Top 5 questions about LASIK

Updated: Mar 30



Many of us have been there before: you fall asleep with your glasses on and wake up to find the frames bent out of shape, or a lens (if not both of them) is popped out of place or broken. Or, for those who choose to wear contacts, maybe you are tired of the irritation caused by contacts.

If you’ve experienced any of these scenarios, you may be ready to give up on glasses and contacts in favor of a permanent solution to your vision problems – such as LASIK eye surgery. Here are five frequently asked questions – and their answers – about LASIK.

1. How Do I Know If I’m a Candidate for LASIK Eye Surgery?

The good news about LASIK is that it’s fairly inclusive, meaning many adults are eligible for this procedure,

Before receiving LASIK, you will be required to meet with your eye doctor for a thorough eye exam. During this initial appointment, your doctor will evaluate the shape and thickness of your cornea, the size of your pupil, and check for refractive errors such as myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism, and any other eye conditions. Your doctor may also check to see how moist your eyes are and may recommend a precautionary treatment to reduce your risk of developing dry eyes after surgery.

The ideal candidate for LASIK must:

  • Be at least 18 years old.

  • Not have an autoimmune disease, which can make it difficult to heal after surgery.

  • Not be pregnant or breastfeeding. Elevated hormone levels during pregnancy can affect the shape of your eyes, making it better to wait for surgery until your hormone levels return to normal.

  • Have healthy eyes, including no history of cataracts, a chronic dry eye condition, or glaucoma.

2. Is LASIK Eye Surgery Painful?

LASIK eye surgery is not painful at all. Right before your procedure, your surgeon will place numbing eye drops into both of your eyes. While you may still feel a little bit of pressure during the procedure, you would not feel any pain.

Your surgeon may also give you another medication, such as Valium, to help you remain calm and relaxed during the procedure.

After your surgery, it is common to feel a slight itching or burning sensation in your eyes, but it should go away quickly.

3. What Does LASIK Eye Surgery Involve?

The main goal of LASIK eye surgery is to change the shape of the cornea so that it can better focus images onto the retina, allowing you to see more clearly. This effect is achieved through the use of two lasers.

On the day of your LASIK eye surgery you can expect the following:

  1. Your doctor will test your eyes to make sure your eye health history is correct and up to date.

  2. Numbing eye drops will be placed in both of your eyes and you’ll be given a sedative.

  3. A laser with cool ultraviolet beams will be used to remove small amounts of tissue from your cornea to reshape it. This enables it to more accurately focus light on your retina for improved vision.

  4. If you are nearsighted, the laser will be used to flatten your cornea. If you are farsighted, the laser will create a steeper cornea.

  5. The flap will then be laid back in place, covering the area where the corneal tissue was removed.

  6. The cornea will then be given time to heal naturally.

LASIK eye surgery is a simple procedure. Though you are awake, numbing eye drops combined with medication will help you stay calm and unbothered by the procedure. The LASIK procedure lasts approximately twenty minutes for both eyes.

4. What Does Recovery from LASIK Entail?

After your LASIK eye surgery, you will be given a brief post-op eye exam. Once your doctor confirms that the surgery was successful, you will be allowed to go home, but must be driven by a family member or friend. You will not be allowed to drive until after your follow-up visit with your eye doctor, which will usually occur the day after your surgery. At that time, he or she will confirm that your vision is within the legal standard for driving.

About a week after your surgery, you’ll meet with your doctor again to make sure your eyes are healing properly. At that visit, your doctor will determine if more follow-up visits are necessary.

While you will be permitted to work the day after your procedure, it is recommended that you take a couple of days off to rest.

You should also refrain from strenuous exercise for the week after your surgery, as it can hinder the healing process. You should also avoid wearing eye makeup for a week, as well.

Several prescription eye drops and artificial tears will be prescribed by your provider. These are given to help speed up the healing process, fight bacteria and infection, and combat dry eyes.

5. When Will I See Results from LASIK Eye Surgery?

Immediately after your LASIK eye surgery, you should begin to see things from a distance that you couldn’t see before. While your eye sight will likely be fuzzy and hazy initially, it should stabilize and continue to improve within the first few days after surgery. It is not uncommon for your eyes to sting a bit or to feel a little gritty and/or sensitive to light after your procedure.

Are you considering LASIK eye surgery? To learn more about this procedure and determine if you are a candidate, schedule an appointment with Laser Vision Center Online.

This post originally posted by Penn Medicine.