LASIK eye surgery is the best known and most commonly performed laser refractive surgery to correct vision problems. Laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) can be an alternative to glasses or contact lenses. During LASIK surgery, a special type of cutting laser is used to change the shape of the cornea. The cornea is the dome-shaped clear tissue at the front of the eye.
In eyes with typical vision, the cornea bends — or refracts — light precisely onto the retina at the back of the eye. But with nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism, the light is bent incorrectly. This incorrect refraction causes blurred vision. Glasses or contact lenses can correct vision, but reshaping the cornea also provides the refraction needed to correct vision.
In this condition, the eyeball is slightly longer than normal or the cornea curves too sharply. As a result, light rays focus in front of the retina, leading to blurred distant vision. However, objects that are close can still be seen fairly clearly.
This occurs when the eyeball is shorter than average or the cornea is too flat. In hyperopia, light focuses behind the retina instead of on it, causing blurry near vision and sometimes distant vision as well.
When the cornea curves or flattens unevenly, it results in astigmatism. This condition disrupts the focus of both near and distant vision.
LASIK (Laser-Assisted in situ Keratomileusis) is an advanced laser eye surgery technique designed to correct refractive errors such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism. It involves reshaping the cornea to improve visual acuity and reduce or eliminate the need for glasses or contact lenses.
LASIK involves creating a thin corneal flap using a femtosecond laser or microkeratome. The underlying corneal tissue is then reshaped using an excimer laser to adjust the way light is focused on the retina. The corneal flap is repositioned, and healing occurs naturally.
Ideal candidates for LASIK are individuals with stable refractive errors who are in good overall eye health. A comprehensive eye examination and consultation with an ophthalmologist will determine eligibility based on factors such as corneal thickness, prescription stability, and general health.
LASIK is usually well-tolerated and relatively painless. Anesthetic eye drops are used to numb the eye before the procedure, minimizing discomfort. Some patients may experience mild discomfort or a sensation of pressure during the surgery.
Recovery from LASIK is often quick, with many patients experiencing improved vision within a day or two. You may experience some mild discomfort, dryness, or sensitivity to light initially. Follow your doctor's post-operative instructions and attend follow-up appointments for optimal healing.
While many patients notice significant improvement shortly after LASIK, it can take a few weeks for vision to stabilize completely. Visual outcomes may continue to improve over time.
As with any surgery, LASIK does carry some risks, although they are relatively rare. Potential side effects include dry eyes, glare, halos, starbursts around lights, and undercorrection or overcorrection. Your ophthalmologist will discuss these risks with you during your consultation.
The LASIK procedure itself typically takes around 15 to 30 minutes for both eyes. However, you should expect to spend additional time at the surgical center for pre-operative preparations and post-operative monitoring.