Since its inception in the early 1990s, the LASIK vision correction procedure has proven to be a reliable alternative to wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses. Worldwide, the satisfaction rate among LASIK patients is above 95% with only a 1-in-10 000 chance of significant post operative vision loss. This procedure is performed to correct myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and/or astigmatism.
The general term for changing a patient's optical measurements by means of an operation is Refractive Surgery. The operation itself involves creating a thin flap on corneal tissue. The flap is folded back to enable remodeling of the tissue beneath. The corneal stroma is then remodeled with an Excimer laser; hence the name laser eye surgery. Finally, the LASIK flap is carefully repositioned over the treated area by the surgeon and checked for the presence of air bubbles, debris, and proper fit on the eye. The operation is performed with the patient awake; however, the patient may be given a mild sedative such as Valium. The actual LASIK surgery takes less than 15 minutes.
Post-operatively, the patient will be given a course of antibiotic and anti-inflammatory eye drops to administer on their own. Patients are given a darkened pair of shields to protect their now sensitive eyes from bright lights. Protective goggles should also be worn when sleeping to prevent rubbing of the eyes.