Laser eye surgery is an umbrella term for several eye surgical treatments used to fix refractive errors (i.e., how your eye focuses light). The most common types of laser eye surgery include LASIK, PRK, LASEK and EpiLASIK.

Each of the 4 laser eye surgery treatments below uses the exact same special laser, called an “excimer” laser, to improve the cornea. This is what remedies vision. However laser eye surgery can vary in the specifics of the procedure, the recovery time, which surgical instruments are used and your patient candidacy. You might be a much better candidate for PRK, for instance, than for LASIK.

Frequently Asked Questions About LASIK

What is laser vision correction?

It is a surgical procedure that uses a cool (non-thermal) beam of light to carefully improve the cornea – the surface area of the eye– to enhance vision. The laser eliminates microscopic bits of tissue to flatten the cornea (to remedy nearsightedness), steepen the cornea (to correct farsightedness) and/or smooth out corneal abnormalities (to fix astigmatism).

The objective of laser eye surgery is to alter the shape the cornea so it does a better job of focusing images onto the retina for sharper vision. LASIK and PRK are two types of laser vision correction.

Recovery Time and Complications after LASIK Eye Surgery (Blurred Vision, Feelings, etc)

Are LASIK and PRK safe?

The FDA acknowledges LASIK and PRK as tested, safe and reliable. Laser vision correction uses a cool (non-thermal) beam of light that is computer managed. The surgeon turns the laser on and is able to turn it off at any moment. Many safeguards remain in place to minimize the risk of mistake. However, risks are related to any surgery.

Although no one knows the precise number of complications, studies suggest that the incidence of small difficulties such as dry eyes and nighttime glare is around 3 percent to 5 percent, while the risk of major occurrences such as lost vision is believed to be less than 1 percent. There are no known cases of blindness from LASIK or PRK. Once again, outcomes typically are excellent.

Can I have both eyes done at the exact same time?

Many surgeons carry out a LASIK procedure on both eyes at the very same time. Because it takes longer for clear, comfy vision after PRK, many surgeons will wait a week or 2 between eyes for PRK.

How is eye laser surgery various from previous types of refractive eye surgery?

Present FDA-approved laser vision correction techniques, such as LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis), have a higher predictability of the outcome with a lower occurrence of complications. In addition, older strategies normally involved by hand performed cuts instead of automated lasers for correction.

Does laser vision correction injured?

You will not feel pain during LASIK or PRK, since your surgeon will position anesthetic eye drops in your eye first. Afterward, he or she may recommend pain medication if required. Numerous LASIK patients report no greater than mild pain for a day or two after surgery. There is more discomfort after PRK due to the fact that the procedure exposes the much deeper layers of the cornea. For clear and comfortable vision after PRK, protective surface cells have to grow back over the cured area. This procedure can take a week or two, in some cases longer.

For how long does LASIK take?

The laser treatment itself usually takes less than a minute, while the whole procedure takes roughly 15 minutes per eye.

How do I know if I’m qualified for laser vision correction?

Your eye care specialist can assist you decide, however here are some basic standards:

  • You must have healthy eyes– no glaucoma, infection, cataracts, severe dry eye or other condition that would impact postoperative recovery.
  • You should be an adult: age 21 or older (with some exceptions).
  • Your vision needs to be stable for a minimum of a year before surgery.
  • If you’re pregnant or nursing, your hormone levels can affect the shape of your eye. You’ll have to wait until your hormonal agents are back to normal levels.
  • You can not have a degenerative or autoimmune disease, since this would impact recovery.

What occurs before laser eye surgery?

Your eye care professional will provide you an extensive eye test to make sure your eyes are healthy and you’re an ideal candidate for laser vision correction. She or he will test for glaucoma, cataracts and other disqualifying conditions. He or she also will use a device called a corneal topographer to photograph and electronically map your eye. The surgeon will use this map to plan your surgery for the most accurate outcomes possible.

What takes place on the day of treatment?

LASIK and PRK are outpatient treatments, which suggests you’ll invest around an hour at the surgeon’s office and walk out later. Somebody else should own you home, since your vision will be a little fuzzy right after surgery.

You’ll rest in a reclining chair. The surgeon will place anesthetic drops in your eye, position your head under the laser and place an eyelid speculum (retainer) under your covers to hold your eye large open.

In LASIK, the surgeon creates a thin flap in the top of the cornea, folds it revoke the method, uses the laser to eliminate some corneal tissue then puts the flap back in location. If you’re having PRK, no flap is produced: The laser just removes the external layer of the cornea (epithelium), which grows back after surgery.

What takes place later?

The surgeon will position eye drops or ointment in your eye. You may unwind for a little while then go home and rest. You’ll probably see clearer vision right away, and typically it will enhance even more as the weeks go by.

When may I resume driving?

You may start driving as soon as you see well enough, excluding the day you had LASIK or PRK performed.

Can I go back to work right away?

The majority of people who have LASIK go back to work the next day. With PRK, many surgeons advise two or three days of rest rather.


Are there any side effects?

Some people experience dry eye after LASIK, which usually is alleviated with eye drops and vanishes over time. Others may experience starbursts or halos around lights, specifically at night. Generally this effect reduces or disappears in time, too. In a little number of people (probably less than 1 percent), their vision intensifies rather than improves.

How many examinations will I require after LASIK?

Depending on your surgeon, you will probably return the next day, then one week or one month later on and after that 3 months later on. Your doctor will let you understand if more gos to are needed.

What if time passes and I’m not seeing better?

A little number of patients see well after surgery then experience regression, a progressive worsening of vision. If this takes place, talk to your eye care professional to determine the cause and to see if retreatment (enhancement) is proper.

How much does laser vision correction cost?

There is nobody response regarding what LASIK costs, since costs vary from one surgeon to the next. Costs range from less than $1,000 per eye to more than $3,000 per eye. The typical cost for all laser-based vision correction treatments is about $2,150 per eye. You likewise can ask your eye surgeon’s personnel about the possibility of funding a procedure.

I have more questions about LASIK. Who should I ask?

The absolute best source of information about LASIK is a LASIK surgeon, and most supply totally free assessments. All you have to do is make a visit.

Reyus Mammadli (Eyexan Team Leader) / author of the article
Bachelor in biomedical and electrical apparatus and systems. For more than 20 years he has been studying methods to improve health using affordable and safe methods. Collaborates with eye care charity organization of the CCP. Specialization is a vision correction by laser surgery, including LASIK.
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Ophthalmology: Health of Your Eyes
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