On the right, we show an illustration of a normal eye before any type of refractive procedure. The dark purple layer on the outer part of the cornea is called the epithelium. This protective outer layer is left intact with LASIK but is always removed when performing PRK.

Normal eye

Before the LASIK eye surgery, numbing (anaesthetic) drops are instilled.
The LASIK procedure is performed while you lie on your back on the laser table

A speculum will be placed on your eye to hold your eyelid open. This will prevent you from blinking, and this is considered the most uncomfortable part of the LASIK procedure.

LASIK procedure - speculum

A device is used to make reference marks which the doctor uses for correctly aligning the flap after the LASIK laser procedure has been performed.

Lasik procedure alignment marks

This is a cross section view of the procedure performed by the microkeratome. The result is a uniform flap with a hinge, that the doctor lifts to expose the inner layers of the cornea.

cross section of flap made with microkeratome

The device on the right is a suction plate which will provide a base for the microkeratome.

When the suction is applied, your eye is held stationary and you will feel some pressure which results in a temporary black out of vision in the eye.

suction plate and microkeratome on eye

LASIK - making the flap

With the eye held firmly in place, the second part of the device first flattens the cornea. This enables the special microkeratome blade to create a flap of uniform thickness.

    LASIK - eye with flap

LASIK eye folding back flap

The doctor then lifts the flap back to expose the inner layer of the cornea.

With the flap folded back, the refractive correction is made on the inner layer of the cornea.

Cross section of flap

At this point the doctor will ensure that your eye is perfectly aligned and focused.

The LASIK procedure in these photos was performed on a MEL 70. This laser uses a metal tracking ring which works in conjunction with an infrared tracking device. This is used for tracking any slight movement of the eye and ensures that the laser remains positioned on the area intended for treatment.

LASIK tracker ring on eye

In the photo to the left, the tracking ring has been placed on the eye and the small red light in the middle of the pupil indicates that the tracking device is locked in position. Therefore, the laser will follow any slight movement of the eye.

The two outer red lights are used to gauge the correct focus for the laser.

A sponge is placed over top of the flap. This ensures that the inner surface of the flap is unaffected by the laser and that laser treatment is confined to the intended area.

The laser then contours the exposed layer of cornea according to the correction and widest possible optical zone.

lasik - sponge over flap

lasik - removing the eye tracker ring lasik - removing the eye tracker ring lasik - removing the eye tracker ring

When the LASIK treatment is complete, the doctor removes the tracker ring.

The doctors washes the treated surface of the eye to ensure that any debris is flushed.lasik - washing the surface of the eye

lasik - floating the flap back into position
The flap is then floated back into it's original position.


lasik - floating the flap back into position

The doctor will wash under the flap to remove any bubbles or remaining bits of debris.

lasik - floating the flap back into position

Care must be taken by the doctor to ensure an excellent fit when repositioning the flap.

The flap is returned to its original smooth position and the LASIK vision correction is complete.

lasik - sponging the flap smooth lasik - sponging the flap smooth

lasik - sponging the flap smooth
lasik - eye after procedure is complete

The eye has a natural suction facility that keeps the flap firmly in place.

Because very little of the epithelium has been disturbed, most patients report only a few hours of discomfort after having LASIK vision correction.

Follow your doctor's Post Operative directions exactly.

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For more information contact:
Dr. Murray McFadden
(BSc, MD, FRCS(C), Diplomate of the
American Board of Ophthalmology)
© Copyright 1996-2005 Murray McFadden MD, Inc.

Telephone: (604) 530-3332
Fax: (604) 535-6258
SnailMail: 20434 64th Avenue, Unit #201,
Langley, BC Canada V2Y 1N4

This page last updated on September 30, 2004.
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