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How Does LASIK Work?

LASIK is the most common type of refractive surgery. It is a quick and relatively painless in-office procedure that is used to correct varying degrees of nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. The procedure generally results in minimal post-operative pain and rapid recovery of vision.

During the procedure, the surgeon makes a small, hinged flap in the cornea and folds it back. Then a laser reshapes the cornea—the clear, round dome at the front of your eye. The actual surgery only takes about 10 minutes per eye, but you should expect to be at the laser center for about three hours for the total process. Recovery is fast and there is minimal or no post-treatment discomfort.

High Success Rate

LASIK has a high success rate, especially for nearsightedness. Some patients experience improved vision immediately after surgery, while it may take one day for others, depending on your prescription.

  • 94-100% of low-to-moderate nearsighted patients achieve 20/40 vision or better
  • 70% of patients achieve 20/25 or better
  • 3-10% of all patients need a “touch up” surgery

However, standard LASIK does not treat presbyopia—the blurry close-up vision that starts after age 40. (Blended or monovision techniques—where one eye is corrected for distance and the other for close up—may help correct presbyopia. Additionally, corneal inlays may be combined with LASIK.) You may still need glasses for driving at night, and if you have a strong prescription, there's a chance you will still need glasses most of the time after surgery.

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