How does LASIK work? LASIK works by reshaping the front surface of the eye called the cornea so the light rays enter the eye bend in the correct way to give good vision. When a person wears their glasses or contacts, the light rays are altered in front of the eye. When the cornea is reshaped, the light rays are altered on the surface of the eye. This means that with LASIK the patient enjoys 24/7 vision correction, as compared to glasses or contacts that only provides the correcting effect when the patient is wearing lenses. When a person is nearsighted, the eye is anatomically too long for the shape of that person’s cornea therefore, the rays of light fall short of the person’s retina. This results in blurry vision for the patient. To correct this blurry vision a patient can wear corrective lenses or potentially have LASIK. With LASIK, the corneal surface is flattened with a cool laser beam to alter the path of the light rays. The results are that the rays of light now land in focus onto the retina giving a clear picture of the world to the patient. When a person is farsighted the opposite is true for the cornea and the rays of light, the eye is anatomically too short for the shape of that person’s cornea, therefore, the rays of light fall behind the person’s retina. To correct this blurry vision a patient can wear corrective lenses or potentially have LASIK. With LASIK, the corneal surface is steepened with a cool laser beam to alter the path of the light rays. The results are that the rays of light now land in focus onto the retina giving a clear picture of the world to the patient. When a person has astigmatism, the cornea is shaped more like a football than a basketball causing distortion to both distance and near vision. With LASIK, the corneal surface is reshaped to be spherical so the light rays bend in the correction fashion to focus the light so a clear picture results. Does LASIK hurt? One of the biggest questions our staff and doctors are asked regarding the LASIK procedure is if a person will experience pain during the procedure. It is completely understandable to have reservations regarding how the eyes will feel during the LASIK procedure. After all, most of us have experienced the discomfort when we just have an eyelash or something small irritating the eye. For the LASIK procedure, the eye is completely numbed with special drops (no needles or shots are used) and the surgeon will administer Valium before the procedure to help the person to be relaxed. Fortunately, the vast majority patients do not describe pain during the procedure. However, patients typically feel some pressure on the eye during the procedure. The pressure feeling is similar to the feeling of a blood pressure cuff on the arm, however in this case on the eye lasting for about 30 seconds. The most common response after the procedure is that if a person knew how easy and comfortable the procedure was, they would have done it a long time ago! How long does LASIK take? One of the most beneficial and surprising facts about the LASIK procedure is how quickly the procedure is performed. The average amount of time a patient is in the procedure suite to complete LASIK on both eyes is approximately 10-15 minutes. The actual laser time to create the flap in each eye is 30 seconds. The actual laser time to treat the vision prescription in each eye is a matter of a few seconds and varies on the patient’s prescription. Just imagine the possibility of going from not being able to see across the room to, in a matter of a few minutes walking out from procedure with no glasses or contacts! What is the recovery time for LASIK? It is surprising for most patients how quickly they can see and return to normal activities of daily living. For the majority of patients, as soon as the LASIK procedure is complete, they can see across the room. Usually the visual quality is a little foggy or hazy similar to being in a smoke-filled room. Once the patient takes a 3-4 hour nap, the quality of the vision is improving and the “fogginess” is dissipating. Most patients are able to drive themselves to their follow-up appointment the next day and over 90% of our patients obtain 20/20 vision that very first day! It is recommended that the patient refrain from touching around the eyes for 5 days and refrain from swimming or hot tub for 10 days post procedure but by the 1-week follow-up appointment, most patients are allowed to go back to their normal daily activities. Due to how quickly the eyes recover from the procedure, most patients can often go back to work within 1-2 days after their procedure. AMAZING! What kind of results can be expected? The results from LASIK are proven over time and are by most considered to be highly successful. The results from a LASIK procedure can vary from person to person and they are dependent upon several factors. Two of the most important factors are the quality of technology used for the procedure and the expertise of the surgeon performing the procedure. At 20/20 Institute we use advanced FDA approved laser technology for both the creation of the flap and the treatment to correct the vision. We also have surgeons who are corneal specialists specifically trained to perform this procedure and have successfully completed tens of thousands of procedures. In addition to technology and expertise of the surgeon, it is extremely important that a thorough evaluation for candidacy be performed by a doctor that has several years of experience with LASIK patients. If a patient is not an appropriate candidate, then the outcome will most likely be less than optimal. At 20/20 Institute, we have highly trained optometrists and ophthalmologists who have specialized in LASIK patient care. All of these factors play a role in the success of a procedure. When a patient is deemed a good candidate for LASIK at 20/20 Institute, after having LASIK with us he or she can be confident that they have a 96-98% chance of achieving the best corrected vision he or she had with glasses or contacts before Lasik!