Isn't all laser vision correction the same?
No. Many of the discount LASIK centers want you to believe that LASIK should be purchased like a "commodity" and that a surgeon's experience, lasers, diagnostic technology and follow-up care don't matter. Laser vision correction will affect the way you see for the rest of your life. You should make your decision to have laser vision carefully, not quickly or based on lowest price.
Will I have 20/20 vision following laser vision correction procedure?
The goal of any refractive procedure is to reduce your dependence on corrective lenses (glasses or contact lenses). However, we cannot guarantee you will have 20/20 vision as a result. Our commitment to you is that we will not perform laser vision correction on you or anyone we feel does not have a good possibility of achieving independence from glasses or contacts.
Is laser vision correction safe?
There are possible risks with any surgical procedure. Serious complications with LASIK or PRK are extremely rare. The chance of having a vision-reducing complication from LASIK has been documented in clinical studies to be less than one percent. Many of the risks and complications associated with this procedure can be reduced or eliminated through careful patient selection and thorough pre-operative testing using the latest diagnostic technology. After laser vision correction, you may experience some visual side effects. These are usually mild and most often diminish over a few days to a few weeks. But there is a slight chance that some of these side effects won't go away completely, such as feelings of dryness, glare and halos. If after a thorough examination we decide you are a good candidate for laser vision correction, you will be given additional information about the procedure that will allow you to make an informed decision about whether to proceed. We want to be sure that you have all your questions answered to your satisfaction.
Has anyone ever gone blind because of LASIK?
In the many millions of LASIK cases performed worldwide, we know of no recorded incidence of anyone losing their eyesight due to this procedure.
What about night time side-effects?
You have probably seen news stories about people having difficulty driving at night after refractive surgery. Nighttime side-effects may include halos, starbursts, and glare around lights and blurry vision. Some of these can be caused by overcorrection, undercorrection, or residual astigmatism. These effects usually diminish as the eye heals in the first three to six months. Sometimes an additional touch-up (enhancement) procedure will be recommended. The industry average enhancement rate is somewhere around 15% (1 out of 6 patients, find themselves needing a touch up). At the Benjamin Eye Institute the enhancement rate is around 3%. Another possible cause of nighttime side-effects is pupil size. At night, the pupil expands to let in more light. Light coming through the peripheral cornea may be out of focus if the pupil opens beyond the laser treatment area. This is why some patients are not good candidates for LASIK if they have very large pupils. However, our advanced laser technology has expanded treatment zones and patients that were at one time not candidates for LASIK because of their pupil size, can now be treated.
Does LASIK cause dry eye?
Following a LASIK procedure, every patient has temporary dry eye, which can be treated most often with artificial tears. This dry eye sensation usually clears up in eight to 12 weeks except in rare cases, where it may take longer, even up to six months. We therefore instruct our patients to use artificial tears even up to nine months after surgery.
Patients with pre-existing dry eye may not be good candidates for LASIK, but may be candidates for PRK or LASEK. If you have dry eye, you should discuss it with us at your pre-op examination. Tests can often diagnose dry eye but it is still somewhat difficult to predict who will experience significant dry eye following LASIK. A thorough evaluation of your current medications, medical history and work environment will be taken into account.
Will it hurt?
There is no pain during any of the laser eye surgery procedures since anesthetic eye drops numb your eyes, although some patients may experience mild discomfort or a pressure sensation during their procedure. After LASIK, you might experience mild irritation for a few days after your procedure. An over-the-counter pain reliever or use of artificial tears will generally take care of this discomfort. PRK patients experience more post-operative discomfort for three to five days while the epithelium heals.
Will both eyes be corrected on the same day?
For most procedures, both eyes will be corrected on the same day. Sometimes, we choose to do one eye at a time in certain conditions.
How long does the procedure take?
Since both eyes are usually treated during the same appointment, you will be in the surgery room for approximately 15 minutes. Once in the laser room your eyes will be cleaned and prepared for surgery. The procedure itself only takes about 5-7 minutes per eye. The entire time from arrival to departure is about an hour and a half.
Do I need to take time off work?
Following LASIK, most patients can return to work the day after their procedure. With PRK, the recovery time may be a little longer.
Do I have to stop wearing contacts before having laser vision correction?
It is important to be out of your lenses long enough for us to take precise measurements. If you are wearing hard or gas permeable contacts, it's important that you remove them at least three weeks prior to your procedure. Soft lenses should be out for at least two weeks before your prior to your procedure. Soft toric lenses may need to be out three weeks.
Can I have laser vision correction while I am pregnant or trying to conceive?
Pregnancy can affect your vision, therefore if you are pregnant or trying to conceive, you should not have laser vision correction. You should wait several months after your pregnancy or after you finish nursing before having laser vision correction.
How long will the results of the surgery last?
Laser vision correction is considered to be permanent. However, as people reach their early forties, they develop presbyopia and begin to need reading glasses. If you're over 40, you may want to consider monovision or a multifocal procedure.
If I choose to have monovision, does that mean I'll never need reading glasses?
Not necessarily. The effects of presbyopia continue to worsen as you get older, whether or not you have monovision. At some point in time, reading glasses or another vision correction procedure may become necessary. The benefit to having monovision is that there won't be a complete dependence on glasses for close vision. Many who have monovision are able to see well enough both at distance and near to do things at any age without corrective lenses.