What is LASIK?
LASIK, short for laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis, is a refractive eye surgery — one of several types of vision correction surgeries performed on the eye itself. LASIK uses an excimer laser, which applies ultraviolet light to reshape the cornea. We also offer options for financing your LASIK procedure.
The LASIK procedure, step by step
Before your surgery
At your LASIK consultation, your doctor will perform a series of sophisticated and painless tests to determine the unique shape of your eye. This allows us to personalize your procedure with remarkable precision. Learn more about preparing for your surgery.
LASIK surgery is an outpatient procedure, which means you won’t spend the night in the hospital. The actual procedure takes less than 15 minutes, but plan for the appointment to last about an hour. Your surgeon will provide specific instructions, but here are some steps that are usually recommended:
- Arrange for someone to drive you to and from surgery.
- Do not wear contacts for seven to 10 days before the surgery.
- Do not wear any eye makeup, perfume, cologne or aftershave the day of the surgery.
During your surgery
On the day of your surgery, we may give you low-dose antianxiety oral medication to help you relax. You’ll receive medicated eye drops that will help make you comfortable during the treatment. The entire procedure involves minimal discomfort.
The LASIK process involves two lasers: The first prepares your eyes for the surgery by creating a small flap in your cornea, the thin outer layer of the eye. Your doctor will use an eyelid retainer to gently hold your eye open so that you won’t have to worry about blinking. The second laser — a cool, ultraviolet laser that you can neither see nor feel — will reshape your cornea.
After the reshaping of the cornea is complete, the surgeon places your corneal flap back into position. During the procedure, it’s common to experience hazy vision and flashing lights.
You’ll most likely notice an immediate improvement in your vision, even though it may be hazy. Expect three to four hours of eye watering, scratchiness and sensitivity to light. We suggest you sleep during this time if you can.
The next morning, you’ll return for a postoperative check. Most patients are able to drive themselves to this appointment and notice significantly improved vision. You may experience some glare, halos or dry eyes, but they’ll improve dramatically as your eyes heal.
Surgeons recommend not swimming or using a hot tub for three weeks after surgery, and not wearing any eye makeup for at least two days.
Your eyes will continue to heal over the next eight to 12 weeks. During this time, patients may experience some dryness, blurred vision, halos and glare.
Possible LASIK side effects
Side effects may include:
- Dry eye
- Glare, halos and ghosting images
Other rare risks, such as infection, inflammation and corneal ectasia (thinning) are possible.
Speak to your ophthalmologist if you have any questions or concerns.