Am I a Good Candidate for Lasik? So many people are interested in the Lasik vision correction procedure, and want to know the benefits, the risks, and how the Lasik procedure works. One of the first things to consider is what requirements a person should meet in order to have a successful Lasik procedure. Though each individual case should be discussed with a qualified Lasik physician, here are some guidelines to see if you are a good candidate for Lasik vision correction. First, the eye should be properly matured. This means that anyone under the age of 18 really needs to wait before a Lasik procedure is done, for it is likely that the shape of their eye will continue to change for several years. If the eye shape changes after the Lasik operation is done, the clarity of vision will be affected. Some Lasik physicians recommend waiting until age 25 in some cases. In addition to an age cutoff, the vision prescription for the Lasik candidate should be stable for at least one year, and preferably for longer than that. This is for the same reason as above, that the Lasik procedure will only continue to be effective if the eye shape remains constant after surgery. One comment about age cutoffs should be made with regard to Lasik surgery. There is no maximum age, as many patients in their fifties to their eighties have had a very successful Lasik procedure. The main consideration in these cases is enough tear production for successful healing and lubrication after the Lasik vision correction. The eyes of the Lasik candidate should be healthy. This means that any person undergoing a Lasik procedure should have had no eye infection or injury for at least a year, and must have no scarring on the cornea of the eye. In addition, they must not have any recurring eye problem, such as a history of herpes infection in the eyes. The medical history of a prospective Lasik client also plays an important part. Some chronic conditions, such as autoimmune disorders like Lupus, will prevent some people from being able to schedule a Lasik procedure. You should be very clear about any and all medical conditions that are current, or even completed ones in the past. Also, women who are pregnant or nursing should wait to have a Lasik procedure scheduled. A good Lasik physician will also not schedule people with dry eye syndrome for Lasik vision correction. Having sufficient tear production is important, though for minor problems this may be aided by medication during the healing process. In addition, those people with eyes that dilate very widely are not good candidates for Lasik. These are most of the most common reasons that a person should look at some other eye improvement choice other than Lasik. Most generally healthy people with standard vision problems benefit greatly from a Lasik procedure done by a trained, professional Lasik physician. Look for a good Lasik center in your area and discuss your individual case in detail. Eliminate Your Fears of Lasik! Thinking about eye surgery using a Lasik procedure is a big step, and many people are a little hesitant to ask the questions that they have. The Lasik procedure, though widely talked about, is not discussed in detail, and people tend to fear the unknown. This report addresses some of the more commonly held fears, and talks about the experience for the vast majority of people that undergo a Lasik procedure. A most common fear when thinking about a Lasik procedure, or really thinking about any surgery in general, is the possibility of pain during or after the operation. Since the Lasik surgeon works on patients that are conscious, this is a widely held apprehension. In every operation the Lasik surgeon applies numbing drops into the eyes before the procedure starts, and the patient is also given a mild sedative to relax them and make sure that they are comfortable. Though a small pressure to the eye may be felt during the Lasik procedure, the process itself is relatively pain free. The surgeon does use a laser in the eye to help reshape the cornea during the Lasik procedure. Many folks are worried about the laser being shone directly into the eye, or that they might look away and, due to this, develop a serious complication with their eyes and the Lasik laser beam effects. In actuality, the laser is only active for ten to fifteen seconds for each eye, and the Lasik machine has a tracking system that allows the beam to be on only when the eye is in the correct position. Another general fear for people contemplating a medical procedure is fear of "the scalpel". Any Lasik procedure uses only a very small microkeratome blade to approach the eye, or some more recent Lasik innovations have the laser itself created the flap and avoid using any hard surface at all. There is no reason to be concerned about a scalpel, for the Lasik physician does not use one. Many wonder about the horror stories they hear about this or any other operation, and wonder about serious consequences like going blind. According the government statistics taken by the FDA, there are no reported cases of blindness due to a Lasik operation. Actually, the risk of a serious permanent complication due to the Lasik procedure is less than 1 percent, and the risk of any permanent complications even if not serious (such as light halos) is 3 percent or less. It is extremely rare for a patient to not have improved vision after a Lasik procedure. If the thought of being awake and having your eyes open during the Lasik procedure bothers you, remember that you will be given a mild sedative for the procedure, and that your eyes will have numbing drops administered to them. If the thought of actually seeing the Lasik physician's hand approaching your eye is bothersome, be comforted that the surgeon applies drops to the eye that blacks out the vision in that eye for ten to fifteen seconds, which is long enough for the procedure to be done for that eye. This introduction has hopefully addressed the most common fears about the Lasik procedure. For anyone that might gain a better life quality with improved vision, please visit your local Lasik