Want to get rid of your glasses but scared of LASIK? Of course the thought of a laser slicing your cornea might sound downright scary but complications occur very, very rarely ( less than 1%) and decreases dependence on glasses for most patient. Before recommending the surgery, ophthalmologists take some preliminary tests to determine whether a patient is eligible for this surgery. It’s essential to keep these things in mind before going for a LASIK surgery:
1. Find out how experienced the doctor is – A minimum of 3 years performing LASIK surgeries should be good. Ideally, a doctor should have done at least 50+ cases in the last one year.
2. Ask for a list of 5 patients who got LASIK done by him/her and who you could talk to. If he/she is confident about their skills, this should not be a problem to get.
3. There are some Systemic diseases/ conditions which might contraindicate LASIK surgery:
If you have a compromised autoimmune system and are suffering from diseases like Lupus Erythematous, Rheumatoid Arthritis or Fibromyalgia (healing may not be predictable), if you suffer from uncontrolled diabetes, are pregnant/want to get pregnant/nursing.
4. Your doctor will do a detailed pre-evaluation to see if you have any of the local contraindications for LASIK:
– If you have a thin cornea with a relatively high number to be corrected, LASIK may not be for you (since LASIK involves permanent removal of a few layers of the central cornea, which makes the post-op cornea slightly thinner. The cornea cannot be made thinner below a particular limit). If your doctor tries to convince you otherwise, take a second opinion.
– If you are in the 40+ range and are developing cataract
– If you are being treated for glaucoma
– If you have dry eyes/reduced tear secretion
– If the prescription for your glasses has been changing often in the last 12 months
5. Preoperative care: If you wear soft contact lens, you need to discontinue wearing them at least 3 days prior to the surgery. If you wear hard contact lenses, discontinue it for a month.
6. Cost of the procedure: The average cost is around 30 K (for both eyes). However, some experienced surgeons might charge a premium. Be wary of doctors who offer huge discounts – they may be compromising on the quality of the procedure (certain disposable surgical items may be re-used).
7. Operative: The surgery does not take more than 5-7 minutes per eye and is usually done under topical anaesthesia. It is a painless procedure. At most, you might experience some itching and a feeling of ‘sand in the eye’ for a day or two. You can go home within an hour of the procedure. You should ideally have someone accompany you home after the surgery and avoid going out in the sun and pollution.
8. Post-operative: The doctors ideally recommend rest for 2 days. Avoid exposure to heat, dust, and pollution for a week. Do not rub your eyes as it may dislodge the surgical flap and may warrant a re-procedure. Antibiotic & steroid drops are prescribed for a week and lubricant drops for a month. Cosmetics, chemicals and make-up in and around the eye should be avoided for two weeks. You will have to visit the doctor for post-operative visits 1 day, 1 week and 1 month after the procedure.
In conclusion, most patients are very satisfied with the procedure and feel that it has significantly enhanced the quality of their life. We are sure it can help you too!
Dr Prakash Nayak is the Director of the Right Sight Eye Care and has performed over thousands of LASIK and Cataract surgeries.