better results.
The laser targets light on the corneal surface which helps in getting
rid of unwanted tissue and in the reshaping of the surface. There
is no pain involved with this procedure. All that the patient perceives
is the clicking sound from the laser and a slightly acidic odor
arising from the removal of tissue. The duration of the treatment
depends on the degree of vision problem the patient has.
While the procedure is being performed using the laser and the
computer, the surgeon has total control on the laser through out
the procedure and can switch it off or on as the case may be.
Once the procedure is over, the patient is generally asked to take
rest at the clinic for a short period of time. If the surgeon is
handling both the eyes, a gap is given between the surgery for one
eye and the next. In many cases, the patients opt to get the surgery
for the second eye a week after the first.
There might be some associated pain after the procedure is completed
and the effect of anesthesia wears off. To alleviate the pain, the
doctor might advise you to take some mild analgesics after the procedure
Once back home, the patient should follow the advice given by the
doctor as minutely as possible to avoid risk of complications while
healing. The patient should take proper rest and take the prescribed
medications to avoid any infections from occurring. If any problem
arises, the doctor should be consulted immediately to avoid complications
from setting in. The healing period is as vital as the surgery itself
as the results are dependent on both of these.
The patient should make adequate arrangements beforehand to get
somebody to drive them back home once the procedure is completed.
The patient is advised rest to allow proper healing to take place.
Even though in many instances, there is no need to take off from
work the doctors might advice the patient to abstain from work to
avoid straining the eye. Also, straining the eye by undertaking
any physical activity or sports is best avoided during the healing.
Another important thing the patients need to bear in mind is that
rubbing or scratching the eye should be avoided at all costs as
this can lead to permanent damage and blindness.