LASIK & Laser Eye Surgery:
A Complete Consumer Guide
Browse the Table of Contents below, or start by reading our vision correction surgery basics article.
Table of Contents
LASIK Fear Factor Quiz - Sponsored Section
This interactive guide will help you determine your "fear factor" about Lasik by addressing some of the most common concerns and separate fact from fiction so you can better understand the truth about Lasik and make an informed decision.
My LASIK Journey Guide - Sponsored Section
This useful guide provides the answers to all of your questions about LASIK, whether you're just starting your research or want information about the procedure and follow-up care.
Ask the LASIK Surgeon
Use the form to ask Dr. Andrew Caster your question about LASIK.
Custom LASIK Q&A
A prominent U.S. Navy eye surgeon explains why he favors custom LASIK.
Debate: Blade Vs. Bladeless LASIK
Two very experienced LASIK surgeons give us their opinions on a much-debated topic: Should the flap-cutting device in LASIK be a microkeratome blade or a second laser?
- LipiFlow is a clinically proven procedure that treats the cause of your Evaporative Dry Eye
- Learn about iLASIK advanced laser vision correction
- This useful, one-stop guide takes you through the LASIK experience before, during and after
- Still afraid of Lasik? This new interactive quiz separates fact from fiction
What You Should Know About LASIK:
- How LASIK Works: What happens before, during and after surgery.
- How To Choose a Surgeon What credentials to look for.
- How To Compare Laser Eye Surgery Costs with 8 questions to ask the surgeon about cost.
- LASIK Criteria for Success: How to know if LASIK or PRK is for you.
- LASIK Eye Surgery Results: Are you likely to see 20/20 after LASIK?
- LASIK Surgery Risks and Complications and how to avoid them.
- Dry Eyes and LASIK: You may still be a candidate.
- LASIK Enhancement: Do you need an additional surgery? Will you in the future?
- LASIK Eye Surgery Prices Check the current average prices.
- LASIK Financing: Learn how you can afford LASIK surgery.
- Which Laser Is Best? Read a review of all current LASIK lasers.
- Contact Lenses After LASIK: Why some people need them.
- Corneal Crosslinking: A new method of strengthening the eye's surface after LASIK.
Types of LASIK and Other Laser Eye Surgery:
- Corneal Onlays/Inlays blend with your eye's surface.
- Custom Wavefront LASIK: What makes it "custom" LASIK?
- Epi-LASIK uses a special cutting tool to remove the cornea's outer layer.
- IntraLase "Bladeless" LASIK uses a second laser, not a blade.
- LASEK is a no-flap procedure used mostly for thin corneas.
- PresbyLASIK is a possible laser eye surgery for presbyopes.
- PRK: Some surgeons prefer PRK, the original laser eye surgery.
The iLASIK Procedure - Sponsored Section
Learn about this advanced laser vision correction procedure for nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism.
Alternatives to Laser Eye Procedures:
- Conductive Keratoplasty uses radio-frequency energy for corneal shaping.
- Refractive Lens Exchange replaces your eye's natural lens.
- Implantable Lenses (phakic IOLs) avoid removing corneal tissue.
LASIK is a surgical procedure that uses a laser to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and/or astigmatism. In LASIK, a thin flap in the cornea is created using either a microkeratome blade or a femtosecond laser. The surgeon folds back the flap, then removes some corneal tissue underneath using an excimer laser. The flap is then laid back in place, covering the area where the corneal tissue was removed.
With nearsighted people, the goal of LASIK is to flatten the too-steep cornea; with farsighted people, a steeper cornea is desired. LASIK can also correct astigmatism by smoothing an irregular cornea into a more normal shape.
If you are considering LASIK eye surgery, your first step is to choose a good LASIK surgeon who can evaluate whether LASIK is right for you. Your LASIK surgeon will examine your eyes to determine their health, what kind of vision correction you need, and how much laser ablation (corneal tissue removal) is required. The doctor will also ask about any health conditions that may disqualify you altogether for LASIK surgery.
If you are not a candidate for LASIK, you may qualify for another laser eye surgery such as PRK (similar to LASIK but without the flap), LASEK, or epi-LASIK. There are also non-laser vision correction procedures. Your prescription and eye structure will be considered to help determine which procedure is best for you.
LASIK is an outpatient procedure, so you don't have to stay at the surgery center overnight. The LASIK surgeon uses a computer to adjust the laser for your particular prescription. You will be asked to look at a target light for a short time while the laser sends pulses of light to painlessly reshape your cornea. The actual LASIK surgery usually takes less than five minutes.
[Page updated July 7, 2014]