How Does LASIK Work?

LASIK, also termed laser in situ keratomileusis, uses lasers to reshape the cornea with the intention of correcting vision astigmatisms, farsightendness or nearsightedness, according to the Flaum Eye Institute at the University of Rochester. This vision correction technique uses laser pulses to correct the curvature of the cornea.

During a LASIK procedure, an ophthalmologist uses a precision laser for a few seconds to create a thin surface flap of the patient's cornea. An excimer laser programmed with the vision correction needed applies a cool ultraviolet light designed to remove small amounts of tissue from the inner area of the cornea, according to the Flaum Eye Institute.

The pulsating light and lasers allow the retina to focus clearly on images. Once the laser is applied, the thin surface flap of the cornea is smoothed back into the original position so that the eye area is intact and smooth, according to the Flaum Eye Institute.

The LASIK procedures takes approximately 10 minutes to perform, and patients receive mild sedation or local anesthesia in the form of numbing eye drops, according to WebMD. Patients often experience dry eyes temporarily following LASIK and typically receive prescription eye drops to prevent inflammation and infection. Vision may be hazy or blurry for the first day, but most patients experience improved vision within a few days after the LASIK procedure, according to WebMD.