LASIK uses a cool laser beam to reshape the curve of the cornea and solve ‘refractive error’.

What Is ‘Refractive Error’?

In normal vision, the cornea refracts or bends light so images are focused properly on the retina.

Shortsightedness, Farsightedness and Astigmatism are the result of irregularities of the shape of the cornea, errors in the cornea’s refractive power, resulting in blurred or distorted images being received by the retina.

Refractive error varies from person to person and this variation is the reason your glasses or contacts don’t ‘work’ for your friends or relatives. LASIK solves the unique imperfections of the cornea causing your refractive error and restoring clear vision.

Three Steps To 20/20 Vision [graphic of three steps]

  • Step One: The first step of a LASIK procedure is the creation of the corneal flap. This means a thin segment of the protective outer layer of the cornea is delicately lifted so the underlying cornea can be treated.

This step can be performed with an instrument called a microkeratome, or with a special laser, designed specifically for this purpose. When a laser is used for this flap-creation step the procedure is called ‘all-laser LASIK’ or ‘blade-free LASIK.’

  • Step Two: Next, a different laser is used to re-shape the underlying corneal tissue to correct any irregularities. This step in Custom LASIK is based on an individual 3D map taken of the eye, and the most precise corrections are possible.
  • Step Three: Finally, the flap is folded back into place where it bonds quickly. Healing is rapid, and most people can return to work the next day.

LASIK takes minutes per eye. You can expect to feel no pain at all, and perhaps just the slightest sensation of pressure. Inserting or removing contact lenses or just rubbing eyes tired from wearing glasses produces more discomfort than a LASIK procedure for most people.

After the procedure most patients can see the improvement right away – usually reading the clock on the wall of the LASIK suite without lenses.

The healing process begins immediately and after a rest period following your procedure you’ll be asked to go home and relax, watch a little TV if you like, follow the simple after-procedure directions – and wake up the next morning to a clear, new world, free of lenses.

  • What Is Blade-FREE LASIK?

In the ‘blade-free’ or ‘all-laser’ technique, a laser is used to form a series of bubbles to separate the tissue and create the flap. All-laser LASIK is the newest evolution for this flap-creation step but some surgeons prefer to use the microkeratome method, depending on technical considerations for a particular set of eyes and familiarity with the technique. Outcomes of either type of procedure are virtually identical.

  • What is Custom LASIK?

‘Traditional’ LASIK corrects general irregularities of the cornea causing farsightedness, nearsightedness and astigmatism. These are called ‘lower order aberrations’ and relate to how much you can see – near, distant, etc. Custom LASIK treats ‘higher order aberrations’, optical defects other than common refractive errors, which impact on clarity of vision, or how well you can see – contrast sensitivity, details, etc.

Higher order aberrations do not necessarily affect vision and therefore would not be treated with traditional LASIK. Custom LASIK using Wavefront technology means a highly detailed 3D map is taken of your eye and its unique characteristics are corrected – the treatment is customized to include higher order aberrations.

Custom LASIK can mean:

  • More likelihood of achieving 20/20 vision or better
  • Less likelihood of night-vision issues and glare

Ask your doctor for more information and how Custom LASIK would benefit you.

  • How long does LASIK last?

The refractive errors corrected by LASIK stay corrected for the rest of your life.

Since the cornea is living tissue, there can be minor fluctuations in vision and occasionally the need for enhancements during the early healing process. These are a normal part of the post-operative process.

You can expect your vision to continue to improve, with many LASIK patients reporting excellent vision following the procedure that gets even better in the following months.

For most of us after 50 another element of the eye will cause vision trouble – particularly the need for reading glasses. This is the eye’s lens which gradually loses flexibility. Although monovision LASIK can help this condition significantly, by the time you are in your 70s you will be experiencing other vision problems such as cataracts which LASIK doesn’t address.

However, depending on the age at which you have your procedure, you can expect decades of excellent vision free of the effects of refractive error after LASIK.