LASIK Q & A
What can I expect during LASIK?
First, Dr. Ginsberg will create a very thin, superficial flap in your cornea with a small surgical tool called a microkeratome or with a femtosecond laser. Dr. Ginsberg will then fold back the hinged flap to access the underlying cornea (called the stroma) and remove some corneal tissue using an excimer laser.
Excimer lasers create a cool ultraviolet light beam to remove (“ablate”) microscopic amounts of tissue from the cornea to reshape it so light entering the eye focuses more accurately on the retina for improved vision.
For nearsighted people, the goal is to flatten the cornea; with farsighted people, a steeper cornea is desired. Excimer lasers also can correct astigmatism by smoothing an irregular cornea into a more normal shape.
After the laser ablation reshapes the cornea, the flap is then laid back in place, covering the area where the corneal tissue was removed. The flap seals to the underlying cornea during the healing period following surgery.
LASIK eye surgery requires only topical anesthetic drops, and no bandages or stitches are required.
Why is a LASIK consultation necessary?
Dr. Ginsberg will perform a thorough eye exam to ensure your eyes are healthy enough for the procedure. He will evaluate the shape and thickness of your cornea; pupil size; refractive errors (myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism); as well as any other eye conditions.
The tear film on the surface of your eyes also will be evaluated, and a precautionary treatment may be recommended to reduce your risk of developing dry eyes after LASIK.
Usually, an automated instrument called a corneal topographer is used to measure the curvature of the front surface of your eye and create a “map” of your cornea.
With wavefront technology associated with custom LASIK, you also are likely to undergo a wavefront analysis that sends light waves through the eye to provide an even more precise map of aberrations affecting your vision.
Dr. Ginsberg also will ask you about your general health history and any medications you are taking to determine if you are a suitable candidate for LASIK.
You should stop wearing contact lenses for a period of time advised by Dr. Ginsberg (typically around two weeks) before your eye exam and before the LASIK procedure. This is because contact lens wear can temporarily alter the natural shape of your cornea.
Can anyone get LASIK?
The qualifications of a good candidate for refractive or laser eye surgery generally include:
- At least 18 years of age
- Stable eyeglass and contact lens prescription for at least 2 to 3 years
- Stable vision over at least the past year
If you’re not a good LASIK candidate, a number of other vision correction surgeries are available, such as PRK and LASEK laser eye surgery and Phakic IOL or Implantable Contact Lens surgery.
Will LASIK be painful?
LASIK is generally painless except for the tiny amount of discomfort you’ll feel after the procedure. Your eye is numb because of the anesthetic eye drops.
What if my prescription is “too strong” for LASIK?
Extreme nearsightedness is sometimes not curable with LASIK, as surgeons need to remove corneal tissue to make vision clear. People with extreme needs may need a large amount of tissue removed, and there may not be enough left behind to result in a healthy eye. If the prescription is too strong, some surgeons may advise their patients to avoid LASIK.
Why is LASIK performed using lasers instead of blades now?
Traditionally, LASIK was performed using a blade, but the bladeless option is becoming more common. The primary difference between the two LASIK types is how the surgeon creates the corneal flap. Outside of the creation of the flap, both types of LASIK work the same way.
What is the recovery process like after having LASIK?
The immediate recovery period for LASIK generally lasts six to 12 hours, but it varies by patient, depending on several factors. Most patients see clearly within 24 hours after vision correction surgery, but others take two to five days to recover.
Is LASIK a permanent procedure?
LASIK eye surgery is a permanent way to reshape the cornea to correct vision conditions including nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism and it’s a way to rid yourself from the hassle of glasses and contacts, which may interfere with your lifestyle.
Will I still need to wear glasses and contacts after I have LASIK?
While LASIK can greatly reduce the use of glasses or contact lenses throughout the day, it does not claim to eliminate the need completely. Everyone responds to the surgery slightly differently. Depending on your age and other vision conditions, glasses may still be needed after LASIK, particularly for reading.
Is there an advantage to having a fellowship-trained cornea specialist perform your LASIK procedure?
Yes, as a fellowship-trained cornea specialist has mastered a specific area of medicine or surgery, to become an expert in that field, “Fellowship Trained” means the surgeon or physician has shown the highest level of dedication to that field and achieved the highest level of training.
What will my life be like after having LASIK?
Laser eye surgery offers numerous benefits and can dramatically improve your quality of life.
Most people achieve 20/20 vision or better after the surgery, but LASIK results do vary.
While LASIK has an excellent safety profile, LASIK complications can occur. These include infection and night glare (from starbursts or halos appearing around lights).
A small percentage of people will need a LASIK enhancement or “touch up” procedure, a few months after the primary LASIK surgery to achieve acceptable visual acuity.
You also may still need reading glasses once you reach your 40s, due to a normal age-related loss of near vision called presbyopia.
While LASIK surgery has a high success rate, it is important that you discuss with Dr. Ginsberg any concerns you may have before you consent to have the surgery. Contact Ginsberg Eye in Naples, FL to schedule your LASIK consultation!