Be PreparedThe FDA has approved laser-eye-surgery equipment, but they don't monitor each physician or procedure. It is very important to consult with your optometrist and alert him if you have any of the following conditions: herpes, glaucoma, hypertension, eye diseases, such as uveitis/iritis (inflammations of the eye) or previous eye surgeries. Also, performing this procedure on a cornea that is not thick enough can be extremely damaging. And if you have tried LASIK before, make sure you consult with your doctor before trying it again.
It is recommend that you stop wearing your contact lenses for several weeks before your baseline examination, as they change the shape of your eyes. (The exact length of time depends on the type of contacts.) You should also stop using lotions, makeup and perfumes the day before the procedure. What's the operation like? Well, maybe not as bad as you'd assume. The doctor will give you an oral sedative such as valium, and then he will numb the eyes. An instrument called the retainer will be used to keep your eyes open. High pressure is then used to create suction directly on the cornea -- and this is where you might be a bit uncomfortable. Using the laser to adjust to your prescription, the doctor will then cut a flap in the cornea of your eye. The second step is using the laser which involves focusing on light while the doctor watches your eyes through a microscope. During this time, the laser is sending pulsating light to your cornea. The exact time of the procedure depends on your eyes; the stronger the prescription, the longer it will take.
The AftermathAt the end of the procedure, a shield will be placed over your eyes, which will prevent you from rubbing them -- even though you may want to rub your eyes, resist the urge, as it could cause damage while the cornea heals. The shield also prevents you from putting direct pressure on your eye while you sleep, and keeps your eye from accidentally being hit or poked. Expect to wear the shield for up to four weeks at night, and don't plan on playing contact or strenuous sports for one month after the procedure. There may also be some tearing and sensitivity, or dryness, in your eyes, and don't be alarmed if the whites of your eye look red or bloodshot. LASIK can cause symptoms which interfere with your night vision for the first few days. These symptoms should improve considerably, however, within the first few days after surgery. Dan Myers, in his late 30s, has been wearing glasses since he was eight years old; he is getting the surgery next week. Myers is a combination of nervous and excited: "I will be able to get up in the morning and not have to look for my glasses," says Myers. He says his daughters are a little worried that "daddy will look different without the glasses." But Myers, will be thrilled to gain better peripheral vision and not have to wear protective glasses while playing basketball and baseball. Most insurance companies do not cover the surgery, as it is often considered cosmetic. Prices ranges from approximately $1,600-$2,000 per an eye. So next time your glasses break or you get sick of waking up blind in the morning, think about getting LASIK.
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