Asking the right questions is an important part of the decision to have LASIK. Below are some of the most common questions we hear from patients considering LASIK. Knowing the answers to these questions can help you decide if LASIK is right for you. Do you have questions about LASIK that aren't answered here? Please give us a call today.
What is LASIK?
LASIK is a surgical procedure used to adjust the eye's focusing ability by reshaping the cornea. The laser removes microscopic bits of tissue to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and/or astigmatism.
If you desire to reduce your dependence on glasses or contact lenses, LASIK may be an excellent option for you, but it is not the only option. PRK and the VISIAN ICL are two other refractive surgery options.
Since each patient is unique, there is no universal method that works for everyone. Your best option should be decided after a thorough examination and discussion with one of our surgeons.
Am I choosing the right surgeon?
A surgeon’s experience and reputation for excellence are two factors that can help you determine if you are choosing the right eye surgeon. Is the eye surgeon is board-certificated in Ophthalmology? A board-certified eye surgeon has met the training and standards set by the American Board of Ophthalmology. Does he/she hold an additional certification in LASIK by the American Board of Eye Surgeons? This certification shows specific proficiency in the LASIK surgical procedure.
When choosing a LASIK surgeon, it is important to select a surgeon who can honestly explain your visual needs. In 98 percent of LASIK cases, the visual outcome is 20/40 or better, however, this is a surgical procedure and risk is still involved. This is why selecting a surgeon with a vast amount of experience is important.
Am I a good candidate for LASIK?
Like any procedure, LASIK is not for everyone because each individual is different. The ideal candidate for LASIK is 21 years of age or older, has a healthy cornea, and has not had any significant changes in vision in at least 12 months. People with certain medical conditions may not be good candidates for LASIK. LASIK is most appropriate for people who have a moderate degree of:
- Nearsightedness (myopia), with or without astigmatism
- Farsightedness (hyperopia), with or without astigmatism
LASIK can also benefit individuals over age 40 who have presbyopia (difficulty seeing nearby objects). The only way to determine your candidacy for LASIK is through a comprehensive, dilated eye exam. A majority of LASIK patients achieve improved vision and are happy with their decision to have LASIK. Ask your eye doctor if LASIK is suitable for you and what results you can expect.
Wondering if you might be a good candidate for LASIK? Take our quick self-evaluation quiz. Link to self-evaluation.
Is LASIK safe?
The FDA recognizes LASIK as proven, safe, and effective. Studies suggest just three to five percent of LASIK patients experience minor complications, such as dry eyes and nighttime glare. The risk of serious complication is less than one percent. There are no known cases of blindness resulting from LASIK.
What are the risks associated with LASIK?
LASIK is a proven safe and effective form of vision correction, but as with any surgery LASIK does carry some risks, though the potential for complications is slim.
The most common risks associated with LASIK include:
- Flap complications. During LASIK, a thin flap is created in the eye. That flap is folded back or removed, which has the potential for infection, excess tears, and swelling.
- Glare, halos and other vision disturbances. After surgery, some patients experience vision disturbances, especially at night, such as seeing a glare or halo around lights, or experiencing double vision.
- Dry eyes. The LASIK procedure causes a temporary decrease in tear production. During the healing process, many patients notice unusually dry eyes. Your doctor may recommend any combination of supplements, medications, artificial tears, and ointments to treat dry eyes. Patients who suffer from chronic severe dry eye prior to surgery may not be good candidates for LASIK. Some medications such as anti-depressants and anti-histamines can contribute to dry eyes.
- Undercorrection, overcorrection, or astigmatism. If the laser removes too much or too little tissue, the results may not be as good as expected. Uneven tissue removal can result in astigmatism. Choosing an experienced eye surgeon can help reduce these risks. Your eye doctor will discuss your individual risks at the time of your consultation.
Is LASIK painful?
Before surgery, your surgeon will place anesthetic eye drops in your eyes that will prevent you from feeling any pain during the LASIK procedure. If needed your doctor will prescribe pain medication after surgery. Most LASIK patients report no more than mild discomfort in the days immediately following the procedure.