How Does LASIK Work: Frequently Asked Questions

Laser in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK) surgery is one of the most well-known treatments for vision problems, but what exactly is LASIK eye surgery? How does LASIK work to correct your vision? Is the procedure safe? How long does it take for the results to show?

In this blog post, we will discuss the most common questions about LASIK surgery. As we answer these questions one by one, it’s crucial to remember that everyone’s experience with LASIK is different, and the results will not be the same for everyone. It’s always best to speak with your doctor so you can make an informed decision on whether or not laser eye surgery is right for you.

Key Points

  • How Does LASIK Work
  • What Does Laser Eye Surgery Do
  • How Is LASIK Done
  • How Safe Is LASIK Eye Surgery
  • How Does LASIK Correct Vision
  • Does LASIK Permanently Fix the Eyes
  • Does LASIK Work for Everyone

How Does LASIK Work?

LASIK is a painless and minimally-invasive procedure to correct vision problems. The whole process takes less than 30 minutes, and recovery is relatively quick—about six to 12 hours. While LASIK is primarily designed to improve vision, many patients have also experienced reduced ocular headaches and eye strain occurrences.

What Does Laser Eye Surgery Do?

Laser eye surgery is a form of vision therapy that employs a laser to reshape the eye’s surface. This is done to enhance or repair nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. It can also help with presbyopia, which is an age-related vision problem. 

How Is LASIK Done?

The goal of LASIK surgery is to reshape the cornea. The process begins by evaluating the patient’s eye to determine their level of refractive error and the best treatment option.

During the actual procedure, the first step is to apply numbing eye drops. Next, a thin flap of corneal tissue is created using either a mechanical blade or microkeratome. Then, the underlying cornea is peeled back and reshaped using either an excimer or femtosecond laser, depending on which method was used to create the initial flap.

After reshaping, the cornea is put back into place, and the surgical site is then closed using either stitches or adhesive tissue glue. Finally, the surgeon may also apply ointment to help promote healing.

How Safe Is LASIK Eye Surgery?

While LASIK eye surgery has gained immense popularity in recent years, it is essential to note that it’s not without risks. Some common LASIK complications include dry eyes, double vision, astigmatisms, overcorrections, undercorrections, or vision loss. These risks can be avoided or managed with the help of skilled medical professionals and appropriate aftercare measures.

While there are risks involved with LASIK eye surgery, for most patients, the benefits far outweigh the potential drawbacks. 

How Does LASIK Correct Vision?

During LASIK surgery, the ophthalmologist uses a laser to make a small incision in the eye to access the cornea. After this, a laser is used to reshape the cornea tissue. The goal is to allow light to focus precisely on the retina, thereby resulting in clearer vision. 

Does LASIK Permanently Fix the Eyes?

The goal of LASIK surgery is to reduce or eliminate your need for glasses or contact lenses. It has become an increasingly popular procedure, with a more than 96% patient satisfaction rate. Additionally, according to LASIK statistics, when comparing vision before and after LASIK surgery, over 90% of patients have achieved a 20/20 vision, thanks to the procedure.

However, some patients experience vision changes over time, particularly if there is significant shifts in their weight or hormones. Some patients may also need a follow-up procedure to maintain optimal vision.

How Long Does It Take for LASIK to Work?

Patients generally report vision improvement as early as four to five hours after the procedure. However, depending on some factors, such as general health, the extent of vision problems, and whether preoperative practices have been followed religiously, it can take up to six months for vision to stabilize. 

During this time, patients may experience side effects, such as dry eyes, itchiness, soreness, and discomfort. These side effects will usually last for a few weeks to a few months, but patients report a dramatic vision improvement that will last for a few years to a lifetime. 

How Well Does LASIK Work?

LASIK is one of the most effective ways to improve visual acuity and clarity and attain the sharper vision. Patients may experience varying levels of success after undergoing LASIK surgery. Factors like overall health, pre-existing eye conditions, and lifestyle can affect how well LASIK works for an individual.

For instance, a patient with huge pupils may not be a good candidate for a LASIK eye surgery procedure, as the laser may not be able to effectively penetrate larger pupils during treatment. Additionally, some people experience dry eye syndrome, which reduces or eliminates tear flow.

Does LASIK Work for Everyone?

It is a common misconception that LASIK eye surgery is guaranteed to work for everyone.

In reality, LASIK only works for specific people. Factors like age, vision quality, and overall health can influence how well the surgery works for an individual.

