Minimally invasive surgery reshapes cornea to improve vision
What You'll Get
- $1,000 Toward LASIK Eye Surgery for One Eye
- $2,000 Toward LASIK Eye Surgery for Both Eyes
LASIK: Better Vision with a Short Recovery
The doctor will determine your eligibility, but LASIK is a highly effective procedure in most cases. Read our guide to learn how a flash of light can restore your vision for life.
Superman averted many disasters thanks to his ability to shoot lasers from his eyes, but such powers are only fantasy; in real life, humans can save things only by shooting lasers into their eyes. Short for laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis, LASIK is a type of eye surgery used to correct certain vision problems such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.
Such conditions result from a misshapen cornea, the transparent part of the eye that refracts light so it can focus on the retina. Like other forms of refractive surgery, LASIK corrects this by reshaping the cornea, but first the doctor must make a small incision in the cornea’s outer layers. This creates a hinged flap, which they pull back before using a precision laser to reshape the tissues beneath—a process that often takes less than a minute. The flap is then put back in place, and the eye is left to recover, often in only one or two days. Most patients enjoy 20/20—or sometimes only a respectable 20/40—vision once the effects are felt in full, usually within three to six months.
Not everyone is a good candidate for LASIK surgery, and only a consultation with a licensed doctor truly can determine a patient’s eligibility. For instance, the procedure is not recommended for people with diabetes or certain eye conditions, and it can’t correct presbyopia—the gradual, natural aging process that causes close-up objects to get blurrier as they become antiques. An older procedure known as PRK—or photorefractive keratectomy—is a common alternative in which a doctor removes the superficial corneal cells from the outside rather than cutting a flap. PRK has a lengthy and sometimes painful recovery period, however, making it less popular. Still, as late as 2006, the US Navy only allowed its pilots to undergo PRK, deeming LASIK too risky—if a pilot had to eject from their plane, for instance, the resulting force might dislodge the flap. That policy since has been ejected itself, and today naval aviators easily can receive waivers to fly alongside the country’s laser-mounted eagles with laser-corrected eyes.