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The following is an outline of the basic steps of a typical LASIK procedure:

• Patient is positioned under the laser and, for practice purposes, is directed to look at a specific light.

• Anesthetic drops are used to numb the eye so there is little or no pain.

• Eyelids and lashes are cleaned; they are covered and held open (with drapes and a gentle eyelid holder) so they are out of the surgical field.

• Cornea is marked to assist the surgeon in realigning the flap at the end of the procedure.

• A suction ring is placed on the eye, giving a little squeezing sensation to hold the eye steady; lights usually disappear for a few seconds.

• Microkeratome, or "flapmaker," is used to make the flap.

• Surgeon centers the laser (even if an eye-tracking laser is used, it is surgeon's responsibility to properly center laser beam).

• Laser is activated while surgeon carefully watches patient's eye to be sure it remains in position.

• Flap is repositioned so surface is smooth; inner surface is rinsed.

• Drapes and eyelid holder are removed.

• Antibiotic and anti-inflammatory drops are started.