Vision by Pacific Cataract and Laser Institute

How LASIK Works

LASIK is the most advanced form of laser vision correction. Although our surgeons use highly sophisticated instruments to perform LASIK, the treatment is a relatively simple 3-step process:

  • A thin flap of tissue is created on the surface of the eye
  • Laser light gently reshapes the underlying tissue
  • The flap is repositioned

The new shape is what improves vision.

Although the excimer laser was originally developed in the 1970s for precision etching of microcircuits on computer chips, the instruments used for LASIK have undergone decades of refinement. They utilize a charged mixture of argon and fluorine gases to produce a cool beam of light that vaporizes tissue without heat. 

The computer-guided beam of our state-of-the-art lasers sculpts the eye's surface one microscopic layer at a time. Each pulse eliminates ten-millionths of an inch in twelve billionths of a second. With the surgeon’s guidance, the excimer laser precisely reshapes the cornea with little or no effect on the surrounding tissue. An average LASIK procedure removes less than the thickness of a human hair.