Laser Vision Correction
The decision to have LASIK is an important one that ultimately only you can make. It is important that you have realistic expectations and that your decision is based on facts, not hopes or misconceptions. The goal of LASIK is to reduce your dependence on corrective lenses. LASIK does not always create 20/20 vision. It cannot correct a condition known as presbyopia, or aging of the eye. Your doctor will provide you with additional information that will allow you to make an informed decision regarding surgery.
Before Your Consultation
Patients who wear spherical soft contact lenses should discontinue their contact lens wear for at least 7 days prior to their evaluation. Patients who wear astigmatism correcting (Toric) contact lenses should discontinue their contact lens wear for at least 14 days prior to their evaluation. Patients who wear hard or rigid gas permeable contact lens should discontinue use for at least 21 days prior to the evaluation. One or more careful refractions (determinations of eyeglass correction needed) will be completed. If you have your prior eyeglass prescriptions, it is helpful to bring these in. Contact lens wearing patients who are believed to have an unstable refraction will be asked to discontinue contact lens wear and return for a repeat refraction in one to three weeks. When back-to-back refractions are stable (equivalent), the procedure may be scheduled. Corneal topography, a detailed surface map of the cornea, will also be completed to rule out keratoconus and irregular astigmatism of the cornea. An instrument called a pachymeter will help determine your corneal thickness. A thorough eye exam will be completed including dilation. Only healthy eyes are eligible for surgery.
You will need to schedule an exam with Dr. Magbalon or Dr. Newton to help determine if you are a candidate for laser vision correction. This exam is $220.00. If you are a candidate, this fee will go toward the total cost. You will have the opportunity to ask questions about the procedure. We will also talk about your goals and expectations of refractive surgery.
Refractive Surgery Evaluation
A comprehensive dilated eye exam is performed. This exam is to confirm that your eyes are healthy and to determine your degree of nearsightedness or farsightedness and also astigmatism. Several specialized tests are also done. We will analyze the surface of the eye (cornea) and measure the corneal thickness and the pupil size. The measurements from this exam will give the doctor the information he needs for you to have an optimal result. If you are established with an optometrist, our doctors will do a pre-surgical appointment. At this appointment you will have the specialized tests and also meet with the refractive coordinator to schedule your procedure.
LASIK Surgery Fees
We use the FDA-approved Zeimer femtosecond laser to create the corneal flap and the VISX Star S4 Excimer laser to reshape the cornea. The fee covers all aspects of the surgery and all follow-up care for one year.
- CareCredit - Apply online at www.carecredit.com
Payment in full is required one week prior to your procedure. That payment can be paid by cash, check or credit card (MasterCard, Visa, American Express, and Discover).
LASIK is an excellent investment in your personal well-being. Act now and see your world clearly!!
LASIK Quick Facts
- LASIK surgery does not hurt. Eye drops are used to numb the eye. The patient is awake during the procedure.
- LASIK takes only a few minutes. You are at the laser center for about 90 minutes.
- Our doctors use the VISX Star S4 ActiveTrak excimer laser. This is the most study-proven laser in the industry. Seven out of ten doctors prefer the VISX laser systems.
- Recovery takes about one day. Patient is required to use drops for approximately one week. Patient should not use makeup for two weeks. No swimming, racket sports or use of hot-tubs for two weeks.
Surgery Q & A
What happens before surgery?
You will be given a thorough eye exam to make sure your eyes are healthy and that you are a suitable candidate. Your cornea will be digitally photographed, and a computer will map your eyes. The surgeon will use this map to plan your surgery for the most precise results possible.
Does laser vision correction hurt?
You do not feel pain during the surgery. Your surgeon will place anesthetic drops in your eyes before your procedure. Patients report a feeling of pressure during the procedure, and mild discomfort for a day or so.
What happens on the treatment day?
LASIK is an outpatient procedure, which means you will spend about 90 minutes at the laser center. You will need to arrange for someone to drive you home.
What happens after surgery?
Goggles will be placed over your eyes. You will leave the goggles in place until the next morning. Postoperative instructions, including use of eye drops, will be reviewed with you. You will be sent home with instructions to rest with your eyes closed. You will probably notice improved vision, but it will still be blurry when you leave the center. Your vision will continue to improve as the hours go by.
When can I go back to work?
Many people return to work the next day, but a day or two of minimal use of your eyes is recommended.
Are there any side effects?
Some people experience "dry eyes," which usually is easily alleviated with drops and disappears over time. Another side effect may be starbursts or halos around lights, especially at night. This effect also lessens or disappears over time. As with any surgical procedure, complications can occur; although fortunately, this is rare.
Will insurance cover this procedure?
Insurance typically does not cover this procedure, as it is considered an elective surgical procedure.
The LASIK Procedure
After your eye has been completely numbed using "eye drop" anesthesia, an eyelid holder will be placed between your eyelids to prevent you from blinking. Next, the Zeimer femtosecond laser makes a protective flap in the cornea. During this process you may feel a little pressure, but no discomfort.
To treat nearsightedness, the cornea must be made flatter. This is accomplished by removing tissue from the center of the cornea. You will be asked to look directly at a target light while the laser reshapes the cornea, usually in less than a minute.
To treat farsightedness, the central cornea must be made steeper. This is accomplished by directing the laser beam to remove tissue from around this area.
To treat astigmatism, the cornea must be made more spherical. By changing the pattern of the beam, tissue is removed in one direction more that the other.
Then the protective flap is folded back in place where it bonds securely without the need for stitches. After LASIK, some patients report a slight discomfort that usually goes away within twelve to twenty-four hours.
What is laser vision correction?
