Laser in-Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK) can be used to treat a variety of eye conditions, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism, with the goal of reducing or eliminating dependence on corrective lenses. LASIK uses the computer-controlled precision of the excimer laser to treat the inner tissue of the cornea.
For proper vision, light must travel through the cornea and the eye’s lens, with rays converging at a point on the retina. Sometimes, eyes have irregularities that keep light from converging (focusing) where it should. When light is deflected to a different point, it is known as a refractive vision problem. The majority of people who cannot see clearly have refractive vision problems. This means that light may focus either in front of the retina (resulting in nearsightedness or myopia) or behind the retina (which results in farsightedness or hyperopia). In some cases, light does not focus at a single spot, which blurs all images (which occurs in astigmatism). This is due to irregularities in the shape and curvature of the cornea, whether it be too flat or too steep. Most people with myopia, hyperopia, or astigmatism have used eyeglasses or contact lenses to address this issue, bending light so that vision is clear and sharp. However, LASIK can provide clear vision without using glasses or contact lenses, or with reduced need for them.
When patients come into our Chicago-area office to undergo the LASIK vision correction procedure, anesthetic eye drops are first applied to the eyes and, while you may feel pressure, the technique is generally not painful. First, our Chicago, Illinois LASIK vision correction surgeons will make a flap in the cornea, exposing the underlying layers of corneal tissue. An excimer laser is then used to reshape the cornea to correct its refractive power. Light rays are then more directly focused on the retina in both axis. After a few minutes of drying, the corneal flap is laid back in its original position. Due to the cornea’s extraordinary natural bonding qualities, the flap seals on without sutures within two to five minutes. The surgery is performed on an out-patient basis and most people return to work within one to three days. As with any surgical procedure, individual results cannot be guaranteed and side effects and complications may occur.