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What to know About Laser eye Surgery

Laser eye surgery, which some people call LASIK surgery, can correct several eyesight conditions. However, there are potential risks or side effects, and not everyone can have the procedure.

The eye has an outer layer called the cornea. Some people’s corneas can undergo changes in their shape, leading to vision issues, such as astigmatism and myopia. Laser eye surgery is a medical procedure that reshapes this layer.

Precisely how laser eye surgery reshapes the cornea depends on the vision condition that the treatment aims to correct. Laser eye surgery can fix vision issues, such as nearsightedness and farsightedness.

The surgery is quick, and people remain awake throughout the procedure. It is also usually painless — if a person experiences pain, it usually indicates there have been complications.

LASIK stands for laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis and is the most common type of refractive eye surgery. LASIK was first patented in 1989 and has become the most common treatment for refractive eye errors. The procedure involves lasers to reshape the cornea.

Who may it help?

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, over 150 million Americans use corrective eyewear, such as glasses or contact lenses, to compensate for refractive errors.

Refractive errors occur when the eye does not bend — or refract — the light to properly focus on the retina in the back of the eye. This is usually due to the shape of the cornea.


The clinical name for farsightedness is hyperopia. People with this condition can see objects in the distance clearly, but other things can appear blurry at close distance. Farsightedness is due to the curvature of the cornea being too flat. Laser eye surgery can correct this by reshaping the cornea to have a steeper curve.


Nearsightedness, known as myopia or short-sightedness, is where a person can see objects close to them clearly. However, distant objects can appear blurred. This is due to the curvature of the cornea being too steep. Healthcare professionals can correct this through laser eye surgery by reshaping the cornea.


People with astigmatism have a differently-shaped eye that characterizes this condition. The eye of someone without the condition is round, like a soccer ball, while with astigmatism, the eye may have more of a football-like shape. It is possible to correct this irregular curvature of the cornea with laser eye surgery in some cases.

Who is unsuitable?

People who are not suitable candidates for laser eye surgery include those who:

have had a change in their eye prescription in the last 12 months

take medications that may cause changes in vision

are in their 20s or younger, although some experts recommend not being under 18 years

have thin corneas, which may not be stable following laser surgery

are pregnant or nursing


The main benefit of laser eye surgery is that people no longer have to wear corrective eyewear to see clearly. Individuals may choose to undergo the procedure for several reasons, including:

being unable to wear contact lenses but preferring not to wear glasses, perhaps for cosmetic reasons

wishing to undertake activities, such as sports, that require a person not to wear glasses or contact lenses

having the convenience of not having to wear corrective eyewear

Risks and complications

A person is more at risk of developing complications if they have the following eye conditions:

  • eye infections, such as keratitis or ocular herpes
  • significant cataracts — people with this condition will not have corrected vision after laser surgery
  • glaucoma
  • large pupils
  • keratoconus, a disease that makes the cornea thinner and unstable over time

Credit: medicalnewstoday

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