How Safe Is LASIK?

Is LASIK Eye Surgery Safe?

LASIK eye surgery is a popular procedure that can correct vision problems such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. In general, it is a safe procedure with a low complication rate, but it is important to weigh the risks and benefits before making a decision.

How Safe Is LASIK?

The safety of LASIK has been studied extensively. The complication rate for LASIK is estimated to be less than 1%. The most common complications are dry eyes and glare, which usually go away on their own within a few weeks or months. Other, more serious complications, such as infection and corneal ectasia, are rare.

LASIK Safety research

Who Is a Good Candidate for LASIK?

Not everyone is a good candidate for LASIK. You may not be a good candidate if you have:
  • Thin corneas
  • Active eye infections or inflammation
  • Dry eyes
  • Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or glaucoma

What Are some of the Benefits of LASIK?

The benefits of LASIK include:
  • Improved vision
  • Reduce dependency on glasses or contact lenses
  • Improved quality of life

What Are some of the Risks of LASIK?

The risks of LASIK include:
  • Dry eyes
  • Glare
  • Night vision problems
  • Infection
  • Corneal ectasia (a thinning of the cornea that can lead to vision loss)

Should I Get LASIK Eye Surgery?

The decision of whether or not to get LASIK eye surgery is a personal one. You should weigh the risks and benefits carefully and discuss the procedure with your eye doctor.

If you are considering LASIK eye surgery, it is important to do your research and choose a qualified LASIK surgeon. You should also ask about the surgeon’s experience with LASIK and their number of procedures performed.

I hope this article has helped you learn more about the safety of LASIK eye surgery. Like any surgery, LASIK has risks and potential complications that are discussed during a surgical consultation prior to the procedure.  If you have any further questions, please consult with your eye doctor.


Refractive Surgery Council. “Is LASIK Safe? What You Need to Know,” October 13, 2022.,of%20patients%20suffer%20complications%20LASIK.

Chung, AKK, and AK Brahma. “LASIK Eye Surgery: Standard and Safety Issues.” Clinical Risk 12, no. 2 (March 1, 2006): 70–73.

LASIK: The pros and cons of surgery to sharpen your sight. (2002). Consumer Reports on Health, 14(3), 6.

Shtein, Roni M. “Post-LASIK Dry Eye.” Expert Review of Ophthalmology. Taylor & Francis, October 1, 2011. Refractive Surgery Council. “What Is the LASIK Success Rate?,” August 16, 2022.,achieve%2020%2F20%20or%20better.

LASIK Corneal Thickness, Requirements, and Alternatives

Experience the clarity of vision with Laser-Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK), the leading refractive surgery method approved by the FDA. LASIK corrects common refractive errors such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism to enhance your visual experience.

To determine if  LASIK is right for you,  a consultation is essential to determine if you are a safe candidate for the procedure. During this process, your corneal thickness will be  assessed.  Corneal thickness is an important factor to determine if your prescription can be safely treated while ensuring a visually stable outcome.

Why does Corneal Thickness Matter?

The cornea, the transparent front tissue of the eye, is one of the influencers of your refractive error or prescription. LASIK utilizes a laser to modify the cornea’s shape and correct refractive errors. A specific corneal thickness is required to guarantee ample tissue remains after ablation. This thickness of the cornea after LASIK treatment, referred to as the residual stromal bed, helps to maintain corneal stability.

Corneal Thickness Requirements for LASIK

Measured in micrometers or microns, normal corneal thickness is around 520 microns. The femtosecond laser creates a flap of approximately 110 microns, and after ablation, the residual stromal bed should measure a minimum of 250 to 270 microns. This thickness ensures safety and stability, with individual variations based on refractive error.

Preoperative Evaluation: Corneal Thickness Measurement

Before LASIK, a corneal thickness test will need to be performed.  This can be done with an instrument called a pachymeter or using more sophisticated topography mapping technology.  These tests will  assess if you meet the LASIK minimum corneal thickness. A thinner cornea may pose risks, making LASIK unsuitable.

