What Really Happens on LASIK Surgery Day

Posted by: Missouri Eye Institute in Blog on January 4, 2021

Doctor looking through a microscope in operation room

Fear of the unknown sometimes prevents patients from exploring life-changing vision correction. What will the eye exam be like? How long will surgery take? Does LASIK hurt? Here, we walk you through what really happens on LASIK surgery day to demystify the process—and hopefully put your mind at ease.

What a LASIK Eye Consultation Is Like

Laser vision correction is a quick and straightforward procedure but it is still surgery. As such, you will undergo all the examinations and precautions necessary to achieve a safe and successful outpatient procedure.

Before your eye examination, your surgeon may ask that you be out of contacts for a certain amount of time before your visit so your eyes can return to their natural shape. This will yield the most accurate examination results and a better surgical outcome.

Your surgeon at Matossian Eye Associates will want to gather as much detailed data about your eyes as possible to determine whether you’re a candidate for LASIK or another vision correction procedure. During this eye exam, staff will take images and measurements of your eyes from the front of the cornea to the back of the retina. The data collected may include some or all of the following

  1. Pupil size and shape
  2. Measurements of the entire eye
  3. Visual acuity
  4. Eye tomography to assess retinal, macular and optic nerve health
  5. Corneal thickness and shape
  6. Size, shape and position of other ocular structures involved in laser eye surgery
  7. Measurements of various data points in the eye to customize treatment

With this information in hand, your surgeon will be well equipped to determine if you’re a candidate for LASIK and to customize a treatment plan that will give you the best possible visual outcome.

What to Expect on Surgery Day

Plan on blocking out a day or two from work and other activities for post-surgical healing. The eye surgeon’s team will ask that you reserve a few hours for the surgical appointment itself. This gives you plenty of time for the entire series of surgery-day events. 

Please note: You will need to secure a ride to your surgical appointment. While most LASIK and other laser vision correction procedures will give you a quick improvement in your vision, you will likely experience blurriness for several hours or a couple days after. Relax and let someone else take the wheel!


Arrive 10-15 minutes ahead of your appointment time to fill out paperwork and answer last-minute questions.

Laser surgery prep

Your surgeon will apply drops to numb your eye for surgery. This ensures a painless experience for most procedures.

Surgery time

Depending on which procedure you will undergo, your surgeon may create a flap at the outer layer of the cornea using a precise laser or apply drops to prepare the surface of the eye for surgery. This process takes less than 20 seconds.

Next, your surgeon will use a second laser to reshape the cornea to correct your vision. If a corneal flap was created, it will be smoothed out over the eye, where it will naturally reseal itself. 

The entire surgery generally takes less than 15 minutes and is usually painless. Worst-case, you may have minor discomfort for a short time.

Post-surgical recovery

You will spend a short time in a recovery area after your procedure so your surgeon can ensure you’re comfortable and are well on your way to healing before you’re released to return home. Many patients report a dramatic improvement the next day or even later that same day! Their delight at their newfound vision is enough to soon forget any discomfort or anxiety they may have experienced along the way to visual freedom.

Missouri Eye Institute has helped thousands of patients attain freedom from glasses and contact lenses. Contact us at (800) 383-3831 to schedule a thorough consultation to find out if you’re a candidate for LASIK or another permanent vision correction procedure.


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