Lasik Eye Surgery - What You Should Know

By: Dana Siconolfi

Every year millions of nearsighted people decide that they're tired of wearing glasses and begin looking for a more permanent solution to their eye problems. In the not too distant past, the solution would have meant going through a procedure called radial keratotomy in which incisions to the eye are made with a precision calibrated diamond knife.

Nowadays, most of these people are gaining 20/20 vision with the relatively new procedure of Lasik eye surgery. It was only a bit more than ten years ago that the FDA approved Summit Technology's excimer laser to be used to correct nearsightedness.

So what exactly is Lasik eye surgery? The acronym "Lasik" stands for Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis. Lasik actually combines two distinct vision techniques for correcting the eyesight.

First, a knife, called a microkeratome is used to cut a flap in the cornea. The cornea is the translucent front part of the eye that acts as a protection for the eye. It also acts as the lens of the eye and controls the entry of light into the eye. The way light passes through the eye determines how well we are able to see the outside world. Common eye defects such as near sightedness are caused by refraction errors, that is, errors in the way light passes through the cornea.

The second vision technique used in Lasik is a computer-controlled laser which is used to vaporize a portion of the stroma, one of the five layers of the cornea. The stroma is, by far, the largest part of the cornea. It is essential to controlling the refraction of light through the cornea.

Parts of the stroma are vaporized to flatten the cornea. The amount of stroma that needs to be vaporized depends on your degree of nearsighteness. Once this is done, the cornea flap is replaced to its original position.

The combination of these two techniques allow surgeons to precisely correct the refractive errors in the eye that prevent you from having 20/20 vision.

Even though millions of people every year opt for Lasik surgery as a way of completely eliminating their dependence on glasses, refractive surgery is not to be taken lightly. Eye surgery is not trivial.

You will need to find not just a clinic, but also a physician who is experienced in vision corrective surgery. In fact, finding the right physician to perform your Lasik surgery is the most important decision you will make. Remember, you are about to place your future vision in the hands of whichever specialist you choose.

This is an exciting time for medical discoveries. The rate of new discoveries in the medical world are taking place at a dizzying pace. New and improved methods of surgery techniques are discovered and implemented everyday. You will want to find a doctor who keeps abreast of the latest developments in refractive eye surgery techniques and who is an active participant in the operations themselves.

If you take the time to choose the right physician, one you feel comfortable with and who is able to explain to your satisfaction, both the benefits and the risks involved, you should have no problems with your Lasik surgery.

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Dana Siconolfi is a freelance writer who writes articles relating to into - how laser eye surgery works as well as other health related topics. Visit her site at .

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