Q. What is iLASIK?
A. iLASIK is a procedure that improves vision by changing the shape of the cornea with a laser and is a very effective treatment for a wide range of vision problems. iLASIK continues to grow in popularity and is the number one elective surgery in the country.
Q. Why do people have iLASIK surgery?
A. Research has shown that there are four main reasons that people choose to have iLASIK. They are:
- Life simplification: No longer having to deal with glasses or contacts
- Independence: Freedom from dependence on glasses and/or contacts
- Performance: Ability to perform better in sports-related activities
- Ability to see 24/7 when it counts: Better vision for all occasions (e.g., at a play, evening out, playing golf)
Q. Who is a good candidate for iLASIK?
A. iLASIK can treat a very broad range of nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. The best way to determine who is a good candidate is with a thorough eye exam. Candidates must be 21 years of age or older, in good general health, and have good eye health with no diseases such as cataracts or glaucoma.
Q. How long does iLASIK and PRK actually take?
A. Most patients are in the laser suite for no longer than 10 minutes. The actual laser treatment time takes just 15-90 seconds, depending on the degree of correction required. Total time at the center on the day of the procedure will be about 2-3 hours.
Q. What results can a person hope to achieve?
A. iLASIK has proven overwhelmingly successful in reducing dependence on glasses and contact lenses. Clinical studies show that most iLASIK patients (with mild to moderate prescriptions) have the potential to achieve 20/20 vision or near 20/20 vision. Generally, this means they no longer need or have reduced dependence on glasses or contacts to drive, play sports, watch movies and TV, or participate in careers requiring excellent vision. Two-thirds achieved 20/20 vision or better.
Q. If I have had a previous corneal injury, can I have a refractive procedure done?
A. A full eye exam is needed in order to determine if you are a good candidate. If you have had a corneal injury, it will depend upon the size and type of injury.
Q. Is Laser Vision Correction painful?
A. During the iLASIK procedure, there is no pain. Instead, there is a sensation of firm pressure for just 8 to 10 seconds while the corneal flap is being created. Following the procedure, patients may experience some mild scratchiness (usually described as the sensation of having an eyelash floating on the surface of the eye) that is relieved by the use of artificial tears and several hours of rest.
There is no discomfort at all during the PRK procedure. Following the procedure, you may experience a gritty sensation with some mild to moderate discomfort which we alleviate by putting in a contact lens and giving you anesthetic drops and pain medication to use during the first 24 hours in the event of severe discomfort. All discomfort should be completely resolved within 2-3 days as the surface layer fills in to cover the exposed area. All discomfort should be completely resolved within 2-3 days except in the rarest of cases.
Q. Can I have both eyes done at the same time?
A. Most patients undergoing iLASIK and PRK prefer to have both eyes treated on the same day since it is more convenient for them, however this is a decision entirely between the patient and the doctor.
Q. Will I be awake as the procedure is being performed?
A. Yes. Your doctor will ask you to look at a blinking light within the laser during the procedure. This will ensure that the laser treatment will be centered properly over the center of your vision during the treatment.
Q. What if my eye moves during the procedure?
A. The surgeon will continuously observe your eye and head position during the laser treatment. If necessary, they will stop the laser treatment if your eye (or head) moves too much, but this almost never occurs. Several of our lasers have computerized tracking devices that also monitor the position of your eye. These trackers detect and compensate for small movements of the eye by guiding the laser beam to compensate for these small movements. As a result, the laser remains precisely centered over the treatment area. The combination of your surgeon’s constant attention and this amazing tracking technology provides the highest level of precision, comfort and safety.
Q. When can I go back to work after Laser Vision Correction?
A. With iLASIK most patients will be able to return to their normal activities the very next day. With PRK, they can return within 2-5 days after the vision correction procedure.
Q. Will the effects of the treatment be permanent?
A. Given the results of the U.S. clinical trials and the results reported internationally, the treatment appears to be permanent, however iLASIK and PRK will not prevent age related conditions such as cataracts or presbyopia.
Q. What are the side effects of Laser Vision Correction?
A. The most common side effect after laser vision correction is dryness of the eyes. This dryness is almost always temporary and can be treated with a variety of artificial tears solutions and other methods which increase the amounts of natural tears in the eye. The use of punctal plugs (which allow the eye to retain more of its natural tear secretion) is probably the best way to prevent this side effect from occurring, and can also dramatically reduce symptoms associated with dryness should it occur. There is significantly less dryness after the PRK procedure, but with the appropriate use of punctal plugs, tear production after iLASIK can be optimized to maximize vision. Another side effect of laser vision correction is the “halo” effect which is usually noticed as some degree of glare or halo around lights at night.
With PRK, a small percentage of patients may develop haze that, in rare cases, may affect visual acuity. This is exceedingly rare in patients whose initial prescription is < -4D. The effect may lst for several months, but is rarely permanent.