LASIK is a safe and effective form of laser refractive surgery performed on the cornea to correct nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and astigmatism. LASIK was first approved by the FDA in 1998 and since then, around 10 million Americans have undergone the procedure, the vast majority of whom are happy with their results.
LASIK uses a laser to reshape the cornea, which is the front part of the eye. Reshaping the cornea changes the way your eye focuses light, making vision more clear and reduces or eliminates the need to wear contacts or eyeglasses.
LASIK is actually a two part procedure. First, a flap is created in the cornea using a femtosecond laser. This very precise laser is able to cut a thin layer of cornea without damaging any of the surrounding tissue. This flap is then lifted out of the way, like a page of a book, and a second laser called the excimer laser is used to reshape the underlying cornea. The flap is carefully returned to its original position and the procedure is complete. The entire procedure takes about twenty minutes with minimal to no pain. By performing the treatment under a flap, the eye is able to heal more quickly and patients often notice clear vision the next day after surgery.
Who is a good candidate for LASIK?
- Ideally someone who is over 21 years old, when vision is more likely to have stopped changing. Under certain circumstances, we perform surgery on patients as young as 18 years old.
- A stable eye prescription that has not changed significantly over the last year.
- Your corneas are thick enough and healthy.
- Your overall eye health is good.
- Your prescription has to be one that can safely be treated with LASIK.
Some patients are not ideal candidates for LASIK. Some examples of these would be:
- An unstable eye prescription.
- Extreme levels of myopia, hyperopia, or astigmatism.
- Severe dry eye.
- Thin corneas.
- History of certain corneal infections.
- Other eye problems including severe glaucoma and cataracts.
- Pregnant or nursing women.
Every LASIK evaluation at Wills Eye Hospital includes a thorough review of your medical and ocular history, a detailed eye examination, and extensive diagnostic testing to ensure you are a good candidate for LASIK.
Wills Eye Cornea Specialists