It is an outpatient treatment first performed in 1987 that uses a light beam to gently reshape the surface of the eye (the cornea) and improve vision. The light gently pulses to remove microscopic amounts of tissue, altering the curvature of the cornea and allowing visual images to be more focused on the retina.
What are the benefits of laser correction?
Laser vision correction reduces or eliminates nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism and with it, the need for glasses or contacts.
What is nearsightedness?
The normal eye is a perfect sphere, where the cornea and lens focus light to form an image on the back inside surface of the eye, known as the retina. With nearsightedness (myopia), the cornea’s curvature is too steep for the shape of the eye. The light is focused in front of the retina, causing images of distant objects to appear blurry.
What is farsightedness?
With farsightedness(hyperopia), the image focuses beyond the retina. In our youth, the innate accommodating (focusing) power of the eyes often compensates for farsightedness. But as we age, our eyes become less able to accommodate. For this reason, farsightedness most commonly becomes a problem later in life. Many farsighted eyes do not need correction until the individuals reach their forties or fifties.
What is Astigmatism?
The front of the astigmatic eye has an irregular shape, more oval, like a football. Incoming light focuses at multiple points instead of one. Astigmatism can make wearing contact lenses difficult or even impossible. Laser vision correction with an excimer laser is now an FDA-approved option for people with astigmatism.
How does laser vision correction improve farsightedness, nearsightedness, and Astigmatism?
The cool beam of light gently reshapes the surface of the cornea, making it more like a normal eye. Light can then focus at the back of the eye, on the retina, making images on the retina clear, thereby improving vision.
What can I expect on the day of treatment?
Laser vision correction is an outpatient procedure that takes approximately twelve minutes to complete for most patients. Your entire visit will be complete in about an hour. Anesthetic drops will be placed in your eye and you will be positioned under the laser. A speculum is used to gently and comfortably hold your eyelids open during the procedure. You will be asked to fixate on a blinking light for a minute or less. The doctor will view your eye directly through a surgical microscope to ensure that you are fixating properly and can pause at any time. Once finished, you get up, receive instructions from the staff, and rest for a few minutes. Afterward, you will go home and relax for several hours.
How do I know if I am a candidate for laser vision correction?
Currently, the FDA has approved laser vision correction for nearsightedness, astigmatism, and farsightedness. Not every patient is a candidate. There are several factors to consider. Patients with high nearsightedness, astigmatism, and farsightedness are not good candidates. There are certain eye and medical conditions which makes a patient not suitable for LASIK surgery. To get the process started, we recommend you call for a phone consultation with our patient counselor. If you have your eye glasses or contact lens prescription available, we can tell you if you are a potential candidate for laser refractive surgery.
What will my vision be like after laser correction surgery?
Laser vision correction has been shown to reduce dependence on glasses and contacts. Over 95% of our patients undergoing laser vision correction achieve 20/40 vision or better. This will enable you to pass a driver’s license exam without glasses. We will be happy to review the potential benefits and risks of laser vision correction with you.
How long will the procedure actually take?
You will be at the Surgery Center approximately 1-1/2 hours. The time in the surgery suite with the surgeon is 15-20 minutes. The actual laser treatment time is approximately one minute per eye.
Is LASIK really painless?
For most patients, LASIK is indeed painless. However, some patients may experience some discomfort within the first 24 hours after the procedure. The eyes may feel scratchy, gritty, or watery. These are temporary symptoms and are not a problem for most patients. Keeping the eyes closed and using the medication as instructed minimize discomfort. Discomfort during the procedure, if any, usually happens when the suction ring of the microkeratome (the flap maker) is placed on the eyes. The suction can give the eye a pressure sensation. Upon discharge, you will go home and nap for several hours after the procedure to reduce the likelihood of any discomfort. You should see much better after waking from your nap.
Why must I discontinue contact lense use before my preoperative exam?
Contact lenses can change the shape of the cornea similar to the way a watchband can make a skin imprint on your wrist. If you have your eyes examined too soon after taking out your contacts, some of the eye tests could give inaccurate results. You should discontinue wearing spherical soft contact lenses seven days prior to the pre-operative measurements and surgery and fourteen days for Toric soft contact lenses. Rigid gas permeable contact lens wearers should discontinue wearing lenses three weeks prior to pre-operative measurements. Our doctors will advise you if they suspect your corneas have not returned to their natural shape after removing your contact lenses.
What kind of vision can I expect after surgery?
Many patients notice improved vision immediately after the procedure, although it is normal to be somewhat blurred immediately after an operation. The next day, most patients have excellent vision and do not need any glasses or contacts. Patients continue to see gradual increase in their visual acuity during the first five to seven days after the surgery.
Do the results last?
Refractive surgery is considered to be a permanent procedure. However, refractive surgery will not prevent any age-related conditions such as presbyopia (the need for reading glasses) and cataracts. In a small number of cases, eyes do change over time and develop a new prescription, but the effect of the laser on the pre-operative prescription is permanent.
Does insurance cover refractive surgery?
Most insurance companies consider refractive surgery an elective surgery, and it is not usually a covered benefit. However, it is certainly worth checking with your insurance company, and we encourage you to call them.
How much work will I miss?
Most patients return to their normal activities the day after the procedure. The doctor can give you more details on what you can expect when you come in for an evaluation.
Can both eyes be done at the same time?
Because of the advanced technology associated with laser vision correction, both eyes are usually done at the same time.
What are the risks with refractive surgery?
While enjoying a very high success rate, refractive surgery is still surgery, and like all surgery there is some risk associated with LASIK. Our most important goal is your safety. Some potential complications include conditions such as dryness, complications making the surgical flap, night glare, over or under-correction, infection, and loss of best-corrected vision. Your surgeon will go over the potential risks with refractive surgery and measures to avoid them. Be sure to have all your questions answered before having surgery.