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What is LASIK?

Aug 17, 2007
One of the most innovative methods of dealing with eye problems today is LASIK surgery. But what is LASIK and how do you know if you are a good candidate for the surgery?

Short for Laser-Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis, the procedure involves peeling back a small section from the top of the cornea. A focused laser will be used to reshape the cornea and eliminate any tissue that may be the root cause of the eye problem. While not always a road to perfect vision, LASIK can greatly improve one's eyesight.

LASIK is a surgical procedure. As such, it carries with it some risks. Before anyone can undergo LASIK surgery, a qualified physician will evaluate the individual's fitness for the procedure. This will mean some preparation for the evaluation.

If you wear contact lenses, the physician will most likely ask that you switch to eyeglasses about two weeks before you are evaluated. If you wear hard lenses, think in terms of several weeks. It is important that the current shape of your cornea is obvious to the physician, and any type of eyewear that rests on your eye can impair that information. You may also be asked to from smoking and limit your alcohol intake as well, so you're general eye health can be evaluated properly.

Be prepared to provide your physician with information about any prescription medications you are currently on, including dosage and frequency. If you take any over the counter medications or herbal supplements, have that information handy as well. Any allergies you may have should also be discussed in advance with your doctor. Because LASIK is a surgical procedure, your general health comes into play as well.

Should it be determined that you are a candidate for LASIK, your doctor will also have several recommendations for how you should prepare for the surgery. At least the day before the procedure, discontinue use of any creams, lotions, perfumes, colognes or facial makeup. Any lingering traces of any of these substances can provide opportunities for infection. Eliminating them greatly reduces the chance for problems during and after the LASIK procedure.

In addition, be aware that you do not need to be behind the wheel of a car after your surgery. While you will still be able to see, your vision will be blurred and a small shield will be placed over your eye at the end of the LASIK procedure. The shield has two purposes. The first is to allow the small flap that was retracted to be placed back into position and to heal. The second purpose is to minimize the chances for infection during the healing process. Along with the cap, your doctor may also proscribe pain medication that will impact your reflexes. Arrange for a ride home and also take into consideration that you may need to stay our of the driver's seat for a period of time after the surgery. Your doctor will tell you when you can resume driving.

Many people find LASIK surgery to be the answer to their eye problems. Consult your physician and see if the procedure would benefit your situation.
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