Approved by the FDA nearly 20 years ago, LASIK is a household name around the conversation of vision. Need glasses? You better get LASIK eye surgery. Did the ref make a bad call? He definitely needs LASIK. Want to be a super hero and shoot lasers from your eyes? Get LASIK.

But, contrary to popular belief, LASIK is not for everyone nor does it fix every vision problem.

Contents

Let’s start with the basics about LASIK eye surgery

LASIK is an acronym for laser in situ keratomileusis and is a two-step procedure.

The first step makes a micron-thin, circular flap in the cornea – the surface of the eye. This takes just a few seconds and the surgeon uses either a microkeratome or femtosecond laser. Then, the surgeon gently lifts the flap to expose where the actual vision correction treatment will happen, just under the surface of the eye.

In the second step, a computer-guided excimer laser is used to permanently remove the microscopic pieces of tissue creating the patient’s vision problems. The flap is then laid back in place to act as a natural bandage and protect the reshaped portion of the cornea while it heals.

Since LASIK eye surgery was first approved by the FDA, more than 19 million LASIK procedures have been performed in the U.S. Further, LASIK has received more than 45 FDA approvals, treating myopia, hyperopia, presbyopia, astigmatism and more.

Do they actually shoot lasers into your eyes?

Yes (and it’s pretty cool). First of all, lasers are simply beams of light that move together within the same wavelength at different speeds. For example, the femtosecond laser that is sometimes used to create the flap, is an infrared laser that pulses at one quadrillionth of a second to create microscopic tissue disruptions within the cornea. The excimer laser used to correct your vision is a cool, ultraviolet light beam with a pulse rate of up to 1000 Hz. Notice each laser references a different color? That is because any given laser uses exactly one color of light from the wavelength spectrum.

Lasers are used in surgeries of all types because they are incredibly precise. This is important because people often refer to LASIK as “slicing” or “cutting” into the eye. The descriptions are not quite accurate. The entire LASIK procedure occurs entirely within the layers of the cornea, no other part of the eye is involved. This is only possible because lasers can be used safely without damaging surrounding tissues.

Does it hurt?

LASIK eye surgery is relatively painless because numbing drops are used to anesthetize the eye before and during the procedure. Patients generally experience some pressure from the eyelid holder used to prevent blinking, but otherwise they are made comfortable with the numbing and lubricating drops. After the procedure some patients will have mild discomfort that on average lasts about 5 hours.

Are you awake?

Yes, and that usually makes some people cringe a bit. But, in addition to the numbing drops, you are given a valium (or other sedative) to help keep you calm. Further, there is nothing that you could do being awake that would be harmful to you. If your eye moves, the laser’s tracking capabilities follow your eye. If you sneeze or abruptly move your body too much, the laser automatically turns off.

Is LASIK safe?

Is LASIK safe? This is one of the number one questions people ask about LASIK. And, it’s a good one.

  • LASIK is among the most studied elective procedures. More than 7,000 clinical studies have been conducted and published about LASIK. As a result, there is a tremendous amount of data supporting its safety and effectiveness.
  • LASIK eye surgery has one of the highest patient satisfaction rates of any elective procedure: more than 96 percent.
  • Many LASIK patients have better vision than they did with their best glasses prior to surgery.
  • In more than 40 million procedures performed worldwide, there has never been a case of blindness because of LASIK in anyone who is a healthy, good candidate.

What are the side effects?

It is normal to experience some symptoms during the healing period after LASIK. After all, it is a surgical procedure even if it only took 15 minutes. This recovery period is to be expected and your eyes may feel a little dry, light sensitive or irritated while they heal. Be sure to talk with your doctor about your symptoms during your post-LASIK visits.

Some patients experience side effects from LASIK which generally include night vision visual symptoms such as glare, halos, ghosting and starbursts, as well as dry eye. Typically, glare, halos, ghosting and starbursts gradually resolve by themselves over a period of a few weeks or months, perhaps as long as a year. Some people require additional courses of eye drops to help reduce inflammation and/or dry eye that can contribute to visual symptoms. In rare cases, less than 5 percent of the time, additional LASIK treatment may be recommended to address residual vision problems or you can wear much thinner glasses or contact lenses.

Can anyone have LASIK eye surgery?

No. In fact, most surgeons report that upwards of 20% of their LASIK consultations are not eligible. Thin or irregular corneas as well as certain eye diseases like glaucoma are likely to disqualify patients for LASIK. Certain autoimmune diseases like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, and medications, like corticosteroids, that can impair the healing process, sometime make laser vision correction procedures a less-than-ideal choice.