LASIK corneal measurement

Addressing Thin Corneas: Alternatives to LASIK

If your cornea is too thin for LASIK, alternatives like Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK) may be considered. PRK, a laser vision correction procedure similar to LASIK, doesn’t require creating a flap, making it suitable for thinner corneas. While PRK may take longer to heal, it can be a safer option for those with thinner corneas.

Conclusion: Prioritize Corneal Thickness Measurement

Corneal thickness measurement is a crucial step in LASIK screening to prevent complications. Ensure your preoperative evaluation includes a thorough assessment of corneal thickness for a safe and successful LASIK experience.

Contact TLC Laser Eye Centers today for a comprehensive consultation to determine your LASIK candidacy. If LASIK isn’t recommended for you, inquire about alternative options like PRK. With over 30 years of experience and cutting-edge LASIK technology, our team ensures a trusted recommendation for the best refractive procedure tailored to your needs.

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LASIK Enhancement: Improving Results and Managing Visual Changes

LASIK eye surgery has a track record of delivering positive outcomes. However, if your vision quality declines over time or the results don’t meet your expectations, a LASIK enhancement procedure might offer a solution. We will explore what LASIK enhancements entail, when they might be necessary, and how they can further improve your vision after the initial surgery.

What is LASIK enhancement?

In certain cases, a LASIK enhancement, also known as a touch-up procedure, becomes a consideration. If your vision doesn’t align with the anticipated results or if changes occur post-surgery, an enhancement could be the answer. Our experienced doctors relay upon thorough clinical examinations to determine if a LASIK enhancement is suitable for you, ensuring you receive comprehensive guidance tailored to your such examinations may be performed by our doctors or other doctors.

When is a LASIK Enhancement needed?

When required, a LASIK enhancement is a swift and minimally invasive procedure designed to address potential vision issues following your initial laser eye surgery. While the need for enhancements is infrequent, discussing your concerns with your LASIK surgeon is crucial to ensure your visual experience meets your expectations.

Identifying the Need for LASIK Enhancement:

During the early stages of LASIK recovery, fluctuations in vision quality can be normal, especially in the initial weeks post-surgery. Close monitoring by your surgeon through follow-up visits helps track your recovery progress. While patience is key for maximal treatment benefits, vision typically stabilizes after surgery but may take up to three to six months for your vision to stabilize after the procedure. While your vision may not fully revert to the initial prescription, changes in nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism leading to potential decrease in visual clarity could indicate an enhancement evaluation may be needed.

Planning for LASIK Enhancements:

Before undergoing LASIK surgery, discussing your provider’s enhancement policy is prudent. Some providers offer enhancements, if required, without additional charges. Policies regarding enhancements vary among providers. Depending on individual needs, an enhancement might not always be recommended. In such cases, exploring alternative solutions with your surgeon is advised. Although there may be no charge for the enhancement procedure itself, an individual may incur charges for preoperative examinations prior to the consultation.

The Enhancement Process:

When a LASIK enhancement is recommended, rest assured that the procedure closely mirrors the initial LASIK process. Recovery instructions are similar as well, with your laser eye surgery team providing detailed guidance to optimize the outcome and prevent complications.

Like any surgery, LASIK has risks and potential complications that are discussed during a surgical consultation prior to the procedure.

While the necessity for a LASIK enhancement is small, comprehending the process ensures preparedness for laser eye surgery. If you experience changes in vision after LASIK, a LASIK enhancement might be the solution to refine your visual clarity. Consult with your LASIK surgeon to determine the best approach for achieving your desired outcome and maintaining optimal eye health.


Research, Center For Biologics Evaluation And. “What Should I Expect before, during, and after Surgery?” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, July 11, 2018.

American Academy of Ophthalmology. “LASIK — Laser Eye Surgery,” July 26, 2023. Refractive Surgery Council. “LASIK Enhancements: LASIK Touch-Up Facts,” August 18, 2022.

Anatomy of the Eye

Many people fear blindness more than any other disability. We use our eyes in virtually everything we do, and we depend on our vision to steer us through our daily lives.

