(LASER ASSISTED IN SITU KERATOMILEUSIS)
One of the most amazing technological breakthroughs in eye care in the past several decades, LASIK uses a cold, high-precision and precisely programmed laser beam, the excimer laser, to remove a microscopic layer of the cornea, altering its curvature, to correct your spectacle or contact lens prescription.
To put this into perspective, each laser pulse removes about 0.25 microns of corneal tissue or 1/200th the thickness of a human hair. Because of the laser's precision, damage to healthy, adjoining tissue is reduced or eliminated.
In LASIK, a flap is created in the anterior part of the cornea at approx. 1/3 depth. This flap is constructed using either a microkeratome, or a specialised femtosecond laser in bladefree surgery.
Amongst the advantages of LASIK are that visual recovery is rapid and it is virtually painless. LASIK is now one of the most advanced excimer laser procedures available for the treatment of low to high degrees of short-sightedness, long-sightedness and astigmatism.
If, following your refractive surgery consultation, you wish to consider LASIK, or other forms of Laser Vision Correction, Mr Ikram will be happy to discuss the options with you.
(Laser Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis)
What is the success rate of LASIK?
The goal of LASIK is to reduce your dependence on your glasses or contact lenses. At least 95% of LASIK procedures, performed on patients with a suitable prescription, result in you reaching the legal driving standard without glasses or contacts, ie 6/12 or better. Our goal is to try to achieve the best possible vision for you. It is important you understand that results may vary for many reasons and are influenced by your prescription and your corneal thickness. 75% of patients achieve even better results: 6/6 (20/20) vision.
Following treatment 25% of patients may require glasses occasionally, usually only for detailed distance vision such as driving. Older patients will require reading glasses due to presbyopia which cannot be treated with LASIK.
Does LASIK hurt?
LASIK is a virtually painless procedure. Anaesthetic drops are used to numb the eye and although most patients claim there is no pain, some have mentioned that they can feel mild pressure or vibration. There is usually some temporary minor discomfort after the procedure, which is relieved by taking a nap and using the post-operative drops as prescribed
Why is LASIK the most commonly performed laser treatment?
LASIK offers a number of benefits over other forms of laser vision correction because it is performed under a protective layer of corneal tissue. As a result of this and the latest laser technology available, there is less surface area to heal. This also means less risk of corneal haze and scarring, less postoperative discomfort and your vision will return more rapidly, often within a day or so. LASIK can also treat a higher range of vision errors.
Is LASIK safe?
Since 1988, more than 11 million excimer laser procedures have been performed worldwide. Laser vision correction is projected to become the most commonly performed surgical procedure in the world.
Although the vast majority of patients achieve outstanding results without complications, it should not be forgotten that LASIK is however a surgical procedure. As with all surgical procedures there are risks associated with treatment.
The most common risks include:
- Surgical complications relating to the flap. This may be because the flap is not perfect at the time of surgery in which case the laser treatment is best deferred for 3 months. The flap may also cause problems if it heals irregularly. Most flap complications can be corrected without compromising the visual outcome.
- LASIK is associated with dryness of the eyes and most patients require tear drops for a few months after treatment. It is rare for tear supplements to be required long term.
- Glare and halos around lights are seen by some patients post-operatively. They do not usually interfere with driving and in most cases resolve within the first 6 months.
- Under or over correction occurs when a patient’s individual healing response varies from the average for their age and sex. This is more likely to occur in the correction of higher degrees of short or long sightedness.
- Reduction of vision, even with glasses or contact lenses, can result following all forms of laser surgery. This may be due to inflammation or infection of the cornea after treatment, or because of irregular healing or scarring of the cornea. Severe visual loss is rare but in extreme cases patients have required corneal transplants following treatment.
Am I a suitable candidate for LASIK?
Generally speaking, the ideal LASIK candidate is over 21 years of age and has healthy eyes and normal corneas with no significant change in their spectacle prescription in the last 2 to 3 years. Certain medical conditions make people unsuitable candidates. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should allow several months after giving birth or ceasing breastfeeding before having treatment. Some patients who are not suitable for LASIK are suitable for LASEK and this will be discussed with you.
Should I have both eyes treated at the same time?
Many people find it more convenient to have both eyes treated together but there are advantages and disadvantages to this which will be fully explained at your assessment. Patients who do opt for unilateral surgery need to wait until one eye has fully healed before undergoing surgery on the 2nd eye and in these cases we recommend at least 1 month between treatments. Unilateral treatment is best suited for patients with low refractive errors who are able to tolerate uncorrected vision in one eye or those who can wear a soft contact lens in the untreated eye. Patients with moderate or high refractive errors who are unable to wear lenses, often find the interval between treatment sessions difficult to tolerate.
Following the consultation with your surgeon you can make an individual decision on which option is best for you.
I have been told I am unsuitable for laser vision correction. Are there any other refractive surgery procedures?
Yes. Although laser vision correction is the most widely publicised, there are other refractive techniques that have been successfully performed for years by Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeons in the UK and internationally. As these procedures involve surgery inside the eye (intra-ocular surgery), they may be more complex.
Mr Ikram is trained and skilled in PRELEX, Clear Lens Exchange, Implantable Contact Lenses, LASEK and LASIK. To find out which procedure would be best suited for your individual eyes and lifestyle, why not book a full Initial Assessment.
How should I choose who to perform my LASIK?
Laser vision correction, although quick and virtually painless is nevertheless a form of eye surgery. Mr Ikram is a locally based, and yet nationally known, surgeon who is an accredited Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon working both in the NHS and independently.
To reach Consultant level he has undergone years of extensive training in the UK (a training program which is regarded internationally as one of the most comprehensive in the world). Such Consultant Surgeons have experience in all aspects of eye surgery, not just LASIK, so you can be sure that the treatment given will be the most appropriate to your individual eyes.
Ensure that your consultant similarly has an outstanding track record of results and long-term reputation to maintain. You can then be assured that you will receive the most dedicated of care, as a private outpatient, in the surroundings of a high quality private facility.