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FAQs about LASIK

1) Does it hurt?  No.  LASIK is an outpatient surgery. Our surgery center will offer you an oral medication for anxiety such as Valium.  Topical anesthetic drops will be instilled into your eyes to keep them numb so you won’t feel anything (except the surgeon’s hands gently placed on your forehead).

2) I am I awake during the procedure? Yes.  The surgeon wants to be able to communicate with you during your procedure to remind you to focus on the flashing lights.  Taking the Valium will help you stay relaxed without interfering with your ability to understand what the doctor is telling you.

3) Will a laser actually shoot into my eye? There
are two lasers.  A suction ring is placed over the eye, which presses on the surface of the eye.  During that time, a laser delivers thousands of pulses, which cut a partial thickness flap into the cornea.  Afterwards the doctor will place a device on your eyelids to keep your eyes open--so you won’t have to worry about blinking.  With the flap then lifted, the second laser will reshape the cornea. Afterwards, the surgeon closes the flap and it will start to seal right
away.

4) Will I still have to wear my glasses or contacts?  You may, but the majority of people are glasses and contact lens free.  There may be some need to use glasses for driving at night, or for reading (if you are over 40 years of age).  Many years after your surgery, however, you may need to wear glasses due to natural aging changes in the eyes.

5) How bad do my eyes need to be to get LASIK?  The main thing is that you have healthy eyes and corneas.  Additionally, conditions such as corneal scars, cataracts, chronic dry eye, or glaucoma can disqualify you.  LASIK is very customizable, so you may be able to get the procedure done whether you are nearsighted, farsighted or have an astigmatism.  You will need to work with the consulting optometrist to see if you are an ideal candidate and to see what procedure is best for you.  There is a new technology called “topographic guided laser surgery,” or Custom LASIK.  The doctor downloads a map of the front surface of your eye and tailors the laser to your unique shape.

6) Will my insurance cover it?  Usually not since LASIK is considered an “elective surgery”. You can set aside funds in a FSA (flexible spending account) or HSA (health savings account), you could pay by check or credit card, or you could apply for financing. 

7) How long before I can see?  You will start to see the result shortly after your surgical procedure. Things at a distance will seem hazy, but remember you just had surgery on your eye(s). You will be in the surgical suite for less than 30 minutes but you should plan to be at the surgical center about 2 hours.  The best thing to do after your surgery is to go home and rest for a minimum of two hours.  Your eyes may sting, burn or have a gritty sensation.  You will be given sunglasses to help ease the light sensitivity.

8) Is there anything I need to do after surgery?  YES.  You will be issued two or three medicated eye drops to help with preventing infection and to assist in reducing inflammation in your eyes.  Also you will need to be very aggressive with your Preservative Free Artificial Tears; they will be your best friend as far as comfort and healing. You will need to have about five follow up visits during the 6 month duration after getting refractive surgery.  

9) Do I have to have Routine eye exams after my surgery?  Yes, you will want to continue with your routine eye exams annually.  Once you are able to see well, we want to keep you seeing well.  Having good vision doesn’t guarantee that there aren’t other conditions affecting your eyes.

10) What are some common restrictions that would make me not a candidate.   People with diabetes, systemic lupus, or rheumatoid arthritis don’t heal well and are not good candidates at OMC AVDLS.  Additionally, when you are pregnant or nursing, certain hormones can change your vision; you will want to have stopped nursing for at least 3 months prior to getting refractive surgery.  If your prescription is still changing and hasn’t been stable over the last year or two, you will have to wait for it to stabilize before getting LASIK.