Can I go anywhere and have LASIK?

A refractive surgeon (a board-certified ophthalmologist who has completed additional surgical training) performs LASIK, as well as other vision correction procedures.

Is it for me?

Only you can decide if LASIK eye surgery is right for you. Once you have determined if you are a good candidate, found a surgeon you trust and feel comfortable with, you have to make the decision if it’s right for you and your lifestyle. For those patients who want to be less dependent on glasses or contacts, LASIK technologies and outcomes are better than they’ve ever been and there is a huge body of clinical research and literature that backs it up.

What to expect before, during, and after surgery will vary from doctor to doctor and patient to patient. This section is a compilation of patient information developed by manufacturers and healthcare professionals, but cannot replace the dialogue you should have with your doctor. Read this information carefully and with the checklist, discuss your expectations with your doctor.

  • Before Surgery
  • During Surgery
  • After Surgery

Before Surgery

If you decide to go ahead with LASIK surgery, you will need an initial or baseline evaluation by your eye doctor to determine if you are a good candidate. This is what you need to know to prepare for the exam and what you should expect:

If you wear contact lenses, it is a good idea to stop wearing them before your baseline evaluation and switch to wearing your glasses full-time. Contact lenses change the shape of your cornea for up to several weeks after you have stopped using them depending on the type of contact lenses you wear. Not leaving your contact lenses out long enough for your cornea to assume its natural shape before surgery can have negative consequences. These consequences include inaccurate measurements and a poor surgical plan, resulting in poor vision after surgery. These measurements, which determine how much corneal tissue to remove, may need to be repeated at least a week after your initial evaluation and before surgery to make sure they have not changed, especially if you wear RGP or hard lenses. If you wear:

  • soft contact lenses, you should stop wearing them for 2 weeks before your initial evaluation.
  • toric soft lenses or rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses, you should stop wearing them for at least 3 weeks before your initial evaluation.
  • hard lenses, you should stop wearing them for at least 4 weeks before your initial evaluation.

You should tell your doctor:

  • about your past and present medical and eye conditions
  • about all the medications you are taking, including over-the-counter medications and any medications you may be allergic to

Your doctor should perform a thorough eye exam and discuss:

  • whether you are a good candidate
  • what the risks, benefits, and alternatives of the surgery are
  • what you should expect before, during, and after surgery
  • what your responsibilities will be before, during, and after surgery

You should have the opportunity to ask your doctor questions during this discussion. Give yourself plenty of time to think about the risk/benefit discussion, to review any informational literature provided by your doctor, and to have any additional questions answered by your doctor before deciding to go through with surgery and before signing the informed consent form.

You should not feel pressured by your doctor, family, friends, or anyone else to make a decision about having surgery. Carefully consider the pros and cons.

The day before surgery, you should stop using:

  • creams
  • lotions
  • makeup
  • perfumes

These products as well as debris along the eyelashes may increase the risk of infection during and after surgery. Your doctor may ask you to scrub your eyelashes for a period of time before surgery to get rid of residues and debris along the lashes.

Also before surgery, arrange for transportation to and from your surgery and your first follow-up visit. On the day of surgery, your doctor may give you some medicine to make you relax. Because this medicine impairs your ability to drive and because your vision may be blurry, even if you don’t drive make sure someone can bring you home after surgery.

During Surgery

The surgery should take less than 30 minutes. You will lie on your back in a reclining chair in an exam room containing the laser system. The laser system includes a large machine with a microscope attached to it and a computer screen.

A numbing drop will be placed in your eye, the area around your eye will be cleaned, and an instrument called a lid speculum will be used to hold your eyelids open.

Your doctor may use a mechanical microkeratome (a blade device) to cut a flap in the cornea.

If a mechanical microkeratome is used, a ring will be placed on your eye and very high pressures will be applied to create suction to the cornea. Your vision will dim while the suction ring is on and you may feel the pressure and experience some discomfort during this part of the procedure. The microkeratome, a cutting instrument, is attached to the suction ring. Your doctor will use the blade of the microkeratome to cut a flap in your cornea. Microkeratome blades are meant to be used only once and then thrown out. The microkeratome and the suction ring are then removed.

Your doctor may use a laser keratome (a laser device), instead of a mechanical microkeratome, to cut a flap on the cornea.

If a laser keratome is used, the cornea is flattened with a clear plastic plate. Your vision will dim and you may feel the pressure and experience some discomfort during this part of the procedure. Laser energy is focused inside the cornea tissue, creating thousands of small bubbles of gas and water that expand and connect to separate the tissue underneath the cornea surface, creating a flap. The plate is then removed.

