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How is LASIK procedure performed?

Main steps of LASIK surgery

Main steps of LASIK surgery (source)


LASIK is performed in the recumbent position, with the patient either resting on a bed or in a reclining chair. The eye is first cleaned and draped. Numbing eye drops are instilled and a speculum is inserted to help prop the lids open, this is to ensure that the patient does not accidentally blink. A tight pressure sensation may be felt at this stage which is also generally considered to be the most uncomfortable part of the procedure. An instrument is then used to mark the cornea surface and the actual LASIK procedure now begins.

A suction ring is placed on the eye to provide a base for the microkeratome which is used to create the cornea flap. Suction is applied to hold the eye steady and to maintain the internal eye pressure while the cornea flap is being made. Do not be alarmed if your vision becomes dim or dark at this stage. You will hear a high pitch mechanical sound for about five to ten seconds. Suction is then released and vision returns. The cornea flap is now folded out of the way to expose the deeper layers of cornea tissue for the laser treatment phase.

For the laser treatment phase, you will be asked to fix your gaze at a blinking red light, this is to ensure the eye is fixed on the same spot during the procedure instead of moving around, if you are unable to stare at a fixed spot for at least 60 seconds, this might disqualify you as a LASIK surgery candidate.

The excimer laser is triggered and a high pitch clacking noise of the laser is heard and a slight smell may be detected. The laser is guided by information fed from the computer programme as it precisely sculpts the inner layers of the cornea according to your spectacles prescription. For myopia correction, the laser essentially reshapes the cornea curvature into a flatter curve. This part of the procedure will last about 15 to 45 seconds depending on the amount of correction required.

Once the laser stage is completed, the cornea flap is unfolded back into its original position. After a short wait of two minutes, the flap will bond itself back naturally without the need for stitches.  

Generally, the entire surgical procedure takes only 10 minutes or less per eye. The actual amount of time the laser is active on the eye is only one minute or less to correct your refractive error. After the surgery, a protective eye shield will be provided to protect your eye while it heals.


LASIK & Advanced Vision Correction Frequently Asked Questions – University of Rochester medical Center

LASIK Guide – LASIK procedure steps illustration