Is LASIK safe?

As with all surgical procedures, there are risks involved. In the hands of a highly trained, experienced surgeon using the most advanced technology, the level of risk is diminished greatly and LASIK can be a very safe procedure. Gailey Eye Clinic offers our patients state-of-the-art VISX Star S4 technology, the IntraLase iFS™ laser, and CustomVue™ as part of the advanced all-laser iLASIK™ procedure.

How does LASIK correct my vision?

Nearsighted treatments share a common goal — to flatten the center of the cornea in order to reduce or eliminate myopia. In contrast, procedures to correct farsightedness steepen the central cornea. Finally, treatment for astigmatism changes the contour of the cornea from football shaped to basketball shaped. Astigmatism treatment can be performed alone (if it is the only problem) or at the same time as treatment for nearsightedness or farsightedness. Using a cool-beam excimer laser, we are able to reshape the cornea to resolve these vision problems.

Who is a good candidate for LASIK?

If you are 18 years or older and have a stable prescription, you are likely to be a good candidate for one of the many vision correction procedures available today. We offer a complimentary, personal consultation to determine whether your prescription is within the treatable range and whether you would be likely to benefit substantially from laser vision correction.

Can I have LASIK if I’m pregnant?

You should not have LASIK or any other laser eye surgery if you are pregnant, nursing, or expect to become pregnant or nurse within six months of the procedure. If pregnant, wait at least two months beyond delivery or after nursing has ended to talk to your eye doctor about when it is optimal to have your laser eye surgery.

Hormones produced during pregnancy and/or breastfeeding causes many women’s vision prescriptions to fluctuate dramatically, whether they are wearing glasses or contacts. This variability in hormone levels causes fluctuations in the curvature of the cornea.   Consequently, having LASIK surgery performed during pregnancy or while still nursing increases the likelihood that a retreatment will be needed later.

If I wear contacts, do I need to leave them out prior to my pre-op exam?

Depending on the type of contacts you wear, and how long you have worn contacts, you will be asked to remove your contacts anywhere from 3 days to 6 weeks prior to your pre-operative exam. Our surgeons will monitor your cornea’s curvature once your contacts are removed to ensure that any artificial reshaping of your cornea due to contact lens use is fully reversed prior to surgery.

After my pre-op exam , how soon can I my LASIK surgery done?

You may schedule your surgery so that it takes place as soon as the day after your preoperative visit, assuming that your surgeon concurs that this timetable is clinically optimal. Contact lenses wearers must have sufficient time out of their contacts to ensure that all corneal curvature induced by the contacts is gone prior to surgery. If you are a longtime contact wearer or wear hard lenses, we may schedule more than one pre-operative visit to check the curvature of your cornea.

Will I be able to have both eyes treated on the same day?

Virtually all of our LASIK patients choose to have both eyes treated the same day.

How long does surgery take?

The actual vision correction procedure lasts approximately 10 minutes per eye. You are awake and comfortable during this brief outpatient procedure. We ask that you arrive one-half hour before your scheduled surgery time so we can go over post-op instructions, administer numbing eye drops, and provide you with a mild sedative, such as Valium, to help you relax during the procedure. You should plan to be at your appointment for approximately 1.5 hours.

Is LASIK painful?

Prior to your procedure you will be given numbing eye drops so that you will not feel any pain during surgery. If you have any discomfort after the procedure, you may take an over-the-counter pain medication such as Tylenol or Advil. We strongly recommend that you return home promptly after surgery and go to sleep so that your natural eye fluids can begin the process of soothing and promoting healing. You will be given eye drops that may be used should your eye feel scratchy or dry. Patients who undergo ASA (flapless laser vision correction), as opposed to LASIK, should expect more scratchiness during the first week after surgery. These, too, can be remedied with eye drops and over-the-counter pain medications; in some cases, your surgeon will fit a bandage contact lens to promote healing during the first few days after surgery.

What if I blink or move during the procedure?

We use a lid holder to gently hold your eye open, making it impossible to blink during the procedure. Moreover, an infrared eye tracker follows eye movement and will automatically pause the laser if you look outside the treatment zone. We take the time to position you properly to ensure that your vision outcome is totally independent of any involuntary movements you may make.

What is the healing/recuperation time?

Although everyone is a little different, most LASIK patients drive themselves to their one-day post-op exam the very next day! ASA (Flapless LASIK) patients may take 4 or 5 days to achieve driving vision.

Visual recovery following LASIK is rapid. For best healing, we strongly recommend that you rest immediately after your procedure. You can resume your normal activities as soon as the next day following surgery with a few exceptions. Patients should not wear eye makeup for at least one week following the procedure. Swimming, hot tubs and whirlpools should be avoided for two weeks, as should gardening and dusty, dirty environments. Also, it is a good idea to avoid smoking or smoky areas. While showering or bathing, keep your eyes closed to avoid soap or shampoo irritation.

How many post-op visits will I have and are these included in the total cost of LASIK?

Your post-op exams are included in the overall price of LASIK. You will be seen for your first post-op exam the day after your surgery, as well as, approximately 1 week after surgery. Beyond that, we schedule monthly post-op visits at 1, 3, 6, 9 and 12 months. During this time, your vision outcome will be repeatedly evaluated to ensure that it is stable and that it does not require any further enhancement.

Are the results of LASIK permanent? Will I be able to undergo cataract surgery in the future, should I need it?

Clinical data, gathered internationally from countries that have performed laser vision correction for decades, indicate that LASIK is a superior treatment in terms of long-term stability of vision. Studies of the first patients who had LASIK performed in 1991 indicate that they have maintained their corrected vision. Stability of vision is largely achieved within 3 months of surgery.

Patients who undergo LASIK or ASA will be able to have cataract surgery at a later date, should such surgery be warranted. We strongly recommend that a highly experienced surgeon perform future cataract surgery; this will ensure that the intraocular lens implant for cataract surgery is measured precisely to reflect the earlier vision correction treatment. At Gailey Eye Clinic, not only do we perform all-laser LASIK, we offer all-laser cataract surgery too. Our state-of-the-art surgical equipment coupled with our surgeon’s expertise and years of experience ensure the best vision outcomes possible. They’re the only eyes you’ll ever have; trust Gailey to make sure they last a lifetime.

What is my next step?

While LASIK vision correction is popular, not everyone is a candidate. Your next step is to schedule a complimentary* LASIK screening to find out if you are a candidate. Click here to schedule your complimentary LASIK screening or call 800-325-7706 to speak to our Laser Vision Correction Coordinator.

To me it’s like a small miracle to see without the aid of glasses or contact. So don’t be scared, it is well worth it.

Jeremy H.
- LASIK patient
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