LASIK is a well-known laser eye correction procedure and is more common than you might think. Today, more than one million Americans opt for the advantages of laser vision correction each year to correct farsightedness, nearsightedness, and/or astigmatism. LASIK is quick, virtually painless, and most individuals recover within 24 hours.
Laser eye correction is an outpatient procedure, in some cases you may get a mild sedative to help you relax. At the start of every procedure, the surgeon applies anesthetic drops to numb the surface of the eyes and positions an instrument to help keep them open.
For most procedures, once the eyes are prepared, the surgeon uses a femtosecond laser to create a flap in the surface of the cornea. The flap is lifted allowing the surgeon to direct the laser (cool beam of light) onto the cornea, gently reshaping the tissue according to the patient’s unique prescription. The existing flap is then repositioned into its original place and acts like a bandage allowing for healthy healing. The entire procedure takes about 1-3 minutes, and most people are back to their regular activities the next day.
After the LASIK procedure is complete, some patients may have already succeeded in achieving 20/20 vision, however, keep in mind that vision may appear mildly blurry for a few hours immediately following the procedure until the eyes are allowed some recovery time. During the first day(s) of healing, some patients may feel a slight irritation as if an eyelash or tiny grain of sand is rubbing on the eye. Prescription eye drops to prevent inflammation and infection are prescribed to help with this common but temporary condition. Clear vision generally returns the night of the procedure or the next day.
Note that it is important to rest after the procedure. Healing is usually very rapid with noticeable vision improvement within a few days, if not sooner. Patients should contact their surgeon and treating provider if they experience pain or other complications. It is important to follow your doctor’s treatment plan and attend the scheduled postoperative visits.