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LASIK Eye Surgery

Contact lenses can be a big improvement over wearing glasses, but even though it looks like you have perfect vision, you still won't see clearly any time you remove your contacts. Fortunately, there are now minor surgical procedures that can restore your vision so that you can see without any aid at all.

Surgery reshapes the clear outer surface of your eye (known as the cornea) to form a new, corrective lens as part of your eye. There are many variants of the procedure, but they fall into two large classes:

  • Laser Assisted in Situ Kerotomileusis (LASIK) is the cutting of a very small lens (about 3/8 of an inch in diameter) underneath a flap at the point where you look out the front of your eye. During surgery, your doctor peels back the flap, cuts the new lens by evaporating a thin layer of the cornea with a laser, and then replaces the flap. The flap seals in a few days and heals completely in less than a month. LASIK can treat nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. (Laser Epithelial Keratomileusis (LASEK) is almost identical to LASIK except that the flap and the lens are cut into the layer above that of LASIK and closer to the surface of the cornea.
  • Radial Keratotomy is the cutting of grooves in a circular pattern like rays from the sun on the surface of your cornea to alter the shape of the cornea and the way light passes through it to create a corrective lens. Variants treat astigmatism (the muddled focusing of vision due to variations in the surface of the eye).

Between these two approaches, LASIK is by far the most common.

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