LASIK FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

LASIK FAQsDue to its success rate, LASIK has become an increasingly common procedure performed on adults to perfect their vision. Read through the following frequently asked questions to learn about the procedure and help decide if it’s right for you.


  • What is LASIK eye surgery? LASIK is a procedure that uses an excimer laser to precisely reshape the cornea. The surgery corrects nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatisms.
  • Who is the ideal candidate for LASIK? The basic qualifications for the surgery are to be at least 18 years old, have had a stable eye prescription for the past 12 months, and have healthy corneas. If you meet these requirements, the next step is to meet with a surgeon who will determine if you are a candidate for the procedure.
  • Can I get only one eye done with LASIK? Yes, you can have LASIK on one or both eyes.
  • Does the surgery hurt? No, you will not feel any pain. Patients report feeling slight pressure around the eye during the procedure, but anesthetic drops are used prior to the surgery to ensure that the eyes are numb.
  • How long does the procedure take? LASIK is a fast surgery. The laser only takes 20-50 seconds to correct your vision, but an estimated 10 minutes is spent on each eye. In general, however, the typical patient is in the office for about an hour and a half.
  • What is the success rate of LASIK eye surgery? Due to its advanced technology, LASIK has proven to be very successful. Some patients might have a change to their prescription after LASIK, so their eye may need an enhancement later in life. Less than 10 percent of people who undergo LASIK require an enhancement later, however.
  • Is LASIK permanent? Most patients report permanently corrected vision. This is especially true for those who had extremely stable eyeglass prescriptions prior to surgery.
  • What is the LASIK recovery time? LASIK recovery time varies, but most patients resume normal activities one to two days following surgery. It is important to talk with your surgeon about your specific recovery time so you’ll know what to expect after the procedure.
  • What are the side effects of the surgery? It is reported that serious complications happen to less than 1% of patients. Potential side effects, however, include experiencing glare, dry eyes, fluctuating vision, night vision problems and seeing halos around objects.
  • How much does the surgery cost? The cost varies, depending on where you have the surgery. I recommend contacting a few LASIK centers to compare their prices, qualifications, and experience. If you have financial concerns, ask the LASIK staff about discounts and payment plans.

To find out if Emory’s Eye Center is right for your LASIK eye surgery, call (404) 778-2733 and schedule a free consultation.


Learn more about LASIK

Choosing A LASIK Surgeon

Are you considering LASIK eye surgery? If so, it is important to choose the right surgeon. Ask yourself the following 10 questions to make sure you’ve covered your bases when choosing your LASIK surgeon.Are you considering LASIK eye surgery? If so, it is important to choose the right surgeon. Ask yourself the following 10 questions to make sure you’ve covered your bases when choosing your LASIK surgeon.

  • Who does my regular eye doctor recommend? Ask your eye doctor for a list of the best LASIK surgeons.
  • Do I know anyone personally who has received LASIK? If so, ask them who they used for the procedure and if they had a good experience.
  • Who is the surgeon? Gain an understanding of the surgeon’s educational background as well as if he or she is board certified and fellowship trained in refractive surgery.
  • How successful has the LASIK surgeon been? Ask about the surgeon’s success rate and how he or she handles complications during and/or after the surgery.
  • Is the staff professional and friendly? You want to feel comfortable in the surgeon’s office. This means that you feel like the staff is responsive, listens to your concerns, works with your schedule, and maintains a clean facility.
  • What equipment do they use? Medical equipment and technology is always evolving. Ask what equipment the surgeon will be using and if it’s the most up-to-date for LASIK.
  • Who does the evaluation and postoperative care? Some LASIK surgeons handle all aspects of your surgery, from completing the original preoperative exam/consultation through post-op care. Some centers have other health care providers assisting with the pre-op or post-op care. Be sure you know what to expect at each office you consider.
  • How much does the LASIK eye surgery cost? If you have financial concerns, make sure to ask about discounts and payment plans.
  • Have I had any previous eye problems? Some eye centers have a LASIK surgeon that specializes in patients with certain eye histories, so be sure to ask if this applies to you.
  • Where is the practice located? Make sure that the office is close enough that you are willing and able to drive there multiple times if needed.

I recommend that you keep a spreadsheet with this information. Once you have compiled your list, compare surgeons and facilities to make an educated decision on your LASIK surgeon.
To find out if Emory’s Eye Center is right for your LASIK eye surgery, call (404) 778-2733 and schedule a free consultation.

About Dr. Joung (John) Kim

kim-joung-johnJoung (John) Y. Kim, MD, serves on the faculty of the Emory Eye Center in the Cornea, External Disease and Refractive Surgery section. His areas of expertise include: refractive surgery, the management of corneal and external eye diseases, cataract surgery, and refractive surgery. He began performing laser refractive surgery in 2000.

Dr. Kim serves on the Ophthalmic Device Committee of the FDA. He served on the Refractive Management/Intervention Self-Assessment team of the AAO from 2004-2006. He serves as a Skills Transfer Course Monitor for AAO. He serves as ophthalmology preceptor for the Ophthalmology Ambulatory Care Rotation at Emory University School of Medicine. In 2009, he visited Peru where he volunteered time as a visiting surgeon through ORBIS, the flying eye hospital.

