LASIK: Freedom from Glasses & Contacts
The natural shape of your cornea and eye dictates how clearly you see. If they are shaped just right, you will have clear vision at all distances. However, if your cornea is too steep or flat – or your eye is too long or short – you will end up with blurry vision at near, far or all distances. This is because the cornea is not allowing light to properly bend (refract) and focus on the retina (the back of the eye). LASIK corrects these common refractive errors:
- Myopia (nearsightedness): blurry distance vision – caused by a steep cornea or longer eye so light focuses in front of the retina
- Hyperopia (farsightedness): blurry up-close vision – caused by a flatter cornea or a shorter eye so light focuses behind the retina
- Astigmatism: blurry vision at all distances – caused by an oval shaped cornea, rather than a round shape
How LASIK Works
LASIK surgery is performed to change the shape of your cornea so light entering your eyes can land directly onto your retina (the back of your eye). To do this, Dr. Colin E. Brown removes very small amounts of corneal tissue.
Prior to your surgery, we assess your eye health, measure your corneal thickness and evaluate the unique shape of your eyes to determine exactly how to reshape your cornea. Dr. Brown uses Corneal Topography to study the contour and characteristics of your cornea. We then use 3D mapping technology to create a complete picture of your eyes – like a fingerprint of your vision – for precise Wavefront Optimized® surgeries.
What to Expect on LASIK Surgery Day
LASIK is an outpatient surgery that is performed in our office. Our entire staff will work hard to make you as comfortable and relaxed as possible during your surgery day. Although your time in our surgical suite will only take about 15 minutes, we need a little extra time to have you complete last-minute paperwork and rest before and after the surgery, so plan to spend 1 hour with us on surgery day. If you are feeling especially anxious, we can provide relaxation medication to help calm your nerves.
Here is how the surgery process will go:
- You will relax in a comfortable reclining chair
- Numbing anesthetic eye drops will be placed into your eyes
- A special tool will be placed into your eyes to keep your eyes open, so you do not have to worry about blinking during surgery
Dr. Brown will create a thin flap on your cornea. Instead of using a hand-held microkeratome blade to create the corneal flap, we use the VICTUS® femtosecond laser platform for a blade-free experience. The VICTUS system offers a faster, cleaner and more precise incision with improved safety and better vision outcomes. It is also quicker and more comfortable than older flap creation methods. The laser offers real-time, 3D imaging of the eye to plan, perform and monitor the most challenging steps of LASIK surgery. The system complements the surgeon’s skill with computer-guided accuracy.
The flap is folded back to allow access to the underlying corneal tissue.
Dr. Brown then uses the Wavelight® EX500 excimer laser to reshape the cornea by removing small amounts of corneal tissue according to your unique refractive error. This laser provides accurate outcomes and Dr. Brown trusts this laser to be the safest for his patients. PerfectPulse Technology®compensates for any involuntary eye movements which halt the process entirely until the eye is in the correct position. This step takes just minutes to accomplish.
The flap is placed back into proper position where it begins to heal immediately.
Dr Brown will perform one final check of your eyes after the surgery. When Dr. Brown gives the ok, you will be free to have a friend drive you home so you can rest. The next morning most patients wake up to life with clear vision, although it may take a few months for your vision to completely stabilize.
After LASIK Surgery
Some patients experience temporary eye discomfort after LASIK surgery including:
- Mild pain
- Itching or burning
- Hazy vision
- Light sensitivity
- Dry eyes
It is important to avoid rubbing your eyes while your corneal flap heals to avoid moving the flap, infection or other complications. Discuss any of these conditions at your post-op appointment and contact our team if they continue.
Common Questions About LASIK
Numbing eye drops are placed into your eyes before the surgery to block the feeling of pain. Of course, every person has their own unique threshold for discomfort, but most patients do not report that the process is painful. You may feel a sensation of pressure on the eye during the surgery. Medicated eye drops or over-the-counter pain medications may help soothe any discomfort you experience as your eyes heal.
LASIK surgery takes on average 15-20 minutes, from the time you enter the LASIK suite until you go into the recovery area. However, plan to spend ~1 hour with us on the day of your surgery, due to additional paperwork and pre-operative and post-operative care.
Although LASIK has a less than 1% serious complication rate among experienced LASIK doctors, it is still a surgical procedure and therefore carries some element of risk. Complications of LASIK can include:
- Starbursts, glare or halos in low light environments
- Dry eyes
- Overcorrection or undercorrection of refractive error
- Corneal flap complications
- Blurred vision
The U.S. military has approved laser eye surgery for our troops, so this lends further credibility to the safety and effectiveness of LASIK.
You may only need 1 or 2 days off work for LASIK: one day for the surgery and one day to rest afterward (although the second day may not be necessary). People are usually amazed to learn how quick LASIK recovery is. In fact, the healing process begins immediately after surgery. Most patients can return to normal, non-strenuous activities the very next day, although there may be some vision fluctuations as your eyes continue to heal and your vision stabilizes. It is important to keep your follow-up visits so your doctor can monitor your progress.
While most patients can achieve 20/20 vision or better after LASIK at Great Plains Eye Specialists, it is important to realize that your vision is constantly changing. One eye condition that most people develop after age 40 is presbyopia. This is a gradual stiffening of the natural lens inside your eye that makes it difficult to focus on things up close. Over-the-counter reading glasses may be necessary, even if you have had successful LASIK. There are also different surgical methods to correct presbyopia. If you are experiencing this condition and are frustrated with reading glasses, contact us to learn about your treatment options.
There are several conditions that must be met to be considered for LASIK:
- 18 years or older
- Stable vision prescription for at least one year
- Free of eye disease or other interfering vision conditions
- Proper corneal thickness
- Good overall health
- Realistic expectations
- Full understanding of the potential risks
The only way to know if you meet these requirements is by having a comprehensive LASIK Consultation with us. It’s free and will let you know for sure if this is a safe option for vision correction for you.
It is not likely that the cost of LASIK will go down in the future. In fact, as technology changes the costs may actually rise over time. While the price of LASIK is a definite concern for many people, you do not want to shop for the lowest price if it means sacrificing quality. When you are researching LASIK centers, be sure to weigh the cost against:
- The surgeon’s training, experience and results
- The type of technology being used
- Whether or not the low advertised price will apply to your vision prescription
- Additional hidden fees that will apply
- Inclusion or exclusion of enhancement surgeries and follow-up care
Yes. This is called a bilateral LASIK surgery. You can choose to have the surgery on both eyes or just one eye at a time.
Patients should wait 1-2 weeks before wearing makeup. We recommend that patients purchase new eye makeup to avoid infection.