LASIK eye surgery is a revolutionary procedure, offering our patients a path to clearer vision without the dependency on glasses or contact lenses. But what is LASIK eye surgery used for, exactly?

LASIK, an acronym for Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis, is a type of refractive surgery aimed at correcting common vision problems, such as nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and astigmatism. This procedure involves reshaping the cornea — the clear front surface of the eye — using an excimer laser, allowing light to focus properly on the retina, thus improving vision.

So, what specific vision issues can LASIK address?

Is LASIK the Only Option?

There are multiple ways to gain clear vision aside from LASIK, including non-surgical and surgical options.

Non-Surgical Options

  • Glasses – This is usually the starting point, especially for children. Glasses can correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism, though they tend to be cumbersome, especially for people with active lifestyles. Additionally, if glasses break or are misplaced, you’re out of luck until you get them back or have time to order a new pair.
  • Contact Lenses – People typically migrate away from glasses to this non-surgical corrective alternative as early as the teen years. Contacts provide some flexibility glasses don’t offer but still include the hassle of taking them in and out every day, and they require proper, diligent hygiene, not to mention the ongoing expense.

Surgical Options:

  • PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy) – Unlike LASIK, which creates a flap in the cornea, PRK involves removing the outer layer of the cornea (epithelium) before applying the laser to reshape the underlying tissue. PRK may be recommended for individuals who have thin corneas, certain corneal irregularities or participate in physical activities that could result in a direct hit to the eye, including contact sports such as basketball or martial arts.
  • EVO ICL (Implantable Collamer Lens) – The EVO ICL is a small, flexible lens that is surgically implanted inside the eye. Unlike LASIK, which removes corneal tissue, EVO ICL works by adding an implant lens just below the surface of the cornea and in front of the natural lens of the eye. EVO ICL is ideal for individuals with moderate to high myopia (nearsightedness), thin corneas and/or are prone to dry eye.
  • Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) – RLE involves replacing the natural lens of the eye with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL); this procedure is similar to cataract surgery but is performed on individuals who do not have cataracts. At Providence Eye & Laser Specialists, RLE may be recommended for individuals with moderate to severe hyperopia and presbyopia.

Why has LASIK become such a popular choice for vision correction?

For ideal candidates, LASIK eye surgery is a life-changing decision with many benefits:

  • Improved Quality of Life – We asked initially, what is LASIK eye surgery used for? Simply put, LASIK can provide clear, crisp vision without the hassle of glasses or contact lenses. Everyday tasks like driving or getting ready for work or school, and even activities like participating in or attending sporting events, become more convenient and enjoyable after LASIK eye surgery.
  • Quick and Painless Procedure – At Providence Eye & Laser Specialists, LASIK is performed in our laser suite, both eyes are corrected simultaneously, and the procedure takes only about 15 minutes from beginning to end! Thanks to our fine-tuned process, our patients typically experience minimal discomfort during the procedure and can begin to resume most normal daily activities the next day.
  • Fast Recovery – Because the cornea is among the fastest-healing tissues in the body, LASIK patients benefit from the experience of a quick recovery. Most patients will see some improvement right away; it is the norm for Providence Eye & Laser Specialists patients to begin experiencing 20/20 vision or better by the following morning. There’s typically minimal downtime, allowing you to return to work and other activities shortly after the procedure.
  • Long-Lasting Results – Vision stability is the key factor that helps ensure long-lasting results. Our surgeons check the vision stability of every patient to ensure it is within acceptable mathematical tolerances before proceeding with LASIK surgery. While some minor changes in vision may occur over time, most patients enjoy stable vision outcomes for decades, eliminating the need for ongoing prescription updates.
  • Long-Term Cost-Effectiveness – It’s essential to consider the long-term savings on glasses, contact lenses and related maintenance expenses. Many individuals find that investing in LASIK not only pays off in the form of improved quality of life, but over time the procedure is more cost effective than glasses and contacts.

What factors should be taken into consideration when researching what LASIK eye surgery is used for?