Have You Been Told You Need Cataract Surgery?

Cataracts occur when the natural clear lens inside the eye, located behind the iris, becomes cloudy over time. This lens is important for focusing light on the back of the eye (the retina) so that images appear clear and without distortion. It’s the clouding of this lens during cataract formation that distorts our vision.

Cataracts are usually a very gradual process of normal aging . Your risk for developing a cataract increases as you get older – with the highest likelihood of occurrence after the age of 60. They commonly affect both eyes, but it is not uncommon for a cataract in one eye to advance more rapidly.

If you’ve been told that you need cataract surgery, rest assured that the Emory Eye Center is committed to getting you back to good eye health quickly. Cataract surgery at Emory is done on an outpatient basis, meaning you’ll go home that day. The actual surgery takes only about 10 minutes. You can expect warmth and compassion from our incredible staff of experts before and after your surgery. Everyone from the ophthalmic techs, who do calculations, to the physicians’ assistants, who explain the procedure, discuss any medical issues, and answer questions, to all the OR nurses, including pre-op nurses, surgical assistants, and the recovery room nurses, are very knowledgeable, have many years of experience, and are very skilled at what they do.

And finally, know that your eyes are in good hands. Our eye surgeons are some of the best in the country. We have the technical expertise to perform cataract surgery on eyes that have additional complicating factors that can make surgery more challenging, such as iritis, glaucoma, and previous LASIK/PRK. Because we have the knowledge, the experience, and the most up-to-date equipment, we see many of the most challenging cases in the community.

Are you planning to have cataract surgery, or have you already had it? We welcome your questions and feedback in the comments section below.

Maria Aaron, MD, specializes in cataract surgery, eye trauma, and laser surgery and is board certified in ophthalmology. Dr. Aaron started practicing at Emory in 1999 and is associate professor of ophthalmology.

More Options for Improved Vision after Cataract Surgery with IOLs

Maria Aaron, MDAn intraocular lens, or IOL, is the artificial lens often used to replace the eye’s natural lens when it has been damaged by a cataract. With the advancement of IOLs, Emory Eye Center patients undergoing cataract surgery have many more options and the potential to see without glasses after surgery.

There are two basic types of IOLs: the monofocal lens and the multifocal lens. Monofocal lenses may provide spectacle-free vision at a single focal length, either distance, intermediate, or near, while multifocal lenses have multiple focal lengths and therefore may enable you to see near and distance without the dependence on spectacles. Patients with a significant degree of astigmatism may benefit from toric lenses, which are monofocal IOLs that help correct astigmatism.

Before you have eye surgery, your surgeon will take measurements to help determine the best lens for you. IOL insertion usually takes less than 30 minutes and can be performed while you are under local anesthesia. Recovery time generally takes two to three weeks.

If you’re having cataract surgery, you should remember that the goal of cataract surgery is not to get rid of glasses—it’s to get rid of the cataract. However, for the right patient, it can be an opportunity to reduce dependency on glasses.

The Emory Eye Center is one of the top 15 NIH-funded eye research institutions in the U.S. and is consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report. Our researchers are continually pioneering new developments in vision care. Schedule an appointment with the Emory Eye Center, and we’ll help you see your world in a whole new light.

Do you have IOLs? Would you like to share your experience with people who are considering getting them? We welcome your questions and feedback in the comments section below.

Maria Aaron, MD, specializes in cataract surgery, eye trauma, and laser surgery and is board certified in ophthalmology. Dr. Aaron started practicing at Emory in 1999 and is associate professor of ophthalmology.

LASIK Myths Debunked

Think you can’t have LASIK surgery? Think again!

If you’ve been told in the past that you couldn’t have LASIK surgery, it’s time to come to Emory Vision. During the last five years, LASIK technology has made a huge leap forward—and you may find that you’re now the perfect candidate. I’d like to take a moment to address two reasons you may have been told you can’t have LASIK.

#1- If you wear gas permeable contacts, LASIK is not for you (UNTRUE!)
Gas permeable lenses change the shape of your cornea to correct your vision. In fact, many eye doctors prescribe them to correct astigmatism. What you may not know, is that LASIK can actually be a way to treat the condition of astigmatism permanently.

What does this mean for you? It may be time for LASIK surgery! To find out, just take a three-week break from your gas permeable lenses, to allow your eyes to go back to their original shape, and then come in for your initial exam.

#2 – If you wear bifocals, you can’t have LASIK (UNTRUE!).
Do you wear bifocals—or are you nearing a time when you will? Have you longed for LASIK surgery but been told you’d still need to wear reading glasses? Now bifocal wearers can enjoy the benefits of LASIK surgery with blended vision—and put aside those reading glasses.

Blended vision means that, rather than treating both eyes for distance, we treat one eye for distance viewing and one for close up. Your eyes then make the necessary adjustment depending on your activity. Still not convinced? Come in for an initial exam at Emory Vision, and we’ll let you try out how blended vision works and feels before you have surgery using a special pair of glasses that simulates the effect.

Goodbye to Glasses