Q. What is LASIK?
A. LASIK is a procedure that improves vision by changing the shape of the cornea with a laser and is a very effective treatment for a wide range of vision problems.
Q. Why do people have LASIK surgery?
A. Research has shown that there are four main reasons that people choose to have LASIK. They are:
- Life simplification: No longer having to deal with glasses or contacts
- Independence: Freedom from dependence on glasses and/or contacts
- Performance: Ability to perform better in sports-related activities
- Ability to see 24/7 when it counts: Better vision for all occasions (e.g., at a play, evening out, playing golf)
Q. Who is a good candidate for LASIK?
A. LASIK can treat a very broad range of nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. The best way to determine who is a good candidate is with a comprehensive eye exam. Candidates must be 21 years of age or older, in good general health, and have good eye health with no diseases such as cataracts or glaucoma. Click here for more information on LASIK candidacy.
Q. How long does LASIK and PRK actually take?
A. Most patients are in the laser suite for around 10 minutes. The actual laser treatment time takes just 15-90 seconds, depending on the degree of correction required. Total time at The Surgery Center on the day of the procedure will be about 30 minutes.
Q. What results can a person hope to achieve?
A. LASIK has proven overwhelmingly successful in reducing dependence on glasses and contact lenses. Clinical studies show that most LASIK patients (with mild to moderate prescriptions) have the potential to achieve 20/20 vision or near 20/20 vision. Generally, this means they no longer need or have reduced dependence on glasses or contacts to drive, play sports, watch movies and TV, or participate in careers requiring excellent vision.
Q. Are LASIK and PRK FDA approved?
A. Yes, both the PRK and LASIK procedure have been FDA approved.
Q. Is LASIK/PRK Painful?
A. During the LASIK procedure, there is no pain. Instead, there is a sensation of firm pressure for just 8 to 10 seconds while the corneal flap is being created. Following the procedure, patients may experience some mild scratchiness (usually described as the sensation of having an eyelash or two floating on the surface of the eye) that is relieved by the use of artificial tears and several hours of rest.
There is no discomfort at all during the PRK procedure. Following the procedure, you may experience a gritty sensation with some mild to moderate discomfort which we alleviate by supplying a clear bandage lens and giving you drops and pain medication to use during the first 24 hours. All discomfort should be resolved within 4-5 days as the surface layer fills in to cover the exposed area.
Q. Can I have both eyes done at the same time?
A. Most patients undergoing LASIK and PRK prefer to have both eyes treated on the same day since it is more convenient for them, however this is a decision entirely between the patient and the doctor.
Q. What if my eye moves during the procedure?
A. Your surgeon will continuously observe your eye and head position during the laser treatment. If necessary, your surgeon will stop the laser treatment if your eye (or head) moves too much, but this almost never occurs. Our laser has computerized tracking devices that also monitor the position of your eye. This tracker detects small movements of the eye and guides the laser beam to compensate for these small movements. As a result, the laser remains precisely centered over the treatment area.
Q. If I have LASIK, what kind of vision can be expected the following day?
A. The first day after LASIK, most patients experience a large improvement in their vision, to approximately 20/40 or even better. This greatly depends on your preoperative prescription. You can expect to regain approximately 75% to 80% of your vision in the first two to three days after LASIK. The remainder of your vision will improve gradually over several weeks. If you have significant astigmatism, or are very nearsighted/farsighted sight recovery and stabilization are slower.
Q. If I have PRK, what kind of vision can be expected the following day?
A. Vision is greatly improved but typically blurry immediately after the procedure (20/80-20/200). It generally starts to improve once the surface layer of the cornea (epithelium) has grown back, which in most cases takes 3 to 4 days (approximately 20/40). Vision typically shows significant improvement within 7-10, days but can continue to be blurry for a number of weeks. For most patients, vision stabilizes within 3 months (some may take 6 months or longer). The healing process varies for each patient, and it is difficult to predict precisely when you will achieve your best visual acuity. However, most patients who have both eyes treated at the same time report that they are able to drive a car safely and resume their normal activities between 3-5 days following PRK.