Does it hurt?
Does it require stitches or shots?
How do I keep my eye open during surgery?
Can I wear contacts again?
How well will I see after the surgery?
What are the risks?
Can I do both eyes at once?
Do I have to do anything special before or after the procedure?
How long do I need to go without contact lenses before surgery?
How much time off of work will it require?
How does it affect my eyes in the future?
Is laser vision correction covered by insurance?
LASIK is generally considered to be a painless procedure. Your eye is numbed with topical numbing drops, and you are relaxed, comfortable, and aware during the procedure. After the surgery, patients may experience what they describe as a slight discomfort similar to grittiness or the feeling that there is something in the eye.
Drops are used to numb the eye and then, during the procedure, you will be asked to look at an amber-colored fixating light. LASIK does not require any stitches or shots.
Many people are unnecessarily worried about blinking or not being able to focus on the light. An eyelid speculum is used to hold the eye open during the procedure. There is nothing else to see but the fixating light and no one has had a problem finding it. In addition, our VISX Star S4-IR laser’s eye tracker follows your eye at all times. Our surgical team will be talking you through each step of the procedure.
Can I wear contacts again?
In the rare case in which this might be necessary, yes, most people can wear contact lenses again. This is one of the advantages of LASIK. However, due to the change in corneal curvature after LASIK surgery, special order lenses may be required.
It is realistic to expect to achieve correction similar to what you are able to achieve with glasses and contacts. After CustomVue LASIK, 100% of patients can see well enough to pass a driver’s license exam without any correction. We cannot, however, guarantee that you will never have to wear glasses again. While almost everyone has significant improvement in their best-uncorrected vision (what you can see without any glasses or contacts), rarely some people may still need to wear a much milder prescription for reading or driving after the surgery. It is also possible to have some prescription changes years after a LASIK procedure due to changes that occur naturally in the eyes over time.
As with any surgical procedure, there are some risks and/or potential complications. Early and temporary complications for refractive surgery include:
Discomfort – Very few people experience significant discomfort. The sensation is normally described as a slightly gritty feeling or the feeling that there is something in the eye. Extra lubricating drops help, and you may take an over-the-counter pain reliever if necessary.
Light Sensitivity– We provide you with a pair of polarized sunglasses to wear upon leaving the surgery center to ease any light sensitivity that may affect you for the first few days after the procedure.
Under/Over-Correction – Unless severe, under/over-correction does not usually affect the overall vision results. Significant amounts of under/over-correction (rare) can be treated with an enhancement procedure. Minimal amounts may be corrected by wearing thin glasses for activities such as driving. Over-corrected eyes are extremely rare and most corneas tend to achieve the desired shape as the eye heals.
Infection – This risk is greatest in the first 48 hours following the procedure and is usually treated with antibiotic drops. Nationally the risk rate for infections is around 0.2%, but so far our rate has been less than 0.001%. The risk is controlled by post-operative medication. It is important that you carefully follow all of your post-operative instructions and see the doctor for all of your post-operative visits.
Halos/Glare – If you experience problems with night driving or have halos and glare prior to the procedure, having a traditional LASIK procedure (also known as Conventional LASIK) may or may not affect those problems. However, the CustomVue LASIK was designed to eliminate night vision problems that can naturally occur. Halos and glare are rare following LASIK and our experience has been better than the national average.
Loss of Vision – The risk of a serious vision-threatening complication is almost nil. We are not aware of anyone having lost their vision or gone blind from LASIK.
Yes. With LASIK, it is usual to do both eyes on the same surgery day.
A comprehensive eye exam is required prior to the procedure. Your doctor and the laser vision coordinator will explain all the pre- and post-operative instructions to you. After the procedure, you will need to have someone drive you home, and you will need to see your doctor at one day and one week following the procedure. You will also be required to visit your doctor post-operatively at one month, three months, six months, and one year.
If you wear contacts you will need to remove them prior to your pre-operative exam to allow your eyes to regain their natural curvature. Soft lens wearers must discontinue wear for two weeks prior to the pre-op exam. Hard lens wearers (RGPs) must be removed for at least one month prior to the procedure.
Most people can return to work within two days. However, it is important to note, people who work in a dusty, dirty environment (construction workers, miners, nail technicians, postal mail sorters, etc.) or those individuals who could come into a physical altercation in their job (police officers, firefighters, paramedics, etc.) will need to take one full week off to allow for safe healing.
To date, excimer laser procedures have not been found to affect or cause any late-onset or long-term eye problems.
Refractive surgery as a whole is generally considered to be an elective procedure, and therefore is not usually covered under most commercial insurance programs. There are a few progressive companies that may provide coverage. If your insurance does cover any or all of the procedure you will be given an itemized statement so that you may submit the expense for reimbursement. Some patients choose to use a financing program, available with approved credit, which helps make LASIK more convenient and allows them to pay over time.