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Laser eye surgery - understanding the procedures

Published on 4th November 2010

Learn about Laser Eye Surgery to reduce your fear
Some people would benefit greatly from laser eye surgery but are worried about complications or experiencing pain during or following the procedure. It is common to fear what we do not know so if you understand more about laser eye surgery, you'll be more comfortable with the process and more likely to be able to experience the many benefits.

Find out if you can have treatment
You need to begin with a consultation with an ophthalmologist to determine whether or not you are a viable candidate. They will look at the history of your prescription and make sure that it has stabilized for at least a period of one year. If that is the case and you have no other underlying conditions that disqualify you, then you will be able to make an appointment to have laser vision correction.

There is very little feeling in the eye
You will first be given eye drops that will numb the eyes. This helps to make the laser eye surgery more comfortable. Because there is very little pain associated with LASIK eye surgery, you will remain awake throughout the procedure and it actually goes very quickly. The first step is to create a flap on the outside of the eye. This may be done with a microkeratome, which is a precise instrument that creates a very thin flap. 

Eye surgery takes seconds
Once that is done, an excimer laser is used to shape the cornea appropriately. It uses short pulses to remove tissue and allow the eye to focus light properly. This part of the laser eye surgery takes only about ten or fifteen seconds. Once that is complete, the flap is put back into place and the process is complete.

Recovery should take a few hours
Laser eye surgery is not painful, and while some people to experience a mild amount of discomfort this can be alleviated with mild sedatives. In most cases, patients will find that their vision improves a substantially in just a few hours. For some people it may take a few days but the effects comes very quickly. Aside from needing to abstain from vigorous physical activity and from rubbing the eyes, you can generally go about your life as you would before. The only difference is that the world is much clearer to you.


All eye surgical procedures carry a level of risk including not obtaining the desired outcome, through to varying levels of visual loss. Your eye surgeon will discuss the risks and benefits, including ones specific to your circumstances, at the time of your pre-operative consultation.