clinic and discuss the procedure in detail with the professionals there. Choosing a Good Lasik Surgeon Improving your vision with a Lasik procedure could be one of the greatest gifts you could get for yourself. However, as my mother used to say, "Your eyes are precious." It is important to entrust the Lasik operation to a doctor that you trust and have confidence in. Let's begin with three factors that should NOT be the sole reason you select a doctor for the Lasik procedure. The location of the office is not particularly important, and a number of people travel long distances to have the Lasik procedure done, for a truly professional doctor will only need to be visited two or three times. Also, cost or the type of Lasik technology used should not be the sole factor. The range in surgical skill for a Lasik operation does vary, and there is the old saying "you get what you pay for." Further, though the newer types of Lasik procedures do have their benefits; many eye doctors in a large metropolitan area often offer two or three Lasik variants. There are several ways to determine which is the best doctor for you in your area. One of the qualities to look for in a good Lasik physician is someone who can accurately assess your situation, and advise you if Lasik is even a good choice for you and your lifestyle. A physician that takes the time to discuss your own physical condition and situation with you is a good indicator that this is a Lasik physician that you can rely on. Look for a Lasik doctor which has a solid reputation in the area, and has a good track record. A physician that advertises in a magazine is not a sufficient recommendation to put your trust in that doctor, and needs more investigation before agreeing to have him do your Lasik procedure. Sometimes a Lasik center with a large advertising campaign and discounted prices may be indicating that the quality of the surgery is not excellent, and this could be a red flag to avoid that center. A good Lasik doctor should be involved in the entire Lasik process. As mentioned above, he should take time to assess your particular case and discuss it with you. Not only should he do the exam, but he should also perform most or all of the preoperative exam, and also should meet with you personally to monitor the success of the procedure at the dates for checkup. There are stories from some Lasik centers of the patients never seeing the physician again after the operation until they complained strenuously of some particular problem. Make sure the physician is honest in their assessment of the general Lasik procedure, and his track record in particular. Ask for individual examples of patients that the physician dissuaded from having the Lasik operation, and why. Ask how many Lasik procedures the doctor has done in total, and how many in the last two years. An experienced surgeon should have performed in the neighborhood of 1000 Lasik procedures, with at least 500 of those in the last two years. Use these questions as a starting point to investigate the Lasik centers in your area, and even the highly recommended ones in nearby major metropolitan areas. It will be time well invested, and the first step to a clearer future. What is True About Intra Lasik? Now that Lasik vision correction surgery has been accepted for a number of years, there are several popular options for the procedure. One of these is IntraLasik, or Intralase, or bladeless Lasik. As the name implies, there is no cutting of the eye with a blade, instead the flap in the eye is made using a laser. Since bladeless Lasik is a newer procedure, there are a number of opinions around about how well this procedure works. Let's look at several of these and determine which of these are true or false. First, more Lasik clients get 20/20 vision or better using IntraLasik. Any Lasik procedure cannot guarantee perfect vision for every client, though more than 90% get results to at least 20/40 vision. However, it is true that the new techniques of IntraLasik do get even better statistics for giving clients clear vision. Some are concerned that the laser that makes the corneal flap is standard, and cannot be tailored to each individual eye like can be done by the Lasik surgeon when using a blade. This is not true. The Lasik physician has control over the use of the laser for each individual in the same way that he can control the microkeratome blade. IntraLasik can be used for both a standard and a custom Lasik procedure. This is true. Custom Lasik procedures using Wavefront technology (another somewhat recent advance in Lasik vision correction) can easily be used with a laser making the initial flap. This custom Lasik procedure, though more costly, is of great benefit for people with unusual eye shapes or problems. Some have heard that using the laser is less accurate than the standard Lasik procedure. This is not true, since lasers can be controlled to micron level accuracy. This gives the Lasik physician extreme control to create exactly the flap needed for this particular individual eye: the precise size, shape, and depth for successful completion of the Lasik procedure. Another common fallacy is that IntraLase has not been around long enough for trusted Lasik physicians to have confidence in it. On the contrary, many of the most honored Lasik physicians strongly endorse IntraLase due to the track record of very good results from the Lasik procedures. In addition, the quality of the machines and the precision that they give these Lasik physicians is very impressive. Many of the top flight Lasik doctors recommend this as a procedure of choice, assuming cost is not a significant variable in the decision of which Lasik procedure to use. Similar to the objection above, some people think that Intralase is not a sufficiently test Lasik procedure option. On the contrary, more than one million of these procedures have been performed, and the impressive track record for this Lasik procedure has been discussed above. More and more Lasik physicians are trained in this option, and we will see many more such Lasik procedures in the