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LASIK FAQs

A:The excimer laser gently reshapes the cornea to change the focal point of the eye. Nearsighted treatments flatten the cornea while farsighted treatments steepen the cornea’s curvature. Treatments for astigmatism change the cornea’s contour from football shaped to a more spherical shape.

A: There are several outstanding lasers on the market. At Capitol Eye Care, we have used three of them. Currently, our laser of choice is the Bausch & Lomb Technolas 217 flying spot laser. It is the first laser developed specifically for the LASIK procedure. We have found it to be extremely reliable and precise in terms of providing exacting corrections. It also allows us to provide the very broadest zone of treatment of the cornea – that is the key to reducing night glare and halos.

A: A good LASIK candidate is at least 18 years of age and has a stable prescription. In our free personalized, comprehensive consultation we will determine if your prescription falls within the treatable range and guide you as to what you might expect as a final outcome. This examination will provide us the information to allow us to program the laser for a treatment designed specifically for you.

A: If LASIK is not right for you, you may very well be a candidate for one of our other surgical procedures. One of the most successful procedures in all of medicine is cataract surgery. A variant of cataract surgery is Refractive Lens Exchange. Dr. Lewis and Dr. Luetkemeyer have done literally tens of thousands of such procedures and are please to offer state-of-the-art no stitch, no patch small incision lens replacement surgery.

A: Not really. We have had patients as old as 77 have LASIK and enjoy freedom from glasses and contacts. They key here is to perform a thorough eye exam to exclude other causes of vision loss, such as cataracts. We have literally thousands of happy cataract surgical patients who enjoy high quality vision and many of them have found their surgery has provided them with excellent vision for many activities without glasses. We also find that patients who have had previous cataract surgery can fine tune their vision with LASIK to greatly reduce their dependence on glasses.

A: Yes, we routinely work as a team with other optometrists and ophthalmologists. It's your choice. We have an"open door" policy at Capitol Eye Care. We will always be happy to see you back if you have concerns regarding your vision, even if you have returned to your regular doctor's care.
A: Soft contacts should be out four to six days, gas permeable contacts, four weeks, and hard contact lenses, six weeks prior to you pre-operation evaluation. Occasionally, a second pre-operation visit may be required to assure that the corneal shape is stable prior to surgery. There is no additional fee if a second visit is necessary.
A: Most patients are able to return to work the next day. The majority of patients are perfectly comfortable driving the next day too. Patients who work in very dirty or dusty environments may wish to wait a few extra days.
A: Many patients will appreciate an odd sensation as they are not used to someone touching around their eyes, but it is rare for the surgery to be described as painful. A common response we hear when the surgery is over is,"Is that it?" After the surgery, it is common to have a scratchy discomfort. We will provide you with eye drops that help greatly with that discomfort. You will be encouraged to go home and take a nice long nap (we provide the Valium!). Most patients awaken from their nap to find the discomfort gone.
A: Studies have shown there to be no difference in vision outcomes if both eyes are treated at the same time or on different days. Consequently, the vast majority of patients choose to have both eyes treated at the same appointment.
A: We have found patients often have two mortal fears of LASIK surgery: one, they will blink at the wrong time and suffer blindness as a result, and two, they will move their eye at just the wrong moment and, similarly, go blind. Those things can't happen. The eye lids are gently held apart by an instrument called a speculum, making it impossible to blink. Also, our laser has a tracker which will follow every movement of the eye, keeping the laser treatment perfectly well centered.
A: An enhancement is a"touch-up" laser treatment to fine-tune the visual result. Typically, this is done at three to six months (or later) after the original procedure and is typically done to make a pretty good result better. Enhancements performed at Capitol Eye Care in the first two years after LASIK are done at no charge to the patient. After two years, there is a slight charge but patients will never have to pay the full fee again. Vision after six months tends to be quite stable, so the touch up rate after two years is very low—well under 5%.
A: Patients are typically in the laser suite for about 20 minutes to treat both eyes. The total length of stay including surgery, prep and brief recovery is just over an hour.
A: As with any surgical procedure, there are risks associated with LASIK. However, serious complications are extremely rare. A number of studies have demonstrated that the risk of severe vision loss associated with LASIK is less than that of long-term soft contact lens wear!
A: Probably. It is a mistake to think a person will never wear glasses for anything, ever again, after LASIK. Beware of any"guarantees" to the contrary. Many patients (typically those over 40-45) wear only reading glasses. Others wear glasses only for driving or driving at night. The fact of the matter is, though, the vast majority of LASIK patients enjoy a tremendous relative freedom from glasses and contacts that they otherwise could only dream of.
A: Monovision refers to separating the duties of the two eyes such that one eye sees better far away and the other eye sees better up close. It is a way of cheating Mother Nature and avoiding the need for reading glasses in patients past the age of 40. It is not perfect vision, but the vast majority of our monovision patients find that their distance and near vision are quite good. Some of our monovision patients still wear a pair of glasses for occasional difficult tasks, such as driving through an unfamiliar city at night, or for reading a fine print novel. However, for normal day to day activities, the vision tends to be quite good. Ask us at your pre-operative visit if monovision might be right for you.
A: Unfortunately, most insurance companies do not pay for LASIK. However, if your insurance includes a"cafeteria plan" or"flex plan," you can use pre-tax dollars to pay for LASIK. Depending on your tax bracket, this can mean huge savings!
A: Yes! Our payment program makes LASIK very affordable with monthly payments typically less than $75 per month.