You will be able to see, but you will experience fluctuating degrees of blurred vision during the rest of the procedure. The doctor will then lift the flap and fold it back on its hinge, and dry the exposed tissue.

The laser will be positioned over your eye and you will be asked to stare at a light. This is not the laser used to remove tissue from the cornea. This light is to help you keep your eye fixed on one spot once the laser comes on. NOTE: If you cannot stare at a fixed object for at least 60 seconds, you may not be a good candidate for this surgery.

When your eye is in the correct position, your doctor will start the laser. At this point in the surgery, you may become aware of new sounds and smells. The pulse of the laser makes a ticking sound. As the laser removes corneal tissue, some people have reported a smell similar to burning hair. A computer controls the amount of laser energy delivered to your eye. Before the start of surgery, your doctor will have programmed the computer to vaporize a particular amount of tissue based on the measurements taken at your initial evaluation. After the pulses of laser energy vaporize the corneal tissue, the flap is put back into position.

A shield should be placed over your eye at the end of the procedure as protection, since no stitches are used to hold the flap in place. It is important for you to wear this shield to prevent you from rubbing your eye and putting pressure on your eye while you sleep, and to protect your eye from accidentally being hit or poked until the flap has healed.

After Surgery

Immediately after the procedure, your eye may burn, itch, or feel like there is something in it. You may experience some discomfort, or in some cases, mild pain and your doctor may suggest you take a mild pain reliever. Both your eyes may tear or water. Your vision will probably be hazy or blurry. You will instinctively want to rub your eye, but don’t! Rubbing your eye could dislodge the flap, requiring further treatment. In addition, you may experience sensitivity to light, glare, starbursts or haloes around lights, or the whites of your eye may look red or bloodshot. These symptoms should improve considerably within the first few days after surgery. You should plan on taking a few days off from work until these symptoms subside. You should contact your doctor immediately and not wait for your scheduled visit, if you experience severe pain, or if your vision or other symptoms get worse instead of better.

You should see your doctor within the first 24 to 48 hours after surgery and at regular intervals after that for at least the first six months. At the first postoperative visit, your doctor will remove the eye shield, test your vision, and examine your eye. Your doctor may give you one or more types of eye drops to take at home to help prevent infection and/or inflammation. You may also be advised to use artificial tears to help lubricate the eye. Do not resume wearing a contact lens in the operated eye, even if your vision is blurry.

You should wait one to three days following surgery before beginning any non-contact sports, depending on the amount of activity required, how you feel, and your doctor’s instructions.

To help prevent infection, you may need to wait for up to two weeks after surgery or until your doctor advises you otherwise before using lotions, creams, or make-up around the eye. Your doctor may advise you to continue scrubbing your eyelashes for a period of time after surgery. You should also avoid swimming and using hot tubs or whirlpools for 1-2 months.

Strenuous contact sports such as boxing, football, karate, etc. should not be attempted for at least four weeks after surgery. It is important to protect your eyes from anything that might get in them and from being hit or bumped.

During the first few months after surgery, your vision may fluctuate.

  • It may take up to three to six months for your vision to stabilize after surgery.
  • Glare, haloes, difficulty driving at night, and other visual symptoms may also persist during this stabilization period. If further correction or enhancement is necessary, you should wait until your eye measurements are consistent for two consecutive visits at least 3 months apart before re-operation.
  • It is important to realize that although distance vision may improve after re-operation, it is unlikely that other visual symptoms such as glare or haloes will improve.
  • It is also important to note that no laser company has presented enough evidence for the FDA to make conclusions about the safety or effectiveness of enhancement surgery.

Contact your eye doctor immediately, if you develop any new, unusual or worsening symptoms at any point after surgery. Such symptoms could signal a problem that, if not treated early enough, may lead to a loss of vision.

Everything You Need to Know about LASIK Eye Surgery

LASIK eye surgery is a type of vision correction many adults consider if they already use glasses and contact lenses for distance vision. But what is it, who is it for, how much does it cost, and how safe is it?

In a nutshell, what is everything you need to know about this surgery?

What is LASIK eye surgery?

LASIK eye surgery is a third option, in addition to glasses and contact lenses, that’s used to treat common vision problems (e.g., nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism). It’s been approved since the mid-1990s. In 2001, it became the world’s most common elective procedure.

The procedure relies on the expertise of a surgeon who’s trained in the ophthalmic surgery. A LASIK surgeon uses what’s called an “excimer” laser to reshape the cornea. Most people who get laser eye surgery therefore reduce their need for further vision correction, such as through glasses or contact lenses.

