First, schedule a refractive consult appointment. Dr. Cavanaugh or Dr. Jaynes along with one of our highly-trained surgical counselors will discuss all options with you. Your vision should be stable and co-existing conditions such as dry eye should be treated prior to consideration of refractive surgery. We may contact your regular eye doctor to verify the stability of your prescription. Contact lenses distort or warp the shape of the cornea and can make pre-operative measurements inaccurate. Because of this, it is very important that you discontinue contact lens wear prior to your pre-operative consult. Soft contact lens wearers need to be out of the lenses for at least one week and hard / gas permeable contact lens wearers need to be out of the lenses for a month plus an additional week for every decade of CL wear. Once accurate measurements are obtained at the consult, you may resume contact lens wear until the day before surgery. The consultation appointment will last about two hours and your eyes will be dilated. The visit will completely prepare you for surgery and will include exam, diagnostic testing and surgical counseling.
Video: Refractive Surgery
Once you've made the decision to pursue refractive surgery, you can relax knowing you're in the best of hands with Dr. Cavanaugh, who has performed more than 25,000 surgeries and has over 20 years of experience in laser vision correction. Once Dr. Cavanaugh determines you are a LASIK candidate, your outpatient surgery will be quick and painless, using advanced laser systems that create clearer vision than ever before. The day after your surgery, you'll enjoy the life-changing experience of clear vision without glasses or contact lenses.
During your pre-op consult, a series of diagnostic tests will be performed to determine whether your eyes are suitable for the procedure. These sophisticated diagnostic tests are intended to create your own special treatment program.
To make sure you have the right prescription, your vision will be carefully measured and a meticulous series of refractions will be done.
People with large pupils who have had laser eye surgery often complain of halos and glare. Our laser does the largest treatment zone of any platform to minimize or eliminate this problem. Our doctors will determine if your pupils fall under the parameters that are safe for treatment and will pick the appropriate laser settings.
The Orbscan® anterior segment analysis system analyzes your cornea with almost 10,000 data points. It measures the shape as well as the thickness of your cornea and provides a corneal topography map similar to a topographic map of a country. This technology allows Dr. Cavanaugh and Dr. Jaynes to assess the microscopic health of your cornea to determine if you are suitable for laser eye treatment and detect any possible diseases that would make LASIK unsafe. We also use this tool to monitor corneal changes as your eyes are healing.
Safety is of paramount importance in LASIK surgery. Thinning the cornea excessively during LASIK can lead to future problems. Higher prescriptions require removal of more corneal tissue with the laser. Because of this, it is vital to check pre-op if your cornea is thick enough for laser correction – especially if your prescription is more severe. We use Orbscan and/or ultrasonic measurements called corneal pachymetry to ensure that you have adequate tissue thickness to stay in the “safety zone” with your LASIK procedure.
Wavefront Aberration Testing
The Zywave™ Aberrometer gathers the data needed for Zyoptix Custom LASIK by taking detailed wavefront measurements of your eyes' optics. Wavefront technology is used in astronomy to detect and eliminate the “aberrations” in the atmosphere and space that distort the resolution of photos captured by telescopes. In our eyes, we can use this same technology to measure the unique aberrations or visual distortions that adversely affect the quality of our vision and subsequently allow us to treat these with the laser. The Technolas™ Custom Zyoptix treatment combines the Bausch & Lomb Orbscan Topography with the Bausch & Lomb Zywave™ aberrometry to help Dr. Cavanaugh design the best treatment plan unique to your own “visual fingerprint”.
Our doctors will thoroughly examine your eyes to ensure that they are healthy and stable enough for surgery. This will include measuring your intraocular pressure and examining all areas of your eye including your cornea and retina so expect to have your pupils dilated. We will also measure your tear production to test for dry eye and recommend a treatment program for this problem if it is found. We may also ask you and/or your GP about your overall health as certain diseases can affect your candidacy.
LASIK is an outpatient procedure that requires no injections, stitches, or needles. We typically perform surgery on both eyes the same day. On the day of your LASIK procedure, you will be asked to arrive at our Overland Park office and Laser Center about 30 to 45 minutes in advance of your scheduled surgery time to check in and be prepared for surgery. Those who need repeat testing prior to surgery will be asked to come earlier. Expect to be with us for 1 ½ to 2 hours on your procedure day. Our pre-op technician will counsel you on what to expect during surgery and will go over your postop instructions. You will receive a Valium, if you choose, to calm your nerves and begin to receive your first doses of numbing drops. Any repeat measurements or scans will be done at that time. Dr. Cavanaugh will personally speak with you, answer questions and examine your eyes just prior to moving to the Laser Suite.
Your LASIK Procedure
Once you are taken to the Laser Suite, the area around your eyes will be thoroughly cleaned and you will receive additional anesthetic eye drops that completely numb your eyes to make sure that you feel no pain. You will lay face up on the laser bed and your operative eye will be kept open by a lid holder. You will be asked to focus on a red blinking light in the laser. Dr. Cavanaugh will perform the surgery and the treatment should be over in a few minutes. The LASIK treatment consists of three basic steps:
- Creating the Flap
- The Laser Correction
- Replacing the Flap
Our “hand holder” surgical technician will talk you through the procedure to ensure that you are comfortable. Patients report little if any discomfort during surgery and typically feel light pressure or a slight dull ache for 20-30 seconds. Once you are done, Dr. Cavanaugh will perform one more final check on your eyes under the slit lamp microscope in the surgery suite.
LASIK Post-op Care
After the procedure, you may feel some slight post-operative discomfort (scratchy, stinging, tearing) that is most pronounced in the first 3-4 hours following surgery so you will be asked to go home and take a nap. You should notice an improvement in your vision almost immediately after your nap and certainly by the next day, however, your vision may require several months to fully stabilize. You will receive eye shields to prevent you from rubbing your eyes while asleep and sunglasses to protect your eyes because they will be sensitive to bright light for a short time. Although most patients will be able to see well enough to drive following the procedure, it is best to arrange for someone to drive you to and from your procedure as well as to and from your required follow-up appointment with your eye doctor the day following your surgery. During the follow-up visit, your eyes will be examined to assess the results of your LASIK procedure and ensure proper healing. For best results, you must keep all recommended post-operative visits.
LASIK Medication Schedule
We will prescribe antibiotic drops to prevent infection, steroid drops to minimize inflammation and moisturizing tear drops to treat dry eyes and promote proper healing. Since LASIK makes your eyes dryer for at least 90 days post-op, it is very important that you use supplemental tear drops.
What to Expect in the First Few Months
- Fluctuating vision with progressive clearing over the next few weeks
- Dimmer vision indoors or at night compared to outside or in bright lights
- Glare and halos around lights at night
- Dry eyes and occasional scratchiness
- Possible need for reading glasses if you are over 40
- No rubbing the eye(s) for 3 months
- No eye make-up for 3-4 days – You may resume moisturizer and/or foundation after your 1 day post op visit
- Wear goggles or eye shields over eye(s) at bedtime for 1 week
- You may bathe or shower but avoid direct water or shampoo in eyes
- No swimming in a pool for 2 weeks
- Avoid lakes, oceans, hot tubs, and saunas for 1 month
- Avoid dusty or dirty environments in the first week
- Protect your eyes from the sun and wind