The eye allows us to see the shapes, colors and dimensions of objects by processing the light they reflect or give off. The anatomy of the eye allows humans to see in dim light or bright light, but not in the absence of light. The eye changes light rays into electrical signals and then sends the signals to the brain. The brain interprets these electrical signals as visual images.

The eye measures approximately one inch in diameter and is set in a protective cone-shaped cavity in the skull called the orbit or socket. The orbit is surrounded by layers of soft, fatty tissue that protect the eye and allow it to turn easily. Six muscles regulate the motion of the eye. Among the more important parts of the anatomy of the human eye are the cornea, conjunctiva, iris, lens, retina, macula and the optic nerve.


The cornea is sometimes referred to as the “window of the eye.” It provides most of the focusing power when light enters your eye. The cornea is composed of five layers of tissue. The outer layer is the epithelium. This layer is made up of highly regenerative cells that allows for fast healing of superficial injuries. The two middle layers of the cornea provide strength, shape and structural stability to the eye. The two inside layers work to keep fluid out of the cornea and maintain its optical clarity.  LASIK laser vision correction is performed on this part of the eye.


The lens is the clear structure located behind the iris. Its primary function is to provide fine-tuned focusing for near vision. The lens performs this function by altering its shape to become thinner or thicker as necessary. Between the ages of 40 and 50, the lens becomes less flexible and presbyopia sets in. As people reach their 60s or 70s, the lens can become cloudy and hard (cataract formation), preventing light from entering the eye.



The pupil is the hole in the center of your iris (the colored part of your eye). The primary function of the pupil is to control the amount of light entering your eye. When you are in a bright environment, the iris constricts, causing the pupil to become smaller to allow less light to pass through. When it is dark, the pupil expands to allow more light to reach the back of your eye.


The iris provides the color of the eye (i.e. blue/green/brown/hazel). The iris’ main role is to control the size of the pupil through contraction or expansion.

Vitreous Body

This is the clear, gel-like substance located inside the eye’s cavity. The purpose of the vitreous body is to provide a spherical shape to the eye. The vitreous may develop small clumps known as floaters. These are more common in nearsighted people than in the rest of the population.


The retina consists of fine nerve tissue that lines the inside wall of the eye and acts like the film in a camera. Its primary function is to transmit images to the brain. When your vision is perfect, the light rays coming into your eye focus precisely on this part of your eye.

Optic Nerve

The optic nerve carries electrical signals from the retina to the brain.


The sclera is the white part of the eye’s anatomy. The sclera’s purpose is to provide structure, strength and protection to the eye.

Top 7 Reasons to Choose TLC for Your LASIK Procedure

If you’ve made the decision to pursue LASIK eye surgery, you are probably excited to take the next step toward your best vision without full time dependence on glasses and contacts. You may have researched the details on LASIK surgery itself, but what about LASIK providers? It is important to research your providers in order to find one that you feel comfortable with. Read on to learn more about what to look for in a provider, and why TLC Laser Eye Centers is your optimum LASIK provider!

Reason #1: Experienced LASIK Surgeons

The Laser eye center that you choose should only work with expert surgeons who are up-to-date on current trends and technologies in the field of LASIK eye surgery. Often, leading LASIK surgeons will maintain their expertise by seeking additional clinical training and certifications, such as those issued by American Board of Ophthalmology (ABO). Knowledgeable LASIK surgeons and their clinical teams will also diligently screen patients for candidacies, and only accept patients who meet all the qualifications required for the procedure.

The LASIK specialists at TLC Laser Eye Centers have performed over 2.3 million LASIK procedures. Not only do the surgeons have plenty of experiences, but also over 7,000 eye doctors have chosen TLC Laser Eye Centers for their own LASIK surgeries, demonstrating that TLC Laser Eye Centers is a trusted provider with experienced, skilled LASIK surgeons.

Reason #2: The Latest Laser Technologies

Medical technologies are always changing and improving, and a well-informed provider carefully monitors these LASIK advancements and is constantly making clinical decisions on adapting new technologies to deliver the best possible patient outcomes.