It’s common for people to have LASIK eye surgery in both eyes on the same day and return to work one or two days later. Vision improves immediately, though it may continue improving for one year. Since 2003, customized technology, called “WaveFront” technology, has been available for laser vision correction. Developed by NASA, WaveFront customization yields safer, better results for many patients.

Who is LASIK eye surgery for?

About 80 percent of the adult population is a candidate for LASIK eye surgery. Many of them share key traits:

  • Aged 18 or older (so that their prescriptions are more likely to have stabilized)
  • Have a common vision problem (e.g., astigmatism, farsightedness, nearsightedness)
  • Lead active lifestyles
  • Cannot or prefer not to wear glasses and/or contact lenses
  • Are in general good health

In addition, there are some medical requirements, such as strong tear production and thick corneas. You can find out fairly easily if you meet these criteria by having a professional consultation. These consultations take about an hour to an hour and a half, depending on your provider and your unique eyes. Many providers offer consultations for free, letting people learn if they’re candidates. If it turns out you’re not a candidate, most providers can offer an alternative surgery, such as PRK, that offers similar results and uses similar technology.

How much does LASIK eye surgery cost?

The national average for Custom Bladeless LASIK—the most advanced, safest type of this surgery—is about $2,000 per eye. Your price might vary based on geography, surgeon experience, package inclusions (such as enhancements for life versus enhancements for the first year after surgery), and other factors.

Most insurance companies do not cover laser eye surgery, because it’s considered an elective procedure for most people. (Firefighters, entertainers, military servicemen and servicewomen and others can sometimes make a case that they need this procedure.) However, many insurance companies negotiate discounted rates with some providers.

One common way for people to pay is through pre-tax dollars from an FSA, HRA or HSA. This can be a fast way to afford laser eye surgery today while saving hundreds in taxes.

How safe is LASIK eye surgery?

Over the years, technologic improvements—especially with Bladeless WaveFront technology—have increased safety. The overwhelming majority of people who opt for surgery experience no long-term complications. Much of the stigma regarding laser eye surgery complications date back to the earliest days of the surgery, when surgeons were less experienced, and laser technology was less advanced.

Immediately after surgery, it’s common to use antibiotic drops and steroid drops to help your eyes heal. This lasts for about a week. The eyes can be sensitive to light in this time frame, and some people experience dry eyes and night haloes for up to several months after surgery (though sometimes longer). Despite this, one of the most common things people say afterwards is that they can’t believe they waited so long to get laser eye surgery. It’s not a bad idea to talk with people who have had LASIK eye surgery to learn first-hand what life during the healing process and life after the healing process are like.

What else should I know about LASIK eye surgery?

To determine if LASIK eye surgery is right for you, an article online can go only so far. The first step to learn more starts with getting a professional LASIK consultation. This lets an experienced ophthalmologist or optometrist examine your eyes, discover any eye conditions (i.e., dry eye, glaucoma and cataracts have all been discovered during LASIK consultations.) and see if you’re a candidate for laser eye surgery. The consultation is your chance to learn about your unique eyes, your financing options and your journey toward a life less limited by glasses and contact lenses.

FIND A LASIK PROVIDER NEAR YOU

LASIK Surgery

THE LASIK PROCEDURE

To determine whether or not a patient is a good candidate for LASIK eye surgery, the eye doctor will conduct a pre- LASIK eye examination.

The traditional LASIK vision correction procedure begins with the creation of a hinged corneal flap. After the eye is anesthetized with topical eye drops, the LASIK eye surgeon creates the flap on the outer surface of the eye to expose the underlying cornea. The flap can be created with a microkeratome (a hand-held device) or with the IntraLase® laser, which allows the surgeon to create the flap using a computer-guided laser. The cornea is then reshaped using an excimer laser and the flap is replaced.

After LASIK eye surgery many patients experience immediate improved vision, although it can take up to six months for vision to stabilize. Patients can expect a short LASIK surgery recovery period but there is usually little to no discomfort following the procedure. Follow-up exams ensure proper healing.

LASIK RISKS AND BENEFITS

Most patients are extremely pleased with their LASIK results. LASIK eye surgery benefits include improved visual activity, freedom from corrective eyewear, and possibly new career opportunities. Patients who achieve a successful LASIK outcome can eliminate their need for glasses or contact lenses, and enjoy the freedom of clear vision at all times. Patients can play sports, swim, spend a day at the beach, and participate in various activities without the restrictions that glasses and contacts bring. LASIK eye surgery is a safe and effective treatment that has continued to gain popularity among patients.

