Laser eye vision correction is an increasingly popular alternative to eyeglasses and contact lenses. Those afflicted with myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism are good candidates for laser vision correction, and those opting for laser eye surgery can do so with the knowledge that the procedure is regulated, safe, and effective.
How Does it Work?
During eye laser surgery, a blade device called a microkeratome or a laser keratome is used to slice a flap into the cornea of the eye.
Once the flap is cut, the laser eye surgeon folds the flap back and alters the shape of the cornea using an excimer laser to burn away parts of the eye.
A computer monitors the area and amount of eye to be altered. Once the laser alteration is complete, the flap is folded back over the cornea and smoothed into place.
What are the Benefits?
Most people benefit immediately after the surgery, experiencing clearer more focused vision that will continue to improve during the healing process.
Other benefits include freedom from corrective eyewear and its associated costs.
What is the Recovery Time?
Generally, the cornea flap heals and firmly adheres to the cornea within 60 days of the surgery.
During the first few weeks of healing, the patient is instructed to use antibiotic eye drops to prevent infection during the initial healing time. Painkillers may also be prescribed to help the patient get through the first few days post-surgery.
During the healing time, patients are instructed not to rub their eyes to avoid accidental displacement of the corneal flap.
What are the Side Effects?
Post surgery, laser eye surgery recipients may experience painful, itchy eyes associated with dry eye. These symptoms are easily treated with over-the-counter or prescription eye drops that alleviate the associated symptoms.
Other side effects may also include hazy vision (should subside within a few days after surgery), sensitivity to light, glare, halos, and vision difficulty during low light conditions. Generally, these symptoms completely subside within 3 months of the procedure.
Other risks associated with laser eye correction include flap healing complications, over or under vision correction, night vision problems, and infection. Most of these can be corrected with a return visit to the surgeon.
For more on the costs, procedures and FAQ, visit our specific eye surgery page and related articles.