What is Lasik?
The word ‘Lasik’ is derived from the laser-assisted Keratomileusis, Keratomileusis being the surgical improvement of the refractive state of the eye. Lasik eye surgery, commonly referred to as laser eye surgery or laser vision correction, is a surgical procedure focused on the correction of the eye’s cornea. The procedure permanently changes the shape of the eye’s lens, treating conditions including myopia (near-sightedness), hyperopia (far-sightedness), and astigmatism. For clear vision, the eye’s cornea must bend (refract) light rays properly, allowing images to be focused on the retina. Lasik vision correction is a refractive surgical procedure designed to reshape the eye’s cornea and lens so that it correctly focuses images, restoring perfect or close to perfect vision in patients. Laser eye surgery is intended to reduce or eliminate your need for corrective lenses (glasses and contacts), with most procedures resulting in 20/20 vision for the patient.
History of Lasik Eye Surgery
Keratomileusis was initially developed in the 1950’s by Spanish opthamologist Jose Barraquer, known as “the father of modern refractive surgery.” Barraquer’s work investigated the surgical improvement of the cornea. By cutting thin flaps from the eye’s cornea to improve its shape, Barraquer’s work ultimately determined how to alter the cornea to provide stable, long-term results in the refractive state of the cornea. In 1980, IBM developed an ultraviolet excimer laser capable of shaping living tissue. Five years later this laser was being applied to research in radial keratotomy. The first refractive laser eye surgery was completed in 1989, the same year the FDA commenced it’s trial of the excimer laser. In 1992, FDA approval was given to use the excimer laser, and the Lasik vision correctional procedures were introduced. Since, there have been further developments of the technologies and procedures, improving the quality and safety of the surgical procedure. Today, there are about 600,000 Lasik procedures performed annually in the U.S.
Am I a Candidate for Lasik Eye Surgery?
Lasik vision correction is most often done on patients afflicted by myopia or nearsightedness, however, can also be applied to correct hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism.
The FDA and American Academy of Ophthalmology have developed guidelines for determining LASIK candidates:
- You should be at least 18 years old, and for nearsighted patients, often into your early to mid-twenties.
- You should not have this procedure if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Your prescription must be within the range that can be corrected with Lasik.
- You should be in good general health. Lasik may not be recommended for patients with lupus, glaucoma, herpes infections of the eye, or cataracts.
Your physician will be certain to ensure you are a good candidate for the surgery prior to be approved for Lasik vision correction. Be sure to review the additional risk factors you will need to consider prior to undergoing Lasik eye surgery as well before making the decision to move forward with the procedure.