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GET THE FACTS ABOUT LASIK EYE SURGERY

Your eye is unique—as personal as your fingerprint or DNA. Similarly, you have unique vision care needs for which there may be several treatment options. If you’ve ever specifically wondered about LASIK, here are a few things you should know.

HOW LASIK WORKS1
At the start of the LASIK procedure, an eye surgeon will create a flap in the eye that is folded back. The surgeon then uses a laser to reshape the cornea and correct focusing problems. LASIK may reduce or eliminate the need for corrective lenses for people with the following conditions:

NEARSIGHTEDNESS (MYOPIA)
People who are nearsighted can see nearby objects clearly, but have difficulty seeing objects at a distance. It is caused by too much curvature of the cornea.

FARSIGHTEDNESS (HYPEROPIA)
People who are farsighted have blurred vision when looking at things up close, but can see objects far away clearly. It is caused by too little curvature of the cornea.

ASTIGMATISM
People with astigmatism have blurry vision at all distances. It is caused by an irregular curvature of the cornea.

WHAT TO EXPECT2
If you decide you want to have a LASIK procedure, the first step is to schedule a pre-operative evaluation. At your appointment, the doctor will perform a complete eye exam, take measurements of your eyes and ask about your lifestyle and medical history to determine if you are a good candidate for LASIK.

The actual LASIK procedure usually takes less than 30 minutes. The doctor will put numbing drops in your eyes to make you more comfortable during the procedure as you may feel some slight pressure. After the procedure, you may experience some mild discomfort or pain, and your eyes may itch, burn or feel like there is something in them. Your vision will probably be hazy or blurry, and you may experience sensitivity to light, glare, starbursts or haloes around lights, or the whites of your eye may look red or bloodshot. These symptoms should improve considerably within the first few days after surgery. It may take up to three to six months for your vision to stabilize after surgery.

DO YOUR RESEARCH
Ongoing improvements in laser technology and surgical techniques have made LASIK safer and more effective. However, like all surgical procedures, LASIK has risks. So be sure to find an experienced, board-certified ophthalmologist and discuss all the potential risks of the procedure before making a decision.


1 U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Medical Devices. What should I expect before, during and after surgery? http://www.fda.gov/medicaldevices/productsandmedicalprocedures/surgeryandlifesupport/lasik/ucm061270.htm. Accessed April 2, 2014
2 Mayo Clinic. LASIK eye surgery. What you can expect. http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/lasik-eye-surgery/basics/what-you-can-expect/prc-20019041. Accessed October 31, 2014.

Information provided is for general background purposes and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment by a trained professional. You should always consult your physician about any healthcare questions you may have, especially before trying a new medication, diet, fitness program, or approach to healthcare issues.
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