The LASIK Procedure - What to Expect (Photos of LASIK Procedure)

Many people are surprised at how little time the actual procedure takes, and how little discomfort is experienced. Of course, this varies from person to person and is effected by the technology used and the technique of the performing surgeon or doctor. Still, most patients are amazed at how little time it takes to make such a big difference. And with LASIK, there is little or no pain. It is an "outpatient" procedure, which means you go home directly afterward.

  1. You will be awake and aware throughout the entire procedure. You will be asked to lie upon a treatment table and a pillow will be placed under your knees. In order to make you comfortable and the procedure pain-free, numbing (anaesthetic) drops will be placed in the eye you are having treated.
  2. A small plastic drape will be applied to your eye lids in order to keep the eye lashes away from the treatment area.
  3. An instrument called a speculum is gently placed on your eye to ensure that your eye stays open while the doctor does his work. There may be some discomfort because only the eye itself has been frozen and not the eyelids.
  4. A suction plate will be applied to your eye. You will then feel some pressure, and your vision will go dark. Shortly after the vision goes dark you will feel a vibration as the LASIK flap is created. The flap is then gently lifted in preparation for the procedure.
  5. You will be asked to look at a coloured light in order to center the laser treatment on the pupil.
  6. The doctor will then perform the correction that he or she has determined will give you the desired vision. Rarely does this require more than one or two minutes. During the procedure the machines will make a "clicking" or "snapping" noise. This is the noise of the laser in action. During treatment there is a smell (somewhat like that of burning hair) because the laser is actually "vaporizing" tissue.
  7. After the procedure you will be taken to a recovery room to rest your eyes for a few minutes. As the anesthetic wears off you will notice a burning sensation in your eyes. This is normal and will usually last five to six hours as the surface epithelium heals. Expect your vision to be blurry right after the procedure, although if you have a small to medium correction you can usually read the clock across the room.
  8. Prior to leaving the clinic a slit lamp microscope will be used to check that the flap has not moved and is where the surgeon originally positioned it.
  9. That's it! You are ready to go home and begin your Post Op care of your treated eye. You are soundly urged to follow your doctor's Post Operative directions exactly!

Photos of an Actual LASIK procedure

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For more information contact:
Dr. Murray McFadden
(BSc, MD, FRCS(C), Diplomate of the
American Board of Ophthalmology)
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Telephone: (604) 530-3332
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This page last updated on December 27, 2000.
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Materials produced here are not intended to provide medical information. Rather, the materials are presented for informational purposes only. None of the materials presented may be relied upon by any person for any medical, diagnostic or treatment reasons whatsoever. None of the materials presented here may be relied upon by any person for purpose other than informational purposes without the express written consent of Dr. Murray McFadden or the person indicated as the owner of the relevant materials. Dr. Murray McFadden disclaims any liability for any injury or other damages resulting from the review or use of the information obtained here. Dr. Murray McFadden asks that any person reviewing the materials presented here obtain specific medical advice and answers to specific medical questions, by a qualified eye doctor.