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Laser in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK) is the preferred procedure for correcting farsightedness (hyperopia). It changes the shape of the eye. In LASIK, a thin flap is made on the cornea using a blade or laser. The flap is lifted, and a laser is applied to the central corneal tissue. The laser makes contact with the cornea in a circular pattern around the central optical zone. This changes the profile of the cornea, making it steeper. The laser removes tissue from the cornea very precisely without damaging nearby tissues. The flap is then replaced, allowing for rapid healing.
LASIK is performed in a surgeon's office or same-day surgery center. It does not require a hospital stay.
This procedure may not be available in all areas, but it is done in most large cities.
Most people have little or no pain after LASIK surgery. And most people who have LASIK see quite well the next day.
Your doctor will want you to come in for an exam the day after the surgery and for regular follow-up exams for about 6 months.
After LASIK surgery to correct farsightedness:
LASIK surgery may be used to correct mild to moderate farsightedness. Treating severe farsightedness is not as effective as treating mild or moderate farsightedness.
LASIK is an elective, cosmetic procedure, done to correct farsightedness in otherwise healthy eyes.
The procedure may not be done for people who:1
LASIK is a relatively new surgery. (It was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2000.) Little is known about the long-term outcomes. Doctors continue to improve the technique and to study the long-term results.
Over the short term, LASIK has been shown to be effective and consistent in reducing mild to moderate farsightedness.
LASIK is better at treating lower levels of farsightedness than higher levels.
The risk of complications from LASIK surgery is low, and it decreases even further with a more experienced surgeon. Look for a corneal specialist or surgeon who does this surgery frequently.
Complications and side effects from LASIK may include:
Serious vision-threatening complications are rare but may include:
Because LASIK is a relatively new procedure, long-term risks are not yet known.
If you are thinking about having surgery to improve farsightedness, discuss the different options (LASIK, PRK, LASEK, intraocular lens implants, CK, and LTK) with your doctor. LASIK is the refractive surgery of choice for most people.
Be sure to keep a record of your original eye measurements from this procedure (your doctor can give them to you), in case you need cataract surgery in the future. This record can help your doctor calculate the power of future post-cataract implants.
LASIK is a cosmetic procedure. The cost of refractive surgery varies. Most insurance companies do not cover the cost of refractive surgery.
Last Revised: October 16, 2012
Author: Healthwise Staff
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