How Accurate is LASIK?

Only mere decades ago having a beam of light coming at your eye to correct your vision would have been something you would have read about in a science fiction book or watched in a superhero movie. Today, laser eye surgery is very common with an average of 700,000 procedures performed in the United States each year. FDA-approved in 1999, LASIK, also known as laser in-situ keratomileusis, is the most well-known form of refractive eye surgery to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. With just a little over 20 years of continued advancement and refinement, LASIK remains the most common elective surgery with one of the highest patient satisfaction rates. 

If patients are happy with their LASIK results, it stands to reason the LASIK process is successful. So, how accurate is LASIK? A patient’s vision prescription is largely determined by two 2 main factors: the length of the eyeball from front to back and the shape of the cornea. The cornea is the transparent surface of the eye of from which light is filtered through to focus on the retina. During the LASIK procedure, after the numbing of the eyes and while the eyelids are gently held open with an instrument, a corneal flap will be created, and the cornea will be reshaped with an excimer laser. The process will begin as the patient focuses on a special fixation light while the surgeon activates an electronic precision instrument and, within a few seconds, is able to fold back a corneal flap to remove tissue from the middle layer. Next, the cornea is reshaped with the excimer laser. The laser will be positioned to remove tissue in different areas of the cornea depending on the refractive issue being corrected. For nearsightedness, the cornea is flattened and tissue in and around the center of the cornea is removed. For farsightedness, the curvature or slope of the cornea is corrected by removing more tissue from the periphery versus the center of the cornea. And for astigmatism, the cornea is made more spherical, correcting vision by removing tissue in one direction more than the other. While the cornea is being reshaped, the laser technology is so sophisticated that it tracks the eye over one thousand1,000 times per second and adjusts to ensure the laser is applied in exactly the right place. This includes the unlikelihood of involuntary movements during the less than 30 seconds the eyes are focused on the laser. 

Vision is substantially improved within the first 24 hours post-surgery. The accuracy of the laser provides 90% of patients a 20/20 vision or better within two to three of post-surgery recovery. If you are interested in a consultation for LASIK eye surgery, call Great Plains Eye Specialistsat 605-718-5123 or message our office at WEBSITE.