A small number of patients – one to five percent – experience LASIK eye surgery complications. LASIK risks include sensitivity to light, haloed or glared vision, irregular astigmatism, dry eyes, loss of visual clarity, and sensitivity. Fortunately, advances in LASIK technology have dramatically reduced complications and many problems can be easily corrected with additional treatment.

STATISTICS – LASIK RESULTS

LASIK eye surgery has become the most popular vision surgery in the country. More than one million Americans undergo LASIK each year. LASIK surgery statistics and information from the FDA indicate that complications occur in just 1 to 5 percent of patients. In most cases, LASIK treatment provides patients with exceptional results, with many patients experiencing 20/20 vision or better following LASIK eye surgery.

Cost of LASIK

Here at TLC, we want to help you learn about the cost of LASIK and how we can help make paying for LASIK affordable.

Here are some options to think about when you’re considering the cost of LASIK:

  • We offer LASIK financing options.
  • We offer LASIK insurance savings plans, employers and union groups that have made arrangements with TLC Laser Eye Centers.
  • Some of our patients also choose to pay for LASIK using funds from their Flexible Spending Account or Health Savings Account.

Schedule a FREE LASIK Consultation Today

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What Is the Real Cost of LASIK?

The cost of LASIK can vary widely depending on where you live and which surgeons and technologies you choose. But the lowest price isn’t always your best option, and, in many cases, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

With all of the laser eye surgery options available nowadays, it’s important to consider the overall quality of service when comparing the cost of LASIK. You should always ask what is included in the LASIK fees. Some other things to consider when choosing a LASIK provider include:

  • Some doctors who charge less may not be as experienced or may not have access to the latest technology.
  • The initial low cost also may not include a comprehensive eye evaluation, follow-up appointments and other tests necessary for a successful LASIK surgery.
  • Some doctors quote a low initial cost for a LASIK procedure that quickly becomes more expensive if you choose additional services like bladeless LASIK and the Wavefront Technology.

At TLC, we’re always up-front about the total cost of LASIK and stand behind our work with our TLC Lifetime Commitment® program.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is laser vision correction permanent?
  • Is laser vision correction safe?
  • What can I expect my vision to be following laser vision correction?
  • Are all laser centers the same?
  • What are the long-term effects of laser vision correction?
  • What about night vision?
  • Will LASIK make my eyes dry?
  • Will laser vision correction hurt?
  • What if I move my eye during my procedure?
  • Will both eyes be treated on the same day?
  • How long does the procedure take?
  • When can I return to work and normal activities?
  • What if I currently wear contact lenses?
  • How do I determine if I am a candidate for laser vision correction?
  • Will my insurance cover laser vision correction?
  • Is there financing available?
  • What is a fair price for laser vision correction?
  • Will I need reading glasses following LASIK or PRK Vision Correction?

Is laser vision correction permanent?

Yes, laser vision correction results in a permanent change to the shape of the cornea. However, laser vision correction will not prevent age-related conditions such as presbyopia (the need for reading glasses) or cataracts. Patients over the age of 40 may want to consider NearVision SM CK® or LASIK to correct one eye for near vision and one eye for distance vision, creating an effect known as monovision and helping to reduce or eliminate the need for reading glasses.

Is laser vision correction safe?

Every surgical procedure carries some risk; however, serious complications with LASIK or PRK are extremely rare. The chance of having a vision-reducing complication is much less than one percent. Many of the risks and complications associated with these procedures can be eliminated or reduced through our careful patient selection process as well as thorough pre-operative testing with our state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment.

You may experience some visual side effects after laser vision correction. These are usually mild and most often diminish a few days to a few weeks following your procedure. The most common side effects of laser vision correction are “halo” effect and some glare at night around lights. These are related to the area of treatment on the surface of the eye and the size of your pupil in dim lighting. However, these problems are usually no worse than those often experienced by contact lens and eyeglass wearers.

What can I expect my vision to be following laser vision correction?

The goal of any refractive surgical procedure is to reduce a patient’s dependence on corrective lenses, and we have been consistently successful in meeting this goal. However, no one can guarantee a result of 20/20 vision. Dr. Holzman will not perform laser vision correction on anyone we feel does not have a good possibility of achieving independence from glasses or contact lenses. Because of this and his refined skills, Dr Holzman has one of the lowest enhancement rates in the country. The vast majority of our patients are extremely happy with their results and can do most activities without dependence on corrective lenses after laser vision correction.