TLC Laser Eye Centers are passionate about using the latest laser technologies to care for our LASIK patients. Using modern LASIK, or bladeless LASIK, is just one example of how we provide personalized, custom LASIK treatments for each individual who comes to TLC Laser Eye Centers.

In addition to modern LASIK, TLC Laser Eye Centers also offer other vision correction procedures in order to match the best technology to each patient, including Contoura Vision and PRK. Having access to advanced patient testing instruments and multiple vision correction surgical technologies, our surgeons can determine the most suitable vision correction option to enhance our patients’ vision. At TLC Laser Eye Centers, we are committed to quality care and patient safety.

Reason #3: Affordable LASIK

There is a range of costs when you compare potential LASIK providers. Remember that the least expensive provider won’t necessarily be the best. In addition, many providers also offer financing to help achieve your goal of laser vision correction. It’s important to weigh all your considerations when you evaluate different LASIK centers. Your chosen provider should have the right surgeon and the right equipment for you to help make your LASIK dreams a reality.

TLC Laser Eye Centers offers LASIK financing options to help meet your needs. We work with insurance plans and companies to offer LASIK discounts to its members and employees. You may also be able to use funds from a Flexible Spending Account or Health Savings Account toward your LASIK eye surgery.

Reason #4: Referrals

When searching for any type of provider, you can’t underestimate the value of referrals from trusted friends or family. LASIK surgery is very popular; chances are you know one or several people who have had LASIK and are happy with their results. In addition to inquiring with your eye doctors, don’t forget to ask your family or friends about their experiences and which provider they recommend!

LASIK referral

Reason #5: Location

You need a provider that is close by. After all, it may not be most ideal to travel long distances before and after your quick LASIK procedure. With  convenient, nationwide locations, you can find a TLC Laser Eye Center near you!

Reason #6: Commitment

Find a provider who is committed to you and your vision—not just now, but in the future as well. Your visual needs may change with time, if you were to need a retreatment or an enhancement down the road, you want to know that your provider will be available.

With the TLC Lifetime Commitment program, you can be sure that TLC Laser Eye Centers will stand by you. We are dedicated to helping you maintain the best possible vision throughout your lifetime.

Reason #7: A Solid Partner

At TLC Laser Centers, we know that no one is more familiar with your eye health than your own eye doctor. That’s why TLC affiliated Doctors of Optometry will be an important part of your LASIK team. These optometric physicians partner with TLC Laser Centers because of our record of safety and patient satisfaction, as well as our years of experience in the field. By partnering with optometrists across the country, not only can we help you make the best decisions about your LASIK procedure, but we are also in the best position to care for you, both before and after your laser eye surgery.

If you’d like to learn more about the TLC commitment to vision, schedule a free LASIK consultation at a location near you.

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Is the Cost of LASIK Different Based on Where I Live?

There are many factors to consider when evaluating the cost of LASIK eye surgery, and understanding those factors can help you make an informed decision on choosing the LASIK provider that’s right for your needs. It’s not unusual to see LASIK centers offering very different price quotes. Reputable laser eye surgery providers will make pricing clear, so you understand all the various elements that are included in the pricing. This post takes a closer look at the cost of laser eye surgery, and how your location may impact that cost.

Understanding LASIK Cost Factors

To comprehend LASIK costs, consider several key factors beyond location. The surgeon you choose and the specific type of laser eye surgery procedure contribute to the overall price. Procedures like Custom Wavefront and Bladeless LASIK may have higher costs but come with distinct benefits. Additionally, the geographical area where you undergo laser eye surgery plays a significant role in determining the cost.

LASIK cost based on location
  • Cost of Living -The cost of living in your region directly affects the overall LASIK expenses. Higher basic living costs, including rent, gasoline, and utilities, can contribute to an increase in LASIK prices.
  • Business Operating Costs – Regions with a lower cost of living may offer more affordable LASIK prices, but areas with a higher cost of living can drive up the operating costs for LASIK providers, leading to regional variations in prices.
  • LASIK Surgeon Costs – Surgeon fees in metropolitan areas with a higher cost of living may slightly elevate the average LASIK price. Conversely, choosing LASIK in a community with a lower cost of living may result in a more budget-friendly option.

