Refractive Surgery/LASIK Frequently Asked Questions Below are some commonly asked questions regarding the LASIK procedure. If your question is not listed here, please do not hesitate to contact Krista Felton at 304-598-4494. How do I know if I am a candidate for laser vision correction? Currently, the FDA has approved laser vision correction for nearsightedness, astigmatism and farsightedness. Not everyone is a candidate. There are several factors to consider. Patients with high nearsightedness, astigmatism and farsightedness are not good candidates. There are certain eye and medical conditions which makes a patient not suitable for LASIK surgery. To get the process started, we recommend you call for a phone consultation with our patient counselor. If you have your eyeglass or contact lens prescription available, we can tell you if you are potential candidate for laser refractive surgery. What will my vision be like following laser vision correction? Laser vision correction has been shown to reduce dependence on glasses and contacts. Over 95% of our patients undergoing laser vision correction achieve 20/40 vision or better. This will enable you to pass a driver's license exam without glasses. We will be happy to review the potential benefits and risks of laser vision correction with you. What is the difference between Conventional LASIK and Custom LASIK? Custom LASIK uses a tool called the wavefront analyzer to accurately measure the way light travels through your eye. The resulting map of your eye is then programmed into the laser, and the laser treats your eye based upon that personalized 3D map. CustomLASIK helps to treat "higher order" aberrations, which are tiny imperfections in the eye that can have a significant impact on one's quality of vision. In fact, higher order aberrations have been linked to visual glare and halos. Higher order aberrations have not been previously treatable with contacts, glasses or Conventional LASIK. What is CustomLASIK? CustomLASIK is a procedure that involves the use of a wavefront analyzer and enables your surgeon to customize the Conventional LASIK procedure to your individual eyes. This customized procedure can result in patients seeing clearer and sharper than ever before. Is the actual part performed the same way? Or is CustomLASIK a completely different procedure? The actual LASIK procedure is performed in exactly the same way in both Conventional LASIK and CustomLASIK. The pre-op testing for Conventional LASIK and CustomLASIK differ greatly. The wavefront analyzer used with CustomLASIK brings a whole new level of knowledge and accuracy to the surgeon. Are expensive places better? LASIK is a professional service with variable quality. It is not a product with consistency from one place to another. Top surgeons have professional fees consummate with their expertise. Often, less-skilled doctors charge less in order to attract more patients. Many of the discount centers work like assembly lines where patient-doctor relationships are minimal. Often, discount centers do not allow you to choose your surgeon or the doctor that performs your pre- and post-operative care. For most people, refractive surgery isn't the most appropriate place to try getting a "good deal." You can throw away and replace bad glasses or contact lenses, but you can't do that with bad refractive surgery. Look for quality, service, and commitment. How long will the procedure actually take? You will be at the Eye Institute approximately 1-½ hours. The time in the surgery suite with the surgeon is 15-20 minutes. The actual laser treatment time is approximately one minute per eye. Is LASIK really painless? For many patients, LASIK is indeed painless. However, some patients experience some discomfort after the procedure usually less than 24 hours. The eyes may feel scratchy, gritty or watery. These are temporary symptoms and are not a problem for most patients. Keeping the eyes closed and using the medication drops as instructed minimize discomfort. Discomfort during the procedure, if any, usually happens when the suction ring of the microkeratome (the flap maker) is seated on the eyes. The suction can give the eye a pressure sensation. Why must I discontinue contact lens wear before my preoperative exam? Contact lenses can change the shape of the cornea similar to how a watchband can make a skin imprint on your wrist. If you have your eyes examined too soon after taking out your contact lenses, some of the eye tests could give inaccurate results. You should discontinue wearing soft contact lenses 2 weeks prior to the pre-operative measurements and surgery. Rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lens wearers should discontinue wearing lenses 4 weeks prior to pre-operative measurements. Our doctors will advise you if they suspect your corneas have not returned to their natural shape after removing your contact lenses. What kind of vision can I expect after surgery? Many patients notice improved vision immediately after the procedure, although it is normal to be somewhat blurred immediately after an operation. The next day, most patients have excellent vision and do not need any glasses or contacts. Patients continue to see gradual increase in their visual acuity during the first five to seven days after the surgery. Do the results last? Refractive surgery is considered to be a permanent procedure. However, refractive surgery will not prevent any age-related conditions such as presbyopia (the need for reading glasses) , or cataracts. In a small number of cases, eyes do change over time and develop a new prescription, but the effect of the laser on the pre-operative prescription is permanent. Does insurance cover refractive surgery? Most insurance companies consider refractive surgery an elective surgery and it is not usually a covered benefit. However, it is certainly worth checking with your insurance company and we encourage you to call them. How much work will I miss? Most patients return to their normal activities the day after the procedure. The doctor can give your more details on what you can expect when you come in for an evaluation. Can both eyes be done at the same time? Because of the advanced technology associated with laser vision correction, both eyes are most often done at the same time. What are the risks of refractive surgery? While enjoying a very high success rate, refractive surgery is still surgery and like all surgery there is some risk associated with it. Our most important goal is your safety. Some potential complications include conditions such as dryness, complications in making the surgical flap, night glare, over or under-correction, infection and loss of best-corrected vision. Your surgeon will go over the potential risks with refractive surgery and measures taken to avoid them. Be sure to have all your questions are answered before having surgery.