Laser vision correction (LVC) is a type of vision correction that uses a laser to reshape the surface of the eye, making it more effective in focusing light, ultimately leading to better vision. There are many excellent LVC options available, each of which may be more appropriate only for certain patients. Get up to speed on the basics of LVC, and learn more about your LVC options.Click here to see if you may be a candidate for LASIK.
LASIK is a form of laser vision correction surgery. The term LASIK is an acronym for laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis.
WaveLight® LASIK technology with CONTOURA® Vision is a kind of laser vision correction that gives your doctor the ability to map out the features of your eyes.
This system provides:
Freedom from the limitations of glasses
Talking to your surgeon is the best way to determine if you are a candidate for any type of LASIK procedure. With a quick series of tests administered by your eye doctor, you can find out if you are eligible for LASIK. If your prescription for glasses or contact lenses has changed in the past 18 months, you might not be ready for LASIK. Your eyes may still be changing, which means they could continue to change after the procedure.
You should also talk to your surgeon about any health conditions you have been diagnosed with and medications you may be taking. Certain conditions, such as dry eyes and thin corneas, can affect your eligibility.
Learn more about the right LASIK option for you.Click here to see if you may be a candidate for LASIK.
Over 16 million people worldwide have enhanced their eyesight and lifestyle with LASIK. As LASIK grows in popularity, more and more people are eliminating the causes of fuzzy vision.²
There’s no universal price tag on a LASIK procedure. A number of factors can impact the cost of a LASIK procedure, including:
Laser system used
Diagnostic tests used
Surgeon reputation, experience, and skill
LASIK is typically considered an elective surgery, meaning it usually isn’t covered by private insurance or Medicare. You should check with your insurance carrier or employer. If your insurance gives you the choice of a flex spending or health savings account, you might see whether those funds could be used to help pay for your procedure. Some doctors may offer payment plans.
A good way to start your search for a LASIK surgeon is to see who your eye doctor
recommends. With the goal to improve your vision as best as possible in mind, you
should also consider whether or not a surgeon has the following:
Experience with the particular procedure you need
Proper technology for your particular eye problems
A helpful and informative attitude
It can be beneficial to take your time in selecting the right surgeon. You may want to consult with several surgeons before making a final decision.
This print-friendly discussion guide may also help you and a surgeon have a more insightful consultation.
In most places in the US, only ophthalmologists can perform LASIK surgery. The difference between the 2 types of eye care professionals is that ophthalmologists have MD degrees and are specially trained and licensed to perform major eye surgeries, such as LASIK, whereas optometrists have OD degrees and are specially trained and licensed for the management and treatment of ocular diseases and, in some states, minor surgical procedures.
Before a LASIK procedure, you will need to have an eye evaluation, which usually assesses the following:
The shape of your cornea
Possible eye disease
Keep in mind that you may be asked to not wear contact lenses for up to 2 weeks before your evaluation to help your eyes return to their natural shape.
The entire procedure typically takes less than 30 minutes—and depending on the technology, as little as 10 minutes. Some patients have even been able to get back to their routine within a day.
The LASIK experience may vary from procedure to procedure, but you can usually expect the following:
• Anesthetic drops will be placed in each eye
• You will lie down on a patient bed under the laser system
• You will be asked to focus on a small blinking light
• Pulses of laser energy will precisely reshape your cornea
The difference between PRK vs LASIK procedures lies in the way the surgeon accesses the cornea. During PRK eye surgery, your doctor will remove a thin layer of corneal tissue, which exposes the cornea for reshaping. Alternatively, LASIK leaves the corneal tissue in place by creating a small flap that provides access to the cornea.
Each person who undergoes a LASIK procedure has a unique recovery experience. Many people are able to return to work the very next day. Others might experience a few minor side effects, such as watery or red eyes for a few days.
Find out even more about what a LASIK experience might be like.
Immediately after a LASIK procedure, the first thing many patients notice is how clearly they can see the alarm clock. During this initial period, you may also be sensitive to bright light, and your vision may also be slightly blurry. This happens because your cornea is still healing, and once it heals, these issues may subside.
Over the months following your procedure, it is likely that your vision will continue to improve, becoming crisper, clearer, and brighter—most people achieve 20/20.³
During a LASIK procedure, safety is the number one priority. Most people do not suffer serious complications after LASIK, but like all surgical procedures, it still involves a risk of complications or side effects.4 Make sure to discuss the risks and benefits of any LASIK procedure with your surgeon, so you can make an informed decision that’s best for you.
Common risks associated with LASIK procedures include:
Developing dry eye syndrome, which can be severe
The possible need for glasses or contact lenses after surgery
Visual symptoms including halos, glare, starbursts, and double vision, which can be debilitating
The loss of vision
At first, you might experience difficulty seeing at night or glare in very bright light. These conditions are usually temporary and disappear once the eyes have fully healed.
With LASIK, the effects are permanent. It is important to know that as you age, the natural lens inside your eye can still change and have an impact on your vision. This is called presbyopia, and it’s the reason people develop the need for reading glasses later in life.
With LASIK, your cornea is reshaped making it more symmetrical. This helps to alleviate visual problems caused by astigmatism.
1. Alcon data on file, 2018.
2. Solomon KD, Fernández de Castro LE, Sandoval HP, Biber JM, Groat B, Neff KD, Ying MS, French JW, Donnenfeld ED, Lindstrom RL; Joint LASIK Study Task Force. LASIK World Literature Review: Quality of Life and Patient Satisfaction. Ophthalmology. 2009 Apr;116(4):691-701. doi: 10.1016/j.oph-tha.2008.12.037. PMID: 19344821.
3. Summary of Safety and Effectiveness Data. P020050S004b.
4. American Academy of Ophthalmology. Is LASIK for Me? A Patient’s Guide to Refractive Surgery. October 2008. http://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/glass-es-contacts-lasik/upload/LASIK-patient-guide.pdf. Accessed Dec. 17, 2018.