Choosing a Reputable LASIK Provider

Regardless of your location, a trustworthy LASIK surgeon ensures transparency in cost breakdown. Conduct thorough research and request an itemized list detailing the components covered in your LASIK procedure cost. This includes information on the laser technology utilized, post-operative care, and any potential post-surgery enhancements.

Ready to delve into the specifics of LASIK costs in your area? Schedule a free consultation at your local TLC Laser Eye Center. Seize this opportunity to gain comprehensive insights into LASIK, including the associated costs and all aspects of the procedure.

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Is Age a Barrier for LASIK?

Good news! Age doesn’t have to be a barrier to have LASIK. While the typical LASIK patient falls between 20 and 45 years old, the FDA only requires candidates to be at least 18. As long as your vision prescription has stabilized for at least a year, your eyes are healthy, and you’re in good overall health, you may be a good candidate for LASIK even after 50.

Why There’s No Upper Age Limit on LASIK

The FDA stipulates that the minimum age for LASIK candidates is 18, as our eyes and prescriptions may still undergo frequent changes before that age. However, there’s no upper age limit for LASIK, and the decision to undergo the procedure is based on individual health and vision factors.

LASIK Monovision

Here are some things to consider for LASIK after 50:

  • Presbyopia: After 45, many people experience near vision issues due to presbyopia. While LASIK isn’t always the best solution for presbyopia, TLC offers other vision correction technologies like Monovision.
  • Cataracts: Cataracts, which often develop after 55, can significantly impact vision. In most cases, cataract surgery is the preferred treatment option for older patients with vision problems.
  • Health conditions: Certain health conditions may impact your candidacy for LASIK. However, don’t rule it out based on health alone. Discuss your individual situation with a TLC LASIK specialist to determine if it’s a safe and effective option for you.

Basic LASIK Candidacy Requirements:

For LASIK candidacy, a stable vision prescription for at least one year, the absence of eye diseases, and good overall health are essential. It’s important to note that good overall health doesn’t have to mean perfect health, and consulting with a LASIK specialist is the best way to understand how laser eye surgery aligns with various health needs.

Regardless of age, if you’re curious about LASIK eye surgery’s suitability for your vision health needs, schedule a free consultation with a TLC LASIK specialist. Determine your candidacy and explore the potential benefits of laser eye surgery tailored to your unique requirements.

Ready to ditch your glasses and contacts for good? Schedule a free consultation with TLC LASIK specialists today! We’ll assess your vision health, discuss your options, and help you find the perfect solution for clear vision in your golden years.

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Is LASIK Eye Surgery Covered by Insurance?

Many who are considering LASIK eye surgery often ask one common question: Is LASIK covered by insurance? The short answer is that LASIK is an elective surgery and not typically covered by insurance plans, but there are options available to help cover the cost of LASIK laser eye surgery. Financing options are available for LASIK patients. Ahead, we’ll review some of the most popular options for covering the cost of LASIK surgery.

Options for Financing Your Laser Eye Surgery

Insurance Savings and Partial Coverage through Insurance

While LASIK insurance coverage is rare, it’s important to note that some insurance plans and employers do provide partial coverage for LASIK surgery. TLC Laser Eye Centers work with many major vision insurance providers to offer LASIK savings, and the savings apply on the day of the procedure so that you don’t have to wait for reimbursement. The TLC team will work with you to make sure you’re getting the most savings possible.

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LASIK Financing in the US

TLC Laser Eye Centers offer financing options for laser eye surgery patients. We work with CareCredit, a credit card created specifically for healthcare needs which offers special financing options. If you have specific questions about the financing options available, you can learn more at your local TLC Laser Eye Center.

Health Savings Accounts

A Health Savings Account (HSA)is a tax-exempt trust or custodial account, where you can save funds to cover qualifying medical procedures. Enrolling in an HSA requires you to meet requirements set forth by the IRS, and having a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) is a key step in qualifying.

If you’re interested in using an HSA to save for medical needs, it really helps to do your research and plan ahead.

