Questions and Answers About LASIK Laser Surgery
1What is Excimer laser eye surgery?
The excimer laser is a medical breakthrough that can help eliminate your need for contacts/glasses. It is used to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. The laser is guided by an advanced computer that is able to reshape the cornea precisely. This produces a sharper image on the retina. There are three procedures used by the excimer laser, PRK (surface reshaping of the cornea), LASEK ( surface ablation under a protective epithelial flap) and LASIK ( stromal or internal corneal shaping of the cornea ).
2Where and when was the Excimer developed?
It was developed by IBM in 1979 to cut circuits in microchips. The first human procedures were done in Berlin in 1987. In the past eight years, more than 400,000 procedures have been performed. The procedure was introduced in North America in 1989. There has never been a reported case of blindness resulting from Excimer laser procedures.
3What about long term risks?
In 1987, Dr. Theo Seiler of West Germany successfully performed the first procedure, No long-term risks were reported. There are no results beyond this, but we have no reason to believe effects will become apparent after many years.
4Who is a candidate for this surgery?
The surgery is used to treat patients with mild to high myopia (nearsightedness), with or without astigmatism and mild to moderate hyperopia (farsightedness). You must be at least 18 years old, have a stable eye prescription and your eyes must be free of disease.
5How long is the procedure?
The procedure takes less than twenty minutes. The LASIK procedure reshapes the internal 5-45% of the cornea.
6Is the procedure painful?
The laser procedure itself is painless. Needles are not used, only freezing drops of Valium for relaxation. With the LASIK procedure, you may feel some discomfort during the first 2-4 hours after the procedure. The next day you should be able to return to your normal activities.
7How long does it take for the eye to heal?
After LASIK, your eye heals quickly and there is generally a significant improvement in vision the day of surgery and complete healing can take up to 6 weeks.
8When can I have surgery on my other eye?
LASIK can be performed on both eyes on the same day.
9Will my vision be stable after the procedure?
Results have indicated that most patients remain stable after three to six months. This will not stop the natural aging process of the eye. If you require repeat surgery within the first year, this will be performed free of charge.
10How many visits are required after the surgery?
Initially, patients are seen within 24 hours after surgery. Follow-up visits thereafter are two weeks, two months and then as needed for the 12 months after surgery. Yearly eye exams are recommended after the first year.
11What is night glare?
There are two causes, the first is transient and occurs in the first two or three months following the surgery and is due to swelling of the tissues. The second cause is pupil size, those patients who have very large pupils in dim light may experience haloes. Images are seen both by the newly operated cornea and also indistinctly by the old peripheral un-operated cornea. Our new tracking system on the Technolas Z has allowed for a larger treatment area that has almost eliminated glare and halos.
12Are reading glasses required?
Presbyopia is the normal weakening of the focusing muscles of the eye, usually at the age of 42. All normally sighted patients require readers in their mid-forties. Without surgery, patients must either wear bi-focals or remove their distance correction to read.
13How can I avoid the need for reading glasses?
After the age of 40, most individuals require reading glasses or bi-focals to see to read. With refractive surgery, one eye, usually the non-dominant eye, can be corrected to nearsightedness. In nearsighted individuals, one eye is under-corrected to leave some nearsightedness left behind to help you read. In farsighted individuals, one eye is over-corrected to cause nearsightedness to help you read. This technique is successful in about 95% of patients.
14Would dry eyes affect the results of the surgery?
It could in some instances. For some patients during the healing process, "artificial tears" or a special drop called "Restasis" may need to be administered.
15Can a 16 year-old have the procedure?
No, because the eye generally does not stabilize until a person reaches 18 or 20, we do not perform refractive procedures on those who are younger. In all cases, only patients who have had stable prescriptions for twelve months are eligible.
16Can I be guaranteed 20/20 vision with Refractive Surgery?
There is no way to guarantee 20/20 vision. Generally, those patients who are mildly to moderately nearsighted or farsighted have the best chance of attaining" clear" vision, vision clear enough where the patient no longer needs to rely on glasses or contact lenses.