Laser Eye Surgery

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This procedure uses a laser to change the curvature of the cornea (outer window of the eye).

LASIK (laser in-situ keratomileusis) has become the procedure of choice for most patients due to speedy recovery and fewer side effects.
Most LASIK patients notice a significant improvement in their vision soon after surgery. LASIK removes tissue within the cornea to treat low to high levels of near sightedness, far sightedness and astigmatism.

Treatment of nearsightedness: the steep cornea is made flatter by removing tissue from the center of the cornea. This moves the point of focus from in front of the retina to directly on the retina.

Treatment of farsightedness: the flat cornea is made steeper by removing tissue outside of the central optical zone of the cornea. This moves the point of focus from behind the retina to directly on the retina

Treatment of astigmatism: the cornea is made more spherical like a soccer ball instead of a rugby ball. This eliminates multiple focusing points within the eye and creates one point of focus on the retina. Astigmatism can be treated at the same time as nearsightedness and farsightedness.

LASIK is for those who:

  • want to reduce or eliminate their dependence on glasses or contact lenses
  • are at least 18 years of age
  • have had a stable eye prescription for at least one year
  • have no health issues affecting their eyes
  • have no signs of glaucoma or significant cataracts

What to expect:

After arriving at the Cape Eye Hospital you will be checked in and a sedative may be offered to help you relax. You will then be prepared for surgery. The area around your eye will be cleaned.
Eye drops will be used to numb your eye. When your eye is completely numb, an eyelid holder will be placed between your eyelids to keep you from blinking during the procedure.

The doctor will create a hinged flap of thin corneal tissue with the aid of a microkeratome, and will gently fold the flap out of the way. During this process, you may feel a little pressure, but no pain. You will be asked to look directly at a target light while the laser reshapes your cornea. The Excimer laser will be programmed with the information gathered in your pre-operative examination. The laser treatment will be completed in less than two minutes, depending on the amount of correction needed. Finally the protective layer will be folded back into place where it will heal without the need for stitches.
After your procedure, your eye(s) will be examined with a slit lamp microscope. You will also be given additional eye drops, and your eyes may be shielded for protection. Your vision will be a little blurry at first, so someone will need to drive you home. Approximately 4 to 8 hours of discomfort are to be expected.
The following day, you will go to your doctor’s surgery for a standard examination. Most patients are able to resume their normal activities the next day.