Flexible Spending Accounts

A Flexible Spending Account (FSA)requires sponsorship from your employer, and allows the account holder to pay for certain medical expenses on a pre-tax basis. FSAs can be used to cover eligible elective procedures including laser eye surgery, along with a number of other common medical needs.

Just as with an HSA, using an FSA to cover medical needs may be easier with good planning. You can use TLC’s free FSA savings calculator for an easy way to explore how it all works.

If you have any questions about LASIK insurance coverage, financing, or payment options, the TLC team is here to help you learn more. Schedule your free LASIK consultation at your local TLC Laser Eye Center to learn more about financing for laser eye surgery, discuss the benefits of LASIK, and find the options that work for you.

LASIK covered by insurance

8 Criteria for a Good LASIK Candidate

If you wear glasses or contact lenses, you’ve probably experienced some of the frustrations that come from being dependent on eyewear for clearer vision. As you wipe your glasses off for the hundredth time, or feel your contact lens become displaced, you wonder if there is a better way. If you’d like to be free of glasses or contacts, you may consider LASIK eye surgery. But, how can you know if you’re a strong candidate for LASIK?  Here are some of the criteria that make for a good LASIK candidate.

You need healthy eyes

Beyond the obvious desire for clearer vision, your eyes should be generally healthy in order to qualify for laser eye surgery. As an example, if you have an eye infection, severe dry eyes, or conjunctivitis (pink eye), you won’t be able to have the procedure until your eyes have healed.

If you have any chronic dry eye issues, be sure to discuss them with your regular eye doctor and/or LASIK specialist. He or she may be able to help treat your dry eye and get your eyes healthy enough for LASIK.

Your prescription must be within a certain range

While LASIK can be used to correct many vision problems, to achieve the best results, your prescription should not be too high (whether you are nearsighted, farsighted, or suffer from astigmatism).

In general, the excimer lasers used during LASIK are FDA-approved to correct prescriptions of up to approximately +6.00 diopters of farsightedness, -12 diopters of nearsightedness, and 6.00 diopters of astigmatism.i  Keep in mind that these qualifying prescription parameters may be differ pending your own unique patient profile, surgical method and the evaluation findings from your eye doctors and LASIK specialist

LASIK diopter

You must be a certain age

To undergo laser eye surgery, you must be a minimum of 18 years old. However, most LASIK patients are not younger than their early 20’s. The younger you are, the more likely that your eyes are continuing to change and evolve. There is also no upper age limit for LASIK, and many adults are happy with their LASIK results in their 40’s and beyond. Keep in mind, though, that an older patient might still need glasses or contacts for certain activities (such as reading).

Your current prescription should be stable

A good LASIK candidate should have a prescription that has remained the same or very similar for at least one year. If you find your distance prescription consistently changes at each annual eye exam, LASIK might not be the best option until your prescription stabilizes. When you have laser eye surgery, your LASIK surgeon is correcting your vision according to your prescription at that time. This means that, even though you’ve had LASIK, if your eyes continue to change year to year, you’re more likely to need a LASIK enhancement down the line. This is another reason why younger candidates, whose eyes are more likely to change, may want to wait on LASIK.

You should be in good general health

It’s not only important for your eyes to be healthy, but your body as well. If you have any illnesses or disorders that would prevent your body from healing, it’s important to discuss laser eye surgery with your doctor, and to let your LASIK specialist know.

If you have any of the following conditions, you may not be a good candidate for LASIK:

  • Autoimmune diseases (HIV/AIDS, Lupus, etc.)
  • Diabetes
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Depression
  • Chronic pain conditions, such as IBS, fibromyalgia, or migrainesii

You should not be pregnant

When pregnant, your body is undergoing a lot of hormonal changes, which may affect your vision by temporarily changing your prescription.  For this reason, you should not be evaluated for a LASIK procedure until you are no longer pregnant/nursing. If your LASIK evaluation occurs right after pregnancy, pending the evaluation findings, your eye doctor or LASIK specialist may recommend giving your eyes a few months to return to their normal baseline.

