LASIK is a form of laser vision correction surgery which eliminates the need for glasses and contact lenses in most patients, including patients with astigmatism. LASIK has been performed for over 20 years across the US and the rest of the world, and numerous clinical studies and surveys demonstrated a high rate of satisfaction among patients.
In the early days of LASIK, a microkeratome blade created the incision in the cornea to create the flap. Most refractive surgeons have transitioned to bladeless LASIK. Instead of a microkeratome, a much more precise femtosecond laser creates the corneal flap. The flap is then lifted to expose the underlying corneal layers, or the stroma. Subsequently, the excimer laser precisely reshapes the surface of the cornea. The flap is then put back in place to cover the exposed cornea.
LASIK is a well tolerated procedure, with very little discomfort and fast recovery. Patients can typically return back to work after a brief exam the next day.
At this time, LASIK does not eliminate the need for reading glasses resulting from presbyopia. Presbyopia is a normal part of aging and makes it difficult to focus on near objects. It requires reading glasses for near vision. It usually starts in the mid 40’s regardless whether someone underwent LASIK or not.
To qualify for LASIK, the patients must be at least 18 years old and have stable prescription in their glasses or contact lenses for at least 1 year. The cornea must also have adequate thickness, especially in patients with very strong prescriptions. Patients with certain corneal dystrophies, such as recurrent corneal erosions, or significant dry eye may not be good candidates for LASIK. Patients with keratoconus or suspected of early keratoconus should not undergo LASIK. After a period of time a small portion of patients may regress and may need a mild pair of prescription glasses or laser enhancement.