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LASIK Surgery – Steps

LASIK Step #1 – Creating the Flap

The first step in LASIK is the creation of a corneal flap.  Years ago, this was done manually using a microkeratome blade.  With advances in technology this is now done with a laser.  The WaveLight FS200 laser creates a precise, clear corneal flap in about 6 seconds, greatly reducing complications associated with a blade method. The FS200 performs the fastest flap creation available in the U.S. We integrate the FS200 and EX500 lasers in our WaveLight Refractive Suite laser system to create a totally comfortable and blade-free experience for all of our LASIK patients.

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LASIK Step #2 – Custom Laser Treatment Applied

The second step in LASIK is reshaping the cornea with an advanced laser beam to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism.  The WaveLight EX500 is the latest technology that provides wavefront optimized treatments in every case. It is the fastest laser available, producing excellent results, and significantly reducing side effects associated with older systems such as glare and halos.

What happens during the procedure?

During LASIK, the eye is anesthetized with eye drops. Our experienced surgeon will use a laser to create a blade-free flap. The surgeon then lifts the flap back and applies the WaveLight EX500 laser to gently reshape the cornea. (Click here for more information on our state-of-the-art technology) The doctor returns the corneal flap to its original position where it self-seals and acts as a natural bandage. The actual procedure takes just five to ten minutes, but you should plan to be at the surgical center for around 1-1/2 – 2 hours.

What about recovery?

Recovery is different for everyone, but most LASIK patient’s are generally able to drive, work and resume regular daily activities within 24-48 hours after surgery. Many patient’s express surprise at how simple the recovery time was and how they wish they would have had LASIK surgery sooner!

What to Expect After Surgery

Although the recovery time is fairly quick after LASIK surgery, there are some important precautions and instructions you must follow to ensure proper healing. On the day of your surgery, one our patient education counselors will review your drop schedule and instructions.

  • The eyes will be covered with a clear plastic shield. Leave these shields in place until the morning following surgery, removing only to put your drops in. Wear them while sleeping for one week.
  • You may experience any of the following symptoms: increased tearing, scratchiness, sensitivity to light, blurry or fluctuating vision.
  • You vision may fluctuate, but this should stabilize over a period of weeks.
  • If you experience extreme pain or discomfort, call your doctor’s office immediately.
  • A bandage contact lens may be placed on the eye for comfort. DO NOT TAKE IT OUT. If it comes out, call your doctor’s office for instructions.
  • Eye make-up can be worn seven days after surgery.
  • No swimming or hot-tubbing for two weeks after surgery.
  • No oceans or lakes for one month after surgery.
  • You can resume light aerobic activity after three days, and more vigorous activity such as skiing, basketball, etc. five days after surgery.
  • Protect your eyes from the sun. UV exposure can cause scarring and regression during the first year after surgery.
  • Keep all follow-up appointments. They are crucial to the care of the eyes.
The Eye Institute