What Happens During iLASIK Eye Surgery?

iLASIK (“laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis”) is an outpatient refractive surgery procedure that treats nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.

Who is a Good Candidate for iLASIK?

Candidates considering this procedure should meet the following requirements:

  • You should be at least 21 years old.
  • You should not undergo this procedure if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • You should not have this procedure if you are taking certain prescription drugs such as Accutane, Cardarone, Imitrex, or oral prednisone.
  • Your eyes must be healthy and your prescription should be stable. If you have nearsightedness, make sure your condition has stabilized before your procedure. Nearsightedness may continue to increase through mid to late 20s.
  • You should be in good health. iLASIK is not recommended for patients with diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, glaucoma, herpes infections of the eye, or cataracts.

How Does the iLASIK Procedure Work?

iLASIK is commonly performed in a reclined position under a surgical device called an excimer laser in an outpatient office. To prepare for the surgery, the eye is numbed with a few drops of topical anesthetic. An eyelid holder is placed between the eyelids to keep them open during the procedure. A suction ring is placed on the eye lifts to flatten the cornea and help keep the eye from moving. You may feel pressure from the eyelid holder and suction ring but mild.

Once the cornea is flattened, a hinged flap of corneal tissue is created using an automated microsurgical device, either a laser or blade. This corneal flap is lifted and folded back, then the excimer laser is positioned correctly to the center of the eye. As the excimer laser sculpts the corneal tissue, you will focus your look at a special pinpoint light called a fixation or target light. The corneal flap is then placed back into position. Stitches will not be necessary.

Risk and Benefits of LASIK Eye Surgery

iLASIK, like any surgery, has potential risks and complications that should be carefully considered. Although rare in occurrence, risks associated with LASIK/iLASIK Eye Surgery may include:

  • Corneal infection
  • Corneal scarring or permanent problems with the cornea’s shape, making it difficult to wear contact lenses
  • Decrease in contrast sensitivity
  • Dry eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Patches of red or pink in the white of the eye

Recovery and Post-Operative Care

After the procedure, you may experience burning, itching, or a feeling that something is in your eye. This is temporary and lasts no more than 6 hours. An eye shield or patch will be placed over the eye to protect the flap until it has enough time to heal (usually overnight). It is very important to refrain from rubbing the eyes after the surgery, and keeping the eyes closed will help the healing process.

Vision may be blurry or hazy the day of surgery but will improve by the next day. If these symptoms worsen before your scheduled follow-up appointment (usually 24-48 hours after surgery), call your doctor immediately.

Do not drive until your vision has improved and wound has healed. Avoid swimming, hot tubs, contact sports, etc. A designated driver should be arranged to drive you home after the procedure. It may take three to six months after the surgery for the improvements in vision to fully stabilize.

Are Results Permanent?

iLASIK eye surgery offers numerous benefits and can dramatically improve your quality of life. While most people achieve 20/20 vision after the surgery, results do vary. Some people may still need to wear glasses or contact lenses following the procedure, though your prescription level will be much lower than before.

A small percentage of patients will need LASIK enhancement, a touch up procedure to achieve acceptable visual acuity. If needed, this procedure typically takes place a few months after the iLASIK surgery.

If you are over 40, reading glasses may still be needed because of normal age-related loss of vision called presbyopia.

While iLASIK surgery has a high success rate, it is important that you discuss all facets of the procedure with your surgeon prior to scheduling a date. To find out more about iLASIK or to discuss if it’s the right solution for you, contact Dr. Ghosheh of Advanced Eye Medical.