What is laser in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) surgery?

Laser in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) is a procedure through which a laser is used to change the shape of the cornea of the eye. The procedure is used to correct farsightedness, nearsightedness or astigmatism.

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Dr. Jose I. Quiceno, MD
Ophthalmologist (Eye Specialist)

LASIK surgery, or laser eye surgery, is used to correct a variety of eye issues, adjusting the cornea to improve sight. By correcting vision problems, LASIK can alleviate the need for glasses or contact lenses.

LASIK surgery stands for Laser Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis and is performed by an ophthalmologist to improve your eyesight. A small incision is made in the cornea and a computer is used to adjust a laser for your prescription. The laser sends pulses of light to reshape your cornea as needed. It's an outpatient procedure using topical anesthesia and causes very little pain with quick recovery of vision. 

LASIK surgery is an eye procedure designed to correct vision impairments such as myopia. In LASIK surgery, a doctor makes a cut to reshape your eye. This allows light to reflect directly on the retina, instead of in front of it as is the case in myopia. LASIK corrects your nearsightedness and removes the need to wear glasses or contacts.

Five million people in the US have thrown away their eyeglasses and contacts, opting to have their eyeballs reshaped by a laser.

LASIK (Laser-Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis) is a high-tech method of altering the shape of your eye to improve your vision. The goal of LASIK is 20/20 vision. This means that at 20 feet, you'll see the 20 line on the eye chart; this is the level of acuity that is considered to be acceptable by most people.

Some people want the best possible vision for the average person, shooting for 20/12. Because of the way the light-sensing cones in the retina and the neurons in the brain process light and space, the best vision any human can have is 20/10.

While LASIK sounds great, it's still an imperfect procedure. LASIK relies on lasers to cut the cornea, and that's where problems can occur. Like any surgical procedure, about 3-5 percent of people have complications. While eyeballs have even been perforated, most problems are just nuisances leaving you with irregular vision and halos around light, particularly at night.

Your eyes might feel dry afterwards, and you might need saline drops. If this happens, be careful if you plan on having cosmetic eyelid surgery in the future, and make sure to tell your doc about your problem.

LASIK is irreversible and can't treat some shapes of eyeballs. Occasionally, blood vessels can grow into the cornea after the procedure, harming vision.

Newer techniques are being developed that hope to solve these problems. LASIK is a great procedure and one that we expect to improve with newer generations of computerized lasers, but if your job depends on perfect vision, like flying an airplane or performing surgery, you might want to wait a few more years before considering LASIK.

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Laser in situ keratomileusis, or LASIK, is an outpatient surgical procedure used to treat myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism. With LASIK, your ophthalmologist (Eye M.D.) uses a laser to reshape the cornea (the clear covering of the eye) to improve the way the eye focuses light rays onto the retina.

LASIK may decrease your dependence on glasses and contacts or, in some cases, allow you to do without them entirely. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, seven out of 10 LASIK patients achieve 20/20 vision, but 20/20 does not always mean perfect vision. If you have LASIK to correct your distance vision, you’ll probably still need reading glasses by around age 45. Therefore, it is important for you to consider the possibility that LASIK may not give you perfect vision.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.