How LASIK Works
At Oregon Eye Specialists, we customize your vision correction surgery for the best possible results. Our experienced doctors and caring staff ensure your confidence and comfort.
LASIK and other vision correction surgery such as PRK and refractive lens exchange work by changing the focusing power of the eye. Many of us have eye irregularities that affect our focusing ability. Glasses and contacts compensate for these irregularities — refractive surgery corrects them. LASIK and other refractive surgeries do this by treating the cornea, and refractive lens exchange replaces the eye’s natural lens with an artificial lens that gives improved vision. LASIK can correct certain degrees of nearsightedness, farsightedness, and even astigmatism.
Before Your LASIK
The first step at Oregon Eye Specialists is a consultation with our team to make sure you are a good candidate for LASIK or other vision correction. Before surgery, the doctor and staff evaluate your eye health and vision needs. We’ll discuss all your options for vision correction, also called refractive surgery. LASIK is the most common refractive procedure.
Could LASIK Be Right for You?
You could be a good candidate for LASIK or other refractive surgery if:
- You wear glasses or contacts for nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism.
- You want to reduce or eliminate glasses or contact lenses.
- You meet certain criteria for eye health and vision.
- A qualified refractive surgeon thinks you are a good candidate.
During the LASIK Procedure
When you arrive for LASIK surgery, our staff will make you comfortable in the refractive surgery suite. You can wear your own comfortable clothing – there’s no need to change. Your eye is anesthetized with eye drops so you don’t feel any discomfort.
Your doctor will review your health information and make sure the laser is programmed for your eyes. We’ll explain everything you see, hear and feel, so there are no surprises. The anesthetic eye drops prevent any discomfort. LASIK takes less than 60 seconds – you don’t need stitches because the flap adheres to the underlying tissue.
After Your LASIK
After LASIK surgery, you rest until it is time to go home. You’ll wear protective dark goggles over your eyes, and we’ll give you all the information you need to care for your eyes, including a number to call with any questions.
You might notice some symptoms for a few days after surgery. Common symptoms include:
- Dry, sandy or gritty eyes
- Light sensitivity
- Mild pain or discomfort
- Runny nose
- Glare or halos around objects, especially at night
You’ll see your doctor within 24 hours after surgery. While most people heal with no problems, call your doctor immediately if you have pain or other symptoms that get worse. After your first post-surgery appointment, you see the doctor regularly thereafter to make sure your eyes are healing correctly and your vision is as good as possible.
In general, a small percentage of patients may need an additional treatment, called an enhancement, but refractive surgery will almost always improve vision. Depending on your eyes and vision needs, you might occasionally need reading glasses or other lenses.
Other Refractive Surgery Options: PRK and RLE
Because everyone’s needs are different, another vision correction option might work better. Oregon Eye Specialists also offers photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) and refractive lens exchange (RLE).
Before LASIK became popular, photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) was the most common laser eye surgery. In the United States, about 20 percent of people who choose vision correction have PRK.
Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) and LASIK use different techniques to reshape the cornea. In PRK, the outer layer is gently removed, and a laser reshapes the underlying tissue. In LASIK, a laser creates a flap in the outer corneal layer. The flap is lifted, another laser reshapes the tissue underneath, and the flap is replaced.
In contrast to LASIK, you will likely need more post-surgery appointments and longer recovery time. However, PRK is very similar to LASIK – they yield approximately the same results. Almost all patients see 20/40 or better without glasses or contacts after refractive surgery. You can learn more about PRK in a consultation with one of our expert surgeons at OES.
Refractive Lens Exchange
Refractive lens exchange (RLE) improves vision without contacts or glasses. The doctor removes your eye’s natural lens and replaces it with an artificial lens (IOL) adjusted to your chosen focus. If you are over 40, have signs of cataracts, or both, RLE could be right for you. This is because RLE works the same way as cataract surgery. The doctor removes your eye’s natural lens and replaces it with an artificial lens (IOL).
- You could be a good candidate for RLE if:
- You have presbyopia (loss of reading vision)
- You are too nearsighted or farsighted for LASIK or PRK
- Your corneas are too thin for safe LASIK or PRK
- You have no other eye problems
- You wish to eliminate your dependence on glasses or contacts while also showing early signs of cataracts
Talk to your doctor at OES to learn whether RLE or another refractive surgery is right for you.
Talk to Our LASIK Experts
Our doctors are among the Pacific Northwest’s most experienced LASIK surgeons. Dr. Martin Balish and Dr. Jacqueline Ng were some of the first in the region trained in refractive surgery techniques. They evaluate the latest treatments and technology and adopt those proven safe and effective.
To learn more about your LASIK or refractive surgery options, schedule a consultation today!