There is no doubt that LASIK has transformed our ability to see the world clearly. No longer are patients with refractive eye errors just limited to prescription lenses in glasses or contacts. Instead, LASIK and other forms of laser eye surgery make it possible for those who would ordinarily rely on prescription eyewear to see clearly with no aids at all.
Nevertheless, for many people who are considering LASIK, the prospect of going under the laser can be daunting. Knowing what to expect can help patients to feel calmer and reassured about the process. One of the most common questions that we are asked is just how long the procedure takes.
Your appointment length and the time it takes to perform the LASIK procedure on each eye is very different. Each patient is unique, so precisely how long your LASIK procedure will take can vary a little, but typically it is less than 10 minutes per eye, with just 20-120 seconds of that where the actual laser correction itself is taking place. This is very reassuring information for patients who are nervous or anxious about the prospect of laser vision correction.
The answer is preparation and recovery. There is a saying that goes ‘failing to prepare is preparing to fail’ and this is true of any medical procedure including LASIK. This is because procedures like these rely on accuracy.
Each LASIK candidate has a slightly different abnormal curvature to their cornea. Therefore, precisely how the cornea will need to be reshaped will also vary. To ensure that your cornea is reshaped with precision and accuracy, your LASIK provider will undertake something known as corneal topography. This is a non-invasive medical imaging technique that is used for mapping the surface curvature of the cornea. Using this topography, your LASIK laser eye surgeon will be able to plan exactly where your eyes need to be lasered in order to reduce and eliminate the refraction problems that you are experiencing and that are causing you to rely on prescription glasses or contact lenses.
Ahead of your procedure, you will be given eye drops which will take around 10 minutes to numb your eyes so that you can’t feel a thing once the laser treatment begins. Then a device will be placed over your eyes to keep them wide open while the treatment takes place.
Next, the treatment takes place. A small flap in the outer corneal tissue, called the epithelium, is made through which a second laser performs the reshaping required in line with the plan created using your corneal topography. While this happens, you will be asked to look at a target inside the laser. This part of the process takes less than two minutes. Once the laser treatment is complete, the corneal flap is placed back over the eye and left to heal.
Immediately after your procedure, your eyes will be checked, and you will be given specific instructions for taking care of them during the healing process. You will then be sent on your way with medicated eye drops which are to be used as directed.
If you have any further questions about the LASIK procedure, our experienced team would be happy to answer them or arrange a consultation for you. Please contact our offices at your convenience.