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LASIK is a safe trusted treatment that has been used for over 25 years to help people out of their glasses and contact lenses. Here are 12 interesting facts about LASIK. 

1. LASIK stands for Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis, which literally means "sculpting" of the "cornea".

2. LASIK Eye Surgery is painless.

3. LASIK surgery is very quick and the actual procedure only takes minutes to complete (both eyes). The laser part is over in seconds.

4. LASIK can correct: Myopia = near sightedness; Hyperopia = far sightedness; Astigmatism = irregular shaped cornea; and Presbyopia = loss of reading vision.

5. Up to 98% of people who wear glasses or contact lenses could be suitable candidates for Laser Eye Surgery.

6. LASIK can greatly improve vision without glasses and the majority of people can see 20/20 the next day after the procedure.

7. LASIK is very safe. There is more risk of vision loss from infection using contact lens than with LASIK.

8. The excimer laser used in LASIK cannot burn your eyes or skin. The laser is in fact cold and does not heat the eye.

9. A number of celebrities and sports stars have had LASIK done, including Lydia Ko, Elton John, Brad Pitt, Nicole Kidman, Kim Kardashian and Richard Branson.

10. Laser Eye Surgery isn’t just for those who wear glasses for everyday use. Reading vision can be easily treated with LASIK using a procedure called “Laser Blended Vision”

11. LASIK unfortunately is not for everyone - LASIK is not recommended for people with severe dry eyes and corneal disorders such as Keratoconus.

12. LASIK has been around for over 25 years and was first introduced in 1990, and became FDA approved in the United States in 1999.

Glossary

Astigmatism irregular defocus, or an eye that is ‘more rugby ball shaped than football shaped.’ The first number in your prescription for glasses describes the amount of long or short sight. The second number describes the amount of astigmatism. Most of us have at least some astigmatism, and a small amount can even help extend the range of activities you can do without reading glasses when you get older.

Cornea the clear part of the eye wall at the front of the eye. Two thirds of the focusing power of the eye is from the cornea.

Excimer laser this type of laser removes tissue by non-thermal vaporisation (photoablation). Excimer lasers are extremely accurate and do not damage the surrounding tissues.

Hyperopia long sight. People with hyperopia typically have good vision as young adults. As they get older, they find themselves reliant on glasses for reading, and then for the distance vision too. Younger people are able to compensate for hyperopia by accommodation. The amount of hyperopia is shown by a positive number in your spectacle prescription.

Keratoconus (keh-rah-toe-cone-us) is a weakness in the cornea (the clear dome-shaped window at the front of your eye). The normal curvature of the cornea helps to focus the image onto the light processing layer (retina) at the back of the eye. In keratoconus, your cornea becomes weaker and thinner. As a result of the thinning, the normal round shape of the cornea becomes distorted and a cone-shaped bulge develops due to the pressure inside the eye. The cone curvature in keratoconus leads to a blurred image on the retina.

Laser blended vision is laser refractive surgery using the same femtosecond and excimer laser machines as in LASIK. It corrects the dominant eye mainly for distance vision and the non-dominant eye mainly for near vision, with the depth of the field of each eye being increased.  By increasing the depth of your visual field, the brain merges the two images which creates a “blend zone”. This zone is a focus for both eyes overlapping and working together, which allow you to see near, middle and distance vision removing the need for glasses altogether.

Laser eye surgery correction of sight using excimer and/or femtosecond lasers to alter the curvature and focusing power of the cornea.

LASIK (laser in situ keratomileusis) this is the commonest form of laser vision correction in which a thin protective flap is created using a femtosecond laser. The protective flap is hinged aside by the surgeon before optical reshaping of the cornea using an excimer laser. The flap is then replaced, and adheres without stitches, keeping the corneal skin layer intact and giving a fast visual recovery.

Myopia short sight. People with myopia are able to see up close but not in the distance. They typically first need glasses as school age children. The amount of myopia is shown as a negative number in your spectacle prescription.

Presbyopia age related loss of reading vision and the ability to focus on a near object without help from glasses.

20/20 visual acuity is the main measurement of how well we can see and is tested by asking you to read down a chart which has smaller letters on each line. The lower you can read, the better your visual acuity is. Measurements are expressed as a fraction. If your visual acuity is 6/6 (normal) then you can see at 6 meters what a normally sighted person can see at 6 meters. If your vision is 6/9 you can see at 6 meters what a normally sighted person can see from 9 meters away etc. In the USA, the same measurement is made in feet, with 6 meters being roughly 20 feet. Many people are familiar with the American definition of normal ’20/20’ vision. This is the same as 6/6 vision in the UK or NZ measurement.