What to Expect During the LASIK Procedure

For most patients, the LASIK procedure is painless, and you can expect to be at our center for about two hours.

We understand that you may have questions about what happens during LASIK, which can reduce or eliminate your dependence on glasses or contacts. You also may have other questions about how to prepare or about your recovery.

What happens on the day of my LASIK procedure?

We will review your clinical findings and explain what you can expect during LASIK and after your procedure. Here is the basic process:

  • Consent form: You will need to sign an informed consent, which we will review with you, prior to your LASIK procedure.
  • Meeting with surgeon: You will meet with your Henry Ford ophthalmologist to discuss any remaining questions or concerns.
  • Surgery preparation: Immediately before your LASIK procedure, we will clean your eyelids and lashes. We will also place antibiotic, anti-inflammatory and anesthetic drops in your eyes. A mild sedative may be given. Once you are prepared for your procedure, you will be escorted to the laser suite for treatment.
  • Eye mapping: If you are having a custom LASIK procedure, we use an advanced, image-guided refractive technology to take custom, 3-D measurements, mapping the unique anatomy and imperfections of your eyes. This information is then transferred to the laser used in your LASIK surgery. If you are having a standard LASIK procedure, your Henry Ford surgeon manually programs the laser.
  • LASIK procedure: Your surgeon then operates the laser to reshape your cornea.

How long does the LASIK procedure take?

The actual surgical procedure only takes about 10 minutes per eye, although you can expect to be at our LASIK center for about two hours.

How does LASIK work?

The LASIK procedure involves three steps:

  • Creation of corneal flap: During LASIK, the surgeon first creates a protective corneal flap revealing the inner corneal tissue. This hinged flap is folded out of the way (Diagram 1). Surgical skill is a key component in the creation of the corneal flap. The experience and success of Henry Ford surgeons with this procedure is unsurpassed. Because the surface layer (epithelium) of the cornea is preserved, discomfort following LASIK procedures is minimized.
  • Reshaping with excimer laser: Computer-controlled pulses of cool laser light are applied to the inner layers of your cornea. During LASIK, the inner layers are gently reshaped to duplicate your contact lens or glasses prescription. In a patient who is nearsighted, the laser flattens the cornea. For farsightedness, the laser shapes the cornea to become steeper.
  • Replacing the corneal flap: The surgeon then replaces the corneal flap over the treated area where it bonds securely, without the need for stitches (Diagram 2).

What if I have other questions?

If you have other questions about LASIK, please review our FAQs page or discuss them with your Henry Ford ophthalmologist.

At Henry Ford, patients come first.

The Henry Ford Department of Ophthalmology is committed to providing our patients with compassionate, personalized care. We feature the most advanced treatments in eye care and are dedicated to vision research – always staying at the forefront of innovation. A leader in Michigan, as well as one of the largest ophthalmology practices in the United States, we treat more than 55,000 patients per year at 12 locations throughout southeast Michigan. In addition, our team works closely with Henry Ford Medical Group physicians in other departments, providing multidisciplinary, coordinated care for those patients who need it.

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