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Can Optometrists do LASIK?

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LASIK stands as a beacon of hope for many looking to shed the necessity of wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses. This procedure offers people the chance to get rid of the daily hassle of caring for glasses or contact lenses.

An optometrist typically isn’t qualified to perform LASIK, but they’re at the forefront of pre- and post-operative care for individuals who get LASIK. Pre-operatively, they conduct thorough eye examinations to confirm your eye’s health and determine if LASIK is a suitable option. Post-operatively, optometrists are involved in the ongoing assessment of the healing process, offering solutions for any complications and ensuring the health and well-being of the individual’s vision.

Understanding LASIK & Its Role in Vision Correction

Let’s take a brief look at what LASIK is to understand why an optometrist isn’t able to perform the procedure.

LASIK, or Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis, is a form of refractive laser surgery designed to correct common refractive errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. It works by reshaping the cornea, the clear front part of the eye. The retina properly focuses the light entering the eye for clearer vision following the cornea reshaping. LASIK typically eliminates the need for corrective eyewear or contact lenses.

The procedure is quick and is known for its efficiency and precision. After numbing the eyes with anesthetic drops, the surgeon creates a thin flap in the cornea with a laser. This flap is lifted, which allows another laser to reshape the underlying corneal tissue. Then the flap is placed back, where it heals by itself. The incision is so small that stitches aren’t typically required.

Who Is a Candidate for LASIK?

Ideal candidates for LASIK are over 18 years old, with stable vision prescription for at least a year, and have corneas deemed thick enough for the procedure. Those with certain medical conditions or eye diseases may need to explore other options.

LASIK vs. Other Vision Correction Methods

While contacts and glasses are non-invasive and widely used, LASIK provides a more permanent solution without the daily hassle. Other surgical options, like PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy), might be recommended for individuals with thinner corneas. Each method has its unique benefits and suitability depending on individual eye characteristics.

Eye doctor looks at the camera as he adjusts the eye exam diagnostics equipment.

Understanding the Difference Between Optometrists & Ophthalmologists

Optometrists and ophthalmologists play integral roles in eye health but serve different functions.


An optometrist is a healthcare professional who specializes in primary vision care. They are trained to perform eye exams, prescribe and dispense corrective lenses—eyeglasses and contact lenses, detect certain eye abnormalities, and provide treatment for common eye conditions such as dry eye or minor infections.

Optometrists also play a role in identifying systemic health conditions that may manifest in the eyes. While they are not medical doctors like ophthalmologists, they are essential in maintaining good eye health and vision.


An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor who specializes in diagnosing, treating, and managing eye diseases and disorders. They are trained to perform eye exams, prescribe corrective lenses, and diagnose and treat various eye conditions such as glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration. They can also perform eye surgeries—like LASIK. Ophthalmologists play a crucial role in maintaining the overall health and wellness of the eyes, but you may not see them regularly without a specific reason.

Do Optometrists Perform LASIK Surgery?

The short answer is no. LASIK surgery is a specialized procedure that falls under the purview of ophthalmologists. These medical professionals have the requisite medical degree and specialized training in eye surgeries. While an optometrist is deeply involved in the care process, they don’t perform LASIK. But their expertise is no less critical to the success of LASIK procedures.

Collaborative Relationship Between Optometrists & Ophthalmologists

Optometrists and ophthalmologists often work in tandem to ensure the best outcomes for those opting for LASIK. Optometrists play a pivotal role in the initial assessment for LASIK candidacy, leveraging their skills to identify potential issues that could affect the procedure’s success. Optometrists often take the lead in providing follow-up care, monitoring an individual’s recovery, and managing any adjustments in vision correction.

Choosing the Right Eye Care Professional for Your LASIK Journey

Understanding the distinction between optometrists and ophthalmologists is key to navigating your LASIK journey effectively. While optometrists may not perform the surgery, their involvement in the pre- and post-operative stages is invaluable. Choosing the right team of eye care professionals ensures not just the success of the procedure but also the long-term health and well-being of your vision.

You should consult with optometrists and ophthalmologists when contemplating LASIK surgery. This collaborative approach can provide a seamless experience, from evaluation to a life of improved vision.

Call our team at Perspectives Vision Clinic today if you’re considering LASIK. Let’s start the conversation about a future with a clear vision. One of our experienced eye doctors can walk you through the process after confirming that you’re a candidate for laser eye surgery.


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  • Written by Dr. Marcie Nichols

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