Understanding LASIK

The cornea and lens combine to focus visual images on the back of your eye. When the overall shape of the eye or the curvature of the cornea is incorrect, visual images appear blurry and out of focus. Laser In Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK) is a surgical procedure that uses lasers to reshape the curvature of the cornea thereby eliminating most or all of the blurry images.

The goal of refractive surgery is to help reduce your dependence on eyeglasses and/or contact lenses. All the following must apply in order to be considered a candidate for LASIK surgery:

  • You must be 21 years of age.
  • You must have a stable eyeglass prescription for at least 12 months.
  • Your cornea (the tissue on which the laser is done) must be healthy and thick enough for the procedure
  • Certain medical conditions and medications may disqualify you as a candidate
  • You are not pregnant or nursing

What To Expect During Your LASIK Evaluation

If you wear contact lenses, you will be asked to stop wearing them one to three weeks before the evaluation. Failure to do this will produce less predictable results.

A LASIK evaluation will typically last about one hour from the time you enter the office. Your entire medical history will be reviewed as well as your expectations for LASIK surgery. The examination will start with a measurement of your sight. The pressure inside your eye will also be measured, as well as your pupils, eye muscles, and side vision.

You will then be given eye drops that will dilate your pupils. These drops take about 15-20 minutes to work. They may make your eyes light sensitive and difficult to focus, especially up close, for several hours.

Your doctor will then shine several lights into your eyes, using both an eye microscope and headset. These instruments allow for a thorough examination of the various parts that make up both the outside and inside of your eyes.

Additional testing will be performed including specialized computer mapping of your cornea, measurement of corneal thickness, and a dry eye assessment.

At the completion of your visit, your doctor will then review your results and determine if LASIK is right for you.