Lasik Eye Surgery Pros And Cons – The LASIK procedure has helped millions of people around the world improve their vision by correcting common refractive errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism.
Custom LASIK uses a computer called a wavefront device to measure your individual cornea, examine abnormalities, and calculate how to improve your vision while preserving the cornea’s original shape. In contrast, traditional LASIK is programmed based on your glasses or contact lenses, which do not take into account your corneal abnormalities.
Lasik Eye Surgery Pros And Cons
Most people report fewer side effects, especially mild distortions and trouble driving at night, with custom LASIK. However, it is more expensive, not covered by insurance and not necessarily more effective than traditional LASIK. Custom LASIK may be a good option for you, so talk to your optician.
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Laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK) is a form of vision correction that uses guided lasers to reshape the eye’s cornea, which in turn correctly refracts light back onto the retina, creating a clearer view of the world. LASIK, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1998, is one of the most popular types of outpatient surgery for refractive errors, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. These errors are caused by problems with the shape of the cornea, which is a lens that refracts light on the retina so it can be sent up the optic nerve to be processed into an image by the brain. Without properly refracted light, the image sent through the optic nerve is blurred or doubled.
Using guided lasers, LASIK removes small amounts of the cornea to reshape it so light refracts properly on the retina. This creates clearer vision, anywhere from 20/40 to 20/20 vision.
Since the development of LASIK, which is very quick and non-invasive, medical researchers have worked to improve even this highly effective, low-risk elective procedure. One of these innovations is wavefront LASIK, often called custom LASIK.
When someone refers to wavefront LASIK, they are referring to a specific process called wavefront-guided technology that is used by eye surgeons to determine which parts of the cornea need to be reshaped and to evaluate your eye in general before surgery. Traditional LASIK uses your refractive error measurement, which determined the correction in your glasses or contact lenses, to program lasers. The addition of wavefront computer imaging means your corneas will be shaped even more specifically, increasing your chance of seeing better than 20/40. This is why the process is sometimes called custom, because it is tailored to the needs of your eye.
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The measurement is called wavefront because it uses reflected light waves to measure aberrations, from lower order to higher order, in your eye. The device sends a safe, non-UV light wave into your eye, which is reflected from the back of the eye and out through the pupil. The wavefront computer, or abberometry device, measures the reflected light wave to create a unique pattern that shows how your cornea is shaped, along with some other characteristics of the eye itself. The measurement of your corneal irregularities will look like a topographical map.
There are several potential advantages of custom LASIK over traditional LASIK. Best of all, traditional LASIK doesn’t measure your specific corneal abnormalities, including areas that may be thinner than others. Wavefront technology allows your eye surgeon to customize where the lasers remove tissue from the cornea, taking into account your cornea’s individual shape and irregularities.
Custom LASIK reportedly not only improves the clarity of your near and far vision, as measured by the Snellen chart, but it can also improve other characteristics of how you see, such as contrast sensitivity and fine vision. Improving other aspects of your vision can reduce some of the side effects associated with traditional LASIK, particularly difficulty with night vision.
These usually disappear, the more severe ones with treatment. In a very small number of cases, these side effects will become permanent. The advantage of custom LASIK means that some of the side effects are less likely to occur and less likely to be permanent.
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In an FDA clinical trial with a specific wavefront computer design, 94 percent of participants achieved vision that was 20/20 or clearer. They were more likely to say they were “very satisfied” with the results of the procedure compared to traditional LASIK, and they were particularly satisfied with their night vision compared to wearing glasses or contact lenses.
In wavefront-optimized LASIK, the wavefront device makes detailed measurements of the curvature of the front of the eye, preserving the natural shape of the cornea, reducing the risk of a higher-order aberration called spherical aberration. This type of aberration leads to halos or glare around lights and struggles with night vision. It can be a naturally occurring symptom of an eye disorder, or it can be caused by laser eye surgery of any kind. Reducing the risk of this side effect, which can last for months or even become permanent, improves outcomes and satisfaction.
There are some disadvantages to custom LASIK that are also options with traditional LASIK, including side effects such as dry eyes, glare and halos, and night vision problems. Both procedures are outpatient and recovery takes only a few days. Both procedures are elective, which means they likely won’t be covered by insurance.
Prices for both can vary widely depending on location. Custom LASIK can be slightly more expensive than traditional LASIK because of the extra step in the wavefront unit.
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While custom LASIK reduces some risk of side effects and may improve visual acuity, these improvements are minimal compared to traditional LASIK. Additionally, there is little difference between wavefront-guided and wavefront-optimized, as they both adapt your LASIK correction; however, the terminology can be confusing when you ask your optometrist or ophthalmologist about custom LASIK.
Although there are improvements when you adapt the procedure to your cornea, it is important not to expect absolutely perfect vision at the end of any LASIK procedure, whether adapted or not. Most eye surgeons are clear that 20/40 vision is the minimum for success after surgery to correct a refractive error. Many people achieve 20/20 vision, but this can change over time, especially after the age of 40, as presbyopia becomes more likely.
Eight out of 10 people who get LASIK, both traditional and custom, report that they no longer need glasses or contact lenses. In some cases, you may need corrective wear for driving or reading, depending on what your refractive error was before the procedure.
Even with customized LASIK, if your refractive error gets progressively worse, this problem will continue. For example, if you start out with nearsightedness, this means that you will need stronger glasses or contact lenses every two or three years. Your nearsightedness will continue to worsen over time if you have a LASIK procedure, even if it is adapted to your cornea.
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Whichever procedure you choose, LASIK is popular because recovery time is between one and three days at home, and most people who undergo the surgery return to work the next day. Most people experience full vision improvement over a period of a few weeks at most, and many do not need glasses or contact lenses for decades after the procedure. Working with an optometric surgeon for custom LASIK may improve some of your results, so discuss both traditional and custom LASIK with your surgeon.
If successful, the patient will no longer need to wear glasses or contact lenses, something that bothers many people. No longer being dependent on glasses can have a dramatic improvement in a person’s life, including having greater freedom to participate in sports and other recreational activities.
There are savings to be had in the long term, because the patient no longer has to pay for glasses, contact lenses and eye examinations.
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Despite the fact that there is some risk when undergoing this type of surgery, as eye surgery takes place, Lasik eye surgery has one of the lowest risks, and only 3 to 5% of patients suffer from complications. In addition, of the people who do experience complications, treatment is available, and most complications are not long-lasting.
Recovery time after surgery is minimal and most people only need to spend the day in a clinic before they can go home.
This type of operation does not come cheap and as it is seen as
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