What Happens During the LASIK Procedure?

Do you wear glasses and contact lenses? Does it feel like your visual aids may be holding you back from a better way of life?

Most people with refractive errors like nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism and need to wear glasses or contact lenses have heard of LASIK. LASIK is by far the most popular vision correction procedure available, and for good reason. 

With a patient satisfaction rate of over 95%, most LASIK patients end up with 20/20 vision or better! But while finally achieving the vision of your dreams is appealing, many people are wary about following through and having LASIK. 

However, you should know that LASIK has evolved since receiving FDA approval. Because of this, it’s a minimally invasive procedure with very low complication rates. 

Before any surgical procedure, it helps to know what happens during the procedure and what to expect from it. Keep reading to learn more about LASIK and what to expect during the LASIK procedure! 

What is LASIK?

LASIK is a laser vision correction procedure that reshapes the cornea to correct refractive errors. These include nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. 

The cornea is the clear part of your eye that refracts light. When you have a refractive error like nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism, it’s because of irregularities in the shape of the cornea and its ability to refract light.

LASIK reshapes the cornea to correct refractive errors and smooth out these irregularities. It does this by first giving access to the cornea. Your LASIK surgeon will create a flap in the cornea and then use a laser to remove small amounts of cornea tissue from inside. 

This technique differentiates LASIK from earlier forms of laser eye procedures like PRK. The flap helps your eyes heal more comfortably and efficiently from the procedure.

But what exactly happens during the procedure, step by step? Let’s get into it:

Before the LASIK Procedure Begins

Once you’re at the surgery center on the day of your procedure, you’ll be taken to have the vision correction procedure performed. You may receive a sedative to help you relax. However, you will be awake the whole time during LASIK

Before the procedure can begin, you’ll receive numbing eye drops to ensure you won’t feel any pain. The most you can feel is some slight pressure. The pressure only lasts a few seconds at most and is not painful. 

Creating the Corneal Flap

After the numbing eye drops have a chance to spread across the surface of your eye, the LASIK procedure can begin. First, your LASIK surgeon will create the corneal flap with a femtosecond laser.

The femtosecond laser can separate corneal tissue without cutting through the cornea’s surface. Your LASIK surgeon uses the femtosecond laser to create a flap only connected to the rest of the cornea by a small section. 

The small section of the cornea acts as a hinge so it can be lifted and replaced. Creating the corneal flap is the only part of the procedure you may feel.

It only takes a few seconds, but you may feel pressure on your eye while this is occurring. Creating the corneal flap isn’t painful but can be slightly uncomfortable. 

Luckily, this discomfort only lasts a matter of seconds, and afterward, you likely won’t feel anything at all for the rest of the procedure.

Using the Excimer Laser

After lifting the corneal flap, your LASIK surgeon will use an excimer laser. The excimer laser is what’s used to reshape the cornea and correct any refractive errors. 

During this part of the vision correction procedure, your LASIK surgeon will have you look in one direction so the pre-programmed laser can remove tissue in the correct area. You don’t have to worry about accidentally looking in the wrong direction. 

The computer that the laser is connected to tracks your eye movements. If your eye moves, it will stop the laser. 

Once your eye is still, the laser will resume reshaping your eye to ensure optimal visual results. This part of the LASIK procedure is also relatively quick. 

You usually only need to keep your eyes still for sixty seconds total. While the excimer laser works, most patients cannot feel any sensation. 

Replacing the Flap

After the excimer laser has finished working, your LASIK surgeon will lower the flap down onto the rest of the cornea, completing the procedure. The flap will stay in place without needing stitches or sutures. 

It will eventually refuse with the rest of your eye as you heal from LASIK and get used to your new and improved vision.


Because LASIK is an outpatient procedure, you can go home once it’s over and you’re cleared to leave. A member of our staff may keep you in a recovery room for observation for an hour after LASIK.

Once cleared, you’ll need a friend or family member to drive you home. Your vision will still be blurry or unstable after LASIK, making it unsafe to drive immediately. 

Most LASIK patients start experiencing almost immediate improvements in their vision after the procedure. However, this is also normal if you don’t, as each patient is unique. 

Recovery from LASIK is quick. As the numbing eye drops wear off, you may notice that your eyes feel dry, itchy, or more uncomfortable than usual. 

Most discomfort only lasts about a day or so and will dissipate as your eyes continue to heal. As your eyes heal, your vision will continue to improve until you reach the peak results.

Getting LASIK and recovering from the vision correction procedure is simple and painless. If you want the vision of your dreams, don’t hesitate to schedule your commitment-free LASIK consultation at Sugiki Portis Yim Eye Center in Honolulu, HI, today! Why wait any longer to achieve visual freedom for yourself?

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