The Lasik Eye Surgery Procedure
If you are a candidate, your first step is to come in for a complete eye exam. You must be free of contact lenses for at least one week for soft contacts and at least four weeks for hard lenses before your exam. During your exam we will carefully measure your prescription before and after we dilate your eyes and examine your eyes to make sure they are healthy. You will also have a scanning topography done to measure the shape, contour, and thickness of your corneas.
If you decide to have LASIK surgery, do not resume contact lens wear during the period between your pre-surgical exam and your surgery date. The LASIK procedure begins with anesthetic drops being placed into the patient's eyes. The patient's unique correction information is transferred from the iDesign® to the laser.
Laser vision correction works by gently reshaping the cornea with the cool beam from the laser to remove microscopic amounts of tissue, less than the thickness of a human hair in most cases, to create a new curvature.
The procedure typically takes several seconds and the majority of individuals feel no discomfort. Many patients notice immediate results after CustomVue™ and vision continues to improve over several days. Routine follow-up visits complete the process.
A year after the LASIK procedure, a clinical study revealed the following results without glasses or contact lenses:
It is normal to be a little nervous or anxious on the day of your laser vision correction. We will "talk you through" the procedure beforehand and hold your hand during your treatment. We also give you the option of taking a mild sedative (Valium). Plan on being at our office about an hour and a half and bring a driver for your procedure.
Most patients can drive themselves to the one day post-operative exam. It usually takes 5-10 minutes to align and prepare your eyes in the laser room, although the actual laser treatment usually takes only 30 to 90 seconds. Laser vision correction is a painless procedure. Most patients have only mild burning or "scratchiness" afterward.
We will want you to take a nap for four hours immediately after your laser vision correction to rest your eyes. You will be using antibiotic and anti-inflammatory drops for a week and frequent artificial teardrops for a couple of months. Most people experience some drying of their eyes, especially during prolonged reading or computer use, and artificial tears help alleviate this.
Recovery from laser vision correction is different from person to person. Your vision is not immediately clear. Most people notice an improvement in vision each day for the first several days after surgery. Many people have a little more difficulty reading and seeing up close initially after their treatment. This improves after a few weeks, but if you're over 40 you'll probably need glasses for reading.
Past the age of 40, everyone starts to need reading glasses or bifocals- laser vision correction will not prevent this. If you are over 40 and are accustomed to reading without glasses, you should know that once your nearsightedness is corrected it will be harder to see up close- much like when you wear your glasses or contacts now.
Thus if you are over 40, you will need to wear readers to see up close. Some patients may still want to wear glasses for distance at times, for instance, for night driving. If you think LASIK is right for you, give us a call to schedule an appointment at the Minnesota Eye Institute.
No. There is little or no discomfort associated with the LASIK procedure. However, your eyes may feel scratchy, and water excessively, for a few hours after surgery.
Yes! Over 99% of our LASIK patients attain 20/25 vision or better without corrective lenses. Others enjoy being less dependent on eyeglasses or contact lenses.
Utilizing the Victus laser, a silent, tiny, laser light beam passes through the layers of the cornea to the exact depth within the corneal layers to make the flap. The flap is folded back, and the VISX Star S4 excimer laser treats the central part of the exposed cornea. The flap is then replaced to its original position. Because the flap is so smooth and thin, it re-attaches without the need for stitches.
The laser treatment itself takes approximately 45 seconds or less depending on the amount of correction you need. Expect to be at the surgery center for about 90 minutes.
Most patients return to work the next day. We will discuss this with you during your screening appointment so you know your options.
Schedule a free consultation at Minnesota Eye Institute to determine your best treatment option and get an accurate procedure cost. The information we collect during your initial LASIK eye exam is good for 6 months.
Because it is an elective procedure, LASIK is not generally covered by medical insurance plans. However, pre-tax dollars you contribute to your company's "flex" benefits plan can usually be used for LASIK.
As with any surgical procedure, there are some risks but complications are rare. You will be given an informed consent document that lists risks and possible side effects. Be sure to read this document carefully before proceeding with LASIK.
No. You will receive several drops of topical anesthesia to numb the eye. We offer you an oral medication to help you relax.
Laser vision correction is an exciting medical procedure that can help transform an individual's life. However, as with all medical procedures, perfect results cannot be guaranteed. Almost all patients experience improved vision and a majority improve to 20/20, but not everyone.
Many who do not achieve 20/20 are the next from the bottom line on the vision chart, which is very acceptable vision without glasses or contacts. Individuals who have the expectation of perfection should come in for a free LASIK Screening to allow Dr. Carlson to determine the probability of you achieving the results you want.
With LASIK, there are some risks. Infection is a slight possibility but it is actually 100 times lower than wearing contact lenses. Additionally, you may experience dryness, itchiness, or glares at night for several months following the procedure.
The limitations of LASIK include the ability to fully open your eyelids wide enough to fit the suction ring; if this cannot be done, you may not have LASIK as an option. For any further questions or concerns regarding LASIK, contact Minnesota Eye Institute today by giving us a call.
Serious complications from LASIK surgery average below 1%. There is commonly some temporary discomfort and temporary visual side effects after surgery. These side effects include light sensitivity, mild irritation, and glare in low-light environments.
Complications with the flap made to gain access to the part of the eye that is reshaped are rare and can be minimized even more by choosing a reputable and experienced eye surgeon. Irregular astigmatism may occur if the laser correction is not centered on the eye. Again, an experienced eye surgeon would minimize this already low risk.
Epithelial ingrowth occurs when cells from the outer layer of the cornea grow under the flap after LASIK surgery. In most cases, this is limited and does not cause problems. Kera ectasia is a very uncommon bulging of the eye that can happen if too much tissue is removed during the LASIK procedure. Diffuse lamellar keratitis is inflammation under the LASIK flap. It can be treated with antibiotics and topical steroids. Again, these flap complications are quite rare.
The most common complication with LASIK surgery is an under-correction or overcorrection requiring a second treatment or enhancement. Enhancements are a part of doing LASIK surgery and perhaps, it is not even appropriate to call them complications. Approximately 2% will need to have an enhancement in order to see 20/40 (driving vision), and 10% choose to have an enhancement even though they may be seeing fairly well.
Not all patients can be ideally corrected even with retreatment and some will need to wear glasses or contacts afterward. Our patients rarely need an enhancement to get the perfect vision, Dr. Carlson's enhancement rate is less than 2% which is below the national average.
Everyone responds and heals differently depending partly on your prescription, age, and individual healing. Because of this variability, no guarantees as to your final vision or speed of recovery can be given. Patients who are farsighted have a longer recovery compared to nearsighted patients.
With millions of procedures done in the United States alone, serious complications have been reported at a rate of less than 1%.
Most people have some dryness in their eyes for several months after LASIK, and many have some glare or rings around lights at night that lessens over time. This night glare is similar to that seen with contact lenses but if you have very large pupils or were very nearsighted, it can persist and be bothersome.
Request A Free LASIK Screening
If you have an interest in laser vision correction, the best way to find out about your eyes is a free consultation.
(eye exam not included)