How the LASIK Procedure Is Performed
LASIK is performed while the patient is awake. However, if you are experiencing anxiety, Dr. Kornmehl may give you a mild oral sedative. Many surgeon talk to the patient through the procedure so the individual knows what is happening and what to expect next.
Before the Procedure
Before the surgery begins, your face will be cleaned with a disinfectant, and you will be asked to wear a surgical cap. You will be given eye drops, which may sting for a few seconds.
Undergoing the Procedure
Once in the laser suite, you will be positioned comfortably on your back, under the excimer laser. Your surgeon will give you anesthetic eye drops to numb the surface of your eyes. Your eyelashes will be taped out of the way, and an eyelid speculum will be placed between your eyelids to keep you from blinking. The speculum sometimes causes mild pressure on your eyelids at first, but with the numbing drops, these sensations dissipate.
A suction ring is then placed on your eye to hold it in position while the flap is made. Your vision will dim during this step. Dr. Kornmehl will then use the microkeratome to create the corneal flap. The microkeratome is a precision instrument that automatically peels back the outer layers of the cornea, creating a flap that is thinner than a soft contact lens. The extremely thin flap is make from the outermost 25% of the cornea. The average cornea, remember, is only about the thickness of a credit card. This flap-making process takes about 15 seconds. When the microkeratome is making the flap, you may feel slight pressure, and the instrument will block out light as it passes over your pupil.
Next, Dr. Kornmehl will ask you to fix your vision on a target light- usually red, green or yellow. Then Dr. Kornmehl will gently lift back the hinged flap. At this point you vision will become blurry.
Dr. Kornmehl will now perform the laser procedure. This usually take 20-90 seconds. You will not feel any pain as the laser sculpts the cornea by vaporizing small amounts of tissue. This process is called photoablation. You will also hear a clicking or buzzing sound with each pulse of the laser. Dr. Kornmehl is reshaping your cornea. The best lasers today have eye tracking devices that follow your eye during the laser treatment. As mentioned earlier, this provides an extra level of safety. If you move your eye during the treatment, the laser follows your eye.
Once the process of reshaping the cornea tissue is complete, the excimer laser will be turned off. Using a sterile saline solution, Dr. Kornmehl will flush the treated surface of the eye to ensure that any debris is washed away. Dr. Kornmehl will then carefully replace the corneal flap to its original position.