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Frequently Asked Questions About LASIK

What is LASIK? How is it performed?
To see clearly, the cornea of your eye must bend light rays so that they focus on your retina. Nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism result from an imperfectly shaped cornea. Your doctor, utilizing the LASIK (laser in-situ keratomileusis) procedure, will slightly reshape your cornea and improve your vision safely, effectively and permanently and reduce or eliminate the need for glasses or contact lenses. Before the LASIK procedure, your doctor will put a drop of anesthetic in your eye to numb its surface and may give you a mild sedative to help you relax. Your doctor will perform LASIK with an extremely precise laser that uses a cool ultraviolet light beam to reshape your cornea. The entire LASIK procedure takes only a few minutes and the actual laser itself is in use only for a few seconds.

Who can have LASIK surgery?
Before scheduling LASIK, your doctor will take a complete history, examine your eyes, measure and map the curvature of your cornea using a computer to determine exactly what kind of vision correction you need and whether you are a good candidate for the procedure. You should be over 18 years of age, be in generally good health, have stable vision, not be pregnant or suffering from uncontrolled diabetes. Individuals who suffer from any immune deficiency disorder or are taking certain prescription drugs such as Accutane or oral prednisone may not be suitable candidates.

What kind of results can I expect from LASIK surgery?
With LASIK, you will probably notice improved vision immediately and you may continue to have improvement over the next few weeks. Most people achieve 20/20 or better vision after LASIK; approximately 95% of patients are able to drive a car without glasses, often by the day after the procedure.

Will LASIK permanently correct my vision?
The results gained from the LASIK procedure are permanent, however, the eye can change throughout life. The main change that occurs is associated with the natural aging process or other medical conditions.

Is the LASIK procedure painful?
While you may feel a slight pressure sensation, actual pain during the procedure is rare. There may be mild or, very rarely, moderate discomfort following LASIK, but most patients find that their eyes are quite comfortable following this procedure.

Does Insurance cover this procedure?
LASIK is an elective procedure, and most insurance will not cover it. We'll be happy to discuss cost and payment options, assist you in deciding whether LASIK is an appropriate eye care choice for you and fully answer all of your questions.

What are the risks?
Although no procedure is perfect, excimer laser technology allows for an unparalleled degree of precision and predictability. The most common side effects are often temporary and include glare from bright lights, slight fluctuation of vision, and a dry feeling of the eyes. These usually resolve completely within a few weeks. Like any surgical procedure, LASIK carries some risk of complications. Risks include an infection, delayed healing, inflammations, scarring, and over or under correction. We will thoroughly discuss the risks and benefits of the procedure with you in advance.

What are the long-term effects of LASIK surgery?
LASIK has been performed in the United States and throughout the world for more than a decade. Experts agree that patients are unlikely to experience any problems with their vision in the future.

Can LASIK be performed on both eyes at the same time?
Depending upon individual circumstances, because of the advanced technology associated with laser vision correction, both eyes are most often treated at the same time. It is possible that the second eye may be done anywhere from one day to a few days to months after the first eye. You can discuss this further when you see your doctor.

What if I blink or move my eye during the procedure?
Due to the retractors used throughout the procedure, it is impossible to blink during LASIK surgery. The lasers used by Toppino Eye Care have the most advanced tracking technology to follow even the slightest of eye movements.

Will I need to wear glasses after LASIK?
Most LASIK patients do not require glasses for daily activities after surgery. However, patients over the age of 40 eventually will require reading glasses due to farsightedness (presbyopia), a natural condition caused by aging which cannot be fixed nor agitated by the LASIK procedure. Some patients also find a mild prescription is necessary for activities such as nighttime driving.

Will my eyes look different after the procedure?
No. The procedure does not affect the appearance of your eyes.

Who can't have LASIK?
Individuals who are pregnant, suffering from uncontrolled diabetes, undergoing drug treatment that may interfere during or after the process or individuals who suffer from any immune deficiency disorder are not recommended for LASIK. Individuals with pre-existing conditions that may cause complications are strongly urged to consult with their physicians regarding any interactions with the procedure.

What is the difference between the two types of Laser Vision Correction: LASIK and PRK?
PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) and LASIK are very similar procedures in that both require a controlled computer laser to reshape the cornea. However, in LASIK, the outer most protective layer of the eye is kept in tack as part of the flap, under which the laser works, while PRK requires that the outer layer be gently removed. PRK requires a longer healing time but less operative instrumentation and eliminates the risk of flap complications in the short and long term. Your doctor can help you determine which procedure is best for you.

Is there a guarantee on the success of my LASIK procedure?
Like any surgery, there are no "guarantees" but the possibilities for success can be determined in the pre-surgical consultation. Patients must be willing to take the risks of the procedure before any operative measures will be performed. LASIK has been performed on more than 2,000,000 patients during the past decade. Some patients, especially those with high degree of myopia and astigmatism (less than 1%), may need a retouch in a few months.

What are the age requirements for the LASIK procedure?
While there are no set age limitations to LASIK surgery, the ideal candidate should be 18 years of age or older. The eyes continue to change throughout childhood and adolescence and will begin stabilizing into adulthood. For optimal results, you should wait to have LASIK performed when your vision has maintained a steady level of visual acuity for at least one year.

I wear bifocals now will I still need to wear reading glasses even if I have LASIK?
Most people in their 40s or older will need reading glasses if their eyes are corrected for distance because the eye's lens loses flexibility as we age. This condition, called presbyopiais not treatable by LASIK or PRK. Some patients in this age group select monovision, such as is done with contact lenses. This option allows patients to use one of their eyes for distance and the other to see up close.

How long after LASIK must I take eye drops?
Patients typically administer antibiotics and steroid drops for 5-7 days after surgery. Lubricating drops may be required for longer periods in the case of dry eye.

How soon after LASIK can I resume normal activity?
You should avoid swimming, dusty or smoky environments, hot tubs and whirlpools and not participate in activities that expose your eyes to trauma or injury for at least two weeks after the procedure. There will be a minor resting period following the procedure that will prevent you from driving or returning immediately to work, however in most cases, patients are able to return to normal everyday activity the day following surgery. You can also read, watch television or use your computer as soon as you feel that you can tolerate it. If you work in a profession that requires extreme visual acuity (dentistry for example), you should plan to refrain from working for 1-2 days.

How soon after LASIK can I play sports?
You should not participate in sports that may cause perspiration to enter the eyes, swimming and contact sports for at least 2 weeks. You may be required to wear safety goggles for the month following LASIK when participating in sporting activities. You should consult with your doctor for further information on precautions you will need to take.

How can I schedule a personal consultation and what does it involve?
We will check your eyeglass prescription, discuss your options with you, and answer all of your questions. We can also give you additional reading material. Once you make the decision to definitely have the procedure, you will need a complete dilated eye exam and pre-op measurements, which usually takes one to one and a half hours. If you would like your pre-op measurements to be done at the time of your initial appointment, please refrain from wearing soft contact lenses 1 week prior to your visit, or gas permeable lenses 4 weeks prior. Please call our office at schedule a LASIK consultation.