Your corneas must have the appropriate thickness

You may be surprised to learn that the level of thickness in your corneas is another factor in your candidacy for LASIK eye surgery. The LASIK procedure works to improve vision by reshaping the cornea. If your cornea is too thin, it may not be possible to get the results you want.  The good news is that, in recent years, the advancement in lasers used for LASIK allow for patients with thinner corneas to undergo LASIK surgery. For most patients, the average cornea tissue is 540 to 550 microns thickiii.

You’ve researched and prepared

What’s the final step to be considered a good candidate for LASIK eye surgery? Doing your research and being prepared! If you research LASIK, talk to your eye doctor, and see a LASIK specialist with a list of questions, you will be well on your way to finding out if LASIK is a fit for you.

If you’d like to discuss your options and find out if you are a candidate for LASIK, schedule a free consultation at a location near you.

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[i] FDA. (2016). Summary of safety and effectiveness data. Retrieved from

[ii] FDA. (2006). Summary of safety and effectiveness data. Retrieved from

iii Mayo Clinic. (2019). Lasik surgery: Is it right for you? Retrieved from

Discover the History of LASIK

Vision problems have long been a fact of life for humans, and for centuries glasses (and later, contact lenses) were the only solution available to most people. The first glasses were developed in the 13th century, the first contacts were created in 1888, and it wasn’t until the 1970s that procedures like LASIK eye surgery began to take shape. LASIK technology is always advancing, and the history of laser eye surgery goes a long way toward explaining why people with vision problems have so many potential treatment options today.

Laser Eye Surgery Research in the 1970s

The story of LASIK begins long before the first procedure was performed, in the research halls of major universities and businesses. Throughout the late 1970s, a procedure called Radial Keratotomy (RK), which shares similarities with LASIK, was performed in the United States. A major breakthrough came in 1980, when IBM researcher Rangaswamy Srinivasan discovered that the excimer laser – initially developed for computer chip production – was able to remove living tissue without causing thermal damage. Surgeon Steven Trokel of Columbia University published a key study in 1985 detailing the effectiveness of the excimer laser for RK surgery, which helped pave the way for LASIK eye surgery.

LASIK history

The First Laser Vision Correction Procedure (1988)

The first laser vision correction procedure took place in 1988, when a 60-year old woman with a serious vision problem allowed surgeon Marguerite McDonald to perform the first photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) procedure on her damaged eye. PRK surgery was approved by Canada in 1991, approved by the US in 1995, and remains in use to this day.

The Development of LASIK Eye Surgery

While the results of the first PRK surgery helped allow the procedure to reach the wider market, European eye doctors Ioannis Pallikaris and Lucio Burrato were busy working on ways to optimize laser eye surgery. They made the discovery that creating a “flap” in the cornea, rather than treating the surface, helped to minimize post-surgery discomfort and speed up the healing process. The flap allows surgeons to address vision problems at the source, and works as a natural bandage to help with the healing process. This was the beginning of LASIK eye surgery as we know it today, and LASIK was approved for use in the United States in 1999.

Refining LASIK and Creating New Procedures

In the present day, LASIK eye surgery is still on a path of innovation, as scientists and eye doctors continue to develop new technology. Patients can now choose unique options like Bladeless LASIK, which relies on a laser to create the flap, rather than a blade. The excimer laser remains a key part of laser eye surgery, and continues to be optimized over time.

Advances in the technology used to map the eye before surgery have also been a big part of the LASIK story, with procedures like Custom LASIK and Topography-Guided LASIK providing more precise data than ever to help plan your procedure. The detailed data helps surgeons customize your procedure to deliver the best results for your unique vision care needs. LASIK patients truly now have more options than ever before.

If the history of laser eye surgery tells us anything, it’s to expect LASIK technology to continue evolving. Procedures like Bladeless “all-laser” LASIK , Topography-Guided LASIK, and Custom LASIK each offer unique benefits, but none of it would have been possible without the many people who contributed to the development of laser eye surgery.

If you are considering LASIK eye surgery for your vision correction, start with a Free Consultation at a local TLC Laser Eye Center near you. It’s a great opportunity to meet with our caring staff and get all your questions answered.