future. We hope that this discussion of bladeless Lasik has given more accurate information to those considering this Lasik technique. Please discuss this option with the professionals at your local Lasik center. Statistics for Lasik Surgery Patients The Lasik operation can be a wonderful, life-changing option for many people whose vision is less than perfect. There are several different types of Lasik operations now available, from the original and well documented procedure to Lasik procedures done with three dimensional wavefronts, or done entirely with lasers. Each of these variations of the Lasik procedure should be discussed with the physician that is to perform the operation. Like any surgery, Lasik does have the potential for side effects. Sometimes reading the horror stories of the outcomes of a Lasik procedure can deter people from seriously considering such a choice. It is also true that the vast numbers of people who have a successful, trouble-free Lasik surgery tend not to report a long and detailed story of their experience, unlike those that have experienced trouble afterward. However, it is good to know what the possible side effects of the Lasik procedure are, and also the likelihood that one of these side effects will occur for a particular patient. Just like any medicine we take, each has a possible number of side effects, but we generally assume that the likelihood of a serious side effect is small, and we take the medicine anyway. This article will hopefully put concerns of the prospective Lasik patient into perspective so that they can calmly and thoughtfully ponder having a Lasik procedure done in the future. More than one million Lasik procedures are done in the US every year, according to the FDA. This arm of the national government has accumulated the following statistics for the most common side effects of the Lasik procedure. These statistics will also vary by the physician performing the surgery, so make sure to get as much information on the prospective Lasik physician as possible. After Lasik surgery, 1.7 percent of patients experience some glare or sensitivity to light after the operation. This varies by patient, but this sensitivity is especially noticeable when looking at a bright light, such as a streetlight when walking at night, or other strong light and dark contrast. Another light related side effect is a halo around a light, and this occurs in 3.5 percent of Lasik patients. The new, corrected vision can be noticed quickly by some Lasik patients, in as little as a few hours after surgery. Most patients that have undergone the Lasik procedure find the change is permanent within a few days. In 2.6 percent of clients that have had a Lasik procedure done, there is persistent visual fluctuation within at least a part of their sphere of vision. Finally, some patients do not get a fully corrected sphere of vision after their Lasik procedure. This happens with a small number of clients, and the FDA statistics are that only 3 percent of patients have this effect. In all or nearly all cases, the physician in charge will perform an additional Lasik procedure to improve this. This detailing of the major permanent side effects of the Lasik procedure should put any personal horror stories into perspective. Notice that none of the percentages are above 3 percent, and this should bring comfort to most prospective Lasik clients. However, it should also motivate them to look carefully at the Lasik physician's personal record. What is the Initial Lasik Eye Exam Like? The first significant step before the Lasik surgery is to have a comprehensive eye examination, in order to be sure that you are a good candidate for the Lasik procedure. A map of your eye will be created during this exam. This map is used in order for the Lasik physician to determine how to reshape your eye to give you the clearest post-operative vision possible. This eye exam will do several things. Your eyes will be dilated in order to see if there are any irregularities within the eye itself. The thickness of the cornea will be measured, and a precise map of the cornea will be generated. The "refractive error" (or the reason why your vision isn't currently perfect) will be accurately analyzed in order for the Lasik procedure to get the best results possible. Finally, how your eyes generate tears will be closely looked at, as good tear production is essential for the health of every eye. Before or after these measurements, the Lasik physician will discuss your past medical history to see any previous operations or any ongoing health problems. A few chronic conditions may make the Lasik procedure not a good option for some people, and also women currently expecting should wait for some time after delivery. The physician also will discuss the expectations the Lasik client has about the operation and subsequent changes in their lifestyle. Though most people pass through this Lasik eye exam with flying colors, be prepared for some suggestions or serious discussion. Your eye map may indicate that a newer form of Lasik procedure might be better, such as one that generates a three dimensional waveform for each eye. Tear production issues may indicate that the Lasik procedure is not the best option for you, and the Lasik physician may recommend another solution. If all goes well and the Lasik procedure is scheduled, the physician will review the treatment plan and what the client should do to prepare for the Lasik surgery. This plan may vary slightly between patients, but in general will look something like the schedule below. Always follow the recommendations of your Lasik physician closely. First, contact lenses should be avoided for several weeks prior to Lasik vision correction, since contacts can slightly affect the shape of your cornea. It is important to let your eyes rest in order to get the most accurate Lasik vision improvement possible. Hard contacts should be avoided for a month, soft contacts for at least two weeks. Stop using any lotions, makeup, or anything else that could possibly get into the eye the day or two before surgery. It