COMMON QUESTIONS - LASIK

Common Questions about LASIK

What should I expect before surgery?

You will need a baseline evaluation by Dr. Rishi. If you wear contact lenses, it is a good idea to stop wearing them before your baseline evaluation and switch to wearing your glasses full-time. Contact lenses change the shape of your cornea for up to several weeks after you have stopped using them depending on the type of contact lenses you wear. The day before your surgery, you should stop using creams, lotions, makeup and perfumes. These products as well as debris along the eyelashes may increase the risk of infection during and after surgery. You will need to arrange for transportation to and from your surgery and your first follow-up visit.

What should I expect during surgery?

The surgery should take less than 30 minutes. You will lie on your back in a reclining chair in an exam room containing the laser system. A numbing drop will be placed in your eye, the area around your eye will be cleaned, and an instrument called a lid speculum will be used to hold your eyelids open. A ring will be placed on your eye and very high pressures will be applied to create suction to the cornea. Your vision will dim while the suction ring is on and you may feel the pressure and experience slight discomfort during this part of the procedure. You will be able to see, but you will experience fluctuating degrees of blurred vision during the rest of the procedure. The doctor will then lift the flap and fold it back on its hinge, and dry the exposed tissue.

The laser will be positioned over your eye and you will be asked to stare at a light. This is not the laser used to remove tissue from the cornea. This light is to help you keep your eye fixed on one spot once the laser comes on. When your eye is in the correct position, your doctor will start the laser. At this point in the surgery, you may become aware of new sounds and smells. The pulse of the laser makes a ticking sound. A computer controls the amount of laser energy delivered to your eye. After the pulses of laser energy vaporize the corneal tissue, the flap is put back into position.

A shield should be placed over your eye at the end of the procedure as protection, since no stitches are used to hold the flap in place. It is important for you to wear this shield to prevent you from rubbing your eye and putting pressure on your eye while you sleep, and to protect your eye from accidentally being hit or poked until the flap has healed.

 

What should I expect after surgery?

Immediately after the procedure, your eye may burn, itch, or feel like there is something in it. Your vision will probably be hazy or blurry. These symptoms should improve considerably within the first few days after surgery. You should plan on taking a few days off from work until these symptoms subside. You should see your doctor within the first 24 hours after to remove the eye shield, test your vision, and examine your eye. Do not resume wearing a contact lens in the operated eye, even if your vision is blurry.

  You should wait one to three days following surgery before beginning any non-contact sports, depending on the amount of activity required, how you feel, and your doctor's instructions. To help prevent infection, you may need to wait for up to two weeks after surgery or until your doctor advises you otherwise before using lotions, creams, or make-up around the eye. You should also avoid swimming and using hot tubs or whirlpools for 1-2 months. Strenuous contact sports such as boxing, football, karate, etc. should not be attempted for at least four weeks after surgery. It is important to protect your eyes from anything that might get in them and from being hit or bumped.

How can some doctors provide LASIK for $499?

Some national chains may advertise LASIK prices as low at $499 an eye, but the simple response to this is that it is a "bait and switch" way of marketing. They may get you in the door for a low cost, but once additional fees and services are tacked on you will be paying three times that amount. The typical national price (per eye) for laser vision surgery is $1,657, according to a Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center survey of 793 U.S. adults who had the surgery over the past eight years. The price can range from $1,600 to $3,200 per eye, depending on the surgeon and procedures performed. In fact, a testimony before a U.S. House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee in 2006, states only about 3% of all LASIK procedures actually cost less than $1,000 per eye. The moral to the story is "you get what you pay for."

Am I a candidate for LASIK?

The decision to have LASIK will depend on the results of your preoperative exam. Every individual is unique so each eye requires unique and careful examination with the best technology. It is important to understand that not everyone is a suitable candidate for LASIK. Some basic requirements include: stable eyeglass prescription for at least two years, corrected vision of at least 20/40, a healthy cornea, no presence of eye disease and the candidate must be over the age of 18.

How long does it take to do LASIK?

The actual procedure usually takes less than 10 minutes per eye. Depending on your prescription, and the amount of correction needed, the laser itself only takes 20-50 seconds to correct your vision. With consultations, exams and recovery, you should plan on being in the office for a couple hours on your day of surgery.

How soon after the surgery will I be able to see?

Visual recovery varies from one day to one week. The majority of patients resume normal activities one to two days following surgery but it may take 1 to 2 months for your vision to fully stabilize. Although everyone is a little different, the vast majority of our LASIK patients achieve legal driving vision or better, the very next day. Initially, your vision might not be crisp and may fluctuate slightly. This is perfectly normal and should improve gradually day by day.

When will I be able to drive?

On the day of your surgery it is important to have a driver take you home. You will also need a driver to bring you to your post-operative appointment the day after surgery. In most cases, patients are able to drive by the end of that day.

How long will the effects of LASIK last?

In most cases, the treatment effect of laser vision correction is permanent, especially if your eyeglass prescription was stable before treatment. If there is something in your genetics that says your prescription will change in the future, having surgery now will not prevent that from occurring. In our experience, a change like this is very uncommon. If necessary, you may be able to be re-treated many years later should that occur.

How often will I see the doctor following my surgery?

Your postoperative appointments will be scheduled for the day after surgery, at one week, at one month, and at six months. More frequent appointments may be scheduled as needed. Of course the doctors at Kumar Eye Institute are always available to see you should a situation arise.

Can Teenagers Have LASIK Surgery?

LASIK surgery is not recommended for children or teenagers. The FDA strictly prohibits LASIK surgery for those who are not yet 18 years of age. Since the eyes of teens continue to change, LASIK should not be preformed until vision finally stabilizes in a person's 20s. Because LASIK permanently alters the shape of the cornea, it is risky to perform LASIK on a cornea that is still changing in shape and size. If LASIK were to be performed on a teenager, the procedure would probably have to be repeated when he or she reached early adulthood.

Is LASIK safe during pregnancy?

LASIK is not recommended during or shortly after pregnancy. It is recommended that you postpone LASIK due to hormone fluctuations, dry eyes, medications and the small amount of radiation produced from the laser. LASIK should be postponed for some time after pregnancy. Most LASIK surgeons and obstetricians recommend waiting at least two menstrual cycles after you have stopped breastfeeding to have LASIK.