Patients often have many questions about LASIK eye surgery. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about the procedure.
How do I know if I am a candidate for LASIK?
This is the most frequently asked LASIK question. We recommend you come in for a free evaluation with our refractive counselor. During your free consultation, our refractive counselor and staff will discuss your particular situation and help determine if you are a good candidate for laser vision correction. At Berkeley Eye Center, our goal is to determine the vision procedure that is right for you!
What is the difference between PRK and LASIK?
PRK was the first Excimer laser procedure approved for use in the United States. With PRK, the surface of the cornea (epithelium) is scraped or ablated along with the corneal tissue underneath. This sculpting removes microscopic layers of the cornea to correct refractive error. In contrast, LASIK reshapes the inner layers of the cornea to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. The Intralase will form a flap that the doctor will gently fold back for treatment . The laser then precisely reshapes the inner surface of the cornea to enable light rays to focus more directly on the retina so images are in better focus. LASIK is the most widely used refractive procedure performed in the United States. Because the corneal surface is left virtually intact, most patients report a very high comfort level following the procedure and almost instantaneous improvements in visual acuity.
Are all patients who wear glasses and contacts candidates for LASIK?
Most patients who wear glasses are good candidates for LASIK. Patients with virtually every degree of nearsightedness are enjoying good outcomes with LASIK. We are able to treat mild to moderate degrees of nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. For more extreme nearsightedness and farsightedness, lens implants may be an option. Our counselor will discuss this procedure with you during your free evaluation.
How long have your doctors been performing refractive surgery?
Dr. Caplan, Dr. McQueen, Dr. Doe, Dr. McCauley, Dr. Sun, Dr. Spengler, Dr. Canseco, Dr. Anderson and Dr. Micheletti are among the top refractive surgeons in the country, and are especially recognized as leaders in the Houston and Corpus Christi areas. Refractive procedures have been available at Berkeley Eye Center since 1980. Combined, our surgeons have performed nearly 50,000 LASIK procedures for patients from across the country.
As recognized leaders in refractive surgery, our surgeons are involved in laser technology research and continue to be clinical investigators for advanced Laser Vision Correction procedures.
What kind of laser do you use?
Investing in the most advanced technology is part of Berkeley Eye Center’s commitment to provide our patients with the highest level of patient care. That’s why we were among the first to purchase the new VISX STAR S4 ActiveTrak Excimer Laser System that incorporates an active eye tracking system, in addition to many other benefits. Berkeley Eye Center also provides the “All LASER LASIK ” experience, using the combination of the Excimer laser with the Blade-Free Intralase laser.
(*See Risks and Contraindications Below)
How long will the procedure actually take?
You can expect to be at Berkeley Eye Center’s Surgery Center approximately two hours. The time in the surgery suite with the doctor is 15 to 20 minutes. The actual laser treatment time is approximately one minute per eye.
Is the laser painful?
The procedure itself is not painful since oral and topical anesthetic medication is administered to make you feel comfortable. Post operatively, most patients experience little or no discomfort. After the procedure, your eyes may feel scratchy, gritty, or watery. These are temporary symptoms and are not a problem for most patients. You will be given eye drops to help alleviate any of these symptoms you may experience.
What kind of vision can I expect the day after surgery?
Many patients notice improved vision immediately after the procedure. Most patients are functional without their corrective lenses at the one day post operative exam. Patients continue to see a gradual increase in their visual acuity during the first five to seven days after the procedure.
Do you have financing plans?
We offer various financing options, with approved credit, and are here to help find the right option for you. Our counselors will be happy to go over the details with you when you come in for your free evaluation, or view our financing options.
Does insurance cover refractive surgery?
Most insurance companies consider refractive surgery an elective surgery, therefore it is not usually a covered benefit. However, it is certainly worth checking with your insurance company and we encourage you to call them. If you have vision insurance, you may qualify for a discount through your vision plan.
Can both eyes be done at the same time?
Because of the advanced technology associated with Laser Vision Correction, both eyes are most often treated at the same time. It is possible that the second eye may be done anywhere from one day to a few days to months after the first eye. This can be discussed with your eye doctor.
How long does LASIK last for?
