LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) is a safe, reliable and painless way to improve vision and reduce or eliminate the need to wear glasses or contact lenses. LASIK changes the way light is bent, or refracted, as it passes through the cornea so that it focuses properly on the retina and objects can be seen clearly.
During the procedure, a device called a microkeratome cuts a thin flap in the surface of the cornea. Patients are given anesthesia so they can’t feel the instruments. Next, the flap is lifted and an excimer laser beam reshapes the cornea’s curvature to improve vision. The flap is then closed and covered with a protective contact lens.
The entire procedure takes only 15-30 minutes per eye, and patients are often ready to leave within an hour or two. The flap heals on its own within a few days with no need for stitches.
A common complaint after surgery is sensitivity to light, but this will subside. Antibiotic eye drops will be prescribed for a few days, along with any other post-operative instructions. Full recovery takes a few weeks.
Ptosis (Droopy Eyelid) Surgery
Ptosis is a condition in which the eyelid droops. It is caused by a weakness or separation of muscles deep within the eyelid. Ptosis does not involve excess skin or tissue in the eyelid (a condition called dermatochalasis). It is usually a result of aging, but some people develop ptosis after eye surgery or an injury, and some children are born with the condition. A brief surgical procedure can eliminate the drooping. Many young patients with mild to moderate ptosis do not need surgery early in life. Patients who are also suffering from excess skin may choose to undergo blepharoplasty at the same time as ptosis repair. Children with ptosis should be examined regularly to check for other vision problems including amblyopia (“lazy eye”), refractive errors and muscular diseases.
A pterygium is a raised growth in the surface of the eye (the conjunctiva) made mostly of collagen and tiny red capillaries. They are usually caused by extended exposure to sunlight. They may remain stable after appearing, or they may grow and affect vision.
Treatments include eye drops for irritation and redness, protection from sunlight and dust to prevent the pterygium from worsening, and occasionally steroids to lessen inflammation.
If the pterygium grows into the central cornea, surgical removal is recommended. This prevents the pterygium from altering the cornea’s shape and affecting vision.
Asian Double Eyelid Surgery
Cosmetic eyelid surgery is the most common elective procedure among people of Asian ethnicity in the United States and in Asia. The procedure can thin a full eyelid, alter the shape or height of the upper or lower eyelid, decrease a pronounced epicanthal fold (the flap of tissue on the nasal side of the eyelid), or create a natural-looking crease in a double eyelid, which occurs in about 50-70% of the Asian population.
A common misconception is that blepharoplasty is performed to “Westernize” the eyes in an attempt to look “less Asian.” While each person’s reasons for having surgery are unique, this kind of cultural dissatisfaction is almost never a factor. Rather, the overall goal is to help the patient look and feel his or her best by changing the eyelid shape to achieve a more attractive or younger look, balance the facial features and boost self-confidence.
The procedure itself varies depending on the techniques used as well as the patient’s goals and eyelid anatomy. Generally, the surgery is performed under local anesthesia. An incisional approach is usually taken for double eyelid surgery, in which the skin and sometimes muscle are trimmed and some fat may be removed. In some cases, particularly for lower eyelid surgery, a transconjunctival (minimally invasive) approach is possible. Occasionally, the physician may be able to employ a non-incisional method using permanent sutures. Incisions and sutures are carefully placed to minimize visible scarring.
The new crease will likely appear to be too high immediately following surgery, but it will lower as the skin heals and softens, and stabilizes at about 4-6 weeks. The last of the swelling should subside after six months.
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