How Does LASIK Work? Everything You Need to Know - SightMD Skip to main content

May 26, 2023

By: Eric D. Rosenberg, DO

How Does LASIK Work? Everything You Need to Know

lasik surgery steps infographic

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:

  • Your doctor will test your eyes to make sure your eye health history is correct and up to date.
  • Numbing eye drops will be placed in both of your eyes and you’ll be given a sedative.
  • Your surgeon will use a femtosecond laser to create a thin, circular “flap” in your cornea. The flap will then be folded back, allowing your surgeon to access the stroma, or underlying cornea.
  • 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.
  • If you are nearsighted, the laser will be used to flatten your cornea. If you are farsighted, the laser will create a steeper cornea.
  • The flap will then be laid back in place, covering the area where the corneal tissue was removed.
  • The cornea will then be given time to heal naturally.

Since LASIK eye surgery was first approved by the FDA, more than 19 million LASIK procedures have been performed in the U.S. Further, LASIK has received more than 45 FDA approvals, treating myopia, hyperopia, presbyopia, astigmatism, and more.

Does LASIK eye surgery hurt?

LASIK eye surgery is relatively painless because numbing drops are used to anesthetize the eye before and during the procedure. Patients generally experience some pressure from the eyelid holder used to prevent blinking, but otherwise, they are made comfortable with the numbing and lubricating drops. After the procedure, some patients will have mild discomfort that on average lasts about 5 hours.

Are you awake during LASIK?

Yes. It is necessary because the surgeon needs you to focus your vision during the procedure. However, a lot goes into keeping you calm and comfortable. Numbing eye drops are given throughout the LASIK procedure and valium or other sedative medication is available. Also, it should be mentioned that there is nothing you could do being awake during the procedure that would be harmful to you. The laser’s sophisticated tracking capabilities follow your eyes’ every move. So, if you sneeze or abruptly move your body too much, the laser automatically turns off.

Is LASIK right for me?

If you think you are ready to take the next step with LASIK eye surgery contact SightMD today to set up a free consultation to determine if you are a candidate for the procedure.