Many people worldwide have benefited from LASIK (Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis), a popular refractive surgery procedure. The procedure is safe and effective in correcting nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. This article discusses the history of LASIK, its technology, the number of operations performed by the country, and its possibilities for correcting refractive errors.
Origins of LASIK
In the early 20th century, corneal reshaping was used to fix vision problems. However, LASIK surgery was possible due to this method of precise corneal reshaping.
The first LASIK was performed in Milan, Italy, in 1989 by DrLucio Buratto. To access the underlying tissue, Dr Buratto used a microkeratome (to create a thin flap in the cornea). His next step was to reshape the cornea using an excimer laser to correct myopia.
Technology Used in LASIK
Laser eye surgery (LASIK) is a two-step procedure to fix vision problems using advanced technology. In the first step, an incision is made in the cornea, followed by a thin flap lifted to reveal the underlying tissue. These procedures can be performed with either a microkeratome or a femtosecond laser.
In the second phase, corneal reshaping is performed using the excimer laser. The laser removes precisely measured amounts of tissue based on the patient’s prescription to correct refractive errors. In just a few billionths of a second, the laser reshapes the cornea without producing heat or damaging nearby tissues. No pain is involved, and the procedure takes just a few minutes.
After reshaping the cornea, the flap is replaced, and the eye can heal. In most cases, patients experience improvements in their vision immediately following the procedure, as the cornea’s surface heals within a few hours.
Number of Procedures by Country
There are millions of people who undergo LASIK surgery every year around the world. According to the International Society of Refractive Surgery, the United States leads the world in LASIK procedures, with more than 700,000 performed yearly. Chinese, Indian, and South Korean countries also have a high rate of LASIK procedures.
The Types of Refractive Errors LASIK Can Correct
LASIK is an effective method of correcting common vision problems, including nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.
A nearsighted person has an eye that is too long or a too steep cornea that causes myopia or nearsightedness. Seeing distant objects becomes blurry because light focuses in front of the retina. In LASIK, tissue from the cornea’s centre is removed, enabling light to focus correctly on the retina and correcting nearsightedness.
A farsighted eye, also called hyperopia, is characterized by a short eyeball or a flat cornea. When looking at close objects, light is focused behind the retina, leading to blurry vision. The function of LASIK is to make the cornea steeper so that light can properly focus on the retina by removing tissue from its periphery.
Due to astigmatism, light is focused on multiple points on the retina due to the cornea’s shape resembling a football rather than a basketball. Consequently, vision at all distances is distorted or blurry. In LASIK surgery, the cornea is reshaped into a more spherical shape, so that light can focus on one point on the retina instead of scattered.
As well as correcting these common refractive errors, LASIK can also correct presbyopia, a condition related to aging that affects the ability to see close objects. The process is typically performed with monovision, which involves correcting one eye for distance vision, and the other eye for close-up vision.
Many factors determine whether LASIK is suitable for a given patient, including their age, prescription, and overall eye health. Individuals who are interested in LASIK should have a comprehensive eye examination.
Innovations in LASIK Technology
LASIK technology has evolved significantly since it was introduced in the late 1990s, and innovations are continuously developed to make the procedure safer and more effective. LASIK technology has recently made a number of advancements, including
LASIK is customized more precisely using a 3D eye map created by advanced computer mapping technology. The outcomes of vision surgery are better and there are fewer side effects.
This technique uses corneal topography, which measures the shape and curvature of the cornea, to guide the LASIK procedure. This can result in better outcomes for patients with irregular corneas or higher degrees of refractive error.
These lasers create the corneal flap in the first step of the LASIK procedure, replacing the traditional microkeratome. Femtosecond lasers offer greater precision and control, reducing the risk of complications and improving the procedure’s safety.
ReLEx SMILE (Small Incision Lenticule Extraction)
This new type of refractive surgery uses a femtosecond laser to create a small, disc-shaped piece of corneal tissue, which is then removed through a small incision. Lasik SMILE is less invasive than LASIK and may have fewer side effects, making it a good option for some patients.
ReLEx SMILE indication range for myopia and astigmatism
Sphere: -1.00 D to -10.00 D
Cylinder: -0.75 D to -3.00 D
MRSE up to -10.00 D