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How Lasik Surgery Works

One of the great things about the age in which we live is that we do not have to put up with a lot of the problems our forebears did. Every day, new surgeries are being developed that help to enhance our day to day lives and one of those developments is Lasik surgery. Lasik is an acronym, which stands for Laser-assisted In Situ Keratomileusis. It is a procedure in which a patient has their eye sight corrected- no more glasses, no more hassle with contact lenses. Many people find that Lasik is a great alternative and it is a permanent solution- once you undergo the operation you will not have to do it again. Lasik surgery was developed in 1990, and the first Lasik operation in the United States occurred in 1991.

There are three stages to the procedure, the pre-operative, the operation itself, and the post-operative. This article is concerned with what actually happens during the procedure, and how the operation corrects vision. One of the strange parts about this operation is that it is performed while the patient is still awake, usually under the influence of a mild sedative as well as anesthetic eye drops. First of all, a flap of corneal tissue is created by using a mechanical microkeratome, which uses a metal blade. A femtosecond laser microkeratome can also be used.

The latter device creates a series of tiny, closely arranged bubbles within the cornea. One end of the flap has a hinge attached to it, which folds back to reveal the stroma of the cornea. Next, an excimer laser is used to remodel the corneal stroma. The laser vaporizes some of the corneal tissue while allowing precision control. This control means that adjacent parts of the stroma are not damaged by releasing the molecular bonds that hold cells together. The layers of tissue that are removed are mere micrometers thick, another advantage of laser precision. After the cornea has been reshaped by the tissue removal de to the laser, the surgeon performing the operation places the Lasik flap back over the treatment area. This flap remains in place, protecting the eye until the tissue has healed. The advantages of this surgery, aside for sight correction, include the fact that the cornea has been “tricked”, and does not send the message to the brain that would set off pain receptors. A patient who has undergone the surgery can expect a rapid recovery time with very little pain involved.

Lasik surgery has undergone a vast transformation in terms of accessibility and advancements in the last decade and a half. With more and more surgeons seeing the monetary opportunities inherent in the procedure, more have been trained and the result has been a decrease in cost- Lasik procedures today are half the price they were just five years ago! Lasik cannot be performed on everyone, so consult your optometrist to see if you might qualify.


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