What is LASIK?
LASIK stands for "Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis" and is a procedure that permanently changes the shape of the cornea, the clear covering of the front of the eye, using an excimer laser. LASIK is intended to reduce your dependency on glasses or contact lenses for patients who are nearsighted, farsighted, or who have astigmatism.
LASIK laser vision correction at Eye Excellence Vision Center in Houston, Texas is blade-free. Two different lasers are used to perform the procedure. The first laser is used to make the flap, while the second laser is used to perform the actual correction. LASIK is done using a topical anesthetic drop. The patient remains awake during the LASIK procedure and will have a short recovery time after it is completed. LASIK is fast and in most cases pain free. LASIK procedures typically take less than 15 minutes, and we can perform LASIK at either of our Houston, Texas locations in the Museum District or the Hospital District. The patient will lie down in a reclining chair in a room containing the two laser systems. This includes two large machines with microscopes and computer screens attached to it.
A numbing drop will be placed in the patient’s eye, the area around the eye will be cleaned, and an instrument called a lid speculum will be used to hold the eyelids open. At Eye Excellence in Houston, the doctor will use a laser, instead of a mechanical microkeratome, to create a protective flap on the cornea. The patient’s vision will dim and slight pressure may be felt, but usually no discomfort. Laser energy is focused inside the corneal tissue at an exact depth, creating thousands of small bubbles of gas and water that help create the flap. The bubbles create a fine layer of perforation at the intended depth, which becomes the separation plane of the corneal flap.
The patient will be able to see, but will experience fluctuating degrees of blurred vision during the rest of the procedure. The doctor will then lift the flap and fold it back on its hinge, and dry the exposed tissue. Next, the excimer laser will be positioned over the eye and the patient will be asked to stare at a light. This light is to help keep the eye fixed on one spot once the laser comes on. If the eye moves, the laser has a state of the art eye tracker that will track all of your eyes movements. If your eye moves off center, the laser will stop automatically. The laser is programmed to restart and continue treatment where it left off once the eye is realigned.
When the eye is in the correct position, your doctor will start the laser. At this point in the surgery, the patient may become aware of new sounds and odors. The pulse of the laser makes a ticking sound. A computer controls the amount of laser energy delivered to the eye. Before the start of surgery, your doctor will have programmed the laser to make precise levels of correction based on the measurements taken prior to surgery. After the pulses of laser energy reshapes your cornea, the protective flap is put back into position, adhering almost immediately.
A shield or glasses will be placed over the eye(s) at the end of the procedure as protection, since no stitches are used to hold the flap in place. It is important for the patient to wear this shield or glasses to prevent rubbing the eye(s) and putting pressure on the eye while they sleep, and to protect the eye from accidentally being hit or poked until the flap has healed.
What Kind of Results Should I Expect?
At Eye Excellence, LASIK resulting in 20/20 and even beyond is always the goal. While LASIK surgery does not promise every patient 20/20 vision, it most often significantly improves some aspects of vision. LASIK surgery is very specific in the way it reshapes the cornea. It can correct nearsightedness, farsightedness or even astigmatism.
FDA clinical study data presented at a recent American Society of Cataract & Refractive Surgeons Conference (ASCRS) indicated that 98% of the clinical study participants could see 20/20 or better after LASIK.
Is LASIK Right For Me?
Eye Excellence Vision Center in Houston invites you to take advantage of our free LASIK screening. If glasses or contact lenses make your vision significantly better, you are likely to be an excellent candidate for LASIK surgery. If your problem is caused by something other than the shape of your cornea, such as a cataract or a retinal disorder, LASIK surgery is not appropriate. If you are not a LASIK candidate, don’t be discouraged as there are many LASIK alternatives that Eye Excellence will be happy to review with you. You can also take the preliminary LASIK self-evaluation located under the LASIK tab of this website.