LASIK is an elective medical procedure designed to correct the patient’s nearsightedness and astigmatism by reshaping the patient’s cornea using a laser. In the “All Laser” LASIK procedure, a femtosecond laser is employed to create a corneal flap, which is then lifted, after which the underlying tissue is reshaped with a different excimer laser, and then the flap is repositioned in place, whereupon the cornea heals preserving the new vision.
Dr. Hyver will determine if you are medically-qualified for LASIK based on a review of your diagnostic test results, including your prescription, corneal shape and thickness, baseline tear function, pupil size, and general overall eye health. If these criteria meet Dr. Hyver’s approval threshold, he’ll approve you for LASIK; otherwise, he’ll either approve you for a different form of laser vision correction, such as PRK, or not medically approve you for any form of treatment.
The LASIK procedure takes about five minutes per eye. While lying on your back, your eyes are numbed with special eye drops, after which one eye will be held open with a small eyelid holder. This eye will then be held in position for about 30 seconds during which you’ll feel a pressure sensation on the eye. Following this, the laser will treat the eye for approximately 5 to 10 seconds as you stare at a blinking fixation light. You will not see or feel the laser. After the laser completes its work, the eyelid holder is removed and you’re free to blink. The same steps apply if your other eye is treated.
You don’t have to worry about blinking because your eyelids will be held securely open with the eyelid holder. Also, because your eye is numb, you won’t typically feel the need to blink. Most advanced LASIK laser systems are designed to automatically compensate for any involuntary or inadvertent movements of your eye or body during treatment.
Most patients experience little to no discomfort during treatment. Discomfort, if any, occurs primarily when your eye is held in position with the eyelid holders, creating a pressure sensation on the eye. Following this, you’ll feel very little sensation.
Someone will need to take you home after the procedure. Your vision will be hazy and your eyes will experience some stinging for the first few hours. You should rest during this time. Most LASIK patients can resume driving and working the next day, including extended use of computer displays, which should not affect your recovery or final visual outcome.
You’ll need to apply prescription eye drops for a prescribed period following your LASIK procedure. You’ll also need to wear protective goggles when you sleep, typically for the first week following your treatment. Most patients can resume their normal lifestyle the day after their LASIK procedure, including showering, driving, working, being out in the sun, exercising, and air travel. However, you should not swim for at least the first two weeks following treatment.
As long as your prescription is stable, you can expect your visual outcome to last for many years. If your vision does decline, however, the change is likely to be relatively small compared to your original prescription, and it’s something that can most likely be addressed through an enhancement procedure.
Experiencing glare around lights at nighttime — including starbursts, ghosting and halos — is fairly common early in the LASIK recovery process, but these effects shouldn’t prevent you from driving at night. The effects gradually lessen and, in the majority of patients, fully resolve within three to six months following surgery. A small percentage of patients, however, will continue to experience some degree of night disturbance indefinitely, but the effects are typically mild.
It’s fairly common to experience dry eye sensation early in the LASIK recovery process, especially upon awakening in the morning. Artificial tear drops may be used for relief. The dry eye sensation is generally mild and gradually resolves within three to six months following surgery. For a small percentage of patients, some degree of dry eye sensation may persist indefinitely, but the effects are typically mild.