Does Corneal Nerves Regrow After Lasik Surgery?

What is LASIK Surgery?

LASIK means Lasik Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis. This procedure includes changing the shape of the cornea using a tool called an excimer laser. The cornea is an essential part of the human body that covers the front of the eye. The cornea protects the inside structure of the eye. 75% of the eye’s focusing power depends on the cornea alone. The way the light enters the eye changes because of the cornea. Then, the lens focuses it further to make an Image on the retina. LASIK can be used as an alternative to spectacles and contact lenses.

During the Surgery, a very sharp and unique cutting blade is used. That blade is used to cut the flaps of the corneal area. After completing the Surgery, doctors put the flaps back in their initial position. We should not be panicked during the procedure. The cuts of flaps would be healed by themselves without stitches. The LASIK surgery is not painful and will probably not be inconvenient to the patient. It may be possible that when the Surgery is going on, you may feel a little pressure on the eyes. The usual duration of the Surgery is around or less than 30 minutes.


Does the eye heal completely after Surgery?

Many questions may pop into your mind regarding LASIK. But, no worries, we are just getting started with that. You may be brimming with inquiries related to the recovery of eyes. Like any other surgery, rest just after the LASIK surgery is crucial. If possible, it is recommended to take a nap once the process of the Surgery is completed. For faster and good recovery of the eyes, you need to take off some days from work. Doctors will give you a shield for your eyes, which you must use for some days. 

For many patients, there is zero pain after the Surgery. But it is normal to feel a slight burning or scratchy sensation in the eyes. But these signs should remain for a few hours after the Surgery, not more than that. For the whole day, you may experience a vision change in your eyes. You may notice a few dry eyes and fluctuating vision in the first month. You may feel like rubbing your eyes to relieve them. Be aware that if these post-surgery problems cause trouble to you, that exactly means you need to visit a doctor.


How much damage is caused to the eyes?

In LASIK, any kind of complication, like permanent vision loss, is very rare. But you might see some temporary side effects like dry eyes, chronic pain, eye infections, detached retinas, and some visual problems, though temporary, like glare. These problems after Surgery are very usual. And most probably, these will be cured by themselves in a few weeks. 1 or 2 people in 100 patients find it a long-term issue. That’s why after Surgery, you need to take extreme care of your eyes.

It is important to note that any damage to the corneal nerves during the LASIK surgery may permanently damage the tear duct. That is why you may lose the ability to produce tears. There are also some age-related problems because the lens is stiff and rigid. And lenses become unable to focus on what is close. The condition is commonly known as “Presbyopia.” It happens with almost everyone. And this is the common cause of the aging process.


Time required for healing

LASIK is the most common eye surgery. They are generally used to correct the refractive errors in the eyes. But the good part is that the Surgery does not require any bandages or stitches. That means you will see no scars. The average recovery period for the eyes is six weeks to 9 months. It is different for every person. Sometimes, people take almost no time to resume their regular activities. There are a few things that you need to take care of after the Surgery-:

  • Avoid driving on the day of the Surgery. After a few visits to the doctor for the regular checkup of the eyes. The doctor may himself permit you to drive your car.
  • Reduce your screen time. And if possible, avoid your phones, laptop, and television entirely for a few days. If essential, use it after at least 24 hours. As a part of standard care, you should avoid sitting in bright lights at home. Also, do not try to read any book as it would strain your eyes.
  • Keep lubricating your eyes, as it will keep dryness at bay.
  • Skip your swimming days. After LASIK surgery, you can not swim until 3-4 weeks after the Surgery.
  • Avoid hotbed, jacuzzi, or steam room. Exposure to these things may cause infections in your eyes.
  • It is crucial not to do any eye makeup for at least one week after the Surgery.
  • The patient shouldn’t drink or smoke after the Surgery. It would be highly harmful to the newly operated eyes.


Effect on the growth of the nerve

Due to its excellent safety, efficacy, and predictability, excimer laser corneal refractive Surgery has grown quickly in recent years. However, issues have also received a lot of attention. LASIK surgery causes damage to the corneal nerve in the subepithelial stroma area. The damage is caused within the corneal flap. The area is almost 50 micrometres away from the corneal surface.

Generally, corneal regrowth takes six months to regrow after LASIK surgery. After two to four weeks of the operation, the number of nerve fibres in the area of superficial stroma started to increase significantly. After eight weeks, the density of the fibres also increases.


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