For people eligible for LASIK surgery, the results are almost always positive. Not only does LASIK allow people to achieve clearer vision without depending on corrective eyewear, but it also often improves other problem areas. For example, many people find that their eyes become less dry and irritated after having LASIK surgery.

How Many Years Does LASIK Last?

The lifespan of LASIK can vary depending on several factors. So, how long does LASIK last on average? Generally speaking, this procedure can last for 10 years to a lifetime. 

Common factors that influence the lifespan of LASIK are age, general health, eyewear use, and lifestyle. For example, older individuals may lose visual acuity over time and require follow-up procedures or more frequent adjustments to their corrective lenses.

Additionally, those who wear protective eyewear or contacts regularly will likely benefit from more regular touch-ups over the years. Overall, with proper care, LASIK should be able to last for several years or more without significant changes in vision quality.

How Does LASIK Work on Astigmatism?

LASIK works by using a laser to reshape corneal tissue—the clear, round dome on the front of the eye. By correcting the shape of the cornea, light can enter the eye and focus accurately on the retina, resulting in clearer vision.

For people with astigmatism, the cornea is curved more in one direction than in another, which causes blurry or distorted vision. LASIK can be used to correct this by evening out the cornea’s curve.

How Does Laser Eye Surgery Work for Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a condition that damages the optic nerve of the eye. It usually happens when fluid builds up in the front part of your eye, raising the pressure and damaging the optic nerve.

Laser surgery prevents or slows down vision loss from glaucoma by draining the fluid buildup in the eye, thereby lowering intraocular pressure. The eye doctor does this by using a laser beam to make a tiny hole in a part of the eye. 

Laser surgery is usually done in an outpatient center or hospital. First, the eye doctor will apply numbing drops to the eye so you won’t feel pain. Then, they will use a laser to try to drain the buildup of fluid in your eye. 

The side effects of this type of LASIK procedure include soreness, swelling, and blurred vision for a short time. The eye doctor will provide eye drops to help manage these symptoms. You will need to see your doctor for follow-up visits so they can check if the pressure in your eye has lowered and the damage in the optic nerve hasn’t progressed. 

How Does LASIK Surgery Work If I Am Nearsighted?

LASIK surgery is a popular and effective way to correct nearsightedness. During the procedure, a high-speed laser is used to reshape the cornea, the eye’s outermost layer. This change in shape allows light to focus accurately on the retina, thereby correcting your nearsighted vision.

What many people don’t realize, however, is that LASIK surgery works by changing only one small part of the eye—the cornea—while leaving other parts like the focusing muscles and fluid in the eye unchanged. This selective targeting dramatically increases the accuracy and effectiveness of this treatment method, making it a popular choice for those with nearsightedness.

How Does Multifocal LASIK Work?

Multifocal LASIK, otherwise known as presbyLASIK, uses unique laser technology to reshape unique vision areas on the cornea with the goal of making it multifocal. This treatment method is commonly used on presbyopic patients, whose eyes are less flexible and have less ability to focus on nearby objects. 

How Does LASIK Work for Bifocal Wearers?

Our eyes begin to have trouble focusing on objects at different distances as we age. This is why people who are both nearsighted and farsighted use bifocal lenses. 

LASIK surgery offers a tool called a multifocal correction—a procedure that utilizes a customized lens implant to adjust the eye’s focus at all distances.

The procedure essentially creates an artificial miniature lens with different refractive zones that allow light through at different angles. The eye will automatically use the zone appropriate to its current state of focus. As a result, even bifocal wearers can benefit from LASIK surgery. 

How Does Custom Wavefront LASIK Work?

Wavefront LASIK or custom LASIK is an advanced form of vision correction that is tailored to the unique anatomy of a patient’s eye. Unlike traditional LASIK, which corrects only simple refractive errors, wavefront LASIK also corrects higher-order aberrations. This type of vision problem doesn’t affect the quantity of your vision, but it affects the quality of how well you can see. This includes glares, halos, decreased contrast, and changes in night vision. 

So, how does LASIK work when customized? The treatment begins with creating a precise 3D image of the eye using wavefront laser technology. This image, also known as the wavefront map, serves as a guide for the laser when shaping the cornea to achieve optimal vision. With wavefront LASIK, there is a higher chance of achieving 20/20 vision or better. LASIK surgery risks, such as nighttime glare and halos, are also lesser in wavefront LASIK than in the traditional one.