LASIK eye surgery takes around an hour for each eye and is done under local anaesthetic. You will be awake throughout, but you will not be able to see through the eye that’s being treated.
- A very precise cutting instrument called at microkeratome cuts a small flap in the surface of the cornea to expose the middle.
- Small and very carefully measured amounts of the cornea are then cut away using a computer-controlled excimer laser. This is a painless process and uses a ‘cool’ light.
- The flap is then repositioned and stays in place by suction without stitches.
- Antibiotic drops are added to prevent infection and the eye is patched for 24 hours.
Who can have LASIK?
LASIK eye surgery can be used to treat short sightedness, long sightedness, and astigmatism. However, it cannot treat age-related long sightedness, as this is due to problems with the lens not the cornea.
You should wait until your prescription has been stable for at least 12-18 months before you have the treatment, or you may need further surgery as your sight changes. For this reason, patients should be at least 21 years old.
You cannot have LASIK surgery if you have diabetes, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have a condition that affects your immune system, such as HIV or rheumatoid arthritis.
LASIK success rate
The success rate varies depending on the severity of your eyesight problem. In a recent review by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE), 63% to 79% of people with mild-moderate short sightedness had normal vision after LASIK treatment. However, in patients with moderate-strong short sightedness, this figure dropped to 26% to 36%, demonstrating that this procedure is not as well suited to these patients.