LASIK (Laser In-Situ Keratomileusis) is one of the most commonly performed elective surgical procedures in the United States. The goal of the surgery is to eliminate or reduce a person's need for eyeglasses or contact lenses. LASIK is one form of laser vision correction (LVC). If you haven't done so already, refer to the LVC page as an introduction to LASIK.
LASIK involves two basic steps. First, a keratome is used to create a corneal flap. This flap is usually 160 microns in thickness (approximately 30% of corneal thickness) and maintains the normal corneal architecture of epithelium on stroma. Second, an excimer laser is used to reshape the stroma of the cornea to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. LASIK is a popular form of laser vision correction for two reasons. First, patients see very well very soon after surgery. Although results can vary, the typical patient is in the 20/25 to 20/40 range of acuity the day after surgery. After recovery, a person has about a 98-99% chance of seeing 20/40 or better without glasses and a 65%-91% chance of seeing 20/20 or better without glasses. Rates of 20/20 vision vary by type of ablation and refractive error. Second, the procedure is very comfortable. The typical patient describes a dirty contact lens feeling which lasts approximately six hours after surgery.
|During the procedure a microkeratome creates a hinged flap of thin corneal tissue, and the flap is gently folded out of the way.
||The laser reshapes the underlying tissue
||The surgeon replaces the corneal flap, which quickly goes back into place without the need for stitches.
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