Laser In-Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK) for Farsightedness
Laser in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK) is the preferred procedure for correcting farsightedness (hyperopia). It changes the shape of the eye. In LASIK, a thin flap is made on the cornea using a blade or laser. The flap is lifted, and a laser is applied to the central corneal tissue. The laser makes contact with the cornea in a circular pattern around the central optical zone. This changes the profile of the cornea, making it steeper. The laser removes tissue from the cornea very precisely. It doesn't damage nearby tissues. The flap is then replaced, allowing for rapid healing.
LASIK is performed in a surgeon's office or same-day surgery centre. It does not require a hospital stay.
This procedure may not be available in all areas, but it's done in most large cities.
What To Expect
After surgery, you may wear a patch or contact lens on the eye. You will also get instructions on how to manage your pain. Someone must drive you home and then back to the surgeon's office the next day. During this second visit, the surgeon will check your eye and prescribe eyedrops to prevent infection and reduce inflammation. More follow-up visits are required, usually the next week and then throughout the first year after surgery.
- Your eye will feel irritated and scratchy on the day of surgery. Your eyes may water a lot.
- Recovery is usually quick, with only mild discomfort. You may return to your normal activities within a few days.
- Dry-eye symptoms are common but usually temporary.
- You may need to wear an eye shield for a few days after surgery.
- Your vision may be hazy or blurry for a few days or a week after surgery. Do not drive until your vision has cleared.
- Avoid vigorous sports, eye makeup, and activities that may get water in the eye for as long as your doctor recommends. You should shower before the surgery and then avoid showering for a day or two afterward.
LASIK usually requires very little recovery time. Most people who have the surgery see quite well the next day. There is little or no pain after LASIK.
Why It Is Done
LASIK is a procedure done to correct mild to moderate farsightedness in otherwise healthy eyes. It doesn't work as well for severe farsightedness.
How Well It Works
Over the short term, LASIK has been shown to be effective and consistent in reducing mild to moderate farsightedness.
LASIK is better at treating lower levels of farsightedness than higher levels.
The risk of complications from LASIK surgery is low and decreases with a more experienced surgeon. Look for a corneal specialist or surgeon who does the surgery often.
Complications and side effects from LASIK may include:
- Clouded vision (clouding of the cornea caused by inflammation during healing). This usually goes away on its own. But your doctor may give you medicine or do a procedure to relieve the inflammation.
- Night vision problems, such as halos. (These are often described as a shimmering circle around light sources such as headlights or street lamps.)
- Glare, or being more sensitive to bright light.
- Double vision (diplopia), usually in one eye.
- New astigmatism caused by wrinkling in the corneal flap or other flap complications.
- Loss of best corrected vision. (This is the best possible vision you can achieve using glasses or contact lenses.)
- Overcorrection or undercorrection.
Serious vision-threatening complications are rare but may include:
- Infection of the cornea (keratitis).
- Elevated pressure inside the eye (intraocular pressure) leading to glaucoma.
Current as of: October 12, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Christopher J. Rudnisky MD, MPH, FRCSC - Ophthalmology
William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
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