Learn More About: LASIK

What is LASIK?

LASIK (Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis) is a procedure that uses a femtosecond laser to remove tissue from the front surface of the eye, called the cornea, in order to reshape the cornea and correct refractive error.


Who is a candidate for LASIK?

Good LASIK candidates are those over age 18 who have experienced minimal prescription change over the previous 2 years. LASIK corrects low to moderate amounts of myopia and astigmatism well. Higher amounts of myopia (for example, over a -7.00) and hyperopia can be corrected on a case-by-case basis, depending on the thickness and shape of the patient’s cornea.

Good LASIK candidates also should have a history of healthy cornea. Severe dry eye syndrome or a history of corneal infections, disease, keratoconus, or scars may exclude you from being a candidate.


What are the alternatives to LASIK?

The most common alternatives to LASIK are:

PRK: Similar to LASIK but no flap is created at the beginning of the procedure. The end result is the same as LASIK but the recovery time is longer and involves more discomfort.

Lens Replacement: This surgery is the same as cataract surgery, but with the purpose of eliminating glasses prescription. It is a great option for those over 60 considering LASIK or those who are not otherwise candidates for LASIK. Learn more about the surgery under the “cataracts” tab here.

Orthokeratology (Ortho-K): A non-surgical alternative to LASIK that leaves you glasses and contacts free during the daytime. Nighttime “retainer” contact lenses are worn to maintain a flattened cornea. Learn more about Ortho-K here.


What are the risks associated with LASIK?

Complications associated with LASIK are, fortunately, rare. The most common involve post-operative dry eye, which can often be managed with traditional dry eye treatments, and nighttime glare and halos, which often dissipate with time.

More serious complications of LASIK include complications with the flap, like epithelial ingrowth, and corneal ectasia, where the cornea begins to protrude. Your LASIK surgeon will discuss the liklihood of these risks with you prior to your surgery and answer any concerns you have.


Will I ever need glasses again after LASIK?

The answer to this question varies, but most commonly, yes. After age 40, you will need correction for near (computer work, reading, etc), which is most often solved with glasses or multifocal contact lenses.

Additionally, as your eye continues to grow and change shape naturally over time, you may develop a new prescription, which may be significant enough to warrant correction with glasses or contacts.

Even if you need glasses after LASIK, most people find that they are happier wearing a smaller prescription than they were wearing prior to LASIK.


How can I get LASIK?

At your annual exam, discuss your interest in LASIK with our eye doctors. We will take the necessary measurements to determine if you are a good candidate. If you are, we will set you up with a local surgeon and coordinate your post-operative care.