July 22, 2002
Undergoing Lasik - Eye Laser Surgery      Email this entry 

My friend and co-worker John Wilson (www.johnwilson.com) has created a page that describes how his wife, Vandita, underwent the Lasik laser surgery to correct her nearsightedness and astigmatism.

Undergoing Eye Laser Surgery

John took pictures of Vandita's eyes and he has comments on the whole procedure.

See below for more pictures and info.

Vandita's Miracle Cure

For as long as she can remember, Vandita has worn glasses or contact lenses to correct her extreme nearsightedness and astigmatism For the benefit of those fortunate enough to enjoy normal or better-than-normal vision, I have simulated Vandita's uncorrected 20/1200 vision, relative to 20/20 vision, from a distance of 6 feet:

Vandita's Uncorrected Vision
20/20 Vision

Yesterday, Vandita underwent Laser-Assisted in-SItu Keratomileusis, or Lasik, which is a surgical procedure used to correct nearsightedness and astigmatism. Lasik is performed using an Excimer laser, the same type of laser used in PRK, or Photo-Refractive Keratectomy. PRK works by using the laser to reshape the outer layers of the cornea, and can be used to treat mild to moderate nearsightedness. With Lasik, the laser is used to reshape the inner layers of the cornea, allowing correction of mild, moderate, and even severe nearsightedness. Lasik has the additional benefit of a much shorter recovery time, and generally produces results much quicker (days vs.weeks) than PRK.

Okay, you are probably wondering how Lasik manages to get at those inner layers of the cornea. An instrument known as a microkeratome is used to create a flap of corneal tissue that is then folded back to expose the inner layers. After treatment with the laser, the flap is folded back into place, where it is held by the cornea's natural ability to bond together.

For a much more detailed description of the procedure, simply search for Lasik using your favorite search engine.

The surgeon uses a special low-power microscope during the LASIK procedure. The office where Vandita had this surgery performed has a video camera connected to this microscope for the benefit of those wishing to observe the operation. Vandita and the surgeon were both kind enough to let me hook into this video signal, and the images you see here were later captured from the resulting videotape.

Because the patient must focus on a specific point while the laser is in operation, general anesthesia is not an option. Instead, a local anesthetic is used to numb the eye, and Valium is used to relax the patient. According to Vandita, the procedure was painless.

Once the patient is sufficiently relaxed and their eye is numb, the surgery begins. The surgeon uses a speculum to hold the eye open for the duration of the procedure (Figure 1).

Figure 1: The eye is held open using a speculum
The surgeon prepares to create a flap using the microkerotatomy
Half-way through making the flap
The flap is folded over to expose the inner layers of the cornea

After the flap has been pulled aside, the surgeon switches to a higher power magnification and begins to use the laser.

The laser is just starting to reshape the cornea
The reshaping is nearly complete

Once the laser has made the necessary adjustments to the cornea, the corneal flap is replaced:

Replacing the corneal flap

Finally, excess moiture is swabbed away from the eye, and the cornea begins to spontaneously heal itself. The cornea is one of our fastest healing parts; within an hour the flap will be completely fused with the remainder of the cornea.

Mopping up

The speculum is removed, and the procedure is repeated on the other eye. The total time for both eyes is less than twenty minutes. After a good night's rest, Vandita returned to her normal routine the very next day. Well, okay, it wasn't exactly her normal routine...normally she would have had to put in her contact lenses before heading out of the house!

Posted by lbastard on July 22, 2002   Email this entry 


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