There is a reason why Lasik treatments and surgeries are still so popular after their arrival way back in the mid 1990s – its because they change your life. The FDA officially approved the use of Lasik surgery as safe for patients in 1995, although testing had begun well back into the 1970s and 1980s. The technical term for Lasik is refractive surgery, as it described the actual procedure that corrects common vision problems like astigmatism, nearsightedness, and farsightedness. With the surgical change, patients are no longer dependent upon prescription glasses or contacts to see and the results are literally life changing. Although there are several refractive surgeries that exist, Lasik is still the most common and more popular due to its short recovery time and painlessness.
The choice in eye surgery depends on your eyes. Some conditions make a certain person an unfit candidate for Lasik eye treatments or surgery, such as a misshapen eye. With Lasik, your cornea is peeled back and replaced once the lens underneath is smoothed out. Usually patients take some sort of light sedative and/or pain medication prior to the treatment, which makes them pretty groggy during. After the surgery they are sent home to sleep for a day and night and once they wake their vision is corrected. It has been hailed as the miracle surgery of its time. The only downside is that there is a very small percentage of cornea flaps that do not reattach and can cause problems. In some extremely rare instances, the cornea flap becomes dislodged years after surgery through a traumatic event. For this reason, there are a few other types of surgeries that use the same corrective strategy but do not remove and replace a cornea flap.
PRK is another alternative to Lasik, although the overall strategy and goals are the same. The surgeries are almost identical, and they pretty much are if you are the patient. But rather than cutting a flap, PRK scrapes the cornea smooth so that is must be regrown. This obviously requires a longer recovery time, which is why it is not as popular. The end results, however, are exactly the same and with PRK there is no cut flap because the entire cornea is restored over time. Some patients claim that with any eye surgery there is some “halo-ing” at night with street lights or headlights. But that is really the only negative feedback. Also, if your vision changes for some reason due to an unrelated medical condition, there is no way to have the corrective surgery again because your eye cannot recover like that more than once.
No matter which professional eye center you choose to handle your laser eye surgery, make sure they are accredited and have board certified ophthalmologists on staff. Optometrists are also well trained and knowledgeable doctors, but they are trained only in matters of the eye whereas ophthalmologists are trained in all aspects of the body in medical school and are therefore better equipped to oversee surgeries.