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.
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:
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.
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).
After the flap has been pulled aside, the surgeon switches to a higher power magnification and begins to use the laser.
Once the laser has made the necessary adjustments to the cornea, the corneal flap is replaced:
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.
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!
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