Here are answers to the questions we frequently hear from patients regarding LASIK vision correction.
What is LASIK laser vision correction?
LASIK (Laser-Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis) is a surgical procedure that uses a beam of light to reshape the cornea to improve vision. The laser removes microscopic bits of tissue to:
- flatten the cornea (to correct nearsightedness)
- steepen the cornea (to correct farsightedness)
- smooth out corneal irregularities (to correct astigmatism)
The goal of laser eye surgery is to change the shape the cornea so it does a better job of focusing images onto the retina for sharper vision.
The FDA recognizes LASIK as proven, safe and effective. LASIK uses a cool (non-thermal) beam of light that is controlled by a computer. The surgeon is in complete control of the laser at all times during the procedure.
Can both eyes be done at the same time?
Yes, LASIK procedures are almost always performed on both eyes at the same time.
How is LASIK today different from previous types of vision correction surgery?
Older techniques typically involved manually performed incisions rather than automated lasers for correction. Current FDA-approved laser vision correction methods, such as LASIK, have a higher predictability of the final result with a lower incidence of complications.
Does it hurt?
LASIK is a pain-free procedure because your surgeon will place anesthetic eye drops in your eye first. Afterward, you may experience some discomfort, but it is usually minimal.
How long does it take?
The laser treatment itself takes less than a minute; the entire procedure takes approximately 15 minutes per eye.
How do I know if I’m eligible for LASIK?
You must have a consultation with a surgeon to determine if you are a candidate for LASIK, but here are some guidelines:
- You cannot have a degenerative or autoimmune disease that would affect healing
- You must have healthy eyes — no glaucoma, infection, cataracts, severe dry eye or other conditions that could negatively impact healing
- You must be over 21 (with some exceptions)
- Your vision must be stable for at least a year before surgery
- You can’t be pregnant or on hormone therapy, because hormonal levels can affect the shape of your eye
What happens before the surgery?
Your Ophthalmologist will give you a thorough eye exam to make sure your eyes are healthy and you’re a suitable candidate for LASIK. You will be tested for glaucoma, cataracts and other conditions. A machine called a corneal topographer will be used to photograph and electronically map your eye. The surgeon will use this map to plan your surgery for the most precise results possible.
What happens on the day of surgery?
LASIK is an outpatient procedure, which means you will return home after your procedure. Someone else must drive you home, because your vision will be a blurry after surgery.
During the procedure, your surgeon will place anesthetic drops in your eye, position your head under the laser and place an eyelid speculum under your lids to hold your eye open. The surgeon creates a thin flap in the top of the cornea, folds it back, uses the laser to remove some corneal tissue and then puts the flap back in place.
What happens after surgery?
After you rest for a little while, your surgeon will exam your eyes again, and then send you home. You’ll probably notice clearer vision immediately, and it will continue to improve over the next few hours and days.
When can I drive again?
You may begin driving as soon as you see well enough; excluding the day you had the procedure. Usually about 24 to 36 hours afterwards.
When can I go back to work?
Most people who have LASIK return to work the next day.
When can I wear makeup again?
Most Ophthalmologists recommend you wait a full week before wearing makeup again. They also recommend using only new makeup (and throw away the old), to help reduce the changes of infection.
Any side effects?
Some people experience dry eye after LASIK, which usually is relieved with eye drops and disappears over time. Others may experience starbursts or halos around lights, especially at night. Usually this also effect disappears over time.
How often are follow up appointments?
It depends upon your surgeon and your condition. Typically, patients see their eye doctor the day after their procedure, then one week or one month later and then three months later.
What if I’m not seeing better?
A very tiny number of patients see well after surgery then experience a gradual worsening of vision. If this happens, consult with your Ophthalmologist to determine the cause and to see if another enhancement treatment is appropriate.
How much does LASIK cost?
Fees vary by region and surgeon. The average cost for LASIK procedures in the US is about $2,300 per eye. At Belcara Health, we have a dedicated Financing Specialist available to assist you secure financing and make plans for affordable monthly payments.
I have more questions, who should I ask?
The best source of information is a board certified Ophthalmologist and LASIK surgeon. At Belcara Health, LASIK consultations are complimentary. Call or contact us online to discuss your treatment options with Dr. Richard Adler, Board Bertified Ophthalmologist and vision correction specialist.
If you are on the fence about having LASIK surgery, I definitely recommend doing it and absolutely recommend that it’s done by Dr. Adler. I was terrified about having the process done, but Dr. Adler was extremely comforting and reassuring. He is extremely sharp, very nice and is always ready to answer questions. The staff is professional and nice too. My surgery went really well and I couldn’t believe I was actually able to walk out of the office that same day seeing without my glasses. I felt absolutely no pain during the procedure or at any point afterwards. I went from terrible vision (since I was a young child) to having 20/20 vision!!!