What is LASIK?
Laser-Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK) is one of the most popular procedures globally. By applying laser to “sculpt” the cornea, it reduces or even eliminates common refractive errors, namely near-sightedness, astigmatism and far-sightedness.
The surgery takes less than ten minutes. The procedure is pain free and is performed under local anesthesia.
The high degree of safety, accuracy and rapid visual recovery contributes to the popularity of LASIK. As a result, millions of people around the world undergo this surgery every year, giving patients less spectacle dependence and an improved quality of life.
How safe is LASIK?
With the evolution of LASIK over time, the research report “A 10-Year Prospective Audit of LASIK Outcomes for Myopia in 37 932 Eyes at a Single Institution in Asia” by Dr. Leonard Yuen reveals the reassuringly high safety, efficacy and predictability of LASIK.
What refractive problems can LASIK treat?
- LASIK can treat myopia (near-sight), astigmatism, hyperopia (far-sight) and presbyopia (the progressive inability to see near that occurs around 40 years of age).
- LASIK can be performed for previous LASIK / SMILE patients. For those who have already had refractive surgery before, as long as there is sufficient corneal thickness, LASIK can be re-performed to fine tune and enhance the prescription.
- LASIK for patients who have previously had cataract surgery. Some post cataract patients may have remnant prescription, LASIK can optimize the curvature and prescription of patients resulting in improved spectacle independence.
Say bye to Astigmatism!
Astigmatism is common, resulting from an abnormal eye refraction. The cornea on the surface of the eye is the principal area responsible for receiving light. It will cause astigmatism if the curvature of the corneal surface is inconsistent. A good analogy would be when the cornea, which should be shaped like a soccer ball, resembles a rugby ball. Patients will have blurry vision when they look at street lamps or oncoming light.
It was estimated that about 95% of people suffer from varying levels of astigmatism. About 50% of adults have astigmatism below 0.5 dioptres, and more than 30% of adults have astigmatism of 1.00 or higher, which could affect vision.
There are many ways to treat astigmatism. Generally, a treatment plan is selected depending on the magnitude of the astigmatism and the cause.
- Patients with mild astigmatism usually only need to wear spectacles or contacts lens.
- For moderate astigmatism, laser refractive treatment can be considered (must be evaluated if a condition called keratoconus exists).
- Patients with severe astigmatism or patients whose astigmatism deteriorates over time may be caused by keratoconus (cornea shaped like an cone). To make matters worse, if corneal scarring occurs , surgery by performing full or partial cornea thickness (lamellar) surgery (keratoplasty) can be considered.
- For other types of astigmatism for example caused by a cataract, LASIK treatment will not be recommended. These patients can undergo cataract surgery to essentially kill two birds with one stone, treating cataracts and implanting an artificial lens to remedy astigmatism at the same time.