What is LASIK?
LASIK stands for LASER IN-SITU KERATOMILEUSIS. It is a new form of laser surgery that is capable of correcting a wide range of nearsightedness. The procedure uses a computer-controlled excimer laser to reshape the cornea to correct your vision. The laser reshaping is done under a protective flap of tissue to promote a very rapid recovery of vision and minimize discomfort. For details, please see Techniques and Results.
What is the name of the procedure?
Laser in-situ keratomileusis
LASER IN-SITU KER-A-TOE-MILL-YOU-SIS
Kerato is the Greek word for cornea and mileusis means "to shape."
How long has LASIK been performed?
The first keratomileusis procedure was done on humans in 1963. The procedure has evolved and improved since then. The excimer laser has been used for over 30 years and has received FDA approval for photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) in 1995. PRK is a procedure in which the laser is used to sculpt the surface of the eye. Eye surgeons have been creating a protective flap of tissue for over 30 years. These two techniques were first combined in 1991 to create a new form of refractive surgery -- LASIK. Most of the experience with LASIK has been obtained outside of the United States, where regulatory oversight is not as stringent.
Who is LASIK useful for?
LASIK can be performed for a wide range of nearsightedness, from -1 to -15 diopters. This encompasses most degrees of nearsightedness.
How does LASIK correct astigmatism?
Astigmatism can be corrected by using a laser with software that is capable of ablating an oval pattern on the cornea.
How can I get more information about refractive surgery?
For more information about LASIK at the Eye Clinic, please email Pam Stinson at email@example.com or call her at (731) 424.2414.
How do I know if I am a candidate for LASIK?
In order to determine whether you are eligible for laser surgery, you must have a consultation and comprehensive pre-operative exam. Please contact us if you have questions or wish to schedule an appointment.
What is done at a pre-op exam?
A complete eye examination and specialized computer measurement of the shape of your cornea is performed. The ophthalmologist reviews this information in light of your visual needs for work and leisure and provides you with options and recommendations for refractive surgery. In order for your cornea to return to its natural shape by the time of this examination, you must leave your soft contact lenses out for 7 days and gas-permeable (hard) lenses out for 3 weeks prior to your consultation and then again for the same period prior to surgery.
How long does the procedure take?
You will be in the surgery room approximately 15 minutes to complete the procedure on both eyes. Expect to be at our surgery center approximately an hour to an hour and a half.
Does it hurt?
Anesthetic drops usually allow the operation to be performed without pain. Afterwards, the eye is a bit scratchy, but patients typically do not require any pain medications and are often able return to work the day following the procedure.
What are the restrictions following surgery?
You must wear a protective shield the first two nights following surgery. You should not swim or get into a hot tub for one to two weeks after surgery, although bathing and showering is fine. All other activities -- including exercise -- may be resumed on the first day following surgery.
When can I go back to work?
The day after the procedure, if your vision permits.
Can the procedure be performed on both eyes at once?
Yes. Only around 1% of cases nationally opt to have one eye done at a time.
How long is follow-up needed?
Follow-up checks are required at approximately 1 day, 2 weeks, and 3, 6, and 12 months. These examinations are included in the charge for the procedure.
What are my chances of not wearing glasses after the procedure?
This will depend on a number of factors, including your refractive error, your visual needs, and even your personality. It is important to understand that LASIK does not eliminate the need for reading glasses as one grows older.
When will my vision stabilize?
After LASIK, vision usually stabilizes very quickly. Our results indicate that there is little or no change after the two week post-operative examination, however it is possible for your vision to fluctuate for up to three months after your surgery.
What is the percentage of patients that need enhancements?
The national enhancement rate is around 10%, and the Eye Clinic falls into that number range as well. Enhancements are performed after the three month examination. The likelihood of needing an enhancement is dependent on the degree of refractive error. More highly myopic eyes are more likely to need an enhancement. Enhancement procedures will be performed at no additional charge if performed within 12 months of the initial surgery.
What side effects are typical?
Your vision will fluctuate during the few days following the surgery. You may notice some glare around lights at night. Your vision at night will probably not be as sharp as it is during bright day conditions following all types of refractive surgery, and many people find that a thin pair of glasses for driving at night is helpful.
Temporary Irritants (relieved with eye drops)
Under Correction (corrected with enhancement)
Over Correction (corrected with enhancement)
Infection (eliminated with antibiotics)
Displaced Flap (prevented with eye shields)
What are the risks of surgery?
Like any surgical procedure, LASIK carries some risk of complications. Risks include an infection which could damage your cornea and result in loss of vision, although this is extremely unlikely. As part of your evaluation for the procedure, we will give you an informed consent document which details potential risks and complications of surgery. (see risks and side effects)
If necessary, can I wear contact lenses after LASIK?
LASIK does not modify the cornea in a way that would prevent contact lens wear. However, many patients elect to have refractive surgery because they were unable to wear contact lenses. In this case, you can expect to have problems after the surgery just as you did before it.
Are the effects of LASIK permanent?
To date, the data since 1991 regarding LASIK shows that LASIK is a permanent procedure.
What is the difference between LASIK and PRK?
Both procedures use the excimer laser to reshape the cornea and correct nearsightedness. The difference is that, in PRK, the laser is used on the surface of the cornea and, in LASIK, the laser is performed under a protective flap of tissue. Our surgeons believe that the use of the laser under a protective flap produces faster visual recovery, less pain and less scarring. In PRK, the laser is used on the surface of the eye, and it takes several weeks for the surface to heal and become smooth, allowing good vision. Steroid drops are necessary (usually for about two months) to help regulate healing, and it is not as easy to repeat PRK, because of scarring and lack of predictability. For these reasons, LASIK has become the refractive surgical procedure of choice.
What are the costs of the surgery?
LASIK costs $2,150 per eye.
This is a “global fee” which means that the one cost is all inclusive. The costs include the pre-op exam, surgery, post-operative kit containing protective goggles and sunglasses, follow up care for 1 year, and any enhancement treatments if necessary during the first year. It does not, however, include the cost of temporary glasses or prescription pain medicines or eye drops.
We have multiple payment plans available. The Refractive Surgery Director can review the options with you.
What is the (visual) guarantee?
As with any surgical procedure, no guarantees can be made. Your results will depend on your initial refractive error, your own individual healing characteristics and other factors.