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What is LASIK eye surgery?

Laser vision correction has revolutionized the field of ophthalmology, and LASIK is the most popular technique available. LASIK, or laser in-situ keratomileusis, has been helping individuals see more clearly for many years, enabling them to enhance their day-to-day lives and reduce the hassles associated with corrective eyewear.

What happens during LASIK?

During LASIK, you will receive numbing eye drops. There is no pain during LASIK, and the most you’ll feel is a slight pressure. LASIK involves reshaping the cornea so light can get through properly. Reshaping the cornea is what corrects refractive errors like nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. To reshape the cornea, a small flap, like a trap door, is first created with a femtosecond laser.

Chart Showing the Four Steps of lasik Surgery

After the flap is created, your surgeon will remove tissue from the cornea with an excimer laser. Once the cornea is reshaped, the flap is gently placed back down and left to heal on its own. There are no stitches required. LASIK takes about 10 minutes total to complete and involves no needles, shots, or blades.

The Excimer Laser

Who is a good candidate for LASIK?

To find out if you’re a good candidate for LASIK, you’ll need to schedule a LASIK consultation. Here are some of the factors that go into whether you’re a good candidate:

  • you are in good health
  • you must be at least 18 years old to undergo LASIK
  • you cannot be pregnant or nursing when getting LASIK
  • your corneas are thick enough that LASIK is safe to perform on you
  • you must have a stable prescription that hasn’t changed in the last year or more
  • you don’t have any conditions that make it harder to heal after a procedure like LASIK
  • if you have dry eye, it is already being managed and is not causing injury to your eyes
  • you don’t have any conditions like dry eye that aren’t under control before your procedure


These are only a few of the factors taken into consideration, which is why anyone interested in LASIK must schedule a LASIK consultation. During your LASIK consultation, it is important to disclose your entire medical history.

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LASIK FAQs

The Nielsen Eye Center has performed over 15000+ successful LASIK procedures. Dr. Steven Nielsen was one of the first surgeons in the New England area to perform Lasik in 1997 and the first surgeon in the Boston area to perform the bilateral LASIK procedure. In addition, Dr. Moreira has performed thousands of refractive procedures. She is the clinic instructor for surgery at the Brown University Division of Ophthalmology.

The LASIK procedure is ideal for patients with prescriptions between -8.00 to +4.00 Diopters and with mild to severe astigmatism. Only an in-depth evaluation can truly determine if a patient is a LASIK candidate. The Nielsen Eye Center offers free LASIK consultations for all interested patients.

  • Individuals who are at least 18 years old
  • Individuals who have had a stable vision prescription for a period of one year or longer
  • Individuals who are in relatively good overall health
  • Individuals who have corneas that are thick enough to undergo the procedure
  • Individuals who are not currently suffering from certain eye diseases, including glaucoma or cataracts

It’s important to remember that many patients qualify as candidates for LASIK; however, for those who do not, there are a variety of alternatives to LASIK that can provide many of the same benefits. These alternatives can include options such as:

  • Flapless LASIK (Laser treatment without corneal flap),
  • Implantable Contact Lens (A tiny surgical implantable contact lens in the eye),
  • Refractive Lens Exchange (An implant that combines glasses power and natural lens power).

We expect you to sit up from the laser bed and be able to see the clock across the surgical suite. Your vision will be slightly hazy at that time and gradually get better every hour. Typically, most patients come back the next day with 20/20 vision.

At The Nielsen Eye Center, the goal of the LASIK procedure is to get rid of your glasses and/or contact lenses. A small percentage of patients choose to under correct their prescriptions to preserve some reading vison, these patients may need a thin pair of prescription glasses for night driving. Some patients may need over the counter reading glasses due to an age related reading problem.

Yes, we perform the Lasik procedure on both eyes on the same day. This relieves the troublesome effect of being imbalanced between eyes waiting for the second eye Lasik. The entire process of bi-lateral LASIK takes approximately 10 minutes.

Topical numbing eye drops only. There are no needles or intravenous drugs are used.

Xanax pill is given to relieve anxiety before surgery. Patients have choice of not taking it.