Are all laser centers the same?

No. Many of the discount laser centers feel that the experience of their surgeons, the type of laser and diagnostic technology they use, and follow-up care don’t matter. At TLC Laser Eye Centers, Dr. Holzman wants you to make your decision very carefully because it will affect the way you see for the rest of your life. LASIK marketing can at times be misleading and knowing what to ask before moving forward can be to your great benefit. We encourage you to visit other laser centers and suggest you utilize our list of laser vision correction considerations to help you know what to look for in a laser center. We feel the more you know about us, the more confident you will feel about choosing Dr. Holzman and TLC Laser Eye Centers to be your laser vision correction provider. You may also consider attending one of our seminars or scheduling a complimentary consultation to learn more about your options.

What are the long-term effects of laser vision correction?

Laser vision correction procedures have been performed since 1987. The FDA has approved the use of the excimer laser in such procedures and recognized laser vision correction as being safe and effective for the treatment of nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism in eligible patients.

What about night vision?

There has been considerable news coverage about people having a difficult time driving at night after having laser vision correction. Night vision problems may include blurry vision, halos, starbursts, and glare around lights. Some of these can be caused by over-correction, under-correction, or residual astigmatism. These effects usually diminish as the eye heals (in the first three to six months following the procedure). The good news is that newer technology, such as custom wavefront treatments, have greatly diminished the risk of night vision problems.

Pupil size may be a cause of poor night vision. The pupil expands at night to allow more light to enter. If the pupil opens beyond the laser treatment area, the light may be blurry or out of focus. This is one of the reasons some patients are not good candidates for laser vision correction and reflects the importance of pre-operative testing. However, at TLC Laser Eye Centers, Dr. Holzman uses advanced laser technology which has expanded treatment zones, and patients that at one time were not candidates can now be successfully treated.

Will LASIK make my eyes dry?

Most patients experience temporary dry eye immediately following a LASIK procedure. Most often this is treated successfully with the use of artificial tears. The dry eye sensation usually clears up in eight to 12 weeks, except in some rare cases. The use of the IntraLase system, which Dr. Holzman utilizes, has been shown in studies to decrease the incidence of dry eyes.

Patients with dry eye may not be good candidates for LASIK unless they are treated for this condition both before and after surgery. This concern should be discussed this with Dr. Holzman during your pre-operative examination. Dr. Holzman has a conservative approach and is a firm believer in preventative care. He will pre-treat your eyes prior to surgery with special medications and treatments specifically designed for dry eyes. These have significantly reduced the incidence and impact of dry eye after Lasik for Dr. Holzman’s patients.

Will laser vision correction hurt?

You will experience little or no discomfort during your procedure since anesthetic eye drops will be used to numb your eyes. Some patients experience mild discomfort or a slight pressure sensation during their procedure. It is common to have some eye irritation in the first few hours following your procedure. An over-the-counter pain medication or use of artificial tears will generally take care of this discomfort. Patients usually experience irritation for three to five days following a PRK procedure.

What if I move my eye during my procedure?

We use the most technologically advanced excimer laser that offers eye-tracking capabilities to continually reposition the laser beam during your procedure. The laser detects and then compensates for small movements of the eye by guiding the beam to keep it precisely centered over the treatment area.

Will both eyes be treated on the same day?

For most procedures, both eyes will be treated on the same day.

How long does the procedure take?

Since both eyes are usually treated during the same appointment, you will be in the laser suite for approximately 20 minutes. The surgery itself typically requires less than two minutes per eye.

When can I return to work and normal activities?

Most patients notice dramatic improvement within the first few days of the procedure and are able to drive a car and return to work within one to three days. Most LASIK patients see quite well the very next day. However, the speed of visual recovery ultimately depends on personal healing patterns. With PRK, the recovery time may be a little longer.

What if I currently wear contact lenses?

If you are wearing hard or gas permeable contacts, it is important that you remove them at least four weeks prior to your full pre-operative exam, and soft lenses should not be worn for at least two weeks prior to this exam. This is necessary to ensure that the curvature of your eye returns to its natural shape. After your evaluation, Dr. Holzman will provide you with specific instructions regarding how long you need to be out of your contacts prior to your procedure.

How do I determine if I am a candidate for laser vision correction?

Schedule a complimentary consultation at our office to determine if you are a good candidate for laser vision correction. You need to be over 18 years of age, and your eyeglass or contact lens prescription should not have changed in the last year. If you are pregnant, nursing, or trying to conceive, you should not have laser vision correction at this time. Your complimentary consultation with Dr. Holzman and TLC Laser Eye Centers will take approximately 45 minutes and during this time we will determine candidacy.

