What Is LASIK Eye Surgery?
LASIK, which stands for Laser In-Situ Keratomileusis, is a popular surgery that can correct vision in people who are nearsighted or farsighted, or who have astigmatism. It’s one of many vision correction surgeries that work by reshaping your cornea, the clear front part of your eye so that light focuses on the retina in the back of your eye.
Why is LASIK Done?
When light doesn’t focus on your retina the way it should, your vision is blurry. Doctors call this a refractive error.
The basic types include:
Talk to your doctor about whether LASIK is right for you.
You shouldn’t have the surgery if you:
Risks associated with LASIK Eye Surgery
As with any other surgery, LASIK carries some risks including:
Side Effects of LASIK Eye Surgery
Some patients may feel discomfort for initial one day or two after LASIK surgery. Other side effects, though rare and usually go away over time, include:
How Should I Prepare for LASIK Eye Surgery?
Before LASIK, you’ll meet with a coordinator or eye surgeon who will talk about what to expect during and after the procedure. They’ll ask about your medical history and do a full eye examination. This may include tests to measure the thickness of your cornea, refraction, and eye pressure. They may map your corneas and dilate your pupils. The surgeon will answer all queries you may have. After complete satisfaction you can schedule an appointment for the surgery.
If you use rigid gas-permeable contact lenses, don’t wear them for at least 3 weeks before your evaluation. Don’t wear other types of contact lenses for at least 3 days prior to the evaluation. Be sure to bring your prescription and eyeglasses for the surgeon to review .
On the day of your surgery, eat a light meal before going in, and take all of your prescribed medications. Don’t wear eye makeup or bulky accessories in your hair that might interfere with your head position. If you’re not feeling well that morning, call the doctor's office to ask what you should do.
What Happens During LASIK Eye Surgery?
Your doctor will give you drops to numb your eyes. You can also ask for a mild sedative.
They use an instrument called microkeratome or femtosecond laser to make a thin flap in your cornea. They peel it back and use another laser to reshape the tissue underneath. Then, they put the flap back in place, and the surgery is done. Learn more about the kinds of lasers used during LASIK eye surgery. The LASIK procedure itself usually takes about 20 minutes. Plan to have someone drive you home after surgery.
What Should I Expect After LASIK Eye Surgery?
Your eyes will be dry, even though they may not feel that way. Your doctor will prescribe eye drops to prevent infection and inflammation, as well as drops to keep your eyes moist. You might have a brief, slight burning feeling or blurry vision when you use them. Do not use any eyedrops without asking your doctor.
Your eyes probably heal very quickly. Most patients notice better vision within a few days. Call your doctor if you have any problems or unusual side effects.
Don’t swim or use a hot tub for 2 weeks after surgery. You might get a plastic shield to protect your eyes during sleep for initial few days.
Your doctor will tell you when to come for follow-up visits. The first one will probably be after a day or so after the procedure.
Your vision can still change after LASIK. You might have to use reading glasses as you get older. More than 10% of people need a second LASIK procedure sometime later to restore the effects. But 90% of patients have the vision that’s between 20/20 and 20/40 after surgery. Learn more about getting LASIK surgery more than once.