Get Back on the Road With LASIK

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Losing your driving privileges for many people is like having their freedom cut off. It is inconvenient when you're unable to go where you want, when you want. It can be especially frustrating if your loss of driving privileges is because of issues with your vision. One of the smartest things you can do to get yourself back safely on the road is to find out if you're a candidate for LASIK surgery and the good news is, most people are.

Are You A Candidate for LASIK?

A trained ophthalmologist performs LASIK surgery; that is a person that has completed medical schooling to become an MD and has completed four more years of educational training to receive certification as an ophthalmologist. If you suffer from myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) or astigmatism you may be a good candidate for LASIK. You need to be at least 18 years old to ensure that your eye has fully matured. Your eye health and vision must have been stable within the past year. No marked lessening of vision. Eye injuries or infections should not have occurred in the year before surgery.

Diseases that affect your immune system such as Lupus or conditions such as previous herpes infections in the eye area can lessen your chances as a candidate for LASIK surgery. Nursing and pregnant women are not candidates for LASIK surgery because of the hormonal changes in a woman's body that can cause temporary changes to the shape of the eye.

How Does LASIK Work?

LASIK is a simple procedure that has been in practice since a Columbian doctor discovered a successful way to alter the shape of the cornea by using a few thin cuts that resulted in re-shaping of the cornea and better vision. This procedure remained unchanged until the early 1980's when it was discovered that an ultraviolet laser could etch tissue around cornea with no heat damage whatsoever. This method was practiced until 1991 when the first LASIK surgery was performed. The lasers that are used in the LASIK surgery of today are modernized versions of the original ultraviolet lasers used in the earlier surgeries.

LASIK is a simple two-step procedure. In the first step a flap of corneal tissue is created through a thin cut with a laser. The process of lifting the flap back can cause discomfort for a few people but most people report it as slight. The second part of the procedure involves removal of the tissue with a second laser and during this part of the procedure; the patient's vision becomes blurry and most people report only seeing a white light. There is no sensation of burning or heat felt by the patient.

Does LASIK Hurt?

In a word: no. The LASIK surgery is performed with the patient fully awake. The patient will usually be given a mild sedative to relax them and eyedrops containing a local anesthetic are used. After the surgery, patients are given antibiotic and anti-inflammatory eyedrops. These are used for a couple of weeks after surgery. Patients are also given a pair of dark goggles to protect their eyes from exposure to bright light and the patient will need to wear a protective shield over their eyes to prevent touching or rubbing their eyes in their sleep. There have been many surveys conducted with people that have undergone LASIK and the satisfaction rate runs from 92% to 98% that are very satisfied with the outcome. The unsatisfied minority tended to fall into the group that had qualities that made them not prime candidates for surgery but opted to have the surgery anyway.

Now the you know the basics of LASIK, if you have lost your ability to drive because of vision that cannot be corrected through traditional methods, consider LASIK as way that cannot only get your driving privileges back, it can also free you from contacts and glasses!