If your vision’s blurring and you hate the idea of using glasses or contact lenses, you should consider Lasik surgery as an option. Short for Laser Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis, this walk-away procedure is used to treat near sightedness (myopia), far sightedness (hyperopia) and cylindrical (astigmatism) refractive errors.
Lasik is a walk-away surgery where the patient does not need to be hospitalised. Using a microkeratome, a cutting tool with a metal blade, a hinged flap in the cornea is cut. The flap is folded back and an excimer laser is used to reshape the cornea from the newly exposed surface. Then the flap is put back in place, resulting in a reshaped cornea that produces better vision.
To be suitable for traditional lasik surgery, a person should be 18 years old to ensures that the eye has matured and developed properly, must have a stable vision, should not have any concurrent eye infection, cataract or eye injury, should not have a thin cornea, and suffer from an autoimmune disorder.
The entire procedure takes 15 minutes and is almost painless. The cost of a lasik procedure ranges between Rs 30,000 and 45,000 for both eyes.
Blade-free lasik uses two lasers instead of one, with the first laser replacing microkeratome blade used in conventional surgery. Then second excimer laser is used to reshape the cornea. The blade-free technique makes surgical vision correction possible for people who have steep, flat or thin corneas and not suited for traditional lasik surgery.
NASA has recommended the blade-free procedure for its astronauts as it can withstand the toughest physical conditions, including high G-forces. The cost of a blade-free lasik is between Rs 90,000 -Rs 1 lakh for both eyes.
Avoid splashing water or rubbing the eyes for a few weeks after surgery. You also need to wear sunglasses when you step outdoors. Other than that, you can follow your normal routine from the very next day, with restrictions on TV-viewing or computer use.
(Dr Sachdev is the director, Centre for Sight, New Delhi)