Any decisions we make about our health are very personal and can have any number of motivations. The decision to have a vision correction procedure such as LASIK is no different. You may simply be tired of wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses and the inconvenience it adds to your daily routine, not to mention the frequent visits to your optometrist or ophthalmologist. These all take time away from what, for many of us, are very busy and active lifestyles.
LASIK stands for Laser-Assisted Stromal In-situ Keratomileusis. That’s a mouthful and an eyeful! But simply put, it is the best known and most common procedure for correcting a range of vision problems by using very precise, sophisticated lasers to reshape the curvature of the cornea enabling light to reach the back of the retina properly. Using a state-of-the-art laser, the surgeon creates a flap in the cornea, then after raising the flap, a second highly specialized laser is used to reshape the cornea. At Providence Eye & Laser Specialists we use the WaveLight FS200 and WaveLight EX500, respectively. The second step with the WaveLight EX500 places your prescription into the cornea permanently. Lastly, the flap is gently folded back into place where it immediately begins to heal and seal. A typical procedure involves a light sedative, numbing drops instilled into your eye and takes only about 20 minutes for both eyes. The end result is clearer, sharper, more accurate vision, and no more lost contacts or misplaced glasses. Since 2003, Providence Eye has been performing all laser (although thanks to technological advancements our laser has been upgraded multiple times!) LASIK and our two surgeons combined have conducted more than 45,000 LASIK and other proven alternative procedures using the most advanced technologies available.
LASIK is used to correct four common vision issues:
Each of these conditions is caused by the shape of your eyeball and the unique curvature of your cornea, which can range from being too flat, uneven, or curving too sharply. Each impacts the path that light takes to our retina, which in turn creates particular vision issues.
At Providence Eye & Laser Specialists our patients typically achieve 20/20 or better vision the morning after your procedure! 99% of patients actually have 20/40 vision or better, a small percentage of people just need a couple more days for their corneas to heal. According to a recent study published by the Journal of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, LASIK has a 96% patient satisfaction rate, making it one of the most popular and satisfying elective procedures measured today. People often ask if they will ever need LASIK surgery again? The answer is no, not typically, but every person is unique and there are an extremely small number of cases where a second treatment may be required. Technically, LASIK itself is permanent, but sometimes our eyes change over time. Age related eye issues such as presbyopia and/or cataracts will likely require the need for glasses, however this is not related to your cornea or your LASIK procedure. At Providence Eye we know it is important for patients’ vision to be fully mature and stable, that is what contributes to the most permanent result. If stability is not verified then in some cases, a patient may require an additional procedure down the road.
LASIK, which has been performed for more than 25 years in The United States, is a very safe procedure. As to whether you are a good candidate for LASIK, there are dozens of factors that your surgeon needs to consider. At Providence Eye, your safety and vision are our number one priority when evaluating whether LASIK is right for you.
Take a look at this easy-to-use, step-by-step guide to see if LASIK may be right for you.
In addition to the information we’ve shared so far, a simple and easy first step you may want to take is our Providence Eye Vision Correction Self Evaluation Quiz.
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When considering LASIK, a thorough consultation with your potential surgeon is required. Prior to your consultation, our surgeons, Dr. Mozayeni and Dr. Nunnery request that you take a break from contacts and wear your glasses only; 5 days if you wear soft spherical lenses or 10 days if you wear toric/astigmatism lenses. Why? Because contacts are like miniature suction cups, they sit right on top of your cornea, distorting the shape of your cornea. Your surgeon needs your cornea relaxed and in its most natural shape. During your consultation we will take 22,000 images of your cornea using our WaveLight Topolyzer VARIO Diagnostic Device. Imagine the detail! And did you know your cornea is unique to you just like your fingerprint? The protocol will be similar prior to the day of your LASIK procedure, 7 days wearing glasses only if you wear spherical contacts or 21 days if you wear toric/astigmatism contacts.
LASIK is an extremely safe, regularly performed procedure and thanks to advancements in technology that Providence Eye has invested in, if you are an ideal candidate then the risk of side effects is extremely low. However, it is important that you be fully educated. These exceedingly rare risks include:
LASIK surgery causes a temporary decrease in tear production, however after healing, tear production normally returns to your normal baseline.
This side effect has been reduced dramatically due to the improvement in technology that Providence Eye has invested in. Following your procedure, you may have difficulty seeing at night. You might notice glare and halos around bright lights. This generally lasts a few days to a few weeks.
So, while there are rare but potential side effects, at Providence Eye, we go the extra mile to mitigate risks. Continuity of care is core to everything we do. Your surgeon and their team keep a close eye on every step from the initial consultation, through the procedure, to post-operative care and beyond.
Here at Providence Eye, we know that one size does not fit all. That is why we offer multiple vision correction procedures. During your consultation with your potential surgeon, he will evaluate your vision, the health of your eyes and most importantly the structural integrity of your cornea. Additionally, he will review medical history and all medications and supplements you are taking. If you are not an ideal LASIK candidate, then Dr. Mozayeni or Dr. Nunnery may recommend an alternative procedure. The most common alternatives are PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy), EVO Visian ICL (Implantable Collamer Lens) and RLE (Refractive Lens Exchange). Let’s take a brief look at each of these options:
PRK is typically recommended for patients with certain underlying issues, such as a thinner-than- average cornea, or corneal scar. It is an equal procedure to LASIK but does have a longer healing time. PRK uses the same laser to place the prescription into the cornea. This procedure removes skin cells from the front of the cornea and does not involve a corneal flap. The recovery time after PRK is about 4-5 days.
EVO Visian ICL is an excellent option for those who may not be the best candidate for laser vision corrective surgery. It is especially effective for those under the age of 40 who have thin corneas, large pupils or moderate to severe myopia/nearsightedness. It is a biocompatible lens that is implantable into the eye, sometimes called an implantable ‘contact’ lens, although it actually floats and never comes in contact with the eye. This procedure removes no corneal tissue and is completely reversible.
RLE, sometimes referred to as clear lens exchange, is most often recommended for those over 45 who have presbyopia and moderate to severe myopia/nearsightedness. It is also an option for those who are severely farsighted or who may be experiencing an early onset of cataracts. It is the same surgical procedure as cataract surgery but is done electively for vision correction. During this procedure, the natural lens of the eye is removed, and replaced with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL) which corrects the vision.
If you’re interested in exploring LASIK or any other vision correction procedure, at Providence Eye, we’re here to take the time to educate you and answer your questions. Many of your questions can be answered during our first phone call! However, a complimentary procedural consultation with one of our surgeons will enable us to determine the right option for your vision correction needs, whether that is LASIK or another option that may be better suited for your unique circumstances. Ultimately, it’s about what’s right for you, your vision, and your lifestyle.
Schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our LASIK surgeons to get started on your journey to see more and live better.