Will my insurance cover laser vision correction?

A few insurance companies do pay for all or part of vision correction procedures. You should check with your plan administrator, or we will be happy to make a copy of your insurance card and check coverage for you. Cafeteria or flex spending accounts are eligible for laser vision correction and can save you up to 50 percent by using pre-tax dollars.

Is there financing available?

Yes, we offer payment plans and competitive pricing to make laser vision correction more affordable. It is easy to apply online and receive credit approval before you schedule your appointment.

What is a fair price for laser vision correction?

The cost of vision correction varies among practices and it is only natural to want to get the best price. At TLC Laser Eye Centers, Dr. Holzman proudly provides the latest technology with competitive prices. There are many factors that determine fees, such as the experience of a surgeon, the technology available, and what the center includes in the fee. We are not the least expensive providers because we never sacrifice safety or compromise results to save you money. Please refer to our section on laser vision correction considerations for guidelines on how to choose a laser center that is right for you. After an examination to determine what procedures you are a candidate for and what degree of correction you need, we’ll be able to give you an exact price.

Will I need reading glasses following LASIK or PRK Vision Correction?

You will only need to wear reading glasses (readers) following these procedures if you are over 40 years of age, and you have elected to have both your eyes fully corrected for distance vision only. These readers are available at your eye doctor’s office or at the drug store and are simple magnifiers. All eyes weaken for reading as we age, this is a condition called Presbyopia, and it occurs in our 40’s. It continues to worsen, so expect to need stronger readers as you get older. Your distance vision which has been corrected, should stay stable and sharp with age. It is only the reading component which changes with aging. Some patients elect to do a modification known as MONOVISION, and this can help reduce the need for readers, but also has a mild compromise in the overall image quality. It works because we correct the Dominant eye for sharp distance vision, and then correct the Non Dominant eye for some reading distance which is chosen. For more on . Be sure to ask the Doctor about this option at your exam.

COST OF LASIK

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You can hardly turn on the TV or the radio without hearing ads about a new, low-cost eye surgery to rid you of those bothersome glasses or contacts. But how can you be sure you’re not playing Russian roulette with your eyes?

WebMD Health professional Bill Lloyd, MD, is a board-certified ophthalmologist qualified to perform laser refractive surgery. LASIK is one of the most frequently performed operations in America. In order to shed some light on this very popular surgery, Lloyd outlines ten important things to know before undergoing laser refractive surgery.

1. Know Yourself — Why do you really want to have this surgery? You will live with its results forever, so don’t be caught up in a fad. There are no guarantees. Many LASIK patients are still wearing glasses!

2. Know Your Surgeon — Look for an experienced, board-certified ophthalmologist. Ask direct questions regarding your surgeon’s experience and complication rate. Will your surgeon continue to take care of you after the surgery, after surgery, or will you be redirected to a non-physician?

3. Know Your Refractive Error — The more nearsighted (myopic) you are, the more likely you may need a repeat procedure (euphemistically called “refinements”). Ask your doctor what the chances are that you’ll need a refinement.

4. Know if You Are Eligible — LASIK is not for everyone. People with severe dry eyes, certain corneal diseases, and other select eye conditions should not undergo LASIK.

5. Know What Happens — Be sure you fully understand the entire procedure. Since you will be awake for the surgery, you don’t want any surprises.

6. Know the Odds — After laser refractive surgery, most patients enjoy improved (not necessarily perfect) vision without their old glasses. Nobody guarantees 20/20, 20/25, or 20/30 vision. If you hear such claims, consider looking elsewhere.

7. Know the Risks — Laser refractive surgery is surgery. There is no such thing as “minor eye surgery.” Complications such as overcorrection, undercorrection, making the pupil off center, damaging the cornea, inflammation, and infection can leave you miserable. You may hear statistics about 2% or 5% complications, but if it happens to you, it’s 100%!

We know using contact lenses and glasses to correct your vision isn’t always ideal. They can be inconvenient, uncomfortable, and even expensive. If you’re feeling frustrated with your dependence on glasses or contacts, it may be time to look into other options to help you see clearly and take control of your vision.

One of those options is a corrective surgery called LASIK. In this blog, we’ll outline everything you need to know about LASIK, including what it is, how it can help you, and what makes a good candidate for the procedure.

What is LASIK?

LASIK stands for laser in situ keratomileusis. These words describe a procedure using a laser underneath a corneal flap to reshape the cornea. This highly specialized process is designed to treat refractive errors, improve vision, and reduce or eliminate the need for glasses or contact lenses.

