LASIK surgery is a special type of ophthalmic surgery that allows people to be rid of glasses and other corrective material. The surgery involves cutting a flap of corneal tissue -, the curved, transparent, frontal outer layer of the eye – and then using a laser to curve the inside of the cornea to cause a change in refraction. By changing the curvature of the inner cornea, the light that enters the eye is refracted differently. For those with vision impairments, this procedure allows for restoration of vision that typically requires contact lenses or glasses. This surgery has a high success rate typically and many customers are left satisfied.
As with any surgery, ophthalmologists (eye surgeons) do screen patients to see if they are suitable or not. Despite the potential life-improving advances the surgery offers, not everyone can take advantage of these benefits and others may be too risky for surgery. First, the ophthalmologist has to determine whether the vision deficiencies can be corrected by LASIK surgery. LASIK surgery only works on patients that have visual problems solely due to refractive error corrected by glasses or contact lenses. Vision problems from another medical problem is not amenable to correction via LASIK surgery. In addition, some medical conditions may make LASIK surgery a higher risk. People with several medical problems, such as uncontrolled diabetes and history of stroke, may not be good candidates for surgery due to their medical problems interfering with the healing and success rate of surgery. People with poor life expectancies are also not warranted to be good LASIK candidates due to limited benefit of surgery and the risk of complications during the actual surgery. Patients also over a certain age may not be a candidate for LASIK as well. Last, some patients may have refractive error so severe that LASIK surgery will not do any good.
A surgical evaluation has to be done by a licensed ophthalmologist. Luckily, many ophthalmologists offer free LASIK evaluations for people who are interested in the surgery. This is more true for ophthalmologists in private practice. The evaluation typically involves a thorough ophthalmology exam and review of medical conditions that may make one more susceptible to complications during or after LASIK surgery. With advances in LASIK technology coming out every few years, different evaluations can be made for different LASIK techniques with advantages and drawbacks customized for each person evaluated. The ophthalmologist will then give the person a choice of whether to have the surgery or not, after the risks and benefits have been explained. LASIK surgery is considered cosmetic, so some insurance companies may not pay the full amount for surgery.