LASIK laser eye surgery

Your Complete LASIK Laser Eye Surgery Guide

What is LASIK Surgery?

Laser refractive surgery procedures:

  • PRK aka LASEK
  • Lenticule extraction (SMILE, SILK, CLEAR)

LASIK Surgery Steps

  1. During LASIK eye surgery, an eyelid holder keeps your eye gently open while your doctor performs the procedure safely. It feels like you are still blinking, so relax and blink normally.

  2. A thin flap is first created in the upper cornea using a femtosecond laser (an older, outdated method uses a surgical blade called a microkeratome). The femtosecond laser creates millions of microscopic bubbles to separate the flap, which your eye surgeon lifts to expose the interior corneal tissue. The femtosecond laser uses a suction ring to ensure it remains in the correct position during the laser eye surgery.
  3. You will look at a target light while your eye surgeon uses sophisticated tracking technology to ensure a perfectly centred treatment.

  4. An excimer laser is then applied to the inner layers of the cornea to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism or presbyopia. It works by vaporising tiny amounts of tissue in a highly controlled manner, altering the cornea’s curvature.

  5. Once the proper corneal shape has been achieved, the flap is smoothly repositioned in its original place.

How Does LASIK Work?

  • Short-sight (myopia) – The cornea is flattened so that distant objects come into focus. This is done by applying more laser pulses to the centre and fewer to the periphery.

  • Long-sight (hyperopia) – The central cornea is steepened to improve close-up vision. This is achieved by applying extra laser pulses to the outer corneal zone.

  • Astigmatism – Uneven curvatures are smoothed to provide a rounder, symmetric cornea. The number and position of pulses target irregular areas.

  • Presbyopia – The non-dominant eye is corrected for near vision, while distance vision remains in the dominant eye. This is called blended vision or monovision LASIK.

Benefits of LASIK Eye Surgery

  • It is a minimally invasive laser eye procedure.

  • Eliminates or reduces dependence on glasses and contact lenses. No more need to insert contacts, clean lenses, or find misplaced glasses.

  • Allows you to see more clearly for activities like driving at night. Research has confirmed that LASIK achieves better night vision than contact lenses.

  • Lets you more easily participate in sports, adventures and rigorous activities without vision correction interfering.

  • Provides quick recovery with minimal discomfort compared to past procedures. Most patients see well within 24 hours.

  • Offers the convenience of a short outpatient procedure with immediate vision improvement in most cases, typically faster than lens options.

  • Boosts confidence, self-esteem and quality of life by correcting debilitating vision problems.

Risks of LASIK

  • Overcorrection or undercorrection – Enhancement surgeries may be needed if vision is imperfect. This occurs in 1-2% of cases and is more likely with very high prescriptions.

  • Worsening of night vision – Some patients experience more glare, halos and difficulty driving at night after LASIK. The risk is raised for those with extreme prescriptions.

  • Dry eyes – LASIK can cause dry eyes, requiring frequent use of artificial tear drops for months.

  • Corneal flap complications – Rarely, the flap may heal incorrectly with wrinkles or epithelial in-growth. Fortunately, these problems are now very rare.

  • Infection – The chances of infection are around 1 in 21,000 cases with proper postoperative care.

  • Ectasia – Weakening of corneal strength is possible but rare with modern LASIK techniques. Modern scanners have greatly reduced the chance of ectasia, and the development of collagen crosslinking treatments has provided an effective therapy.

Who is a Candidate for LASIK?

Being a good candidate for LASIK is essential to a successful procedure.

  • Is at least 18 years old with documented vision stability over 1-2 years and no significant vision changes.

  • Has good general eye health with no diseases like advanced glaucoma, cataracts, keratoconus or uncontrolled diabetes.

  • Has a well-lubricated corneal surface and no significant dry eye disease. Your eye doctor will confirm this at the consultation.

  • Does not have an autoimmune disorder like rheumatoid arthritis that could impede healing.

  • Is not taking medications like isotretinoin that can dry the eyes.

  • Has no signs of corneal abnormality and meets corneal thickness requirements.

  • Has realistic expectations about the potential results, limitations and risks.

