Answers to your questions about LASIK surgery
Q. Will LASIK surgery hurt?
A. LASIK is considered to be a procedure with minimal to no discomfort. Your eye will be numbed with eye drops, and you will be awake and aware during the entire procedure. Some patients report what they describe as slight discomfort (like having something in your eye), during the initial healing period of two to three days.
Q. Does LASIK surgery require stitches or shots?
A. The procedure is not as invasive as you might imagine. After we have treated your eye, the flap will be replaced gently, and it will reattach quickly without stitches. There are also no shots required for the procedure.
Q. How does laser vision correction affect my eyes in the long term?
A. Numerous clinical studies have indicated that laser vision correction has not produced any long-term effects on the integrity of the eye. The leading experts in the field feel confident that there will be no long-term problems in the future for laser vision correction patients. Although LASIK is considered permanent, in some cases the procedure may need to be repeated in the future to enhance the final outcome.
Q. What are the risks involved in LASIK surgery?
A. As with any surgical procedure, there are some risks and potential complications. The risk of a serious vision threatening complication is much less than 1%. Temporary complications you might experience just after LASIK surgery include:
- Discomfort – Very few people experience discomfort, which is normally described as a slight stinging feeling or the feeling that there is something in the eye. If necessary, over-the-counter pain relievers may be taken.
- Sensitivity to light – It is important to wear sunglasses whenever outside to help with any sensitivity to light that might affect you for the first few weeks after the procedure.
- Under- or over-correction – Unless it’s severe, these situations do not usually affect the overall results. High amounts of under-correction are generally retreated with an enhancement procedure. Low amounts are corrected by wearing glasses for activities such as driving or reading. Over-corrected eyes are rare and most return to the original shape as the eye heals.
- Infection – The risk of infection is very low-around 0.2%. The risk is greatest in the first 48 hours following the procedure, and an infection is generally treated with antibiotic drops. It is important that you carefully follow all post-operative instructions and see us for all post-operative visits.
- Halos or glare – If you currently have problems driving at night or have halos and glare, it may be related to the size of your pupil. LASIK surgery may decrease or increase these symptoms. Most surgery-related halos and glare diminish with healing, but some patients continue to have symptoms.
Q. Can I do both eyes at once?
A. This is a decision that you and Dr. Andrews will make together. The current standard of care in the United States is that either one or both eyes can be treated in one sitting.
Q. Do I have to do anything special before or after the procedure?
A. Before the procedure, you will need to have a comprehensive eye evaluation. We will explain all of the instructions for before and after the procedure. If you wear contacts, you’ll need to remove them prior to the pre-operative evaluation. After the procedure, you’ll need to have someone drive you home. It is also very important to see Dr. Andrews or your primary eye doctor for all scheduled follow-up visits.
Q. Does LASIK lead to unrelated problems in the future?
A. Certain eye conditions that are related to aging-such as Presbyopia (the loss of flexibility in the lens of the eye)-will not be corrected by the procedure and will be experienced by everyone sooner or later. However, many patients concerned with Presbyopia are candidates for monovision, which relies on the correction of one eye for clear distance vision and under-correction or no correction of the other eye for improved reading vision. We will discuss this important issue in your evaluation.
Q. Why Have LASIK?
A.Your eyes are unique, with special traits that make them yours and yours alone. Maybe they’re amazingly blue. Maybe you can see really well in the dark. Sometimes, though, the unique quirks of your eyes can actually lead to vision problems – and worse, contacts and glasses!
Laser vision correction procedures like LASIK can help correct vision, but most LASIK systems don’t account for the things that make your eyes special.
Why would you get LASIK that treats everyone the same? OptiLASIK™ Laser Vision Correction combines today’s most advanced surgical technologies into a procedure that works with your eyes’ special traits, for treatment that’s as unique as you are!
Personalized Treatment: Originally, all LASIK procedures reshaped your eyes based solely on your glasses or contact lens prescription – as a result, everyone got the same basic treatment. These days, advanced LASIK systems like OptiLASIK™ Laser Vision Correction are different. Utilizing the advanced diagnostic technology of the Allegretto Wave® Eye-Q Laser, OptiLASIK™ Laser Vision Correction actually creates a “map” of your eyes. This ‘map” is your own personal vision profile, capturing your eyes’ one-of-a-kind quirks and characteristics. By using your “map” as a guide, your surgeon is better able to personalize the LASIK procedure, for your best results.
More Natural Eye Shape: Early LASIK procedures reshaped your eyes without considering the way your eyes naturally curve, potentially leading to vision problems. Today, OptiLASIK™ Laser Vision Correction actually adapts to the unique curvature of your eyes, reshaping it more closely to an ideal, natural eye shape.
