LASER IN-SITU KERATOMILEUSIS (LASIK) is a procedure that reshapes the cornea of the eye. LASIK surgery can correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and/or astigmatism. The procedure begins with a special surgical instrument called a microkeratome, which the surgeon uses to create a hinged corneal flap on the front surface of the eye.
With access to the inside of the cornea, the surgeon then uses another instrument called an excimer laser, which is then used to remove and reshape corneal tissue. The laser is an extremely precise surgical tool that sculpts the surface of the cornea using invisible, high-energy wavelengths of light. This reshapes the inner part of the cornea, thereby changing its optical characteristics. The corneal flap is then replaced in its original position. Because of the cornea’s extraordinary natural bonding qualities, healing is rapid and does not require stitches.
LASIK surgery is performed on an outpatient basis in the comfort and convenience of the laser surgical suite. The entire procedure takes approximately fifteen minutes and both eyes are usually treated the same day. The procedure is performed using topical anesthesia (eye drops). While LASIK is a highly effective and safe procedure, some patients experience temporary side effects during the first few hours following the procedure.
Following LASIK eye surgery, most patients return to their normal activities within a day or two. Patients are typically placed on an antibiotic and anti-inflammatory drop for about a week following surgery. Also, patients are instructed to wear a protective eye shield while sleeping for seven days to prevent accidental eye rubbing during the early healing period.
Patients usually experience dramatic improvement in their vision within the first day.