What is LASIK surgery?
LASIK stands for Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis. The procedure involves creating a thin flap in the cornea. This flap is then reflected back and the laser is used to reshape the corneal stroma (the center portion of the cornea). Once the laser is completed, the flap is returned to its original position and heals on its own over the next few days.
What is IntraLase?
The IntraLase is a laser that is used to create the initial corneal flap. In the past, a blade called a microkeratome, was used to create the flap; however, the introduction of the IntraLase has allowed for more precise flap creation and virtually eliminated flap complications.
What is Custom LASIK?
Custom LASIK utilizes wavefront technology. The wavefront analyzer sends light into the eye and then evaluates the light as it exits the eye. With this data, it creates a precise 3-D wavefront map of the cornea that is unique to every individual, a “fingerprint” of your vision. This unique map then guides the laser treatment to the eye.
What should I expect during LASIK surgery?
Shortly after you arrive at the laser center, you will be given a mild sedative to help you relax during the surgery. Your eyes will be measured for final calculations prior to the procedure. Once you are in the laser suite, you will lie down on a bed that is positioned under the two lasers. During the initial part of the procedure, you will likely feel pressure in the eye as the corneal flap is created. Once the flap is made, the pressure will be released. For the remainder of surgery, you will be asked to look at a bright light above you. The laser will track your eye movements but it is crucial to continue looking directly at the light. Once your surgery is completed, you are free to go home. You will likely feel some scratchiness and irritation for the first several hours so we encourage you to go home and take a nice, long nap.
Can I drive myself to the laser center?
No. Your vision will be a little blurry immediately after surgery. In addition, you should not drive because you will be given a mild sedative prior to surgery. Please arrange for a friend or family member to take you to and from your surgery. Most people are able to drive the next day.
Are both eyes treated at the same time?
Usually, yes. Most patients prefer to have both eyes corrected at the same time.
When may I resume my normal activities?
Usually 48 hours after surgery. Be sure to address your favorite activities with your surgeon. We do ask that you refrain from contact sports for the first month after surgery.
When can I swim?
We ask that you avoid all water sports for one month after surgery. This includes swimming, hot tubs, whirlpools, etc.
When can I wear eye make-up?
To reduce the risk of infection, please refrain from wearing eye make-up for at least four days after your surgery.
How quickly will my vision improve after surgery?
In most patients, there is a dramatic improvement in vision within the first 24 hours after surgery, the so-called “Wow!” effect. After the initial correction, the progress may seem to be slow and your vision may fluctuate from day to day. This is normal and it may take 4-6 weeks for your vision to stabilize and 1-3 months to reach a final result. This is, of course, variable from person to person.
Is refractive surgery covered by insurance?
Because refractive surgery is considered an elective procedure, most insurance companies do not cover it. However, some plans will cover the screening examination. If you have a Health Savings Account, you may be able to use it toward refractive surgery.
What is an enhancement?
An enhancement involves “touching up” your residual refractive error, if present, after your initial surgery. Enhancements are usually performed about three months after your initial surgery if the desired visual outcome has not been attained. Fortunately, only a small percentage of patients require enhancement (around 10%).
What are the possible complications?
The most common complication is over-correction or under-correction. Both of these can be treated with an enhancement (see above question) if desired. Dry eyes are also common in the initial post-op period. Your surgeon will discuss your risk of dry eyes with you at your initial evaluation. Fortunately, the risk of vision-threatening complications is extremely rare, even more so since the introduction of the IntraLase for flap creation. However, there is a small risk of infection, abnormal healing or cell growth under the flap that may require another surgical procedure.
Will I still need reading glasses?
If you are over 40 and are correcting both of your eyes for distance vision, you will still need reading glasses for near vision. Some patients choose to utilize “monovision.” With monovision, your dominant eye is corrected for distance and the non-dominant eye is corrected for near. Monovision works very well in patients who have been successfully utilizing this form of correction with contacts.
Please feel free to ask our surgeons at your consultation!