A healthy vision is a precious gift. Practicing a sport, driving a vehicle or even checking the alarm clock in the morning can be difficult tasks for a person that needs corrective eyeglasses or contact lenses.
For people who have eyesight problems, life without corrective lenses and a clear vision are a dream. The latter is especially true for people who cannot tolerate the use of contact lenses or suffer from the distortion of thick eyeglasses. This is also a dream for young people aspiring to choose a profession that requires good vision.
During the last decade, this dream has become a reality to the excimer laser. Initially developed to print computer microcircuits, the excimer laser emits a very precise beam of light that is employed to sculpt a surface. The laser sculpts the surface of the eye, using a technique called Lasik, and allows the correction of most eyesight problems.
“Lasik can help me regain my freedom and increase my choices.”
The first step towards correcting your vision using the excimer laser is an evaluation meeting with your ophthalmologist.
During this meeting, your ophthalmologist will make sure that you are a good candidate for the Lasik surgery; your eyesight must have been stable for at least one year and you have not had any other ocular problems. Then your doctor will explain to you in detail the surgical procedure and answer any related question you may have. Important!
If you wear soft contact lenses, you must remove them at least 2 days prior to the surgery if they are of the type that you remove to go to sleep, and at least 1 week prior if you sleep with them on. The period is 2 weeks for the air permeable type, and 1 month for rigid contact lenses.
What are the Lasik advantages? • The risk of infection is reduced to 1/5000. • The visual recuperation is much faster. Most people can go to work or drive their vehicle the following day. • The quality of eyesight is better, since the Lasik technique keeps all the layers of the cornea intact. • Post-surgical pain is virtually eliminated. A minor discomfort will last for 2 to 6 hours, similar to having a grain of sand in your eye.
The Lasik surgery is simple, painless and lasts less than 3 minutes per eye. In general, both eyes are operated on during the same visit.
First of all, there is no injection; only few anesthetic drops are used. During the time of the procedure, the surgeon will be reassuring you and talking to you. When the eye is ready, the surgeon will use the eyelid retractor to keep your eye open during the surgery.
The first step consists of lifting a thin layer of the cornea with a precise instrument, the micro-keratome. This layer is a simple flap since it remains attached from one side. Then the surgeon asks you to focus on a red light and the laser ablation begins.
In total, the time to sculpt the eye is a matter of seconds. The Astra Scan is equipped with a sophisticated tracker system, in the case that you move your eye or have difficulties fixing your eye on the light during the procedure the surgeon can program the laser to follow your eye using infra-red rays. After the laser ablation, the flap is placed back, and the surgery is over.
Immediately after the surgery, your vision will be blurred, as when you open your eyes in the water. You can expect a prickling sensation that will last few hours. Normally, the morning after, your eyesight is good enough to allow you to return to your normal life ( go back to work, drive your vehicle…).
The next day there will be an important follow-up that should not be missed during a short visit to your ophthalmologist. Subsequent follow-ups will take place at the following intervals: 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 12 months, 18 months and 24 months.
Normal eye The normal eye works very much like a camera and the lens of the eye focus the image of a distant object on the retina, which captures the picture just as the film of the camera. The cornea provides most of the focusing power, and cannot change its shape.
Myopia In the myopic eye the image does not reach the back part of the eye (retina). The image is then seen as a blur. Only by moving up close to the image will it be shifted on to the retina and seen clearly. The Laser ablation reduces the curvature of the cornea allowing you to regain normal eyesight.
Hyperopia In the hyperopic eye the cornea and lens are too flat and focus the image to a point in behind of the retina. The image is then seen as a blur. The Laser ablation increases the curvature of the cornea allowing you to regain normal eyesight.
Astigmatism In astigmatism the image is formed at two different points inside the eye. In the normal eye, the surface of the cornea is round like a soccer ball (“spherical”). With astigmatism, the cornea is slightly oblong, like a football. This means that images of different orientations are focused at different parts of the eye, and that the image on the retina is blurred. After Lasik the cornea is spherical again allowing regaining normal eyesight.