With more than 600,000 surgeries performed each year, LASIK is currently the
most popular form of refractive laser eye surgery in the U.S. It can be used to
treat a number of ocular conditions including myopia (near-sightedness),
hyperopia (far-sightedness) and astigmatism. LASIK uses laser technology to
reshape the cornea in order to improve the way that the eye focuses light rays
onto the retina at the back of the eye, which in turn makes a difference to our
vision. It is usually a very quick and painless procedure, and you should notice a
difference in your vision less than 24 hours after your surgery.
Let’s take a look at LASIK in more detail.
LASIK is performed under local anesthetic which is applied using topical drops.
Your eye surgeon will use either a mechanical surgical tool called a
microkeratome, or a femtosecond laser to create a thin, circular flap in the
cornea. This flap allows the surgeon to access the underlying cornea – known as
can remove microscopic amounts of the cornea, reshaping it so that it can more
accurately focus the light that enters the eye onto the retina, thus improving the
The exact reshaping varies depending on the ocular needs of the patient. For
example, a patient who is far-sighted need the reshaping to create a steeper
cornea. In contrast, a patient who is near-sighted will need their cornea to be
flattened in order to improve his vision.
Contrary to popular belief, LASIK can also help to correct astigmatism as the
laser can smooth an irregular cornea into a more standard shape.
Once the necessary reshaping has taken place, the outer flap of the cornea is
then laid back into place, covering the area that has been treated, and left to heal
You will need to have a consultation before you are approved to have LASIK.
This is to ensure that you are a suitable candidate for the procedure and that you
are fully aware of what the surgery involves.
After proving information on your general medical health, you will have an eye
examination to ensure that your eyes are healthy enough for the procedure, as
well as performing an evaluation of the shape and thickness of your cornea, the
size of your pupils, and any refractive conditions you may have (i.e. whether
astigmatism). Your surgeon will also look at how moist your eyes are, as this
may have some impact on your likelihood of developing a condition called ‘dry
eye’ as a result of LASIK surgery.
Your surgeon will also create a ‘topography’ of your eye to support him with
which areas of the cornea need to be lasered during your surgery.
Your consultation meeting could last up to an hour. However, the surgery is
very quick and takes around 10 minutes per eye, although you will be in the
office a while longer either side of the actual procedure.
Undoubtedly, the number one reason why patients are choosing laser vision correction surgery is
Many patients find that their eyesight is so much improved after laser vision correction that their reliance on glasses and contacts is far less than before, if at all.
Once your surgery is complete you will need to sit and wait in ‘recovery’ for a
short while. Your eyes may feel a little sore, scratchy or itchy immediately after
your procedure, but this should fade relatively quickly. You may experience
some blurred vision too, but this should disappear within a few days. Your
surgeon will then give your eyes a short examination before discharging you
home. You will need to have someone pick you up, as you will not be allowed
to drive until your eye doctor has seen you the following day and confirmed that
your eyesight meets the legal standard for driving.
In most cases, you will be asked to refrain from doing any intense physical
activity for at least a week while your eyes begin to heal.
Laser eye surgery can dramatically improve your eyesight and many people will
achieve 20/20 vision after their surgery. However, results do vary person to
person, and some people will only reach 20/40 vision or less. In this case, you
will still need to wear glasses or contact lenses, but your prescription will be
much weaker than it was before.
The exact cost of your LASIK laser eye surgery will vary depending on your
ocular problems. However, you can typically expect it to cost between $1,500
and $2,500 per eye.
Laser eye surgery is now safer than at any point in history, and most side effects
are minimal and disappear within a few days. However, a very small number of
people do report complications following LASIK, which can range from mild
symptoms such as itching, painful or watery eyes to more serious incidents like
bulging cornea and extreme dry eye. The very best thing you can do is to speak
to your eye specialist and ask whether you are a suitable candidate for LASIK
If you are interested in LASIK laser eye surgery we highly recommend that you
speak and contact our optometrist to find out more information, or to book your