Doctor Checking Patient's Eyes With Nurse Assisting

LASIK is a quick and painless procedure that has a proven history of success. But keep in mind that LASIK is eye surgery, and you it may take a little time to reach your goal.

Before your LASIK surgery begins, you will be given a series of eye drops that will numb your eyes.  Your eye will be held open with a lid holder (speculum) so that you will not be able to blink.

The first step of the LASIK procedure is the creation of the flap, which can be done either with a blade (microkeratome) or a laser.  The flap is a very thin layer of the cornea, measuring about 140 microns thick.

The flap will then be opened, much like the page of a book, so that the surgeon can apply the laser to the corneal tissue underneath.  The flap is hinged, so that after the surgery it will be smoothed back into place.

During the procedure you will be awake and alert, so that you can focus on a light as the surgeon applies the laser.  The amount of time that the laser will be operating varies based on your prescription.  You can expect about 10 seconds of laser application for each diopter of vision.  For example, if your prescription is a -4.50 in your right eye, the laser will be on for about 45 seconds.

After the laser application, the surgeon will irrigate the eye and close the flap. Your procedure is done.  The surgeon will then move on to the second eye and repeat the process.

When both eyes are complete, you will be able to sit up and get a look around the room.  Don’t expect perfection, you just had eye surgery!  Your vision will be better than when you walked into the laser suite, but it will be a little blurry, as if you are looking underwater.  You just had a lot of drops in your eyes, so will take a little time for your vision to become clearer.

The surgeon will then take a closer look at your eyes using a slit lamp, just like they use during a regular eye exam.  Additional drops will be applied, and you are on your way home!

The day of surgery, it is important to rest and keep your eyes closed for the remainder of the day. Put on your eye shields when you get home.

Instructions for the first week after surgery:

  1. Use your prescription drops as directed
  2. Sleep in your eye shields
  3. No eye makeup, or powdered face makeup
  4. No swimming, sauna, or hot tub

A good outcome takes teamwork between the surgeon and the patient. Be sure to be doing your part to achieve your best visual outcome.