Back to School with LASIK
Going back to school is a busy, exciting time. However, if you have a vision problem, you might feel self-conscious about eyeglasses, and contact lenses require daily cleaning and care. If you fall asleep with them in while cramming for a college exam, it can cause infections and other eye problems. So, where does that leave you?
Consider LASIK surgery for refractive errors that impact your near or far vision. How great would it be to wake up with clear vision just in time for the school year? If you play sports, run, or otherwise lead an active life, you can experience the freedom of staying in shape without the inconvenience of having your glasses fall off or your contact lenses pop out at inconvenient moments.
At Kleiman Evangelista Eye Centers of Texas, we’re happy to answer your questions about LASIK. So, keep reading to learn the basics and make a school eye exam to determine whether you can have the procedure in time for the first day of school.
What Is LASIK?
Laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) reshapes your cornea, removing a thin layer of tissue. This innovative surgery can give you back nearly perfect vision and as little as 30 minutes. Keep reading to learn more about what conditions the surgery can treat and what to expect in terms of recovery and improved vision.
The LASIK procedure treats the following eye conditions:
- Myopia (Nearsightedness)
- Hyperopia (Farsightedness)
Best of all, you can say goodbye to blurry vision with this outpatient procedure with minimal discomfort. Few things in life come with instant results. However, many patients report greatly improved vision immediately after LASIK eye surgery. The entire procedure takes under 10 minutes per eye, and you can relax and heal at home, not a hospital bed.
During LASIK surgery, the doctor first creates a flap on your cornea. Although you may feel A slight pressure, it will feel more uncomfortable than painful. During this part of the procedure, a special tool holds your eyelid open, which may also feel a little strange, without causing pain.
An Excimer laser uses a cool beam of light to reshape your eye. Your surgeon uses a computer with detailed maps of your eyes to perform the surgery.
So, although LASIK is technically considered surgery, it comes with much lower risks than many other types of surgery and the recovery times are fast, with fewer complications arising in most patients.
How LASIK Helps College Students
There are many reasons for college students to consider LASIK, and it all starts with a simple vision examination to determine your eligibility for the procedure. All the screen time you experienced in elementary and high school may have resulted in changes in your vision. Fortunately, most college-age students can regain nearly perfect eyesight with vision correction surgery.
- See right when you wake up. Forget about fumbling around for eyeglasses so you don’t trip over your feet. Most college students who undergo LASIK can see without a single contact lens or other visual aids.
- Saves money. Save money on contact lenses and cleaning supplies as well as prescription glass that can cost hundreds of dollars. (That’s a lot of pizza money.)
- Avoid contact lenses discomfort. After vision correction surgery, you won’t have to worry about getting a contact lens stuck if your eye or feeling that burning or itchy sensation that comes from leaving your contacts in for too long.
- Saves time. Besides seeing your eye doctor for a routine eye exam once a year, you don’t have to worry about picking up contacts, selecting frames and ordering eyeglasses or cleaning and keeping track of your vision correction devices.
- Don’t worry about how far or close you are to the board. After LASIK surgery, you can take your pick of seats at the back of the classroom if you want. You’ll be able to read the chalkboard, white board, or digital screen clearly (perhaps for the first time!)
While you may not need contacts or glasses, you’ll want to add eye drops to your list of back-to-school supplies. In many cases, clients report dry eyes as a side effect of the surgery. Staying hydrated and keeping natural tears handy typically leaves your eyes comfortable so you can enjoy life without blurred vision.
As you get ready for the new school year, you’ll probably need to shop for school supplies. However, you should also prioritize your eye care before facing significant time in front of digital screens working on assignments and studying for tests.
1. Quick Recovery Time
Many clients wonder about the recovery timeline following LASIK surgery. Fortunately, a quick recovery is one of the best parts of laser surgery for farsightedness, nearsightedness, or astigmatism. The vast majority of those who undergo LASIK completely recover within days. At the same time, you’ll probably notice a vast improvement in focus, clarity, and sharpness within three days. Many people return to work the next day. However, a certain degree of blurriness and vision fluctuation are perfectly normal for the first few days.
It may take up to three to six months to recover if you had severe astigmatism or farsightedness. Your eye doctor will provide an anticipated recovery timeline at your consultation. During this time, you may have to wear eyeglasses or contacts until your eyes have fully healed. Remember that everyone heals at their own pace and it’s important to follow up with your surgeon to make sure that your eyes are healing as expected.
2. Little to No Pain
You may wonder why LASIK causes little pain or irritation. During the procedure, your eye surgeon reshapes the cornea with a laser. However, they only work on a super thin layer of corneal tissue. The laser is so precise that the surgeon can make a very precise cut, limiting the damage to your eye.
You’ll receive a local anesthetic in preparation for the surgery. This comes in the form of eye drops that feel just like drops you would use to lubricate your eyes. However, these drops contain medicine that numb your eyes so that you don’t feel any pain during your vision correction surgery.
LASIK does not require sedation, so you don’t have to worry about receiving injections or losing consciousness. Instead, you’ll remain awake throughout the procedure. This lowers your risks by taking away the need for general anesthesia, which can leave you feeling groggy.
3. Long-term Solution
LASIK provides a long-term solution for vision loss. However, your vision may decline naturally as you age due to conditions such presbyopia or cataracts. With an annual vision screening you can stay receive a prescription for glasses or surgery, if needed.
Find Out If You’re a LASIK Candidate
You may wonder if you or your child would make a good candidate for LASIK. However, a child’s eyes are still developing, and LASIK patients have to be at least 18 years old. Refractive surgery is not suitable for everyone who wants it.
Here are the main criteria for LASIK eye surgery:
- 18 or older: If your child will turn 18 during the school year, mention their interest in LASIK at the child’s eye exam.
- Stable prescription for 2 to 3 years
- Stable vision for at least 12 months
- No history of corneal disease
- Not pregnant or nursing
- No history of autoimmune conditions
- Eyeglass prescription within certain limits set by your eye surgeon (This may vary depending on other health or eye health concerns.)
You also have to be in general good health and have good eye health. This means that you don’t have significant eye problems such as keratoconus (a progressive thinning of the cornea), diabetic retinopathy, or glaucoma, to name a few.
If you have dry eyes syndrome, it’s important to talk to your doctor about your eligibility for LASIK or alternative laser vision correction surgeries. A good candidate will also understand that they may have to wear eyeglasses to drive at night or read. That’s because everyone heals at their own rate, and you may have unique circumstances that impact your results.
It’s important to understand that if you are not a good candidate for LASIK, that’s not the end of the road in terms of vision correction surgery. There are other types of procedures, such as PRK, that might work just as well for your eyes.
The American Optometric Association stresses the importance of comprehensive eye exams, which can detect vision problems in school-aged children. Although candidates for LASIK surgery have to at least 18 years or older, it’s never too early to protect your child’s vision.
Do you still have questions or concerns regarding your eligibility or interest in LASIK?
Contact Kleiman Evangelista Eye Centers of Texas to find out more about scheduling a comprehensive eye exam just in time for the school season.
Kleiman Evangelista Eye Centers of Texas & Arlington ISD Team Up to Help Prepare Local Students for Future Medical Careers