For accuracy's sake, a few notes. First, it wasn't on people, but on pigs...and it wasn't even on a live pig, just a pig's eye. Second, I didn't actually do LASIK to correct the refractive error (nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism) of the pig's eye. What I did learn, was how to use a femtosecond laser, the step used in "bladeless LASIK" procedures.
- During a pre-procedure visit, the doctor and staff determine if the patient is a good candidate for LASIK and precisely the amount and type of treatment needed to correct vision.
- The patient arrives on the big day and is put at ease in the pre-procedure room. Their eyelashes and eyelids are cleaned, and numbing and antibiotic eye drops are placed in their eyes.
- In the procedure room, patient lays down and relaxes. The surgeon uses a computer to track the eye, ensuring that treatment is delivered as determined beforehand.
- A special femtosecond laser is used to create a very thin flap of the outer, central layer of cornea.
- The surgeon carefully lifts the flap by hand and pulls it back to reveal the treatment area of the cornea.
- Another computer-controlled excimer laser is then used to change the shape of the cornea to eliminate refractive error, providing clear vision for the patient.
- The flap is carefully replaced and begins healing without stitches.
- Several post-procedure evaluations are performed to ensure that the eyes are healthy and the vision is clear.
Since I co-manage LASIK, I get to do steps #1 and #8 regularly. And I have observed the rest of the steps in person several times, but I have NEVER gotten to do steps 4,5,6,and 7 - not even on pig eye. I still haven't done step 6, but 4, 5, and 7 were pretty cool. What I can say is this: I've always had tremendous respect for ophthalmologists that perform LASIK surgery. I look under the microscope at patient's eyes and see the results every day. But I have even more respect after lifting the LASIK flap and trying to smooth it back down without damaging it! Let me tell, it is a pretty delicate matter. Knowing that the pig didn't have to worry about the outcome certainly helped.
If you are interested in LASIK, or are wondering if you are a candidate, request an appointment with us or call 813-792-0637.
Nathan Bonilla-Warford, OD
Located in the Westchase area of Tampa.