LASIK is the most commonly performed laser eye surgery to treat myopia(nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism.
Like other types of refractive surgery, the LASIK procedure reshapes the corneato enable light entering the eye to be properly focused onto the retina for clearer vision.
LASIK surgery is essentially pain-free and takes only about 15 minutes for both eyes. The results — improved vision without eyeglasses or contact lenses — begin immediately after the procedure and vision usually continues to improve and stabilize over a few days.
First, your LASIK surgeon will create a very thin, superficial flap in your cornea with a small surgical tool called a microkeratome or with a femtosecond laser.
The surgeon then folds back the hinged flap to access the underlying cornea (called the stroma) and removes some corneal tissue using an excimer laser. Excimer lasers create a cool ultraviolet light beam to remove (“ablate”) microscopic amounts of tissue from the cornea.
For nearsighted people, the goal is to flatten the cornea; with farsighted people, a steeper cornea is desired. Excimer lasers also can correct astigmatism by smoothing an irregular cornea into a more normal shape.
After the laser ablation reshapes the cornea, the flap is then laid back in place, covering the area where the corneal tissue was removed. The flap seals to the underlying cornea during the healing period following surgery.
LASIK laser eye surgery requires only topical anesthetic drops, and no bandages or stitches are required.
Before your LASIK surgery begins, numbing eye drops are applied to your eye to prevent any discomfort during the procedure. Your doctor may also give you some medication to help you relax.
Your eye will be positioned under the laser, and an instrument called a lid speculum is used to keep your eyelids wide open.
The surgeon uses an ink marker to mark the cornea before creating the flap. A suction ring is applied to the front of your eye to prevent eye movements or loss of contact that could affect flap quality.
After the corneal flap is created, the surgeon then uses a computer to adjust the excimer laser for your particular prescription.
LASIK is performed on each eye separately, with each procedure taking only about five minutes.
Upon completion of your LASIK procedure, your surgeon will have you rest for a bit. You may feel a temporary burning or itching sensation immediately following the procedure.
You should expect some blurry vision and haziness immediately after surgery; however, clarity should improve by the very next morning
Your eyesight should stabilize and continue to improve within a few days, although in rare cases it may take several weeks or longer.