Despite its numerous benefits, LASIK is not suitable for everyone. Patients should undergo a thorough consultation with an experienced vision correction surgeon, not an optometrist or an ophthalmic technician. Factors such as age, eye health and vision stability play crucial roles in determining candidacy. Here are some additional key considerations:

  • Surgeon’s Experience and Reputation – Choose a qualified and experienced surgeon who specializes in vision correction procedures, including LASIK, EVO ICL and PRK, and has a good reputation for successful outcomes. Research the surgeon’s credentials, read patient reviews and ask for referrals from friends or family members who have undergone LASIK. Most importantly, you should be evaluated by your actual surgeon so you can decide if you feel good about this person performing your procedure.
  • Eye Health and Stability – Your eye health should be evaluated by your prospective LASIK surgeon to ensure that you’re a suitable candidate for LASIK; conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma and severe dry eye may preclude you from undergoing the procedure. Additionally, your vision prescription should be stable for at least one year prior to LASIK to ensure long-lasting results.
  • Risks and Complications – Like any surgical procedure, LASIK carries potential risks and complications. Your surgeon at Providence Eye, either Dr. Trey Nunnery or Dr. Reza Michael Mozayeni, will review inherent risks and side effects and tailor their conversation to your personal situation. The most common side effects — dry eye, glare, halos — are typically temporary and can be managed by your surgeon and their team. Be sure you have answers to all of your questions before proceeding.
  • Cost – LASIK is considered an elective procedure and is not covered by insurance. There are some vision plans offering nominal discounts that Providence Eye & Laser Specialists can honor. It’s important to understand what the cost of the surgery includes:
    • Pre-Operative Consultation – Your consultation is complimentary at Providence Eye & Laser if you have not had previous refractive surgery. Even if your situation determines you are not an ideal candidate for surgery, we do not charge for the consultation.
    • Post-Operative Appointments – At Providence Eye & Laser Specialists, we include all post-operative appointments with your surgeon and their team for one year.
  • Enhancement Policy – Is there protection if you do have an unexpected change in your vision and need a second treatment? At Providence Eye & Laser Specialists, every LASIK patient has a lifetime enhancement policy — we call this the 20/happy policy. If you are not happy with your vision and would like a second treatment, we will perform this “touch up” for $500/eye, as long as it is deemed medically appropriate and will deliver the desired results. Although some enhancement policies are touted as “free,” fine print will reveal that vision has to regress to 20/40 to be free, which rarely ever happens and makes the hollow policy essentially useless.
  • Recovery and Lifestyle Changes – LASIK generally requires a short recovery period, during which you may experience temporary discomfort, light sensitivity and blurred vision. It’s important to follow all post-operative instructions, use your drops as directed and attend all post-operative appointments to achieve the best results. There are a few minor restrictions immediately after LASIK, such as no swimming of any kind for two weeks, no public gyms for five days (too germy) and avoiding dirty and dusty environments for two weeks unless wearing proper eye protection. You can bathe normally, drive and resume viewing screens the day after your procedure.
  • Alternative Treatments – At Providence Eye & Laser Specialists, we know that one size does not fit all. We start with a blank slate during your complimentary consultation, performing our diagnostic testing and checking your vision multiple times and multiple ways before you are examined by your potential surgeon, who will advise if LASIK is right for you or if you should consider an alternative procedure, such as EVO ICL or PRK, or simply continue to use glasses or contact lenses.

At Providence Eye & Laser Specialists, we strongly encourage every patient to embark on their own personal vision-correction journey. However, we also know it makes people feel better when they hear success stories. After 21 years and tens of thousands of procedures, we have countless success stories; here are two patients who were kind enough to share their journeys with us:

  • Dr. Garrett Harper – Plastic surgeon, on his LASIK experience at Providence Eye & Laser Specialists
  • Ben Hale – Professional soccer player, engineer and Marine Corp. pilot, has all laser LASIK by Dr. Nunnery

The prospect of breaking free from contacts and glasses is such an exciting one! But it’s also an important medical decision that should not be taken lightly. If you’re ready to learn what LASIK eye surgery is used for and how it could impact your life, take the first step and learn what options are available for you. It comes with no risk and lots of information and education when you work with Providence Eye & Laser Specialists.

Curious if LASIK eye surgery is right for you?

Dr. Nunnery and Dr. Mozayeni are accepting new patients now and are excited to help you see more and live better.