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What is LASIK?

You’ve no doubt heard about LASIK, a revolutionary tool for correcting eyesight that lasts for the rest of your life. It is by far the most common procedure for correcting vision, with 96% of all refractive surgeries being LASIK. If you are one of the 35% of Americans that have correctable vision problems – read on to learn about an opportunity to get rid of your glasses or contacts forever.

What is LASIK?

LASIK is a procedure done on the cornea, the clear outer layer of your eye, in order to correct certain visual disorders. LASIK is part of a larger family of procedures called Refractive surgery.
Refractive surgery aims to correct refractive errors in vision. Refractive errors are conditions like near-sightedness (myopia) and far-sightedness (hyperopia). In nearsightedness, which is the more common of the two, light focuses in front of the retina, giving a blurry image. In farsightedness, light focuses behind the retina. Both are caused by the eye not bending, or refracting, light properly.
To correct these issues, LASIK changes the shape of your cornea. For those with myopia, the cornea is flattened, moving the focal point back to the retina. For those with hyperopia, the cornea is steepened, moving the focal point forward to the retina. In both cases, normal vision is restored.

What is this Guide?

Since its FDA approval in 1999, more than 10 million Americans have corrected their vision with Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis, or LASIK. It is by far the most common refractive procedure performed in the United States, and with good reason – 90% of patients achieve 20/20 vision and 99% achieve 20/40 vision. It is widely considered to be a safe and effective way to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.
LASIK isn’t indicated for everyone, and so it’s important to be aware of other procedures in the refractive surgery family. The second common option is PRK, which is similar in many respects to LASIK. They both function by modifying the cornea, which is the clear outer layer of the eye. PRK is better for those with thinner corneas, but may entail a longer healing time. Another procedure to be aware of is SMILE, which also functions through modifying the cornea. Unlike LASIK and PRK, which work for both nearsighted and farsighted individuals, SMILE only works for nearsighted people. However, some evidence has shown that it can reduce the risk of dry eyes compared to LASIK. Ultimately the best recommendation will come from your eye surgeon, who will take all precautions to make sure that any procedure you choose is the correct one. Continue to read this guide for more information about the history of LASIK, it’s pros and cons, treatment expectations, and more

Who is this Guide for?

We ve developed this guide primarily for eye patients at Manhattan Eye who are looking for an in-depth resource on Lasik, as a way to get beyond the buzzwords and fluff found elsewhere online. We hope that we can help anyone thinking about LASIK in NYC, since there are so many options within our five boroughs.

Why Did we create this Guide?

Many patients worry about Lasik for a variety of reasons. Our goal with this guide is to empower a Lasik candidate with an easy-to-skim explainer with evidence-based research about the subject so patients can feel more comfortable and confident in their decisions.

Pros/Cons of Lasik

The primary goal of lasik is to correct either nearsightedness, farsightedness, and or astigmatism. It does this through modifying the cornea, which can lead to some side effects. Created below is a pro-con list for LASIK specifically

Name the pros


90% of patients achieve 20/20 and 99% achieve 20/40 vision,which is the minimum visual acuity for driving unaided. For this reason,LASIK is considered a wildly successful procedure for correcting vision


The procedure itself takes only about 15 minutes. While the total visit will take longer, the time under the laser itself is exceedingly short.

Quicker Recovery:

Unlike PRK, where the healing takes about a month,with LASIK, full vision will come in a couple of days. Many people see better upon getting up from the table.

Name the cons

Flap Complications:

LASIK involves the creation of a flap, which can be dislodged if hit. Full healing of the flap takes a couple of months, and so it is important to be careful in that time period.

Dry Eyes:

For the first six month after the procedure, your tear ducts may produce less tears, which can lead to a feeling of dry eyes. This can be corrected with over the counter eye drops.

Night vision:

LASIK may lead to a reduction in visual acuity in dim light conditions. Especially right after the surgery, some people report light sensitivity.

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Lasik Learning

Guided Chapters

Ultimate Guide to CXL: Corneal Cross-Linking

Corneal Collagen cross linking is an FDA approved procedure in the US that strengthens the collagen fibers in the corneal tissue in order to decrease the progression of keratoconus or corneal ectasia. The combination of the riboflavin and ultraviolet light

Read More »

Best Gear For LASIK Patients

After the LASIK, or laser assisted in situ keratomileusis, procedure is performed, and LASIK patients say goodbye to their glasses and contact lenses once and for all, I get asked what medical and other gear these patients should get in

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Corneal Cross-Linking FAQs

We see many patients in the office who need corneal collagen cross linking procedure from two reasons: progressive keratoconus and corneal ectasia following refractive surgery. Here are some other frequent questions asked by patients about CXL procedure: What is Corneal

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Is Lasik Safe?

I get asked this question all the time by LASIK patients and wanted to address this in this post about whether LASIK, or laser assisted in situ keratomileusis,  is safe, what the risks and benefits are, and what the long

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Laser-assisted in situ keratomileuses (LASIK) is an immensely popular and powerful tool for correcting nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. By reshaping the cornea to better focus light, a surgeon can take a patient from their original prescription to 20/20 in less than 20 minutes. For this reason, more than 10 million Americans have gotten the procedure done since 1999. Quick, painless, and cost-effective in the long term, LASIK can be a life changing experience that requires careful planning and a skilled hand. Consult a physician to see if LASIK is the right choice for you