Frequently Asked Questions
1How does the eye work?
Clear vision results from light rays passing through the cornea, the lens and then directly onto the retina. From the retina the image is transferred to the brain and this is how we see. Each individual’s eye and cornea have a unique shape. If the curvature of your cornea does not allow light rays to focus directly on the retina, then you have a refractive error. Refractive errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism can be corrected by wearing glasses or contact lenses or by changing the shape of the cornea through Laser Vision Correction.
2What is Myopia?
Myopia, or nearsightedness, is an inherited condition in which the light rays entering the eye focus in front of the retina instead of directly on the retina. This occurs because the cornea, or front of the eye, is too steeply curved or the eye itself is too long. When a patient has myopia, near objects can be seen clearly, while distant objects appear blurry or even indistinguishable. Myopia, which affects 25% of the worlds population, usually begins in childhood and stabilizes in the late teens or early twenties.
3What is Hyperopia?
The cornea of a farsighted person is too flat for the rest of their eye and thus the light rays entering the eye focus an image behind the retina instead of directly on the retina. A farsighted person may see far objects more clearly than near objects. We correct farsightedness by steepening the cornea, with Laser Vision Correction, and thus re-focusing the light rays directly on the cornea.
4What is Astigmatism?
Astigmatism is a condition caused by an uneven curvature of the cornea. This irregular steepening warps the light rays entering the eye, making it difficult for astigmatic patients to focus clearly on any object.
5What is Refractive Surgery?
Refractive surgery generally refers to any surgical procedure that changes the refractive power of the cornea, or the front part of the eye. At first, incisions were made on the cornea to correct nearsightedness by flattening the curvature of the cornea. In recent years, major advances in laser technology have made laser vision correction a safe and very accurate procedure.
6What is laser vision correction?
Laser vision correction is an outpatient procedure that uses a cool beam of light to gently reshape the surface of the eye, thereby correcting or greatly improving vision
7What are the overall benefits of laser vision correction?
Laser vision correction allows nearsighted, farsighted, and astigmatic people to end or greatly reduce their dependency on glasses and contact lenses.
8Is LASIK safe?
Yes. Over two million people worldwide have successfully undergone laser vision correction with excellent results. The U.S. FDA has recognized laser vision correction for nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism, and found the treatment safe and effective for eligible patients.
9What can I expect before the procedure?
An optometrist or ophthalmologist will conduct a comprehensive eye exam to determine your candidacy. Other diagnostic tests will also be conducted to ensure good results.
10What can I expect on the day of the procedure?
The actual laser treatment takes less than one minute and the entire procedure may last 15 to 20 minutes. Your visit should be complete in about an hour.
11What happens during the LASIK procedure?
You will relax in a reclining chair and anesthetic drops will be placed in your eye. Then, your eye doctor will position your head under the laser and a retainer will be placed to hold your eyelids open during treatment. The laser procedure will last about a minute following the flap creation. After the procedure, you will relax in a chair for a few minutes and the doctor will examine you. Then you may go home. To find out more information about the LASIK procedure, please attend one of our free consultations.
12What are the risks?
There are risks associated with any clinical procedure. However, because the laser uses a cool beam of light that is computer controlled, there is little room for error. In a recent study, all patients experienced better uncorrected vision following laser vision correction.
13Is LASIK painful?
It is not painful. Slight eye pressure may be felt during the procedure. It is generally performed with the patient under a light sedative for relaxation. It has not been necessary to provide any type of pain medication after the procedure.
14What are some benefits of Refractive Surgery?
People decide to have refractive surgery for many reasons. These surgery patients say they like the independent, secure feeling they receive when they no longer have to rely on corrective lenses to function. Other benefits of this surgery include the comfort and convenience patients derive from not wearing corrective lenses, enhanced physical appearance, better peripheral vision, and increased self-esteem. This surgery enables patients to see clearly when they jog, golf, swim, scuba dive, ski, and participate in other sports. Additionally, it has proven to be a cost-effective alternative to glasses and contact lenses. The estimated lifetime cost of contact lenses is $12,000, while the estimated lifetime cost of spectacles is $7,000.
15Am I eligible for Refractive Surgery?
It depends on your age, your degree of vision correction needed, and the general health of your eyes. You must have a prescription that has been stable for at least 12 months and must be 18 years of age or older. There is no upper age limit; even seniors may be eligible. You should not undergo refractive surgery if you are pregnant or nursing; have signs of a corneal disease; have an auto-immune or immunodeficiency disease or have a previous corneal injury or scar near the corneal center. One of the best ways to help determine if you are a candidate for refractive surgery is to schedule a consultation.
16How successful is Refractive Surgery?
The American Academy of Ophthalmology recently published a report stating, “A wealth of clinical and laboratory data have now defined a relative level of safety and effectiveness for the procedure.” In fact, 96% of the patients who have this surgery achieve 20/40 vision (legal driving vision) or better after surgery and any necessary enhancement procedures.
17Will my vision regress over time?
Probably not. Nearsightedness usually begins in childhood, worsens during adolescence, and stabilizes during the twenties. Because most people experience very few prescription changes in their distance vision after reaching their mid-to-late twenties, it would be highly unusual to experience visual regression years after surgery. If you wanted to have surgery and your vision was changing significantly, we would not perform the surgery until your prescription was stable for at least one year.If you regress at all, it would be far more likely to occur during the 3-6 month stabilization period following surgery. You might then undergo an enhancement at no cost to “fine-tune” your vision.
18What are the complications and side effects?
As with any type of eye surgery, complications are possible but highly unlikely. These complications generally involve the corneal flap. If the eye has not been held firmly by the suction ring, a thin flap or free cap may occur. It may be necessary to abort the procedure and repeat it after several months of healing.
During the 3-6 months stabilization period after surgery, most patients experience some minor side effects. These include:
- Increased light sensitivity
- Some glare from light sources at night (starburst effect)
- Changes to visual acuity. Corrected vision may regress slightly and require an enhancement.
If you have more questions concerning complications or side effects, please attend a consultation.
19Are there any restrictions after surgery?
There are no restrictions on daily activities. However, for the first day or two following surgery, we suggest that you plan nothing more than to rest and relax. For the first 3 days after surgery, you must not get anything in your eyes, including soap and water. Additionally, you are prohibited from wearing eye makeup and going swimming for one week following surgery. You may drive when your vision clears and you can return to work or school in 1-3 days.