What is LASIK (Laser Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis)?
LASIK is a procedure that corrects your vision by changing the shape of your cornea, making it possible for your eye to properly focus light on the retina. During LASIK, a microkeratome or femtosecond laser is used to create a corneal flap. The excimer laser is then used to perform the reshaping of the cornea. This laser is extremely accurate and can remove a quarter of a micron of tissue at a time. (A human hair is approximately 50 microns thick). After the laser is used, the flap is folded back into position and reseals itself; no sutures are needed. The procedure itself takes about 6-8 minutes per eye.
What is PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy)?
For some individuals, particularly those with thin corneas or corneas with irregular epithelium (skin), LASIK may not be the best option. PRK was the original laser vision correction option used in the early 1990s before the development of LASIK. A PRK procedure eliminates the flap, instead removing a thin layer of epithelial tissue from the surface of the cornea to perform the treatment. The epithelial layer then grows back over, usually within a week following the procedure. PRK patients should understand that recovery times after PRK are longer than recovery times after LASIK. Your doctor can help you plan for time off needed during your recovery.
Is laser vision correction covered by my insurance?
Most medical insurance companies consider laser vision correction elective and do not cover the procedure. Some vision insurances have laser vision correction benefits and we would be happy to help you check with your individual insurance company. Considering the repeated costs of purchasing new eyeglass frames and lenses and disposable contacts year after year, laser vision correction will be a break even in cost of products after just 6 years! Moyes Eye Center offers financing to help make LASIK more affordable. Click here for more information.
Am I eligible for laser vision correction?
This depends on your age, your prescription and the general health of your eyes. Your prescription must have been stable for at least the past 12 months. You must be 18 years of age or older. Although most laser vision correction patients are under 60, even seniors may be eligible. Some highly nearsighted patients whose prescriptions are too strong to be eligible for LASIK or PRK, may benefit from phakic lenses.
Do I need an examination first?
Prior to treatment, you should have a refractive surgery evaluation. A refractive surgery evaluation encompasses everything your normal dilated eye examination does plus additional measurements of your prescription and the cornea (the front windshield of the eye where the surgery is performed). Please allow 2 hours to complete a refractive surgery evaluation and be prepared to have your eyes dilated for 2-3 hours following the exam.
What is a Refractive Surgery Evaluation?
A Refractive Surgery Evaluation is a full examination with dilation, corneal Orbscan topography, zywave aberrometer measurements and a discussion with the doctor. At the end of this exam we will be able to determine if a patient is or isn’t a candidate for laser vision correction, or is there a different option to correct their vision that may be a better choice for their eyes. This full refractive evaluation is free of charge.
What are the side effects of LASIK?
As with any treatment or surgery there are risks, even though they are rare. Pain is uncommon. You may experience halos, glare, light sensitivity, blurred vision, double vision, difficulty with night vision and/or a foreign body sensation. Other risks include infection, over responding, under responding, irregular astigmatism, epithelial ingrowth, corneal abrasion, reduction of best corrected vision, dry eyes or induced astigmatism.
What is a retreatment or enhancement procedure?
A retreatment/enhancement is a repeat of the surgical procedure, which is occasionally done when the eye has under- or over-responded. The need for a retreatment is determined when the patient’s post-operative vision has stabilized. The length of time necessary for vision to stabilize depends upon the procedure and the patient’s individual healing time. This is usually at least three months and in some cases 6 months after the initial procedure.
Does laser vision correction really work?
Yes. Laser vision correction is being done all around the world. Over 98% of people who have had one of these procedures obtain normal vision, and most others are happy to reduce their dependence on glasses and contact lenses.
Are there any restrictions after the procedure?
For the first four hours after surgery we encourage you to keep both eyes closed as much as possible. Swimming, hot tubs, sauna or jacuzzis are prohibited for two weeks. Do not wear eye makeup for 24 hours. When your vision clears, you may drive and return to work (typically one or two days).
Will laser vision correction prohibit me from having future eye surgery?
Refractive surgery will not prohibit you from having any future eye surgery you may need, such as cataract or glaucoma surgery. It is a good idea to keep a copy of your preoperative exam in your medical records in case those numbers are needed years later as a reference or prior to having cataract surgery.
Does the surgery hurt?
Most patients find the actual surgery fairly easy to go through without any real pain. Anesthetic eye drops are administered before the surgery begins. Your doctor will walk you through the key steps of the procedure so you are aware of what is going on. Some patients may experience discomfort during the first 3-6 hours after the procedure. Patients describe the feeling as a lash in the eye or like having shampoo in their eye. An oral sedative is available 30 minutes prior to the procedure to help you relax.
What do I do next?
Your next step is to learn whether you are a laser vision correction candidate. If you are located in the Kansas City or North Kansas City areas, then Moyes Eye Center may be able to help you. Call 816.746.9800 today to schedule your free LASIK consultation. We are committed to helping you make an informed decision.