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LASIK - Refractive Surgery

LASIK - Refractive Surgery for Nearsightedness, Farsightedness and Astigmatism

The specialty of Refractive Surgery has evolved from a curiosity to one of the most common and most rapidly growing areas in eye care.

Modern day laser refractive surgery is the culmination of a two-century search by ophthalmologists who have sought to perfect a surgical technique that permanently corrects refractive errors. Over the past several years, refractive surgeons in the U.S. and abroad have selected LASIK as their preferred method of refractive surgery.

LASIK is perhaps the fastest growing refractive surgical procedure in the U.S. and the world. We are pleased to offer refractive surgery to you.


Refractive surgery is designed to permanently improve your vision. Unlike glasses or contact lenses, with refractive surgery you have the potential to see clearly 24 hours a day. From the time you wake up until the moment you fall asleep, your clear vision is permanent.

Your eyes function in much the same way as a camera. Light passes through the cornea, the clear front "window" of the eye. The cornea bends or "refracts" the light rays from the object onto the retina. The retina then transmits the "picture" of the object to the brain where the object is then "seen."

Nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism are common eye problems which result in blurred vision if left uncorrected.

Nearsightedness (Myopia) is when the cornea is too steep or the eye is too long, light rays focus in front of the retina instead of directly on the retina, causing objects that are close to the edge to be "in focus" while objects further away are "out of focus."

Farsightedness (Hyperopia) is when the cornea is too flat or the eye too short, light focuses beyond the retina. Near objects are out of focus, and far objects are also out of focus but to a lesser degree.

Astigmatism is caused by a slightly oval shaped cornea that causes light rays to focus on more than one point in front or behind the retina.


The cornea is reshaped by an instrument called a microkeratome. A layer of the top segment of the cornea is lifted up as the microkeratome glides across the cornea. This process creates a flap which is hinged and folded back.

To treat nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism, a precisely measured amount of laser is applied to the underlying tissue of the cornea. The hinged flap is then placed back into position without stitches. Removal of corneal tissue reshapes the cornea, thus reducing nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism.


In general, the best candidates for LASIK have:

  • A disease-free cornea
  • A mild to moderate amount of nearsightedness and / or astigmatism
  • A mild to moderate amount of farsightedness
  • A stable eyeglass or contact lens prescription
  • Difficulty wearing contact lenses
  • Feelings that glasses interfere with professional and/ or social activities
  • No other problem that affects the general health of the eyes
If you are nearsighted or farsighted, with or without astigmatism, you may be a candidate for LASIK surgery. Even though LASIK offers hope for many people with refractive errors, it is not for everyone. Some people with excessively high refractive errors may exceed the limits of LASIK.

In addition, the general health of the eye and age of the patient will be considered by your eye doctor. Since your eyes continue to change through your teen years, candidates for surgery should be at least 18 years of age with a stable refraction. LASIK also is not an option for patients with other common eye problems such as cataracts or diabetic retinopathy.


LASIK is performed as an outpatient procedure. You will receive anesthetic drops to numb your eye, and you will remain awake and alert throughout the procedure. The surgery is essentially painless and lasts less than 15 minutes. You should expect to be at the surgery center for approximately two hours including pre- and post-operative time.

After LASIK, many patients report a gritty feeling similar to an eyelash in the eye. We recommend that our patients sleep for 8 to 12 hours after the procedure to rest the eye, allowing it to heal. We recommend you schedule your surgery when your time is flexible to allow 1 to 2 days of healing.

LASIK visual recovery is relatively quick. Within the first few days following the surgery you should begin to notice considerable improvement in vision. Complete recovery may continue for 1 to 2 weeks after the surgery. However, many patients are able to drive the next day after surgery.

As with any surgery, complications are possible. Common short-term side effects include, but are not limited to: glare, halos, cloudy vision, irregular healing, irregular astigmatism, haze, light sensitivity and tearing.

Serious or long-term complications are rare but possible. Other refractive procedures include photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) for nearsightedness and farsightedness, radial keratotomy (RK) for nearsightedness and astigmatic keratotomy (AK) for astigmatism.

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