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How Does LASIK Work?

If you have vision problems, but don’t like the hassle of caring for contact lenses or glasses, LASIK may be the option for you.

LASIK, or “laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis” is a type of refractive surgery used to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. The procedure is generally quick and pain free, taking about 15 minutes to complete for both eyes.

Before the Procedure

A thorough eye exam is necessary prior to a LASIK procedure to ensure precision and determine if you are candidate. Some factors may make you ineligible for LASIK, which would be determined during your assessment. A LASIK assessment consists of an eye moisture test, a topographical mapping of the cornea, and a wavefront analysis, which sends light waves through your eye to provide a more precise map of aberrations affecting your vision.

How It Works

After the doctor creates a thin, circular flap in the cornea, a surgical laser, called an excimer laser, will be used to remove corneal tissue in certain areas. The excimer laser is highly specialized, using an ultraviolet light beam to remove tiny amounts of tissue. For myopia (nearsightedness) the goal is to flatten to the cornea. For hyperopia (farsightedness) the goal is to steepen the cornea. It’s a misconception that the LASIK procedure cannot be used to correct astigmatism. The excimer laser can be used to correct astigmatism by shaping an irregular cornea into a more normal shape.

How It’s Done

Immediately prior to the procedure, you will be given numbing eye drops to prevent discomfort and may also be given medication to help you relax. An instrument called a lid speculum is used to keep your eyelids open. A microkeratome is then used to create the flap. This flap can also be created by a laser. Once the flap is created, your eye will be positioned under the excimer laser and a computer is then used to adjust the laser to your prescription.

You will be asked to look at a target light for a short time while the doctor monitors your eye through a microscope as the laser works. The laser pulses painlessly while it reshapes the cornea, although you may feel some pressure on your eye from the suction device. You'll also hear a clicking noise while the laser is working. Between both eyes, the procedure can be over in as few as five minutes.

When You’re Done

After the procedure, it’s usually recommended that you rest while your eyes heal, though you will likely be able to return to work the next day. Strenuous exercise is not recommended for at least a week following the procedure to avoid trauma that may prevent the eyes from healing properly. You should also avoid touching or rubbing your eyes for a week following the procedure to prevent reopening the corneal flap.

There will be some initial blurriness, but your eyes should begin to stabilize within 24 hours, though in some cases it can take longer. Most procedures result in 20/20 vision or better after the surgery, but LASIK results can vary slightly.

To find out if you are a candidate for LASIK schedule an appointment online or call Nationwide Vision at (877) 222-4281 today!