LASIK vision correction is a type of refractive surgery designed to reshape the cornea and produce clearer vision. Used to treat hyperopia (farsightedness), myopia (nearsightedness), and astigmatism, LASIK is performed by an ophthalmologist and is an outpatient procedure. If you suffer from vision impairment and are seeking a permanent solution to corrective lenses and eye glasses, LASIK may be right for you. Learn more about what happens during the procedure by reading the sections below.
Procedure Steps: One-by-one
After you have finished preparing for LASIK vision correction, a surgeon will perform another eye exam and answer any lingering questions or concerns you may have. The procedure itself takes less than 15 minutes, although the length of pre- and post-operative examinations varies depending on the doctor and the individual case. The procedure itself is broken down into four simple steps:
Refractive Error Measurement
If you choose to undergo custom LASIK vision correction rather than traditional LASIK, the procedure will begin with the mapping of the eyes with Wavefront™ technology. This provides a blueprint of your eyes’ lower and higher order aberrations, allowing for the most accurate correction of visual impairments. The treatment then proceeds in a similar manner to traditional LASIK.
Patients also undergo a pre-LASIK eye exam. The patient’s eyes will be measured and the surgeon will once again review the procedure, making sure all questions and concerns have been addressed. The data gathered in this preliminary eye exam will allow your doctor to customize your treatment, as each procedure is unique.
Creating the Corneal Flap
To begin the traditional procedure, the eye will be anesthetized with topical eye drops. The patient will be asked to lie on a table with laser equipment mounted above it. The eye will be held open with a special instrument called a speculum. The other eye is protected by a shield. As the patient stares at a small blinking light, the surgeon will use a microkeratome (a precise, computer operated surgical blade) or an Intralase® laser to create a hinged corneal flap on the outer layer of the eye.
Reshaping the Cornea
After the flap has been created, an excimer laser is used to remove the precise amount of corneal tissue needed to correct your refractive error. As the patient continues to stare at the blinking light, the surgeon then will apply very small, rapid bursts of laser energy, reshaping the cornea. This portion of the procedure only takes about 15 seconds per eye. The precision of the laser is such that in mere seconds, the cornea can be finely altered so that it can correctly refract incoming light onto the retina.
Replacing the Flap
Once the cornea has been reshaped, the flap is replaced. The eye will heal by itself and no stitches are necessary. The actual surgery usually takes less than 15 minutes, but preoperative preparation may extend surgery time to one hour. Vision improvement is immediate, but the full effect of your surgery may not be evident for several months. Following the post-surgery recovery guidelines outlined by your doctor will help ensure proper healing and superb vision.
Locate a Specialist in Your Area
DocShop provides patients interested in vision correction surgery with a directory of surgeons practicing throughout the country. If you are interested in refractive surgery and have questions regarding the procedure, or you would like to determine if you are a good candidate for surgery, please feel free to use our nationwide directory to find a doctor in your area today.