What exactly is laser and surgical vision correction?
Laser vision correction is designed to change the focusing power of the eye. This is usually done by changing the shape of the cornea with an excimer laser. Implanting a new focusing lens implant will also dramatically improve how your eye focuses light.
How do I know if I am a good candidate for LASIK?
Most people who are nearsighted, farsighted or have astigmatism can benefit from laser vision correction. Based on a thorough evaluation of your eyes, Dr. Cavanaugh and Dr. Jaynes will make a specific recommendation about which procedure is right for you. Their decision will be based on many factors including your age, vision stability, overall eye health, current prescription, expectations, as well as a series of sophisticated eye scans including the new Wavefront Analyzer. Some patients who aren’t ideal LASIK candidates can have other procedures such as lens implants.
How long does the LASIK procedure take?
The actual procedure takes approximately five minutes per eye to perform, although the laser is on for just a matter of seconds. The average total time at the surgery center is about 1 ½ to 2 hours on the day of your procedure.
Does LASIK hurt?
Most patients report that the surgery is painless or that they feel only a light pressure sensation. Before your procedure, you will be given anesthetic drops to completely numb your eyes. After your procedure, your eyes may feel scratchy with stinging and tearing for a few hours. Most people need only Tylenol or Advil and a little rest time. This improves after a three to four hour nap.
What if I blink or move?
This is a common concern with patients. There is a target light for you to focus on during the procedure. Dr. Cavanaugh will also monitor your eye position through a microscope to assure proper alignment. To make sure the laser treatment stays properly centered, he uses a laser with an Active Eye Tracker - a sophisticated high-speed radar that follows your eye movements. It will only deliver laser treatment if your eye is in the correct position.
How soon will I notice an improvement in my vision?
Most patients experience improvement in vision within 24 hours after their procedure, allowing them to resume most normal activities. You will most likely be able to return to work within a day or two, however, it may take several weeks for your vision to completely stabilize.
When will I be able to drive?
On the day of your surgery, it is important to have a driver take you home as you may have been given a mild sedative. Most patients drive the following day or when their vision allows.
What should I expect after surgery?
You may initially experience increased dryness, glare, and halos at night as well as some fluctuation in your vision. These symptoms are a normal part of the healing process and usually resolve over time. You will use medicine drops as well as artificial tear drops during the post-operative period.
Should I expect night vision problems?
It's common to experience glare and halos at night for the first few months after your procedure. This typically diminishes over time. Ongoing problems can be caused by the use of older generation lasers and poor treatment beam designs. The new “flying spot” lasers, such as our Bausch + Lomb Technolas laser, apply a much smoother treatment and blend the region between treated and untreated cornea better. The Bausch + Lomb Technolas laser also provides the largest diameter treatment zone available thus minimizing the risk of nighttime glare and halos. Very few of our patients report any night vision problems after full healing.
What are the possible complications?
As with any surgical procedure, there are risks to LASIK. Potential complications include under- or over-correction, corneal flap healing problems, dry eye, hazy vision, sensitivity to light, glare at night, loss of best corrected visual acuity, and infection. The vast majority of patients do not have complications. You can reduce your risk of complications by going to an experienced surgeon who has invested in advanced technology to determine whether you are a good candidate for LASIK. A sterile, humidity-controlled laser suite will help ensure that the laser performs optimally.
How long will the effect of LASIK last?
In most cases, the treatment effect of laser vision correction is permanent, especially if your eye-glass prescription was stable before treatment. Your distance vision should be very stable, however, your eyes will continue to age which will lead to worsening of your near vision. Fortunately, you may be able to have additional procedures to compensate for this change. LASIK does not prevent the onset of other age-related eye diseases such as cataracts which could also change your vision.
Where can I learn more about LASIK?
What are my options if I’m not a good candidate for LASIK?
Dr. Cavanaugh offers a number of non-LASIK procedures to reduce or eliminate dependence on glasses and/or contact lenses. For those who are tired of hassling with reading glasses, he offers Conductive Keratoplasty (CK), a gentle non-surgical procedure using radiofrequency to create a bifocal effect in the cornea. Alternatively, there are surgical lens procedures using the new focusing and multifocal lens implants as well as implantable contact lenses. Dr. Cavanaugh and Dr. Jaynes will help you determine which procedure is best for you. Click here
for refractive alternatives offered by Cavanaugh Eye Center.