The Cole Eye Institute is internationally respected for providing world-class eye care. Cleveland Clinic Cole Eye Institute’s Refractive Center is a national leader in laser vision correction surgery, and our refractive surgeons utilize the most advanced techniques and technology to ensure patients receive the care and outcomes they have come to know and trust.

Clear vision is an essential part of our daily lives. Clear vision depends on how light rays are focused inside the eye. Normally, light is focused sharply on the retina, allowing the eye to see clearly at all distances. With refractive disorders, the eye’s shape is disproportionate, causing light to focus in front of or behind the retina. This refractive condition causes objects seen with the eye to appear blurry.

By correcting your visual problems in the eye itself instead of relying on glasses or contact lenses, laser vision correction surgery provides hassle-free normal or near-normal vision for many patients.

Improving Vision Beyond Contacts and Glasses

Patient Specific Mapping

Cole Eye Institute is the first ophthalmology center in Ohio to offer patient-specific, topography-guided laser vision correction. Cleveland Clinic ophthalmologists can now map corneal irregularities and precisely capture the data that a typical wavefront-guided procedure might miss. Now we have the potential to improve vision beyond that of glasses and contact lens corrections.

When using this latest technique, 40% of patients treated had one line or more improvement in the best corrected vision, and 30% saw better (one line of vision or more) after surgery without glasses than their best glasses prescription before surgery. Becoming commercially available in late 2015, the FDA approved this new type of LASIK treatment for eyes with myopia and myopic astigmatism in 2013, after an extensive study. The FDA’s findings showed that it is beneficial for virgin eyes and safe for routine LASIK cases.

See the Difference

Laser vision correction surgery, also known as refractive surgery, refers to a range of techniques that modify the shape of the cornea to improve vision. Today, a wide range of procedures is available.

Treatment Options

Treatment Options

If you are considering refractive eye surgery, you should be aware of the various types of procedures available. A meeting with a Cleveland Clinic Cole Eye Institute surgeon may help you understand if you are a LASIK candidate. After your initial consultation, your surgeon will make treatment recommendations based on the type and severity of your refractive error and the health of your eye.

LASIK with Intralase and PRK are the two most common types of laser vision correction surgery being performed today. Customization is possible when presented with our array of vision technology and highly skilled surgeons. For more information on individual refractive eye condition treatment options, select a treatment option below.

LASIK with Femtosecond Laser

A small corneal flap is lifted before the laser reshapes the cornea in LASIK. The flap is replaced afterward.

In laser in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK) with Femtosecond Laser, a thin flap is created in the top layer of the cornea and the underlying tissue is reshaped by the laser. The flap is then replaced and serves as a buffer to protect the newly treated tissue from irritants, such as your blinking eyelid. Visual recovery and healing are more rapid than in most other procedures. This new generation of LASIK, is the most advanced equipment available today. Its greater accuracy and control lead to better outcomes and has led Cole Eye Institute experts to solely use this blade-less technique on all patients seeking LASIK laser vision correction.


The next most common refractive procedure is photorefractive keratectomy, or PRK. This procedure also utilizes an excimer laser to reshape the cornea, but instead of lifting a small flap to reach the sub-layer of the cornea, the outer layer is removed completely. This skin layer regrows in about three to five days; your surgeon may have you wear a “bandage contact lens” for a few days to shield the newly treated surface from irritants such as your blinking eyelid.

With PRK, good vision does not return as quickly as it does with LASIK and patients experience slightly more discomfort while healing. However, our surgeons do recommend some patients undergo PRK instead of LASIK because it ultimately leads to better long-term results in some types of eyes.

Before & After Surgery

Before & After Surgery

Before Surgery

If you are considering having laser vision correction surgery, the best way to learn more is to come in for a free consultation at the Cole Eye Institute.

One of our technicians will perform basic tests of your eyes, including checking corneal thickness and assessing your refraction. Then, you will watch a video that answers many questions about the procedure then see an optometrist who will examine your eyes. Next, you will see one of our refractive surgeons, who will examine your eyes and discuss which laser vision correction surgery would be best for you. Before you leave, you will spend a few minutes with our coordinator who can schedule your surgery and review payment options.

Do not wear your contact lenses for at least three days before your appointment (three weeks if you wear rigid gas permeable lenses) and bring your glasses so we can review your prescription. Bring in your parking ticket so we can validate it.

On the day of your surgery, eat a light meal before coming and take all of your prescribed medications. Do not wear eye makeup or have any bulky accessories in your hair that will interfere with positioning your head under the laser. If you are not feeling well that morning, please call to discuss whether your procedure needs to be postponed.

After Surgery

The Cole Eye Institute ophthalmologist who performs your laser vision correction surgery will work to assure that you receive the highest quality postoperative care. To help you achieve maximum visual results, plan on scheduling a minimum of three follow-up appointments after your laser vision correction surgery. These will need to occur 1 day after surgery, 1 week after surgery, and 3 months after laser vision correction surgery. A visit at 6 months or 1 year after surgery will be an optional follow-up. The cost of these visits is included in your surgical fee.

What to Expect After Laser Vision Correction Surgery

  • Your vision may be blurry and hazy for the first day after laser vision correction surgery. Plan to have someone drive you home after your procedure.
  • You may experience some discomfort or sensitivity to light for the first several hours after LASIK and the first several days after PRK.
  • Your vision may fluctuate between clear and blurry for the first few weeks.
  • You may need to wear glasses for night driving or reading until your vision stabilizes.
  • Your eyes will be dry even if they do not feel that way. Your vision may improve after using drops prescribed by the ophthalmologist. These drops may burn or cause temporary blurring of vision. Do not use any drops not approved by your ophthalmologist.