Refractive surgery, or Laser Vision Correction, is considered to be a permanent procedure. However, refractive surgery will not prevent any age related conditions such as presbyopia or cataracts, and they would be treated in their normal matter.
How much work will I miss?
Most patients return to their normal activities the day after the procedure. The refractive counselor can give you more details on what you can expect when you come in for an evaluation.
Are there potential risks of LASIK eye surgery?
This is one of the most important LASIK questions. The refractive counselor can discuss with you the benefits, risks, and side-effects of the surgery, and what you may be able to expect from the procedure. For additional information about risks associated with refractive surgery, click on this FDA link.
*Risks & contraindication for LASIK eye surgery
The FS and iFS Laser systems are ophthalmic surgical lasers indicated for use in patients undergoing surgery or treatment requiring the initial lamellar resection of the cornea. Contraindications may include corneal edema, glaucoma, and keratoconus. Risks and complications may include corneal pain, flap tearing, and epithelial ingrowth. Consult with your eye care professional for a complete listing of contraindications and risks. US Federal law restricts this device to sale, distribution, and use by or on the order of a physician or other licensed eye care practitioner.
Most patients are very pleased with the results of their refractive surgery. However, like any other medical procedure, there are risks involved. That’s why it is important for you to understand the limitations and possible complications of refractive surgery.
- Some patients lose vision. Some patients lose lines of vision on the vision chart that cannot be corrected with glasses, contact lenses, or surgery as a result of treatment.
- Some patients develop debilitating visual symptoms. Some patients develop glare, halos, and/or double vision that can seriously affect nighttime vision. Even with good vision on the vision chart, some patients do not see as well in situations of low contrast, such as at night or in fog, after treatment as compared to before treatment.
- You may be under treated or over treated. Only a certain percent of patients achieve 20/20 vision without glasses or contacts. You may require additional treatment, but additional treatment may not be possible. You may still need glasses or contact lenses after surgery. This may be true even if you only required a very weak prescription before surgery. If you used reading glasses before surgery, you may still need reading glasses after surgery.
- Some patients may develop severe dry eye syndrome. As a result of surgery, your eye may not be able to produce enough tears to keep the eye moist and comfortable. Dry eye not only causes discomfort, but can reduce visual quality due to intermittent blurring and other visual symptoms. This condition may be permanent. Intensive drop therapy and use of plugs or other procedures may be required.
- For some farsighted patients, results may diminish with age. If you are farsighted, the level of improved vision you experience after surgery may decrease with age. This can occur if your manifest refraction (a vision exam with lenses before dilating drops) is very different from your cycloplegic refraction (a vision exam with lenses after dilating drops).
As with any surgical procedure there are risks associated with CustomVue TM treatments. It is important to discuss these risks with your doctor before you make the decision to have the surgery. If the results of the surgery are not satisfactory, you may need to have additional laser treatment in the same eye. Your doctor may perform CustomVue LASIK for both eyes. However, sometimes it is better to have this procedure done on only one eye. Talk with your doctor about whether it would be better to treat one or both of your eyes.
If you have any of the following situations or conditions you should not have LASIK because the risk is greater than the benefit:
- You are pregnant or nursing, because these conditions may cause temporary and unpredictable changes in your cornea and a LASIK treatment may improperly change the shape of your cornea.
- You have collagen vascular disease (e.g., rheumatoid arthritis), autoimmune disease (e.g., lupus), or immunodeficiency disease (e.g., AIDS), because these conditions affect the body’s ability to heal.
- You show signs of keratoconus or any other condition that causes a thinning of your cornea. This condition can lead to serious corneal problems during and after LASIK surgery. It may result in need for additional surgery and may result in poor vision after LASIK.
- You are taking medications with ocular side effects, e.g., isotretinoin (Accutane®*) for acne treatment or amiodarone hydrochloride (Cordarone®t)for normalizing heart rhythm, because they may affect the accuracy of the LASIK treatment or the way your cornea heals after LASIK. This may result in poor vision after LASIK.
- Your corneas are too thin to allow your doctor to form a proper flap in the LASIK procedure, PRK may an alterative procedure. Please discuss with your surgeon.
Have more questions about LASIK surgery? Schedule a free consultation today!