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In general, LASIK eye surgery takes less than 30 minutes. The procedure is done on one eye at a time, and each eye takes 10 minutes or less to complete.
You should plan on being in the surgeon's office for about an hour and a half the day of your surgery.
LASIK refers to Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis, a type of refractive surgery. The LASIK procedure helps correct:
It does this by altering the cornea (a transparent tissue on the front of the eye). As the name suggests, LASIK requires the use of a computer-controlled excimer laser (a laser device).
Thinking about LASIK? Start a conversation with an experienced Patient Counselor to find out if laser eye surgery is right for you. Learn More
Your eyelids are held open with a tool so the eye surgeon can work. First, your eye doctor places eye drops that contain a numbing agent in your eyes.
The surgeon uses a small blade or special laser to cut a thin flap in your cornea. This is the part that may cause some discomfort for the patient. Many people report feeling "a sensation of pressure" during this part of the surgery.
The excimer laser gently reshapes your cornea. It is guided by a computer that has a map of your eye preloaded into it.
After the excimer laser finishes, the surgeon smooths the corneal flap back into place.
If you are getting both eyes operated on, the doctor will immediately repeat this on the other eye.
Your LASIK eye surgery is now complete. Once you're finished, your eye surgeon or a team member will provide you with an eye shield and detailed instructions for recovery.
LASIK recovery time will not be the same for every person who undergoes LASIK surgery.
Most side effects clear up within a couple of hours or up to two days.
Immediately after surgery, you may note some discomfort or mild pain. A pain reliever may be prescribed.
Other symptoms that can arise after LASIK include:
By the time you attend your follow-up appointment, you should experience sharper vision with less discomfort. Your follow-up appointment usually takes place within 48 hours of surgery.
If these symptoms do not go away in the first week, request a follow-up visit to the eye clinic and consult the eye doctor. Re-operation may be necessary if eye measurements do not change.
Recovery time will lengthen if an eye infection occurs. Certain cosmetic products, such as creams, eye makeup, and lotions can increase infection risk.
The eye doctor will recommend avoiding such products before the day of surgery. Residue and debris caught in the eyelashes may also heighten the risk.
Other factors, such as contact sports and hot tubs, can increase the risk of infection or lengthen the healing process time.
Overall, a visit to the eye doctor within the next day of the surgical procedure and at consistent intervals will ensure a healthy, controlled recovery.
Your vision should be improved immediately after the surgery. Fluctuating vision may last for a couple of days.
Complete vision stabilization may take 3 to 6 months.
A reported 99 percent of LASIK patients achieve better than 20/40 vision. More than 90 percent achieve 20/20 vision or better after laser vision correction.
Some patients, especially those with strong refractive errors may still have to wear reading glasses, eyeglasses, or contacts for optimal vision.
Farsighted people may notice that results decline with age. This can happen due to presbyopia.
Wearing contact lenses before LASIK surgery can have detrimental effects. The cornea must return to its natural shape before surgery.
If it does not, the ophthalmologist may take inaccurate measurements that influence the surgical plan and lead to undesirable results. The surgeon will advise you on how long to stop wearing contacts before surgery.
Here are 14 tips to help protect your vision after laser eye surgery:
If you are interested in undergoing LASIK surgery, visit the nearest eye clinic to discuss all the procedure’s risks and benefits.
With the proper eye exam and comprehensive consultation, you and your eye care doctor can determine if this is the right procedure to improve your eye health.
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