Are there any restrictions after laser vision correction surgery?

It generally takes about two to four weeks for the eye to stabilize following laser vision correction surgery. Some special precautions to prevent injury or infection should be taken during the initial postoperative period, including:

  • Do not rub your eyes for the first week. Wear the eye shield/goggles that you receive in your postoperative kit when you are sleeping for the first three nights.
  • Do not let tap water get in your eyes for a week.
  • Do not go swimming for 10 days.
  • Do not wear eye makeup for one week. Do not get your hair colored or permed for 10 days.
  • Do not exercise for two days. Once you have resumed sports activities, wear eye protection for the first month.
  • Do not take a shower or wash your hair until the next day.
  • Avoid getting soap in the eye when bathing and washing your hair for one week. Also, avoid getting products such as hair spray and shaving lotion in your eyes during this early healing period.
  • Wear sunglasses when you go out on a sunny day to protect your eyes from UV exposure for the first several months, especially if you have had PRK.

If you have any questions after your laser vision correction surgery or if you experience pain, sudden decrease in vision, red eye or discharge, please contact the office immediately.

Above all, enjoy your new freedom. The freedom to read your alarm clock without fumbling for your glasses. The freedom to exercise without worrying about your contact lenses. And the freedom to see clearly all day, every day.

Are You a Candidate?

Are You a Candidate?

How well you see without glasses or contact lenses following laser vision correction eye surgery depends in part on your vision before the procedure. In most cases, you will be able to obtain the same vision correction with laser surgery as you had with glasses or contact lenses.

People with mild prescriptions generally have the best success in obtaining normal vision after eye surgery procedure. People with more severe vision prescriptions may require glasses or contact lenses for some special situations such as night driving.

Success rates at the Cole Eye Institute are very high. All of our surgeons have performed thousands of procedures. People who undergo an eye surgery procedure for vision correction agree that it has made a positive impact on their quality of life.

Laser vision correction is right for many people, but it is not for everyone.

Are you a LASIK candidate? Yes No
You are at least 18 years old.
You have had stable vision for the past 12 months.
You do not have a history of corneal disorders or diseases.
You have no significant medical or ocular problems and are not pregnant or nursing.
You dislike your glasses and do not find contact lenses comfortable or convenient.
You are athletic and feel your activities would be enhanced if you did not depend on glasses or contact lenses.
You worry about your ability to escape a fire or help in an emergency situation if you could not quickly find your glasses or contact lenses.
You would be happy if laser vision correction improved your vision significantly even if you still had to wear corrective lenses for some specific activities.
You prefer how you look without glasses.
You are tired of the ongoing expenses of buying replacement contact lenses, solutions, cleaners, cases and spare eyeglasses and can view laser vision correction as a good long-term investment.


Can I drive myself home after surgery?

No. Your vision may be blurry and hazy for a few days, which could make it difficult for you to drive safely. Some people are able to drive the next day to their follow-up appointment, however. Use your own judgment.

How many follow-up appointments will I have?

You will have follow-up appointments at one day after surgery, one week after surgery, one or three months after surgery, and occasionally six months after surgery. The cost of these visits is included in your surgical fee.

How long does the surgery actually take?

The actual procedure takes less than 20 minutes. Depending on your prescription and the amount of correction your eyes require, the laser itself is only on each eye for less than a minute, but plan on being in the refractive suite for two to three hours.

Can I fly on an airplane after LASIK?

It is safe to fly after surgery but your eyes may be more dry than normal and require frequent use of artificial tears.

Does the procedure hurt?

Most people have mild irritation for a few hours after LASIK. Some people compare it to wearing dirty contact lenses. Tylenol may help. Also, the eyedrops your surgeon will recommend will be helpful too. We suggest patients go home and relax with their eyes closed for a few hours after surgery. Taking a nap is a good way to do this. Do not rub your eyes. If you experience excessive redness or severe pain, call our office. With PRK, patients will experience slightly more discomfort with healing.

I have an astigmatism. Can you treat me?

We can correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism in most patients.

Do you usually treat both eyes at once?

Yes. When laser vision correction was new, many surgeons chose to treat your eyes on different days as a safety precaution. However, now the technology is so advanced that most patients prefer to minimize the time off work and reduce the amount of healing time they experience after laser vision correction, so they have both eyes done at the same visit. Also, many patients reported headaches, disorientation and other discomforts from having one eye corrected and the other one not. So, if there are no problems when we treat your first eye, we feel comfortable treating the second one right away.

Is it true there is a burning smell during the procedure?

Some patients notice a smell similar to burned hair during the time the laser is treating the eye. It is normal and passes quickly.

Can my spouse watch the surgery being performed?

Observers are not allowed in the procedure room. They can wait in our waiting area.

Will you validate my parking?

Yes, bring your parking ticket in with you and we will validate it.

Can you do the laser vision correction if I am sick the day it is scheduled?

Maybe. Call us to discuss how you are feeling and we will make the decision then.

What should I do with my old glasses after I no longer need them?

You can leave them in a basket in our office and we will donate them to a vision charity.

How do I get started on arranging laser surgery?

Schedule a free consultation with our team of experts to see if one of these vision correction procedures is right for you.



Appointments & Locations

Appointments & Locations

To schedule a consultation at Cleveland Clinic’s Cole Eye Institute main campus, please call 216.445.8585 (local) or 800.223.2273 ext. 5-8585 (toll-free).


We are located at Cleveland Clinic's main campus:

i Building - Cole Eye Institute
2022 East 105th Street
Cleveland, Ohio 44195