How LASIK Works

LASIK is a quick, virtually pain-free day surgery that can correct the following common vision problems.

Myopia (nearsightedness): Distance vision is impaired when the eye is too long in relation to the curvature of the cornea. This causes light to focus before it reaches the retina. Close objects look clear but distant objects appear blurry.

Hyperopia (farsightedness): Close vision is impaired, with some impairment of distance vision, as well. The eye is too short in relation to the curvature of the cornea. Light rays are not yet in focus when they reach the retina, so images appear blurry.

Astigmatism (the cornea is oval shaped instead of round): The irregular curvature of the cornea causes light to focus on more than one point on the retina. Uncorrected astigmatism impairs both distance and near vision.

LASIK is performed as an outpatient procedure and generally takes about fifteen minutes

Your eye is completely numbed using "eye drop" anesthesia, and an eyelid holder is placed between your eyelids to prevent you from blinking.

An instrument is used to create a small flap in the cornea. During this process you may feel pressure (similar to a finger pressed firmly on your eyelid) but no discomfort.

The flap is lifted to the side and the cool beam of the laser, pre-programmed to your prescription, is used to sculpt the cornea.

After the laser has completed reshaping the cornea, the surgeon places the flap back into position and smoothes the edges. The flap adheres on its own in two to three minutes.

A shield protects the flap for the first day and night. Vision should be clear by the next day. Healing after surgery is often less painful than with other methods of refractive surgery since the laser removes tissue from the inside of the cornea and not the surface. If needed, eyedrops can be taken for pain and usually are only needed up to one week.