How LASIK Works
LASIK is safe and predictable and has been approved by the FDA. It takes only 20 minutes to perform on both eyes, and no hospital stay is required. Patients receive only a drop of anesthetic in each eye and the procedure is virtually pain-free.
No surgeon can guarantee perfect vision, but people who undergo LASIK usually experience very rapid improvement in eyesight within just one day. Because the laser is applied under a protective flap, there is no discomfort during the healing process.
You can return to work the day after the procedure. The cornea heals without scarring so completely that even a doctor looking through may not be able to tell you had surgery.
Most of the eye’s focusing power comes from the cornea, the clear round "window" at the front of the eye. When the curvature of the cornea is just right, vision is clear and sharp. When the curve is too steep, too flat or uneven, vision can be out of focus and distorted.
LASIK surgery changes the shape of the cornea so it can focus light sharply — and produce clear vision. The procedure is simple:
- The surgeon uses a small device (much like a miniature electric plane) to create an extremely thin flap of tissue on the surface of the cornea. The flap is then turned back like a book cover.
- A computer-directed laser removes microscopic amounts of tissue from the bed of the cornea to reshape the cornea. The laser is on for 15 to 60 seconds, depending upon the patient’s prescription.
- The flap of tissue is put back in place. No stitches are necessary — the flap heals by itself.
All LASIK procedures are performed with the Excimer laser, a computerized cold laser that uses ultraviolet light. Coupled with VISX/Star-4 software, the Excimer represents the most up-to-date technology proven successful for LASIK surgery. The Eye Institute also offers recently introduced technologies such as Epi-LASIK and the Custom Vue correction, which allows the surgeon to customize the LASIK procedure for each individual's specific refractive error.
If you have thin corneas, LASIK may not be the best choice for you. In that case, you may be eligible for an alternative procedure known as PRK or Epi-LASIK. Your surgeon will discuss the option best suited to your needs during your pre-operative evaluation.