LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) surgery is a procedure to restructure the cornea and correct myopia. It corrects myopia in most people who undergo the procedure. However, in a small number of people, the lens may undergo age-related changes. Such changes may cause a person to develop blurry vision after a few years of LASIK surgery.
The following factors can cause myopia to return after the LASIK:
- Having high myopia (myopia above -6.00 D)
- Co-existing astigmatism (irregular corneal shape)
- Excessive nearsighted work
- Excessive eye strain
- Excessive screen time
- Poor nutrition affecting eye health
- Vitamin A deficiency
- Those who need a constant change of glass prescription
- Acquired eye diseases like cataract or retinal disease
In most cases, the changes in power after LASIK are minor and do not cause problems. Most patients may not need to wear glasses again except for certain tasks like driving at night, mainly as a safety precaution. Some patients may need to undergo re-treatment for fine-tuning or enhancement. Re-treatments are usually done only after 3 months once the eye has healed after the LASIK surgery. In cases of severe myopia, in cases with a high risk of failure or recurrence, and in cases where there are other co-existing eye problems, other additional laser procedures may be combined with LASIK.
What is myopia?
Myopia is also called nearsightedness or shortsightedness, is a refractive error. Myopia occurs when the eyeball is too long, or the cornea is too curved. This causes the cornea to focus the light entering the eye just before the retina. Because of this, the distant objects appear blurry, while objects nearby appear normal. Patients may have other symptoms like headaches, eye fatigue, and eye strain. Vision may be worse in those with other co-existing refractive errors like astigmatism. Severe myopia increases the risk of other eye conditions like cataract, glaucoma, and retinal detachment. Myopia is the most common eye problem and 1.5 billion people are affected worldwide.
What causes myopia?
Myopia is caused due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
Risk factors of myopia include:
- Excessive work that involves focusing on close objects or fine work
- Spending too much time indoors
- Family history of myopia
What is LASIK eye surgery?
LASIK eye surgery is the most commonly performed laser refractive surgery to correct vision problems. LASIK improves vision and replaces the need to wear glasses or contact lenses. Glasses or contact lenses can also successfully correct vision.
LASIK surgery may be done to correct one of these vision problems:
How is LASIK performed?
During the procedure:
LASIK is a short procedure and usually completed in 30 minutes or less. Medication may be given to sedate the patient. Anesthetic eye drops are placed in the eye and the eyelids are held open with an instrument. A small blade or cutting laser is used to make a small flap in the eye. The flap is folded to give access to the part of the cornea. A programmed laser beam is used to reshape the cornea and a small amount of corneal tissue is removed. The flap is then repositioned and heals on its own without stitches. LASIK surgery can be done in both eyes simultaneously.
After the procedure:
Patients can resume most normal activities soon after a LASIK surgery. Complete healing of the eyes takes 2-3 months. Vision may not be clear for 2-3 months after the surgery. Immediately after surgery, there may be itching, watering, and redness in the eyes. Pain medication and antibiotic eye drops are usually prescribed. A protective eye shield to wear at night may be advised till the eye heals. Cosmetics should not be used around the eyes for a few weeks. Strenuous exercise, contact sports, and swimming should be avoided for a few weeks till the doctor’s approval is obtained. Patients should wear sunglasses to protect the eyes from sunlight. Regular follow-up with the doctor is important.
What are the complications of LASIK?
Some possible complications of LASIK surgery include:
- Temporary dryness of eyes
- Glare, halos, and diplopia (double vision)
- Temporary difficulty seeing in the dark
- Increased light sensitivity
- Under correction or overcorrection of the problem
- Astigmatism may be caused due to uneven tissue removal causing uneven curvature of the cornea. This requires additional surgery, glasses, or contact lens for correction.
- Recurrence of the problem
- Vision loss or changes
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