Right after the Lasik procedure, experiencing a sensation of burning or scratchiness is expected and it can last one to three hours after the procedure. One dose of Tylenol is all most people find they need. Most people avoid discomfort by taking a nap soon after the treatment.

You can bathe or shower the same day. However, it is important to avoid getting soap or shampoo directly in your eyes. Should soap or shampoo get into the Lasik eye, it will irritate the eye but there is no harm done. Just stand under the shower, let water rinse the soap/shampoo clear without touching or rubbing the eye.

You should not drive the day of the procedure. After that, you may drive when you feel confident that your visual acuity and eye comfort allow you to drive safely.

Most patients go back to work full-time the day after treatment. It is rare that an additional day or two is required before returning to work. We recommend that you take it easy for a couple of days and that you refrain from strenuous exercise for a week.

Typical follow-up appointments are scheduled 1 day, 1 month, 3 months, 6 months and one year after treatment. Some patients require more visits. Remember, we are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions or concerns.

A fraction of 1% of patients can experience temporary dryness of the eyes that is treatable.

We always aim at 100% for intended treatment. But rarely, a patient will need to be touched up after the first treatment, this is called an Enhancement, and we do this for no charge if the patient is followed by us on a yearly basis so we are able to quickly identify them and treat them.

The LASIK procedure risks are very small. We will go over all of them at the free consult.

With today’s technology, and many new ways of treating dry eye, it is very likely that you can have the Lasik procedure. The best way to know is to come in for the free evaluation. We always test for dry eye, and if found, would treat it and get it under control before proceeding with Lasik procedure.

We use Alcon’s WaveLight Refractive Suite lasers; they are currently the best Lasik technology available that provides customized All Laser LASIK.

The free Lasik consult is two hours long. It includes:

  • A measurement of your eyes’ prescription by an Auto-Refractor;
  • A measure of your glasses prescription by an auto-Lensmeter
  • Measures of your corneal curvature by two different equipment (Pentacam & LenStar);
  • A measure of your corneal thickness and integrity by Specular-microscopy
  • A measure of the length of your eye by Lenstar
  • A measure of your eye pressure to ensure you don’t have glaucoma
  • Two refractions performed by different technicians to ensure the most accurate prescription for treatment (better one or better two);
  • A dilated fundus exam to check your optical nerve and your retina to make sure they are healthy;
  • Full eye examination and evaluation by the surgeon who will perform your Lasik procedure.

You will meet your surgeon and all of your questions will be answered at the free consultation. If you are a good candidate, you can schedule Lasik right away. If Lasik is not your best option, Dr. Nielsen or Dr. Moreira will discuss any alternative procedure that is better for you.

You need to leave your contact lenses out for at least 7 days in order to get accurate measurements. If you are unable to take out your contact lenses before the consult, we may need to repeat some measurements before your Lasik procedure. Hard Contact Lenses should be out 3 weeks before the free consultation.

To make the No-Contact Lens Period as short as possible and to minimize the inconvenience, we can schedule your free consultation and Lasik procedure close together (Day 1 to Day 7 no Contact Lenses, Day 8 Free Consult, Day 9 Lasik procedure).

The LASIK and other corneal refractive procedures are done at Quincy Laser Eye Center at 300 Congress Street, Suite #207 Quincy MA 02169. It is in the same building on the same floor as the Nielsen Eye Center Quincy location.  The center was built specifically for LASIK. Family members are welcome to watch through a large glass viewing area into the Laser suite. You will need someone to drive you home on the day of your procedure, as you will be given a mild sedative.

At The Nielsen Eye Center, our policy is to arrange affordable monthly payments in order to help fit LASIK into your budget. As compared with eyeglasses and contact lenses, LASIK can pay for itself in a few years. Eyeglasses usually have to be replaced once a year or so and contact lenses, depending on the type, can be extremely costly. We have partnered with Green Sky and Care Credit, health care financing options, for patients.

Once we know if you are a qualified Lasik candidate or establish a procedure that’s better for you, we can give you an exact figure. We sometimes have a special promotion running, and if that is the case, we will let you know.