What is LASIK Eye Surgery?

LASIK is a surgical procedure that is capable of correcting a wide range of nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia) and astigmatism.
 
What does the name of the LASIK procedure mean?

LASIK is the acronym for laser in situ keratomileusis, sometimes referred to as laser assisted in situ keratomileusis. The name refers the use of a laser to reshape the cornea without invading the adjacent cell layers. In situ is Greek for "in the natural or normal place." Medically, in situ means confined to the site of origin without invasion of neighboring tissues. Kerato is the Greek word for cornea and mileusis means "to shape."
 
How long has LASIK been performed?

LASIK was first performed in clinical trials in the U.S. in 1995.

Who should consider Lasik surgery?

LASIK can be used to help people with myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism.
 
Who should not have LASIK?

Doctors must carefully evaluate patients before determining if they are eligible for LASIK surgery. Some doctors will not do surgery if pre-existing conditions that would interfere with the surgery exist.
 
How much does LASIK cost?

The price practices charge will vary, depending upon the conditions specific to the patient.
 
Does insurance cover this surgery?

LASIK is considered an elective surgery. Most United States insurance policies will not cover the procedure, nor will Medicare usually cover it.

Will vision be improved after LASIK?

LASIK improves the uncorrected vision - one's vision without wearing corrective lenses - in most patients who have the procedure. Over 90% of patients with low to moderate myopia will achieve 20/40 vision, which is considered the minimum allowed by most states and provinces to drive without having to wear contacts or glasses. Over half of all patients can expect to achieve 20/20 vision or better. However, there are no guarantees that you will have perfect vision, and patients with high myopia (more than -7D) and high hyperopia (more than +4D) should have a different set of expectations. People who are most satisfied with the results of laser correction possess realistic expectations of what their vision will be like after surgery.
 
Will my vision be as crisp after LASIK?

Patients need to understand that 20/20 vision after LASIK might be different from 20/20 with corrective lenses. Some people describe the images they see post-operatively as not being as "crisp" as those seen through glasses.
 

Does the procedure hurt?

Patients are given a topical anesthetic (eye drops) to numb the eye, so they experience no pain during the procedure. When the surgeon applies the vacuum ring, the patient experiences a sensation of pressure just before his or her vision fades for a few seconds. The microkeratome - the instrument the surgeon uses to create the flap - and the laser do not cause any pain or discomfort. For several hours after the procedure, many patients describe a mild burning sensation, such as after opening the eyes while swimming in chlorinated water.

Is LASIK still considered investigational?

The US FDA provides a complete listing of the approval status of excimer lasers in the US on their LASIK website.

 

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