What is LASIK?

The cornea is a part of the eye that helps focus light to create an image on the retina. It works in much the same way that the lens of a camera focuses light to create an image on film. The bending and focusing of light is also known as refraction. Usually the shape of the cornea and the eye are not perfect and the image on the retina is out-of-focus (blurred) or distorted. In LASIK surgery, precise and controlled removal of corneal tissue by a special laser reshapes the cornea to correct a wide range of nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism.

The procedure begins with an instrument called a microkeratome, which is used to create a thin surface flap of the cornea. A second laser is programmed with the client's corrections and directs a rapid ultraviolet light removing an exact amount of tissue from the inner portion of the cornea. These rapid laser pulses correct the curve of the cornea by removing tissue so images can be clearly focused on the retina. Once the correction is made the flap is then placed back down where it quickly reconnects to the existing tissue.


View a video produced by the FDA to help explain LASIK and other important information to potential patients.