LASIK: What to Expect


The LASIK Procedure

Once you are found to be a candidate for LASIK eye surgery, your procedure will be scheduled.

On the day of your procedure, you should have a friend or loved one drive you. Your eyes will be numbed with special drops, and you will be led into the laser suite. You will remain awake throughout the procedure, and will be asked to focus on a fixation light inside the laser.


LASIK corrects your vision in three steps:

  1. The femtosecond laser is used to create a thin flap, which is then carefully folded out of the way. (click here to see a laser flap being created)
  2. The excimer laser reshapes the cornea to correct your prescription. (click here to see the flap lift and laser treatment applied)
  3. The flap is replaced, where it adheres naturally.

The procedure takes about 8 minutes per eye. Immediately following the surgery you will begin to start to see, although the first few hours most patients are somewhat foggy and have some fluctuation to their vision.  It is normal to experience burning and watering of the eyes for the first few hours after the procedure that can usually be helped by taking a short nap.  The following day most patients are able to drive and return to their normal activities.

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The Postop Period

Most patients will encounter what we call the LASIK Triad during the early postoperative period.  The LASIK Triad consists of:

  • Some increase in dryness of the eyes.  Dryness can cause a few symptoms such as on and off blurry vision or sandy feeling to the eyes.  For many patients having refractive surgery, one of the reasons they were looking into this option was that they could no longer wear their contacts due to some dryness of their eyes.  It is important to lubricate your eyes properly after surgery with a good artificial tear on a regular basis 2-4 times per day.  We recommend non-preservative artificial tears for the first 2 weeks then patients can transition to a bottled artificial tear.
  • Increase in night time halos or glare off of lights.  Your surgery is applied to the cornea (front windshield of the eye) and the cornea will retain some swelling for the first 6-8 weeks after surgery.  Swollen corneas cause an increase scatter of light most notably at night.  Prior to surgery it is normal for patients to see some halo or glare on lights at night, but the corneal swelling induced by surgery tends to increase the size of these lights in the early postoperative period.  Most patients understand that this is normal in the early weeks to months and are able to function normally.
  • Fluctuation of vision.  As the corneal flap heals and the swelling dissipates vision will have some fluctuation in clarity.  This will become less frequent the closer we get to the 3 month postoperative period when vision tends to stabilize.

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