- What is Lasik?
LASIK (laser in situ keratomileusis) is the most common Laser procedure used today to correct a wide range of nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. LASIK has become so popular because of it's accuracy, rapid improvement of vision, painlessness, and relative safety. The goal of LASIK is to reduce or eliminate the need for glasses or contact lenses and allow more freedom to enjoy sports and other daily activities. LASIK uses the Excimer Laser that is so precise that it can cut notches in a human hair!
- How is LASIK done?
Your eye is numbed with drops to allow a painless lifting of an outer flap of cornea to expose the inner cornea that is treated with a computer-guided laser beam. This excimer laser reshapes the cornea to correct the focus of your eye. After the laser treatment, the corneal flap is folded back to its original position and seals without the need for stitches. Since the flap covers the cornea that is treated with the laser, healing is rapid with no pain afterwards. Patients notice immediate improvement of vision after LASIK and generally can return to work and regular activities the day after. Antibiotic eyedrops are used for one week to guard against infection which is quite rare. LASIK is so reliable that one or both eyes may be done at the same time.
- Am I a candidate for LASIK?
You should be at least 18 years old with healthy eyes and stable vision. Wearers of gas permeable contact lenses need to have their lenses out for 3 or more weeks to determine exact measurements, and wearers of soft lenses need to have their lenses out 3 days before the exam. Also, please bring in your glasses or prior exam records if available. LASIK and other refractive surgeries do not correct presbyopia which makes reading difficult after age 40 and usually requires reading glasses. It is possible however, to have LASIK improvement of reading vision by use of "monovision" correction which can be demonstrated by use of monovision contact lenses. Patients over 40 will generally need at least part-time glasses for reading, even after LASIK.
- What are my chances of success with LASIK?
Patients who are good candidates and have realistic expectations of improvement in visual functioning and freedom from dependence on glasses have been very happy with LASIK. Not all patients acheive 20/20 vision without glasses but 98% can see well enough to drive without glasses or contact lenses. The approved Excimer Lasers have an excellent safety record and are calibrated carefully to a very precise tolerance.
- What are the side effects of LASIK?
Patients typically have a mild scratchiness or dry feeling of their eye for a few days after LASIK, but rarely any pain. Light sensitivity and glare at night are common at first but generally improve over several weeks time. Vision fluctuations occur at first, with stability after one to two months. Under or over-correction of vision may require additional Laser treatment for optimal vision. Modern LASIK techniques rarely have complications of flap wrinkling, epithelial ingrowth, infection, or laser decentration.
- How is PRK different from LASIK?
PRK (photo-refractive keratotomy) has the Excimer Laser treatment on the outside of the cornea rather than under the corneal flap as with LASIK. The outer surface of the cornea takes several days to heal so there is moderate discomfort at first even when using a temporary bandage contact lens. PRK patients may have to use eyedrops longer to help with visual recovery and corneal haze. Stability of vision occurs after PRK and long term visual results are just as good as LASIK. The decision to perform PRK is based upon your evaluation taking into factors about your individual cornea and risk factors, which may make this a better procedure in some cases.
- Does insurance cover LASIK or PRK?
In most cases, insurance does not cover LASIK, PRK, or other procedures to correct vision, even though there can be considerable cost savings over time compared to contact lens and glasses replacements. We recommend that you contact your insurance company directly to ask them if they cover LASIK. We accept all major credit cards and can help you with financing. Capital One®
can help you afford LASIK and other procedures that let you see the world in a whole new way. Use Capital One Healthcare Finance to pay for elective procedures, from $995 to $25,000.
- How do I start if I am interested in LASIK?
Just reading this information gives you a good start. The next step is to call us for an appointment at 310-652-1133. There is an initial evaluation which will help to determine if you are a candidate for laser vision correction and allow you to meet our Refractive surgeons. Then a future complete eye exam will be scheduled, which will take about 1 hour and 30 minutes and will analyze your vision, including refraction, pupil measurement, corneal topography and pachymetry. You will have time to have all your questions answered by the doctor.