LASIK, or laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis, is the most commonly performed eye surgery to improve refractive vision problems, such as nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and astigmatism. It uses lasers to reshape your cornea, precisely removing a small amount of tissue and eliminating irregularities so the cornea can properly focus light as it enters your eye. As a result, your vision is corrected.
LASIK is a painless procedure that only requires anesthetic eye drops. The total process may take 15-60 minutes, but the actual laser procedure only lasts about 10-60 seconds. After surgery, you’ll need a few days for recovery, so you’ll get detailed instructions for your post-operative care.
Before a standard LASIK procedure, your ophthalmologist creates a thin flap in the outer layer of the cornea using a specialized surgical tool called a microkeratome. The flap of tissue is gently folded back during the LASIK procedure, then it’s put back in place afterwards, where it promotes quicker healing.
The Bladeless LASIK procedure uses a high-energy femtosecond laser instead of a microkeratome blade to create the flap of tissue. Bladeless LASIK may promote faster healing, but each person’s eyes are different, and the bladeless option isn’t the best choice for everyone.
Custom LASIK achieves more precise vision correction by using advanced technology to measure unique characteristics of your eyes. Customized LASIK procedures include:
Wavefront technology gathers precise measurements from hundreds of reference points on the surface of your eye, showing how light waves travel through each point. This information allows highly personalized vision correction, including improvement of subtle refractive errors across the entire cornea.
This system preserves the natural shape of your cornea, which lowers the risk of spherical aberrations that can occur in eyes following laser surgery. Spherical aberration may affect night vision.
While not as customized as the wavefront procedure, you’ll get more individualized surgery than conventional LASIK based on detailed measurements that map the curves and shape of the corneal surface.
Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) is another type of laser surgery that reshapes the cornea to correct vision problems. The final results produced by PRK are comparable to LASIK, but PRK recovery is slower because the flap created in the outer layer of the cornea is removed and discarded. While the tissue naturally grows again following surgery, healing takes a little longer than when the flap is preserved.