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LASIK Eye Surgery: How It Works

patient undergoing LASIK eye surgery

LASIK eye surgery has improved the vision of millions of people ever since Health Canada approved the first laser eye surgeries in 1990. Today, LASIK — an acronym for laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis — is a standard treatment for nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and astigmatism. If you’re considering LASIK surgery, here’s some information on how it may help you see better.

What LASIK Does

During LASIK surgery, a surgeon uses a laser to reshape the cornea of your eyes. The cornea is a transparent tissue that covers the iris and pupil and allows light to enter your eye. Healthy corneas are essential to clear eyesight. After all, they control 65 to 75 per cent of your eye’s focusing power. Shaving tiny layers from your cornea with a laser can change how light enters your eyes and improve your ability to see.

Before LASIK Surgery

An optometrist can identify corneal eye conditions during a general eye exam and refer you to an ophthalmologist for surgery. It’s crucial to talk to your eye doctor beforehand to understand the potential risks, establish expectations and discuss the costs, which can be between $1,500 and $3,000 per eye. The ophthalmologist will also take further measurements of your corneas and pupils and check your medical history. LASIK isn’t always recommended for people with:

  • Auto-immune disorders

  • Some eye injuries or diseases

  • Extemely high nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism

  • Weakened immune systems

During LASIK Surgery

You don’t need to go to a hospital for LASIK surgery. An ophthalmologist can do it in a clinic or outpatient facility. Here’s an outline of the general procedure.

  • The surgeon will numb your eye with anesthetic drops.

  • A device is placed between your eyelids to keep them open.

  • A suction ring is placed over your eye to keep it from moving. At this point, you may temporarily lose your vision.

  • The surgeon will use a laser or special micro-blade to cut a flap of the cornea and fold it back.

  • A laser will then be directed into your eye, and you’ll be required to look into the light while the laser reshapes your cornea.

  • The surgeon will replace the corneal flap.

  • You’ll need a friend or family member to drive you home.

After LASIK Surgery

Your cornea will heal over time, and your doctor will give you eye drops to prevent infection. You should notice improved vision within days, although for some patients it takes three to six months for full stabilization. Avoid rubbing your eyes and using skin care products near your eyes. Common side effects may include:

  • Pain

  • Dryness

  • Poor vision in low light

  • Sensitivity to light

  • Blurry vision

Schedule follow-up visits with your eye doctor to ensure your eyes are healing well.

See the Optometrists at our Edmonton Eye Clinics

During a general eye exam, the eye doctors at Optometrists’ Clinic Inc. can diagnose optical conditions that can be helped with LASIK surgery. Contact us today to schedule an eye exam at one of our optometry clinics in Edmonton, Westlock or Leduc.


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