Short for laser assisted in situ keratomileuses, LASIK is the most common type of laser eye surgery performed today. The LASIK procedure reshapes your cornea to correct the natural aberrations that cause focus problems that require corrective lenses. LASIK can flatten the shape of the cornea to correct farsightedness, or it can make the cornea more round to repair nearsightedness. Astigmatism is caused by an irregular shape of the cornea, and LASIK can smooth these irregularities out.
LASIK uses an excimer laser, an ultraviolet laser that can vibrate at highly efficient frequencies, suitable for the precision required for eye surgery. Computers control excimer lasers to accurately remove tissue from the cornea to achieve the proper shape.
LASIK procedures done by Dr. Fries at the Decatur Eye Center are outpatient treatments. The actual laser surgery usually takes about 15 minutes to treat both eyes, but you’ll likely be in the office for about 2 hours.
To prepare for the procedure, you’ll receive anesthetic eye drops to numb your eyes, as well as oral medication to help you relax. Next, you’re seated in a chair like those found in dentists’ offices, so you’ll be comfortable as Dr. Fries works. Then your eyelids are held open with a special tool to prevent blinking from interfering with the procedure. You’ll feel mild pressure from another device that stabilizes your eye to assure precision. Dr. Fries cuts a flap in the cornea that’s pulled back to make the lens accessible. Blurry vision is normal at this point, so don’t worry if you experience this. The computer-controlled laser makes a clicking sound, and you may feel more pressure during the reshaping, but there’s no pain. Once reshaping is complete, Dr. Fries replaces the cornea flap. It stays in place and heals quickly.
Dr. Fries will keep you in the office for a short time before doing a quick post-procedure exam. Once everything checks out, you can leave, but you’re not cleared to drive until your eyes are checked again the following day, so you’ll need to arrange transportation prior to your appointment.
There may be some discomfort after the surgery. This may be an itching or burning sensation, and your eyes may produce more tears than normal. You should have normal vision within about 8 hours of the procedure, though in some cases it may be months before full effects of the surgery are achieved.
Feel free to email us regarding any scheduling or general questions!