I have finally decided to go through with the LASIK surgery. I have actually convinced my parents to prepone the surgery to this December rather than wait till the summer break. Hopefully, if I get placed earlier, I will be able to return home in time and be free of the spectacles.

LASIK is a slightly evolved treatment which alters the shape of the eye. It is irreversible procedure. So, one must be aware of the after effects of the surgery. There are chances of things going wrong, and sometimes, the aberration may not be corrective and the patient might just have to live with it for the rest of his life.

There is this hospital in Hyderabad – LVPEI (L V Prasad Eye Institute), which has a good team of doctors to perform the surgery and take care of the post-operative problems. LASIK is recommended only for patients over 19 years of age provided their lens power has not changed for at least two years. A preliminary test is performed to determine the thickness of the cornea. Using this information, the surgeon calculates the amount and locations of corneal tissue to be removed during the operation. This was the easy part and it took roughly fifteen minutes to compile the reports.

Next came the meeting with the doctor who would actually be performing the surgery.  Dr. Prashant Garg let us know the pros and cons of the medical procedure. Well, on second thought, he only told us the cons. He listed out the most common side effects and wanted me to be mentally prepared and ready before I agreed to the surgery. I will list the details here.

The most common complication from refractive surgery is the incidence “dry eyes”. In some cases, this may be permanent.

There are also disturbing visual side effects such as halos, double vision (ghosting), loss of contrast sensitivity and glare. Usually it takes about 6 – 8 months before the side effects are cured, but in a few cases it may take longer. However, there will definitely be a decrease of the quality of the vision.

The only thing worries me is the dryness induced after the surgery. As I work a lot on a computer, the side effect will be more prominent in my case. I shall have to use a liquid ointment to keep my eyes wet. And to live with it for the rest of my life would be too great a risk, nonetheless, a risk that I am prepared to take.

The surgery itself does not take long. The patient is awake and is administered tropical anesthesia. In the first step, a flap is made. When the flap is lifted, the vision fades and becomes blurred – patient sees only white light surrounding the orange light of the laser. The lasers remove layers of tissues. Then finally the flap is repositioned. The patient gets to go home immediately afterwards. To allow the flap to heal and prevent it from slipping, the patient is advised to sleep. A pair of goggles is also prescribed to shield the eyes from bright light and prevent accidental rubbing of the eyes.

There is a 98 % chance of glasses-free vision, i.e., the patient need not wear glasses. The chances of a perfect vision are however just 92 %. Either way, you have to be prepared for the side effects and learn to live with them for the coming few months.

Abundant resources are available online about LASIK. I would certainly recommend any one opting for LASIK to first familiarise themselves with the details and get prepared psychologically.

Remember, this is an irreversible change. So be absolutely sure before you opt for it.

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