LASIK (Laser assisted in situ keratomileusis) is a laser vision correction procedure that is used to surgically correct your vision. It works by changing the shape of your cornea, so that light rays focus on or near the retina. When light rays are focused in this manner, your vision is the best that it can be without glasses or contact lenses. An Excimer laser is used to emit a cool beam of light that alters the shape of your cornea. LASIK is different from other laser procedures because the laser light is directed to the inner portion of your cornea rather than the surface cells.
With the LASIK procedure, patients frequently have functional vision the first day after surgery. After the procedure your eyes will water and it may feel as if an eyelash is in your eye for 2 to 3 hours. Following that period, there is no pain. Vision will most likely be blurry the first day of LASIK surgery, but should improve greatly after a good night’s sleep. Most patients return to work two days after surgery.
As discussed above, LASIK works so well because the beam is directed to the inner layer of your cornea. This is accomplished by using a device called a microkeratome. The microkeratome elevates a thin slice of the top layer of your cornea. Then the corneal flap is folded back, exposing the middle section of the cornea. You will be asked to look at a target light for a short time while the laser sends pulses of light to painlessly reshape your cornea. After using the Excimer laser, the flap is repositioned. The flap re-adheres after approximately 30 seconds. The actual procedure time is usually less than 5 minutes per eye.