“Amit, a 26 year old Nerul, Navi Mumbai resident had been wearing glasses for almost 15 years. His relationship with his glasses just like most was a bitter-sweet one, “You are my necessity, but I just don’t like you”. He needed them to see properly but would rather be rid of them. LASIK surgery which his friends suggested sounded enticing but based on what all he heard from the naysayers he was much too fearful of the complications which might happen, so much that he even refrained from discussing the topic with his own long time eye doctor. One fine day he finally mustered up enough courage and finally inquired about LASIK and if LASIK is advisable for him. I could sense his fears and apprehension but also his desire for some sort of assurance that all is well and there is a way to get free from your glasses. A scenario I am sure countless eye/LASIK surgeons keep coming across and one most would-like-to-go-for-LASIK candidates can relate to”.

The very idea of surgery on the body is a not a thought most would even entertain and one being done to or around the most precious region that governs their very perception of their surroundings – their eyes, is by far the scariest thought for many. LASIK surgery is no exception to that. “Is lasik safe? Is lasik painful? When is lasik not recommended? What is the recommended age for lasik? Will I end up as another ‘blindness from lasik eye surgery’ case? “ are examples of some of the frequent questions that keep popping up in mind of almost all who consider going for a LASIK eye surgery to bid adieu to glasses for ever. Call it fear or call it inquisitiveness but one has to agree that all this is the outcome of lack of proper knowledge of both the procedure and the technological advance associated.

 

LASIK is the acronym for “Laser Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis” and is also commonly known as laser eye surgery or laser vision correction. LASIK Surgery unlike its predecessor PRK(Photo Refractive Keratectomy) has already undergone a multitude of innovations in just the last decade and newer, better, safer highly advanced laser vision correction procedures such as Bladeless Femto LASIK and Bladeless & Flapless ReLEx Smile LASIK have already made the procedure much more safer, faster and precise when compared to the past. Even so, the thought that something may go wrong and they may lose their vision completely makes most too fearful to even consider the option of LASIK surgery.

 

LASIK as the name suggests is a surgery for those who wish to say goodbye to glasses, but at the same time is not something that is advisable for just about anyone. There are strict criteria’s which determine whether one should even be considered for a LASIK surgery. The following is a heads up of the criteria one needs to keep in mind if considering to go in for a LASIK surgery:

Suitable Age

Though not a strict benchmark or kind, the minimum age for even being considered for undergoing a LASIK surgery is 18 years of age or above but I would suggest it is better to consider LASIK surgery only after 21-22 years of age. The reasoning behind this is to let the eye achieve a desired level of maturity wherein it can handle the surgery.

There is no upper age limit for performing a LASIK but one should keep in mind that after the age of 40 there may be a need for reading glasses due to normal age related condition called Presbyopia. One should also keep in mind that after the age of 40, other eye and body health parameters needs equal considerations when planning a LASIK so as to reduce chances of any complication during or after the surgery.

Stability of Vision and Eye Power

LASIK surgery is basically a laser assisted change of corneal curvature which in turns reduces the dependence on glasses. However if there are fluctuations in eye power then there is a possibility of some recurrent eye power even after the LASIK surgery. Therefore it is important to ensure that the eye power is stable for the last 1-2 years before planning LASIK surgery.

Suitable Eye Power

LASIK is generally not suitable for powers above -10 to -12D as this can lead to significant corneal weakness and future problems, except for a select few cases depending on strict parameter checks.

Anita, a patient of mine from Vashi, Navi Mumbai had a power of -28D and she wanted to get LASIK done. For this high power it is not possible to remove the entire number with only LASIK. We had to perform a combined surgery on her, Implantable contact lenses (ICL) insertion followed by LASIK had to be performed sequentially and finally her dream of a completely glasses free future was made a reality.

Pre-LASIK Evaluation

No amount of words can emphasize the importance of a detailed Pre-LASIK evaluation.  This not only helps determine the suitability of the eye for LASIK surgery but also ensures long term safety. Corneal thickness, corneal maps, pupil diameter, eye dryness, muscle balance etc. are checked and they all need to be normal before even considering LASIK. Thin cornea is a strict hindrance for LASIK. People with larger pupils also need to be careful. Large pupils can increase risk of side effects such as halos, flashes/glares, starbursts etc. in low light (especially when driving at night).

Healthy Eyes and Body

Good if not excellent health of both eyes and body is vitally important. Any infections or allergies in and around the eyes should be treated before LASIK surgery. For proper healing and results, our body should be healthy and free from diseases like diabetes, auto-immune diseases etc.

During pregnancy and lactation, a LASIK surgery should be avoided, hormonal changes during pregnancy can alter the shape of cornea, leading to temporary changes in eye power and vision. LASIK surgery should not be performed until the hormones and vision have returned to normal post – pregnancy. This could take a few months.

Personality Features And Realistic Expectations

LASIK surgery gives excellent results in majority of patients. The satisfaction scores are more than 90% after LASIK surgery. However just like any other surgery on the human body, there are potential risks. It is important to get yourself educated about the side effects and the potential complications before going ahead with LASIK surgery. It is important that you are mentally comfortable with the information provided.

I will conclude this info blog by simply suggesting that whether a LASIK surgery is advisable or not depends as much on an individual’s desire for getting freedom from his/her glasses as also his/her suitability for the procedure. Suitability check requires a detailed evaluation which also helps decide the most suitable type of LASIK surgery from among the various types of LASIK which includes conventional wave front guided LASIK, Femto LASIK, Smile LASIK, etc. and should always be done by trained professionals.