Gone are the days when having less-than-perfect eyesight meant a lifetime of wearing glasses or contact lenses. With the advent of laser technology, your vision can now be permanently restored through surgery such as LASIK.
What is laser vision correction?
There are three main types of laser vision correction surgeries:
- Laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK). With LASIK, the surgeon creates a corneal flap to improve a person’s vision.
- Small-incision lenticule extraction (SMILE). SMILE is similar to LASIK, but is done through a small, self-healing hole.
- Surface laser treatments, such as photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) and laser epithelial keratomileusis (LASEK). With these procedures only the clear skin is removed; no corneal flap is created for laser vision correction.
Of these, PRK and LASIK are the most well-known and commonly performed surgeries to correct nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and astigmatism.
How does LASIK work?
The clear, curved surface of your eye is called the cornea. LASIK involves the use of two lasers to reshape your cornea so that light can focus into the eye and accurately reach your retina at the back of the eye. The retina contains light-sensitive cells, which send signals to the brain through the optic nerve. This produces a visual image.
In this procedure, an eye surgeon uses eye drops to numb your eyes. Your eye is held open in place with a suction ring, so you won’t be able to blink.
Next, they’ll use a femtosecond laser to apply an infrared beam of light to create a tiny hinged flap of the outer or superficial layer of the cornea. Then, an excimer laser sends out a calibrated ultraviolet beam to flatten the cornea under the flap, according to corrective measurements taken during your presurgical eye exam. The corneal flap is then restored.
What to expect when getting LASIK
LASIK is generally performed as an outpatient procedure that takes less than 30 minutes. A few days before the surgery, you’ll need to stop using contact lenses and avoid cosmetics, lotions, perfumes, and other strong chemicals that could irritate the eye.
During the surgery, you’ll be awake but your eye will be numb, so you shouldn’t feel any pain. You may feel some pressure and your eyesight will be briefly dimmed. You may even notice a burning smell when the laser beam alters your corneal tissue.
After the surgery, you may need to wear a bandage or eye shield to protect your eyes as they heal. You may experience an itching or burning sensation. Eye drops can help to prevent dry eyes.
You’ll need to avoid strenuous activity, exposure to chlorinated water, and direct sunlight immediately after surgery. The recovery time may range from a few weeks to a few months. During this time, you may experience temporary blurred vision as your vision improves, but most patients will eventually resume normal activities. Your eye surgeon will follow up with you regularly as you heal.
What are the benefits of laser vision correction?
There are many advantages of laser vision correction surgeries such as LASIK:
1. Fast procedure
Most procedures only require 10 to 15 minutes for both eyes and you don’t need to stay at the hospital.
2. Painless procedure
Your eye will be numbed so you won’t feel any pain during the procedure. Afterward you may experience mild itching or burning temporarily.
3. Permanent benefits
Procedures such as LASIK reshape the cornea, so your improved vision will be permanent.
4. High success rate
According to the American Refractive Surgery Council, around 96% of patients are satisfied with LASIK, and there is less than a 1% chance of serious complications occurring after LASIK.
5. Short recovery period
Since lasers are used and no stitches are involved, your recovery time should be quick. You may only experience brief, mild side effects such as dry eye.
6. Rapid improvement in vision
Improved vision will be noticeable almost immediately after the procedure.
7. Freedom from vision correction devices
You’ll no longer need to rely on glasses or contact lenses for clear eyesight.
8. Better quality of life
You can participate in sports, enjoy travel, and even sleep better without having to worry about the safety or loss of your glasses or contact lenses.
9. Cost-effective procedure
You can save money on a lifetime supply of glasses, contact lenses, and other expensive materials by spending just one fee for LASIK.
Who is suitable for LASIK?
You’re a good candidate for laser vision correction surgeries if you’re:
- Over 18 years old with a stable prescription
- Not pregnant, breastfeeding, or using steroids
- Do not have severely impaired visual acuity or a high degree of refractive error
- Do not have thin corneas (keratoconus) or dry eyes
- Do not have any eye injuries or disorders such as glaucoma, cataracts, and infections
- Do not have any systemic illnesses such as autoimmune conditions or uncontrolled diabetes
How much does LASIK cost?
Most health insurance companies do not cover the cost of LASIK and other vision correction surgeries as they are considered elective or cosmetic procedures. However, these procedures may be covered or discounted under certain circumstances, like if vision loss occurs due to injury or other medical or surgical conditions.
LASIK generally costs around $2,000 to $3,000 per eye in most places in the United States, including Las Vegas. This may differ based on the location and surgeon, the type and quality of equipment available, and the condition of your eyes.
This amount can seem like a lot, but it’s a one-time expense that usually includes several components such as pre-and post-surgical care as well as follow-up visits. In the long-term, this is likely to end up being cheaper than the lifetime expense of glasses, contact lenses, and updated prescriptions.
You also risk eye infections, injuries, and accidents while relying on easily breakable vision correction devices. These are all added expenses that could be avoided with a single laser vision correction surgery.
If you’re interested in getting LASIK but don’t want to shell out a lump sum amount, most institutions offer financing plans with affordable monthly installments.
Want to know more about LASIK in Las Vegas?
If you have a long history of frustrating vision problems and are looking for a permanent solution, you may want to consider LASIK. No matter what you decide, seeking medical advice from a competent source should always be your first step. Brimhall Eye Center in Las Vegas offers high-quality care and customized solutions based on your personal needs. If you have any questions about LASIK or are wondering if you’re an eligible candidate for laser vision correction, contact Brimhall Eye Center today to book an appointment.