Who is Not Suitable for LASIK?

Some patients should not have LASIK. It is better to see alternatives with the following:

  • Thin corneas

  • Very dry eyes

  • Participate in strenuous contact sports

  • Previous eye infections with the herpes virus

How to Prepare for LASIK Surgery

Here are some tips on preparing for your LASIK surgery and ensuring you get the best vision result possible.

  • If you are a contact lens wearer, you must discontinue wearing contact lenses for 1 to 4 weeks before your treatment, depending on the lens type.

  • Have a comprehensive eye exam to determine if LASIK is appropriate and meets the criteria set by your eye surgeon.

  • Follow your ophthalmologist’s instructions on stopping certain medications that could interfere with surgery.

  • Make arrangements for transportation on the day of surgery, as you cannot drive immediately after.

  • Limit your computer and phone screen time in the days leading up to surgery to rest your eyes.

  • Avoid wearing cosmetic products like eyeliner, mascara and perfume around your eyes before the procedure.

What to Expect After LASIK Surgery

  • Improved vision, though still blurry, hazy and variable. Some degree of blurred vision is normal in the first few hours.

  • Mild burning or stinging sensation as the anaesthetic eye drops wear off.

  • Watery eyes, sensitivity to light and difficulty keeping eyes open. Wear the provided sunglasses.

  • Instructions to use medicated eye drops to prevent infection and reduce inflammation.

  • Follow-up appointment with your surgeon the very next day to check your eyes.

  • Vision continues to improve after your eye surgery but may fluctuate day-to-day.

  • Avoid rubbing your eyes for the first month to prevent flap displacement.

  • Use preservative-free artificial tears frequently to minimize dryness and irritation.

  • Wear protective shields at night to avoid accidental rubbing while sleeping.

  • Limit visual activities like reading and screens to prevent overexertion.

  • Take over-the-counter pain medication like paracetamol (acetaminophen) as needed for discomfort.

Types of LASIK Surgery

LASIK for Nearsightedness (Myopia Correction)

myopia short-sight prevalence

Results at Focus Clinic show 100% of patients could see 20/20 after LASIK from a published peer-reviewed journal.

For all typical short-sighted prescriptions.

LASIK for Farsightedness (Hyperopia Correction)

LASIK for Astigmatism

LASIK Recovery Tips and Timeline

  • 1-2 days – vision improves but varies, eyes sensitive

  • 1 week – eyes start to feel normal, vision stabilises

  • 1 month – generally comfortable. Dryness is common in the first few weeks

  • 3 months – fully healed with stabilised vision. The patient can resume contact sports.

LASIK Results and Patient Satisfaction

  • 100% achieve 20/20 vision or better – short-sight up to -6.00 dioptres, including astigmatism up to 2.00 dioptres.

  • 99.7% achieve better than 20/20 vision after LASIK – this is considered excellent sharp vision.

  • Around 99% of patients are satisfied with their vision improvement from LASIK.

  • Most patients report seeing substantially better within 24 hours after their procedure.

  • For many, the vision improvements from LASIK are long-lasting when performed on suitable candidates.

Is Laser Eye Surgery Safe?

Following a high degree of technology development, better patient selection and improved surgical technique over the past 30 years, LASIK eye surgery is considered safe and serious complications are very rare.

LASIK technology advancements

The femtosecond laser has ensured a highly reliable and repeatable method to create a LASIK flap and eliminated epithelial ingrowth from the primary procedure (this was a common complication with the old blade-cut devices).

The risk of vision loss is lower than occurs with regular use of contact lenses.

Does Laser Eye Surgery Hurt?

Using anaesthetic eye drops ensures you feel no pain from the corneal surface. You may be aware of a sensation of pressure while the LASIK flap is created. Most patients consider laser treatment to be less painful than the dentist’s!

How Much Does Laser Eye Surgery Cost?

Refractive surgery does entail a significant upfront cost. However, studies have confirmed that laser surgery is cheaper than glasses and contact lenses in the long term.

cost laser eye surgery-versus glasses

Financing options are routinely available. You can learn more on our eye treatment Pricing page.

Alternatives to LASIK Surgery


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