LASIK

LASIK is a laser eye surgery that has proven effective in correcting vision and lessening (or even eliminating) the need for glasses or contact lenses. Many different vision problems, including nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism, can be treated with it. The procedure corrects these vision problems by permanently reshaping the cornea and affecting how it focuses light onto the retina at the back of the eye.

What Is LASIK?

LASIK, which is short for laser in-situ keratomileusis, is an elective laser eye procedure that permanently reshapes the cornea of your eye in an attempt to correct your vision.
 
The goal of LASIK surgery is to lessen and, in many cases, eliminate your need for glasses or contact lenses. LASIK is one of the most commonly performed procedures in the world for vision correction.
 

Inside the Eye

To understand the LASIK procedure, it is important for you to understand the parts of your eye involved with sight. These structures include:
 
  • Cornea
  • Iris
  • Pupil
  • Lens
  • Retina.
 
Your cornea is a thin, clear layer on the outside of your eye. The iris, or the colored part of your eye, is a muscle that controls the amount of light going through your pupil. Behind the iris sits the lens.
 
When light enters your eye, each light ray is bent twice -- first when it passes through the cornea, and again when it goes through the lens. The cornea and lens form the light rays into a beam of light that is focused directly onto your retina, where images are created.
 
This image is then sent from the retina, through your optic nerve, to your brain for further processing.
 

Eyesight Conditions

There are several conditions that can cause this intricate visual system to not work properly, including:
 
  • Nearsightedness
  • Farsightedness
  • Astigmatism
  • Presbyopia.
     
LASIK can fix the first three conditions, but it cannot fix presbyopia.
Written by/reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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