Q. What Can LASIK Correct?
A. Myopia, Hyperopia & Astigmatism Treatment
Laser-Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK) is a surgical procedure that actually changes the shape of your cornea to correct refractive errors. Refractive errors occur when the cornea is not perfectly shaped, so light does not properly focus on the retina (the back of the eye). If you have a refractive error, you may have one or a combination of these vision conditions:
- Myopia (nearsightedness)
- Hyperopia (farsightedness)
- Astigmatism (blurry vision at all distances)
With LASIK, your eyes’ focusing power is restored, often eliminating the need for glasses and contacts. Every patient will experience different LASIK results.
Realistic LASIK Expectations
No doctor can guarantee 20/20 vision after LASIK; however most patients can reduce or eliminate their dependency on glasses or contact lenses. LASIK does not eliminate the need for reading glasses as people age (presbyopia). There are other techniques, such as Active Lifestyle Lenses and monovision techniques that can correct this condition.
Q. Am I A LASIK Candidate?
A. The LASIK Consultation at the Eye Care Center of Northern Colorado is a time for you to have all of your LASIK questions answered. While we are determining whether or not you are a good candidate for LASIK, we encourage you to ask questions about:
- How much LASIK costs
- What level of LASIK experience our doctors have
- How our LASIK technologies work
- Potential risks of LASIK
- How the procedure is done
- How long the recovery will be
Expect to spend 60-90 minutes in our office during your LASIK consultation. The exam will include:
- Eye exams to determine your exact vision characteristics
- Corneal thickness measurement
- Medical history overview
- Identification of eye conditions or diseases
You will only be given the “green light” for LASIK if we strongly believe that you have the right vision and medical conditions for success. The decision to proceed with LASIK is up to you.
Q. Can I Afford LASIK?
- No initial payment
- Low, fixed rates
- No prepayment penalty
At Eye Care Center of Northern Colorado we are proud to offer affordable payment options to our patients.
We offer financing through the following company:
Care Credit – Apply Online!
Q. What if I Am Not a LASIK Candidate?
A. Alternatives to LASIK
During your LASIK Consultation , we may identify certain vision or medical conditions that might make LASIK too risky for you. Conditions like age, overall health, eye health and corneal thickness are all taken into account to ensure that you are a good candidate for LASIK.
If you are not given the “green light” for LASIK, the surgeons at the Eye Care Center of Northern Colorado offer LASIK alternatives, including:
- PRK/ASA – If your cornea is too thin for LASIK, PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy) or ASA (Advanced Surface Ablation) may be more suitable. During these procedures, no corneal flap is created. Instead, a small area on the corneal surface cells is gently polished away to give access to the layer below so the corneal reshaping can be performed.
The visual outcomes are comparable to LASIK; however the recovery times are longer and the healing process may be slightly more uncomfortable.
- Refractive Lens Exchange – This is a non-laser corrective procedure where the eye lens is replaced with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL). This is a permanent and maintenance-free option with a quick recovery time. This option can provide both near and far vision while also preventing cataracts from forming in future years.
- Implantable Contact Lens (Phakic Intraocular Lens) – In this procedure, a permanent intraocular lens is implanted in front of the eye’s natural lens, leaving the eye’s natural lens in place. This technique is good for people with very strong prescriptions or those with thin corneas. At the Eye Care Center of Northern Colorado, we use the Visian ICL implantable collamer lens to correct myopia with great success.
Q. What Happens at My LASIK Procedure?
A. Day of LASIK
At the Eye Care Center of Northern Colorado, we understand that you may be nervous or anxious about your LASIK procedure. We work hard to make your LASIK experience comfortable and stress-free.
Here is what you can expect on the day of your LASIK procedure:
- Arrive at our Surgery Center 20 minutes prior to your scheduled surgery time.
- Fill out any necessary paperwork and make any final payments with our staff.
- Enter our pre-op suite, where you can begin to relax and prepare for the short procedure. We may prescribe a relaxation medication to ease your anxiety.
- Move into our surgical suite. Your doctor will explain every step of the procedure.
- Relax in the post-op suite after your procedure for as long as you wish.
- Have a friend or family member drive you home, so you can rest or nap for several hours. You will wear protective goggles while you sleep to avoid scratching or rubbing your eye.
The entire procedure just takes minutes per eye, and many patients experience improved vision before they leave the surgical suite!
Your first post-op appointment is typically the day after your procedure. You will most likely be able to drive yourself to this appointment.
At the Eye Care Center of Northern Colorado, we are proud to provide LASIK and other vision correction procedures to Northern Colorado residents including Longmont, Lafayette, Boulder, Denver, Fort Collins and Greeley.
Email or call us today at 303-682-3396 for a free vision correction consultation.