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How Does Laser Eye Surgery Work?

Many people are wary of laser eye surgery because the idea can seem frightening. However, laser technology has improved significantly in the past decade, and eye surgery is safer and more effective than ever. 

If you’re hesitant about a procedure, gaining a better understanding of how it works can ease your anxiety about receiving treatment. 

At Ventura Eye Institute in Camarillo, California, our professional team of eye care specialists can provide a variety of laser surgery options to improve your eyesight.

What happens during laser eye surgery 

To understand how laser eye surgery works, it’s important to know why you’re experiencing poor vision in the first place. 

Your cornea, the dome of clear tissue at the front of your eye, is responsible for refracting light back into the retina. This is what allows you to see. 

In cases of astigmatism, myopia (nearsightedness), and hyperopia (farsightedness), the light does not bend properly, which causes poor vision. 

During laser eye surgery, the shape of your cornea is adjusted to allow better refraction. This is done using two similar methods: LASIK and LASEK


LASIK, or laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis, uses two types of lasers. No blades are involved in laser eye surgery, which makes it extremely safe, precise, and effective. 

First, a femtosecond laser is used to cut a flap into your cornea. Then, an excimer laser reshapes the tissue underneath. Once your vision has been corrected, the corneal flap is placed back onto your eye. 


Laser epithelial keratomileusis, or LASEK, is the sister surgery to LASIK. The procedures are extremely similar, but LASEK involves a higher degree of skill. Dr. Michael Ragen is one of the leading surgeons in LASEK surgery, an expert in the field. 

During LASEK, the cornea is not cut. Instead, the outer layer of the cornea (epithelium), is lifted from the eye using a mild medicine. Then, a guided laser reshapes the cornea underneath, and the epithelium is gently placed back into the eye, where it heals within a few days. 

While the two procedures are extremely similar, LASEK is safer and produces better results. If you’re hesitant to seek out LASIK because of the risks, LASEK might be the perfect solution for you. 

The benefits of wavefront technology 

The quality of the laser used contributes greatly to how precise and effective it is. That’s why Dr. Ragen uses the Wavefront-guided VISX Star S4 CustomVue™ Laser. Wavefront technology was developed to correct refraction issues in the Hubble Space Telescope, but breakthroughs have contributed to advancements in laser eye surgery as well. 

Wavefront-guided lasers like the VISX Star S4 don’t just correct your vision, they can enhance it to 20/20 or more. They even improve night vision by reducing halos, glares, and starbursts. 

Are you interested in laser eye surgery? Want to learn more about the procedure and tools? Dr. Ragen and his team at Ventura Eye Institute can explain the process in detail during your consultation. To schedule an appointment, call 805-388-1211, or book online

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