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What Is LASIK Surgery and What Vision Problems Is It Used to Correct?

LASIK doctors perform a popular type of eye surgery that is done to correct common conditions like myopia (near-sightedness), hyperopia (far-sightedness), and astigmatism. All of these conditions are caused by misshapen corneas that impair the eyes’ ability to properly focus the light onto the retina. Consequently, the patient’s vision is also impaired.

LASIK is an acronym for “laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis.” A typical procedure for both eyes takes around 15 minutes. After their eyes heal, many patients find they no longer need contacts or prescription glasses.

What does LASIK surgery involve?

LASIK doctors can perform either bladed or bladeless LASIK surgery. In bladed LASIK surgery, the surgeon will use a special tool called a microkeratome to cut a flap on the eye’s surface to reach the cornea. In bladeless LASIK surgery, which is also called “IntraLase” or “IntraLASIK,” the surgeon will use a computer-guided femtosecond laser to make the flap. IntraLase provides the advantages of greater control and precision and fewer complications than conventional LASIK.

In both types of LASIK surgery, the doctor will use an excimer laser to reshape the patient’s cornea. They will administer numbing drops in the eyes beforehand to keep the patient comfortable. Some patients may experience irritation or a gritty sensation for a few hours after the procedure. Over-the-counter medications like Advil or Tylenol are usually all that is needed to get relief.

What is the recovery like?

Patients will enjoy a quick recovery after undergoing LASIK. Most will be able to resume activities like driving, walking, exercising, or working the day after the procedure. On the other hand, patients should wait at least two weeks before swimming or playing contact sports like racquetball.

While patients usually experience a marked and immediate improvement in their vision, it can take up to three weeks for their vision to stabilize at its optimal level.

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