All-Laser LASIK, using a femtosecond laser, is a type of LASIK procedure that some experts offer. It adds a higher level of safety and precision to the procedure thanks to its computer precision and high-speed delivery. This level of control also allows more patients to qualify for LASIK and virtually eliminates many of the complications associated with the older, more mechanical approach to the surgery.

During LASIK, an eye surgeon uses a laser to reshape the cornea into a unique, pre-specified pattern for each patient. The exact procedure goes like this:

  • Your eye is completely numbed using “eye drop” anesthesia, and an eyelid holder will be placed between your eyelids to prevent you from blinking.
  • A protective flap is made with the laser and folded to the side. During this process, you may feel a little pressure, but no discomfort.
  • You will be asked to look directly at a target light while the excimer laser reshapes the cornea, usually in less than a minute.
  • The protective flap is repositioned onto the underlying cornea, where it bonds securely without sutures.

After LASIK, some patients report a slight discomfort that usually goes away within 12 to 24 hours. When this is finished, most patients enjoy permanently corrected vision.

How can LASIK help you?

If you experience nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism, LASIK may be the right option for you. The procedure has a high rate of patient satisfaction, excellent results, quick recovery time, and few side effects or complications.

LASIK has a variety of other benefits, including:

  • No stitches or bandages
  • No need for glasses or contacts
  • Permanently improved vision

Who is (and isn’t) a candidate for LASIK?

The best candidate for LASIK is 18 years of age or older and has healthy corneas. Candidates must not have had a significant increase in their prescription in the last 12 months, and people with certain medical conditions or women who are pregnant, nursing, or hope to become pregnant may not be ideal candidates for LASIK. There is a greater risk for complications for those who don’t meet these recommendations, and these patients may be less likely to experience the positive results of the procedure.

While refractive surgery is not for everyone, anyone interested in LASIK should at least have the chance to find out if the procedure will work for them. The best way to determine if LASIK is a good fit for you is to talk to a doctor who specializes in the procedure. It’s important to have a complete eye exam to find out if you are a candidate for surgery.

LASIK is a safe, minimally invasive procedure that can help you enjoy excellent vision without contacts or glasses. With the help of eye care experts, you’ll be able to see clearly and get back to your daily routine soon.

Williamson Eye Institute is dedicated to assisting our patients with their vision and eye-related needs throughout the years. To find out more about our services, visit our website or call our office to schedule a personal consultation. You can also find us on Facebook and LinkedIn.

How LASIK Surgery Can Help Athletes Perform at Their Best

What athletes should know about LASIK

Extreme change isn’t the goal: LASIK is designed to correct a patient’s vision to the level of his or her existing prescription, not provide radically different or augmented sight. “We aren’t going to achieve ‘super’ vision,” says Hood. “We have a realistic conversation about what to expect.” Still, he maintains, most recipients are pleased to be able to adequately play sports with clear vision — and without the hassle of contact lenses or glasses.

LASIK might not be the best option for all: People who participate in high-contact sports — basketball in particular — may consider photorefractive keratectomy, or PRK, a surgery that instead directly reshapes the surface of the cornea, avoiding a flap. The reason: “The corneal flap from LASIK can be disrupted, even years later, if there is a significant force,” Hood says. Any such injury requires immediate medical attention.

SEE ALSO: Watch Out for These 5 Summer Eye Dangers

Recovery time can vary: Although “it takes time for that flap to secure itself down” post-LASIK, Hood notes that most patients needn’t wait long to pursue athletics again. Those who enjoy low-contact pursuits (cycling, swimming, baseball) can return to play in about a week. PRK recipients, however, should assume extended downtime; it takes at least a week for them to improve and several weeks longer to regain clear vision.

Side effects may occur: A common result of refractive surgery is dry eye, which may last for several months but can usually be treated with artificial tears. Fewer than 5 percent of LASIK cases may require a second visit for “an enhancement or touch-up,” Hood says. And, while rare, some patients may experience unwanted visual symptoms such as induced glare or halo.

It can boost performance: Without dirt or sweat getting into contact lenses — or the risk of an elbow or ball colliding with a competitor’s eyeglass frames — there are fewer environmental factors that could affect an athlete’s game. Adds Hood: “Your vision can fluctuate with contact lenses moving around. And your peripheral vision can be slightly distorted when you look out the edges of your glasses.”

For more information about LASIK surgery, call the Kellogg Eye Center at 734-615-5274 or email [email protected]

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