How can I find out if I am a candidate for laser vision correction?
The vast majority of individuals who are nearsighted, farsighted or have astigmatism may be candidates to undergo laser surgery for vision correction. However, only a comprehensive examination by your eye care provider, such as an ophthalmologist or optometrist can make that determination. Our ophthalmologists due all of their own comprehensive eye exams.
What are the risks associated with laser vision correction?
As with any surgery, there are attendant risks that are associated with any procedure. No procedure is 100% foolproof or risk free; however, the risks associated with laser vision correction are usually minimal and may include a scratchy eye sensation, tearing, mild halo vision, as well as, not achieving the intended vision correction (i.e., a patient may still be left slightly under corrected or possibly over corrected). These risks, notwithstanding, approximately 98 to 99% of people will see 20/40 or better after surgery. This will allow these individuals to drive a car without glasses, as well as, perform the vast majority of their daily affairs without the dependency on glasses or contact lenses.
How long does the LASIK procedure take?
The entire procedure takes approximately 25 minutes to complete surgery on both eyes.
Does the LASIK procedure hurt?
Unequivocally, we can state that laser vision correction surgery is not painful. The procedure is done under topical anesthesia using eye drops. The procedure itself is painless. Afterward when patients go home at night, there may be some mild burning, stinging, irritation and tearing which may last four to seven hours. These mild symptoms can be controlled with eye drops or oral aspirin-like products.
How long will I be off work?
Usually, most patients are comfortable and could return to work on the following day. Approximately, 60% of patients will be able to drive their car to work or to the doctor’s office the following day for examination. Although most patients will be comfortable enough to go to work and perform nominal daily activities the next day after surgery or possibly just take the day off to recuperate.
Are there any alternative surgeries that are available for laser vision correction?
Currently, individuals who are nearsighted or have significant astigmatism have alternate surgeries such as radial keratotomy, astigmatic keratotomy, photo refractive keratectomy using the excimer laser, or a newer procedure using plastic implants in the cornea called Intacs. Currently, the state-of-the-art procedure for the correction of nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism is using the excimer laser in a procedure called LASIK. For individuals who are farsighted, the only treatment is using LASIK.
What are the credentials necessary for individuals to perform laser vision correction?
Currently, only eye physicians and surgeons may be credentialed to perform laser vision correction using the excimer laser. Eye physicians are called ophthalmologists. These eye doctors are surgeons who have gone to medical school and then spent four years in an ophthalmology residency program learning medical and surgical treatment of eye diseases. These individuals then, have undergone further instruction in the use of the excimer laser. Personally, Drs. Berdy and Malhotra are ophthalmologists who have taken two to three additional years of training in corneal and refractive surgery training. These physicians have been using the excimer laser since the early and late 1990’s, as Dr. Berdy was a principal investigator for the initial FDA studies to approve the excimer laser for surgery. Dr. Berdy is currently a certified instructor for VISX, the company which developed the excimer laser, and for TLC Vision Centers, the company which markets and provides the excimer laser for surgeons use.
Which lasers are currently available for use in the United States?
Currently, there are at least six lasers that have been approved by the FDA for use in correcting nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. Not all of these lasers can perform all phases of refractive surgery. The majority of procedures performed in the United States are performed on the VISX laser. The VISX laser is approved for more indications for the correction of eye diseases than any laser in the country. They personally use the VISX laser for all their procedures.
Will I have to wear glasses after surgery?
The answer to this question depends on what the needs of each individual are and the age of the individual. The vast majority of individuals, (i.e., 98% of people) will be able to perform their normal daily activities without the dependency on glasses or contact lenses. However, there may be times when the vision is not quite sharp enough to perform specific duties, for example, driving at nighttime or reading very small print. In these instances, just like most individuals who have “normal” vision, patients may need to wear a very thin eyeglass to fine tune their vision. Also, individuals who have reached their mid-forties may need to wear reading glasses after surgery, just as any other individual would have to wear reading glasses as they age.
