What is LASIK eye surgery?

LASIK eye surgery

If you have nearsightedness (a condition whereby you see nearby objects more clearly and far away objects appear blurry) and do not wish to wear glasses or contact lenses, you might consider the option of LASIK eye surgery. Laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) eye surgery that functions as an alternative to contact lenses and glasses is the most prevalent type of laser refractive surgery to address vision problems. During a LASIK surgery, your eye doctor or surgeon produces a partial-thickness corneal flap and uses an excimer laser to ablate the bed of the cornea (transparent outlet layer at the front of your eye). Your surgeon would then place the flap back into its original position [1]. 

Typically, you can correct your blurry vision by bending (refracting) light rays using contact lenses or glasses. However, getting your eye doctor to reshape the cornea can also offer the requisite vision correction.  

(Source: Plano, 2021)

What happens before a LASIK procedure?

Your eye surgeon will make comprehensive measurements of your eye to evaluate the general health of your eye prior to a LASIK eye surgery. Also, right before the surgery, you might need to take a mild sedative medication and also receive eye-numbing drops as you are lying on the operating table. Your eye doctor would then use a specialised kind of cutting laser to modify the curvature of your cornea. Every pulse of the laser beam would remove a small amount of corneal tissue. Hence your eye doctor can make the curve of your cornea steeper or flatter.  Your eye doctor would very likely create a flap in the cornea, raise it up and reshape the cornea using the laser beam. 

(Your doctor might give you eye-numbing drops before your LASIK procedure.) 

Why is LASIK eye surgery done? 

The general principle for LASIK eye surgery is to correct some vision problems like the following below: 

Astigmatism: This condition happens when your cornea flattens unevenly Thus the focus of your nearby and distant vision would be affected.

Myopia/nearsightedness: When you have a more elongated eyeball or a cornea that curves too sharply, light rays entering your eye focus in front of your retina (thin layer of tissue that lines the back of your eyes) instead of onto it. The result is that while you can see nearby objects rather clearly, distant objects appear blurry. 

Farsightedness (hyperopia): When your cornea is too flat or when your eyeball is shorter than normal, light rays concentrate behind your retina instead of onto it. Consequently, near vision becomes blurry. Your distant vision might occasionally become blurry as well. 

What are some of the risks of LASIK? 

Under-corrections: If your eye doctor removes too little tissue from your eye while using the laser, you might not receive your desired vision, especially if you are nearsighted. In such situations, you might opt to go for another LASIK procedure within twelve months to get rid of more tissue. 

Over-corrections: The opposite of under-corrections would be over-corrections. In this case, your eye doctor might have used the laser to remove too much tissue from your eye. 

Flap issues: When your eye doctor folds or removes the flap from the front of your eye during the LASIK procedure, problems like infection and excessive tears can arise. To complicate matters, the outermost corneal tissue layer might develop abnormally beneath the flap when you are recovering after the surgery. 

Dry eyes: When you undergo LASIK surgery, your eyes would reduce the amount of tears produced. As a result, your eyes might feel drier than usual and your vision might be affected in the immediate months following your surgery. You can address your dry eyes condition using eye drops prescribed by your doctor or have your doctor place specialised plugs in your tear ducts to stop your tears from draining away from the surface of your eyes. 

Double vision, glare and halos: You might face challenges with night vision after surgery for a few days to a few weeks. Also, you might experience greater glare, halos around bright lights or double vision [2].


(You might experience halos or problems with night vision after your surgery.)

What are some pre-existing health conditions that could increase the risks of LASIK? 

Certain health conditions might make you a less suitable candidate from LASIK at a particular point in time or disqualify you from the process altogether due to the potential side effects of LASIK. These conditions are (but are not limited to): 

  • Compromised immune system due to immunosuppressive medications or HIV
  • Chronic dry eyes
  • Vision alterations or problems owing to medications, hormonal changes, pregnancy, breast-feeding or age
  • Eyelid disorders, corneal inflammation, thin corneas, eye injuries or eye diseases that cause your cornea to bulge and thin out

Consult your doctor during an eye examination before going for LASIK 

If you are mulling over the option of undergoing LASIK surgery, consult with your doctor on whether you are suitable for the procedure. If you are not suitable for LASIK, your eye doctor might recommend another suitable refractive procedure to address your eye concerns. Book an eye appointment using the planoApp.




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