Laser in-situ keratomileusis, or LASIK, is a popular surgery used to correct vision in people who are nearsighted, farsighted, or have astigmatism.

All laser vision correction surgeries work by reshaping the cornea, or clear front part of the eye, so that light traveling through it is properly focused onto the retina located in the back of the eye. LASIK is one of a number of different surgical techniques used to reshape the cornea

What Are the Advantages of LASIK Eye Surgery?

LASIK has many benefits, including:

  • It works! It corrects vision. Around 80% of patients will have their desired vision after LASIK. An enhancement can further increase this number.
  • LASIK is associated with very little pain.
  • Vision is corrected nearly immediately or by the day after LASIK.
  • Usually no bandages or stitches are required after LASIK.
  • Adjustments can be made years after LASIK to further correct vision.
  • After having LASIK, most patients no longer need corrective eyewear.

What Are the Disadvantages of LASIK Eye Surgery?

Despite the pluses, there are some disadvantages to LASIK eye surgery:

  • Changes made to the cornea cannot be reversed after LASIK.
  • Corrections can only be made by additional LASIK.
  • LASIK is technically complex. Problems may occur when the doctor cuts the flap, which can permanently affect vision.
  • LASIK can cause a loss of “best” vision with or without glasses at one year after surgery. Your best vision is the highest degree of vision that you achieved while wearing your contacts or eyeglasses.

What Are the Potential Side Effects of LASIK Eye Surgery?

Some patients experience discomfort in the first 24-48 hours after LASIK eye surgery. Other side effects, although rare, may include:

  • Glare
  • Seeing halos around images
  • Difficulty driving at night
  • Fluctuating vision
  • Dry eyes

How Should I Prepare for LASIK Eye Surgery?

Before your LASIK eye surgery, you will meet with a coordinator who will discuss what you should expect during and after the surgery. During this session, your medical history will be evaluated and your eyes will be tested. Likely tests include measuring corneal thickness, refraction, corneal mapping, air pressure, and pupil dilation. Once you have gone through your evaluation, you will meet the surgeon, who will answer any questions you may have. Afterwards, you can schedule an appointment for the procedure.

If you wear rigid gas permeable contact lenses, you should not wear them for three weeks before your surgery. Other types of contact lenses shouldn’t be worn for at least three days prior to surgery. Be sure to bring your eyeglasses to the surgeon so your prescription can be reviewed.

On the day of your surgery, eat a light meal before going to the doctor, and take all of your prescribed medications. Do not wear eye makeup or have any bulky accessories in your hair that will interfere with positioning your head under the laser. If you are not feeling well that morning, call the doctor’s office to determine whether the procedure needs to be postponed.