What to expect after a laser vision procedure
This information is provided to you as a general guideline only. Please do not use it as a replacement for your surgeon’s instructions.
Immediately Following Treatment Activities
- Arrange for a friend or family member to drive you home. Go directly home after your procedure. Wear glasses and keep your eyes closed.
- Take a 2-4 hour nap (or keep eyes closed) with the clear plastic shields over your eyes.
- When you wake up remove the glasses/goggles and begin using antibiotic, steroid drops and preservative-free artificial tears as directed by your surgeon.
- Be very careful not to poke, rub, squeeze or touch your eyes – all could cause discomfort and could dislodge the flaps.
- Use the preservative-free artificial tears for irritation and/or dryness.
- Avoid staring. Blink frequently.
- Avoid soap and water in the eyes.
- Take It Easy! Restrict activities to minimal, restful things and keep eyes well lubricated with artificial tears. We advise no reading, no computer work, and no watching TV. We recommend resting for the first 24 hours following surgery.
- Your vision may be hazy or blurry. This is typical as your eyes continue to heal.
- Your eyes may burn, tear, itch, be slightly red/swollen or feel like there is something (like an eyelash) in them.
- You may experience sensitivity to light, glare, starbursts or halos around lights.
- Any of these symptoms should improve considerably within the first few days following treatment.
- You may want to wear your glasses/goggles while sleeping and at bedtime, so you don’t accidently bump or rub your eyes.
- Contact us immediately if you develop any unusual or worsening symptoms at any point following treatment.
- If you have concerns before the surgery, please feel free to speak to us beforehand.
Day After Treatment Activities
- Continue using antibiotic, steroid, and preservative-free artificial tears, as directed.
- When showering, do not let the water hit you directly in the face. It should hit you in the back of the head and then let it run over into your face. No soap or shampoo in the eyes.
- Avoid soap and water near the eyes.
- Do not rub eyes (below and above cheekbone) for 7 days.
- Attend post – operative evaluation. This appointment is relatively brief. Our doctor will test your vision, check the healing of the flap, thoroughly examine your eyes, and answer any questions your may have.
- Most people see well enough to drive to their first post-operative appointment. If you do not feel comfortable driving please ask someone to drive you.
- Reading, watching TV and computer work is acceptable, but remember to keep eyes well lubricated blink frequently.
- Restrict activities to light activities. Strenuous and contact sports must be avoided. With light exercise, keep sweat out of your eyes; a sweatband should be worn for the next 7 days.
- Avoid gardening, yard work, grass cutting, and dirty/dusty environments for at least 7 days.
- No lotions, creams or eye makeup (shadows, mascara, or eye pencil) for 7 days.
- Most people can return to work the following day.
Day 7 Activities
- Exercise can be resumed with eye protection, but minimize sweat in your eyes and avoid touching eyes. Continue to avoid strenuous and contact sports, swimming, whirlpools and hot tubs.
- Be unusually careful playing with children so eyes do not get bumped or hit.
- Discontinue wearing eye shields at night.
- Continue to keep eyes well lubricated. After 7 days, it is acceptable to use tears with preservatives.
- Carefully begin using lotions, creams and eye makeup, unless the doctor advises differently.
- Discuss any other questions regarding resuming regular activities with our doctors.
Week 3 Activities
- Scuba diving is restricted for 3 weeks, due to the extreme change in pressure.
- Strenuous activities and contact sports may be resumed, including swimming.
- Lawn mowing and other outdoor activities can be resumed. Continue to take great care with your eyes to protect them from anything that might get into them.
3-6 Months Activities
- May take 3-6 months for vision to stabilize. Vision may fluctuate day to day.
- This is typical as eyes continue to heal.
- It is vital that you return for all post-operative evaluations, as scheduled by the office.
- Contact us immediately if you develop any unusual symptoms, if you experience severe pain or the unlikely event of your vision begins to get worse instead of better.