LASIK laser eye surgery: advantages and disadvantages

Visual disorders comprise a set of alterations of the refractory media of the eyeball. In most cases, magnifying glasses or contact lenses are used to treat these conditions. Another approach option is LASIK laser eye surgery, so we will tell you about its advantages and disadvantages below.

The refractive media of the eye, such as the lens and the cornea, work to reflect light rays correctly onto the retina in unaltered patients. However, in people with myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism, the cornea deflects light incorrectly.

LASIK or laser eye surgery keratomileusis in situ laser is a surgical procedure that offers very good results in correcting refractory alterations. In addition, it is an excellent alternative to conventional lenses.

Who may need laser eye surgery?

Today, LASIK surgery is used as a secondary and long-term treatment for light refractive defects on the retina. Patients who may require this procedure are those who manifest the following visual disturbances:

  • Myopia.
  • Farsightedness.
  • Astigmatism.

This procedure is usually recommended by the specialist doctor when evaluating the condition and characteristics of the eyeball. Nevertheless, LASIK laser eye surgery is not right for everyone. In fact, the American Academy of Ophthalmology establishes the following requirements for the selection of candidates:

  • Patient with 18 years or older, being ideal the 21 years.
  • Stable eye refraction over the past 12 months.
  • Refractory disorder that can be corrected with LASIK.
  • Corneas in good health, thick, with a correctable visual acuity greater than 6/18.

Similarly, it is essential that the patient does not present ocular and systemic pathologies that make the procedure difficult or compromise long-term health, such as cataracts, keratoconus, keratitis or advanced glaucoma. On the other hand, a study establishes that among the relative contraindications are a history of strabismus or amblyopia.

The criteria for accessing the surgery are specific, as it cannot be performed on anyone who requires it only for personal reasons.

How do I prepare for the procedure?

LASIK laser eye surgery is a outpatient surgical procedure that usually takes 15 to 30 minutes. However, it is still an invasion of the body, so it should not be taken lightly.

Some recommendations that should be taken into account when opting for this intervention are the following:

  • Assess expectations: It is vital to talk with the ophthalmologist and clarify what the results of the procedure will be. Most patients, after surgery, should continue to wear glasses when reading or driving at night.
  • Prepare for the cost: LASIK surgery is ambulatory and elective, so in most cases it is not paid for by insurance companies. In this sense, it is crucial to get the budget and adapt it to our resources.
  • Find a friend or family member to accompany you: You should consider that, at the end of the procedure, your vision may not have fully adapted or recovered. For this, it is ideal to have someone to accompany you and take you home later.
  • Avoid using beauty products before: It is essential not to use makeup, creams or lotions near the eyes on the day of surgery. In fact, the ophthalmologist may suggest a routine for cleaning the eyeball and its attachments the days before the procedure.
  • Keep calm: anxiety is inevitable. However, you should clear your mind of alarming thoughts and focus on the long-term benefits that the surgery will offer.

How is laser eye surgery?

The procedure can be performed in a specialist doctor's office or in a surgical center.. First, the ophthalmologist must explore the eyeball in detail to evaluate the refractory elements and establish the course of action.

Once at the center, the specialist will explain the procedure and guide you to the operation space. Inside the place, you will be asked to lie down in a reclining chair, lying down and looking up. The doctor may consider giving a pain reliever or anesthetic if you are very nervous.

To start anesthetic eye drops will be used in the eyeball, which will reduce the discomfort during the intervention. Then the specialist will place a speculum and a small suction ring that will hold the eye and prevent you from blinking.

Using a small laser or microkeratone, the surgeon will cut into the cornea and create a flap. Later, the doctor will fold the small flap back to gain access to the structures to be repaired.

The specialist will reshape parts of the cornea with a laser already programmed. When finished, you will put the fabric flap removed at first in place. It will adhere on its own in seconds, healing without the need for stitches.

During the procedure, you will be asked to fix your eyes on a point of light, in order to avoid eye movement as much as possible. Similarly, it is possible to recognize a slight odor when initiating corneal remodeling, which most patients define as the scent of burned hair.

The procedure is performed individually on each eyeball. In case of requiring the intervention of both eyes, the doctor usually schedules them the same day.

You can also read: Surgery for myopia: everything you need to know


Once LASIK eye laser surgery is completed, patients often report discomfort such as burning, dryness, or itching in the eyeball. For this, the specialist will prescribe eye drops that lubricate and reduce symptoms.

The doctor usually places a shield over the eye or requests to wear one when sleeping to facilitate the healing process. In addition, it is advisable to relax and rest after the procedure.

Recovery and stabilization of sight will occur gradually, so after 2 or 3 months you will see the real results. To do this, the doctor will arrange several subsequent appointments for reevaluation and follow-up.

It is important to take a couple of weeks to return to normal daily activities, especially if you play extreme sports or swimming. The use of cosmetics around the eyes should be postponed for a reasonable time.

Benefits of laser eye surgery

The main advantage of this procedure lies in the possibility of perform all daily activities without wearing glasses or contact lenses with magnification. In fact, after surgery, 90% of people get 20/20 and 20/40 vision without glasses.

It is a very effective procedure that has shown rapid postoperative stabilization, superior to other interventions of the same nature. What's more, it is associated with a low number of complications, such as opacities or cataracts.

Successful results are inversely related to the degree of initial eye disease. Therefore, if there was a low level of refractory damage, the favorable prognosis will be higher.

The laser procedure is quite effective. In fact, it is estimated that up to 90% of patients have marked improvement.

Read: Non-invasive method created to permanently correct vision

Possible risks and disadvantages

Like any other surgical procedure, LASIK laser eye surgery can also cause adverse symptoms and complications. Most conditions are temporary and usually go away in a matter of weeks or months..

Among the most frequent secondary manifestations associated with LASIK, the following stand out:

  • Eye pain
  • Dry eyes.
  • Blurry vision.
  • Burning or stinging in the eye.
  • Discomfort or sensitivity when looking directly at light.
  • Colored hoops around the lights.
  • Red eyes.
  • Eye infection

In some patients, the surgery has generated unfavorable corrections with worse visual results than before the interventioneven with magnifying glasses.

Similarly, it is not ruled out that the procedure can trigger, in very rare cases, loss of vision and permanent changes in the visual field.

An elective procedure not for everyone

LASIK laser eye surgery is one of the procedures with the highest success rate in correcting refractory disorders. However, when performing this type of intervention it is vital to assess what the pros and cons are.

So if you don't have any inconvenience in wearing glasses or there are no major consequences, you may not need to undergo refractory surgery. It is important to talk with the specialist doctor; he will be able to clarify doubts and provide the options that best suit what you are looking for.

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