Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis
The excimer laser gently reshapes the cornea to change the eye’s focal point. Nearsighted treatments flatten the cornea, while farsighted treatments steepen the cornea’s curvature. Treatments for astigmatism change the shape of the cornea from a football shape to more of a spherical shape.
A good LASIK candidate is at least 21 years of age, has a stable prescription, and no chronic eye diseases. In our free, personalized consultation we will determine if your prescription is amenable to LASIK and give you an idea of what your vision after LASIK will be like. This examination will provide us with unique information about your eyes, which we use to create a treatment made precisely for you.
If LASIK is not right for you, one of our other surgical procedures may be. One of the most successful procedures in all of medicine is cataract surgery. A similar procedure, called Refractive Lens Exchange, involves removal of the natural crystalline lens of the eye, replacing it with an artificial intraocular lens implant (IOL). Coupled with state-of-the-art IOL technology, this procedure is a powerful means of changing the eye’s natural focal point.
We’ve had patients as old as 77 years of age have LASIK and enjoy a life free of glasses and contacts. Patients in this age group are susceptible to other age-related eye diseases, such as macular degeneration and glaucoma, so a thorough preoperative eye examination is imperative.
We’ve had thousands of happy cataract surgical patients who now enjoy high quality vision without the need for cumbersome glasses. Patients who’ve previously had cataract surgery can even fine-tune their vision with LASIK and enjoy reading or playing tennis without their glasses.
Yes, we regularly work with other optometrists and ophthalmologists; it’s your choice. We have an “open door” policy at Capitol Eye Care. Of course, we will be happy to see you back at any time if you have concerns regarding your vision.
Soft contacts should be taken out four to six days prior to your preoperative examination. Gas permeable contacts should be removed four weeks prior, and hard contact lenses should be taken out six weeks prior. Occasionally, a second preoperative visit may be required to assure that the corneal shape is stable prior to surgery.
Most patients are able to return to work the next day and are perfectly comfortable driving the next day. Patients who work in very dirty or dusty environments may wish to wait a few extra days to allow their eyes to heal.
Many patients experience an odd sensation as they are not used to their eyes being touched, but the surgery is rarely described as painful. After the surgery is finished, we often hear the patients ask, “Is that it?” Many patients experience a scratchy discomfort after the surgery. To help with this discomfort, we provide you with pain-relieving eye drops. You should go home and take a nice long nap, courtesy of a preoperative dose of Valium, and most patients wake up with the discomfort gone.
Studies have shown there to be no difference in vision outcomes if both eyes are treated at the same time versus on different days. Because of this, the vast majority of patients prefer both eyes to be treated at the same appointment.
We have found that patients often fear that they will blink or move their eye at the wrong time and suffer blindness as a result. Those things can’t happen. We use an instrument called a speculum so that you don’t blink. Eye movement during the surgery is quite natural, so our laser tracks every movement of your eye and keeps the laser treatment perfectly centered.
An enhancement is a follow-up laser treatment to fine-tune your vision after the original procedure. Typically, this is done at three to six months (or later) after the original LASIK procedure and is done to make good results even better. Capitol Eye Care provides enhancements at no charge to the patient for the first two years after their LASIK eye surgery. After two years, there is a small fee.
For treatment on both eyes, patients are typically in the laser suite for about 20 minutes. The total length of stay including the preparation, the laser eye surgery, and a brief recovery periodis just over an hour.
No surgery comes without risks, and there are some risks associated with LASIK that your Capitol Eye Care surgeon will discuss with you. However, serious issues are extremely rare. Studies have shown that you are more likely to have severe vision loss from long-term contact lens wear than from LASIK eye surgery!
It is a mistake to think a person will never wear glasses again after LASIK. Beware of any guarantees to the contrary. Many patients, typically those over 40-45, only use glasses for reading. Others only wear glasses for driving or driving at night. The vast majority of LASIK patients discover a newfound freedom from glasses and contacts that they otherwise could only dream of.
Monovision refers to separating the roles of the two eyes. One eye will see better far away, while the other eye will see better up close. For patients over the age of 40, it’s a great way to avoid needing reading glasses. Monovision doesn’t give you perfect vision, but most of our monovision patients find their distance and near vision to be vastly improved. Some monovision patients wear a pair of glasses for the occasional difficult task, such as driving through an unfamiliar city at night or reading a novel with fine print. Generally, your vision will be quite satisfactory for your typical day-to-day activities. Your Capitol Eye Care surgeon can discuss if monovision is an option for you.
Most insurance companies don’t pay for LASIK, however, if your insurance provides you with a cafeteria plan or flexible spending plan, you can use pre-tax dollars to pay for LASIK. Many patients save a lot of money this way!
Convenient financing through CareCredit makes LASIK affordable for everyone, with payments typically less than $75 per month.