The LASIK Procedure

How laser eye surgery works

If you’ve looked into laser eye surgery you may have heard, or seen, the word ‘LASIK’. To get technical for a second, it stands for laser in-situ keratomileusis, which is a technique which uses the IntraLase laser to create a partial thickness flap of the cornea, and then an excimer laser to reshape the surface beneath the flap.

LASIK is performed as an outpatient procedure at Lions Eye Institute and will take between 2-3 hours. You will have an oral sedative and analgesic and will need someone to drive you home and bring you back again the next morning.

The LASIK procedure takes about 20 minutes for each eye and is performed with local anaesthetic eye drops. You will be lying comfortably on a bed during the procedure and the surgeon will talk you through each step.

The anaesthetic eye drops stop you feeling the need to blink and your eyes will be held open during the procedure so you do not need to worry. The laser tracks your eye movements during the procedure but it is important to keep as still as possible.


During the LASIK procedure, the corneal flap is created using the Intralase laser and then your vision will be corrected using the Schwind Amaris 1050RS laser. This leaves the flap hinges so it can be easily replaced.

With the flap turned back, the excimer laser is then used to remove corneal tissue to produce the required change in shape. The flap is then replaced and adheres to the underlying cornea within minutes without requiring any stitches. The excimer laser part of the procedure will take between 15 and 60 seconds.

The procedure is usually not painful but there are some unpleasant sensations, including some pulling and stretching of the eyelids, pressure and very bright lights.


LASIK Procedure Steps