Tune In For A Live Treatment Day Experience On Thursday and Friday LEARN MORE

Frequently Asked Questions · Eye Surgery

How Does LASIK Eye Surgery Work?

The LASIK procedure is swift, typically taking about 10 to 15 minutes for both eyes. It's performed on an outpatient basis, meaning patients can go home the same day. Here's a step-by-step overview:

How LASIK Eye Surgery Works: A Comprehensive Guide

LASIK eye surgery stands as a beacon of hope for millions globally, offering a permanent solution to refractive errors such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism. This surgical procedure has revolutionized the way we perceive vision correction, moving beyond traditional eyeglasses and contact lenses to a more lasting resolution. But, how does LASIK eye surgery work? This article delves into the mechanics of LASIK surgery, its benefits, the process involved, important considerations, and the latest advancements in the field.

How LASIK Eye Surgery Works: Step by Step

The LASIK procedure is swift, typically taking about 10 to 15 minutes for both eyes. It’s performed on an outpatient basis, meaning patients can go home the same day. Here’s a step-by-step overview:

1. Preparation

What Happens: The initial phase of the LASIK procedure involves several preparatory steps to ensure the eye is ready for surgery. This begins with the application of numbing eye drops to eliminate any discomfort during the procedure. Despite the numbing, the patient remains awake and alert, able to follow instructions as needed.

Significance: The numbing drops are crucial for a pain-free experience. Additionally, a special device, often referred to as an eyelid speculum, is used to gently hold the eyelids open. This prevents any involuntary blinking or movement that could interfere with the surgery. The preparation stage also includes thorough cleaning around the eyes and the placement of marks on the cornea to guide the creation of the flap. These preparatory measures are essential for the accuracy and success of the subsequent steps.

2. Flap Creation

What Happens: Using a highly precise instrument, either a microkeratome (a blade device) or a femtosecond laser, the surgeon creates a thin, circular flap in the cornea’s surface. The choice between a microkeratome and a femtosecond laser depends on various factors, including the patient’s corneal thickness and the surgeon’s preference. The femtosecond laser is known for its high precision and is increasingly preferred for its ability to create a flap with exact dimensions and edges.

Significance: This step is critical as it allows the surgeon access to the underlying corneal tissue (stroma) that needs reshaping. The precision in creating the flap ensures it can be securely repositioned after the cornea has been reshaped, which is vital for the healing process.

3. Reshaping the Cornea

What Happens: Once the flap is lifted and folded back, the exposed corneal tissue is reshaped using an excimer laser. This laser removes microscopic amounts of tissue to reshape the cornea and correct the refractive error. The excimer laser is remarkably precise, allowing for customization of the procedure based on the patient’s specific vision needs, determined by pre-operative measurements and mapping of the eye’s surface.

Significance: The reshaping of the cornea is the most crucial step in correcting vision. By precisely altering the cornea’s shape, the laser ensures that light entering the eye is properly focused onto the retina, resulting in clearer vision. This step addresses the root cause of refractive errors such as myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism.

4. Repositioning the Flap

What Happens: After the cornea has been reshaped, the flap is carefully repositioned over the treated area. Due to the cornea’s natural adhesive qualities, stitches are not required; the flap adheres to the underlying tissue within minutes. The surgeon may smooth the flap and ensure it’s perfectly aligned for optimal healing.

Significance: The repositioning and adherence of the flap initiate the healing process. This step is crucial for protecting the reshaped cornea as it heals and for minimizing the risk of infection or other complications. The repositioned flap acts like a natural bandage, providing comfort and allowing for rapid visual recovery.

The Science Behind LASIK

LASIK, or Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis, is a procedure that modifies the cornea’s shape to correct refractive errors. The cornerstone of how LASIK works is precision. It involves creating a thin flap in the cornea using a microkeratome or a femtosecond laser. This flap is then peeled back to expose the underlying corneal tissue. A specialized excimer laser is then used to reshape the cornea, correcting the refractive error. The corneal flap is repositioned without the need for sutures, and it adheres naturally during the healing process.

Benefits of LASIK Eye Surgery

The allure of LASIK surgery lies in its myriad of benefits, which include:

  1. Improved Vision: The majority of patients achieve 20/25 vision or better, which is sufficient for most activities.
  2. Quick Recovery: Most individuals can resume their normal activities within a day or two, with minimal discomfort.
  3. Long-lasting Results: After a stabilization period, the improvement in visual acuity is permanent for most patients.
  4. Reduced Dependence on Eyewear: Many patients no longer need glasses or contact lenses after LASIK, providing a sense of freedom and convenience.

Advancements in LASIK Technology

The field of LASIK surgery is continually evolving, with advancements aimed at enhancing safety, precision, and outcomes. Modern LASIK and Wavefront technology, for instance, allows for custom LASIK procedures by mapping the eye’s unique imperfections. The development of femtosecond lasers for flap creation has also significantly increased the procedure’s accuracy and safety.

The Evolution and Mechanism of Modern LASIK Surgery: A Path to Clearer Vision

In the realm of vision correction, modern LASIK surgery emerges as a groundbreaking advancement, offering a beacon of hope for countless individuals plagued by refractive errors such as myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. This innovative procedure marks a significant leap from conventional corrective methods like glasses and contact lenses, providing a durable solution to vision impairments. Let’s embark on an exploration of the intricate workings of LASIK surgery, highlighting its benefits, procedural steps, crucial considerations, and the strides made in its technological evolution.

The Foundation of LASIK Surgery

At its core, LASIK (Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis) surgery is a testament to the marvels of precision medicine. It involves a meticulously crafted process where a thin corneal flap is created either with a microkeratome blade or, more commonly in the modern iteration, with a femtosecond laser. This flap is gently lifted to expose the cornea beneath, allowing an excimer laser to precisely sculpt the corneal tissue, rectifying the refractive error. The flap is then carefully repositioned, where it naturally adheres to the cornea, initiating the healing process without the need for stitches.

About LASIK.com

The Respected Source on LASIK Eye Surgery for Doctors and Patients. LASIK.com is the comprehensive resource for reliable information about Modern LASIK and laser vision correction. Our goal is to empower patients to achieve clearer vision and a better quality of life. We take pride in our network of certified LASIK doctors and vision centers—making it easy for you to find trusted providers near you.

About the Author

Dr. Vince Marino – World Class LASIK Eye Surgery Doctor

Dr. Marino is notably one of the worlds most experienced LASIK surgeons in the United States with over 138,000 Vision Correction. Vincent Marino, D.O. is board certified by the American Osteopathic Board of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology. Dr. Marino received his Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree from Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine. Dr. Marino has been performing laser vision correction since 1996 when he joined LasikPlus. In total, Dr. Marino has performed over 138,000 laser vision correction procedures. Dr. Marino holds the distinction of being recognized by his peers as a “Top Doctor” in Ophthalmology for the past 7 years in a row.

Schedule Your FREE LASIK Consultation!

Enter your zip code below and we'll match you with the closest LASIK.com Network Center