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What does "LASIK" mean?

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    Andrew E. Holzman, MD, FACS

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    TLC Laser Eye Centers
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Medicine loves acronyms – those snappy little words created from the initial letter or letters of words that make up a compound (and often complex) term.

This is because medical terms are descriptive, but traditionally contain long and difficult to pronounce words with Greek and Latin origins.

The word "LASIK" is an acronym for "laser in situ keratomileusis" (sometimes also called "laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis").

In situ is a Latin term meaning "in its original position or place;" kerato- is a Greek-derived prefix meaning "cornea;" and mileusis means "to shape."

So although the complete name for LASIK is a mouthful, it describes the procedure well: LASIK is the use of a laser to (re)shape the intact, living cornea so the eye can focus light more accurately.

Did you know that "laser" itself is an acronym? It means "light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation."

So doctors aren't the only ones who like big, unwieldy compound terms – physicists do too!

Note: This information is for general education purposes only. It is not to be used as a substitute for medical advice from your eye doctor or refractive surgeon.

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