is important to have your eyes as rested as possible before the Lasik operation. Also, arrange for someone else to drive you home after the Lasik procedure itself. These are the most common steps to prepare you for an easy and successful Lasik procedure. Make sure you give the doctor all information needed for your case, and follow his directions closely. The Lasik procedure will give you a new outlook in life! What is a Wavefront Lasik Procedure Like? Let's walk through what a client experiences when attending a Lasik center for a Wavefront Lasik procedure. The procedure itself generally only takes between five and ten minutes for each eye in total, and both eyes are done during the same procedure. The actual time to reshape the eye with the Lasik excimer laser is usually less than 15 seconds per eye. Any person's vision problems are generated by small "aberrations" within the eye that prevents the light from focusing objects as they should. The Lasik equipment locates and classifies these aberrations and then processes them so that the Lasik physician will correct these and allow the light to focus properly once the eye has healed. In a Wavefront Lasik procedure, the patient stares at one point while a light is sent into the eye, which is reflected back and read by a Lasik Wavefront sensor. The distortions in this reflected light are mapped using a small computer within the Lasik system, and then this information is used to guide the laser that treats the eye. Once the light creates the map for the eye, the Lasik surgeon has to create a small flap to access the cornea. This is done using a laser (this type of Lasik procedure is known as IntraLasik, or bladeless Lasik) or a small blade known as a microkeratome. This flap is then opened to allow the cornea to be reshaped by the Lasik system.The excimer laser actually reshapes the cornea, which is the crucial part of the Lasik procedure. In order to determine exactly how to reshape it, the map created earlier by the Wavefront sensor is used to direct the beam of light accurately. The Lasik physician uses these precise tools to get the clearest vision results possible. This custom Lasik procedure can not only correct such standard problems as nearsightedness, but can also address aberrations that create light halos, glare, haze, or starburst patterns. Once the Lasik physician determines that all relevant aberrations have been eliminated, he replaces the flap in its proper position, where it adheres normally and will heal naturally. As mentioned earlier, this entire Lasik process takes between ten and fifteen minutes per eye. A patient gets a mild sedative and eye numbing drops to make the procedure both relaxing and painless. Most people notice an improvement in vision due to Lasik almost immediately. Once the Lasik procedure is finished, you will get some eye drop medication to lubricate and protect your eyes. This medication (and the liquid in the drops themselves) may cause some blurring, and so for this reason (and to avoid any eyestrain) you should arrange for someone else to drive you home. It is also a good idea to go to sleep as soon as possible after the Lasik operation in order to promote even faster healing. To promote optimal healing the Lasik physician often gives a plastic shield to wear over your eyes for the first night or two. Follow closely any recommendations by the Lasik physician. Do further investigation into this great new Lasik procedure, and get a clearer focus on your future! What Happens After the Lasik Procedure? After you are fully prepared, the Lasik procedure takes less than fifteen minutes to complete for both eyes. This will seem a remarkably short time to have a permanent change to your vision, and in this regard Lasik seems almost too good to be true. In addition, most Lasik patients notice improved vision immediately or within a few hours after the Lasik procedure has been performed. This does not mean that you should expect to walk out of the Lasik clinic with perfect vision and without any need to treat your eyes carefully for the next several days. It also means that some Lasik patients will need more time to see the total results for the Lasik procedure, sometimes as much as six months for their vision to stabilize permanently. Anticipate good vision, and take the time and care for the operation to produce its best result. Usually the Lasik physician will give the post-procedure patient a protective shield for their eyes. This should be worn as long as the physician specifies, and usually only at night for one or two nights. He may also recommend sunglasses during the day if you experience sensitivity to light after the Lasik procedure is done. Discuss these options in detail at the Lasik center before the operation, so you know how to best take care of your eyes. Many patients at the Lasik centers often get eye drops to keep their eyes moist for some time after the Lasik procedure is done. Again, this varies by patient and by physician, so ask about your particular situation, especially if you are prone to eye dryness on an occasional basis even before the Lasik procedure. Also, it might be helpful to keep any ceiling fans or other air circulation devices off in the household for the first few days. Most clients can return to work and normal daily activities the day after the Lasik procedure is done, and do not require any extra assistance from other friends or family members. There is usually little to no post-operative discomfort after Lasik has been performed. It is recommended that patients go to sleep as quickly as possible after the Lasik surgery in order to minimize any post-operative discomfort. Upon waking, improved vision from the Lasik corrections should already start to be visible. This improved vision may not be the final product of the Lasik procedure. The improvement to nearsightedness after Lasik is usually quick and dramatic, though there may be some problems in reading easily for the first few days after the Lasik operation. This is perfectly normal, and should clear up before the week is out. Patients that use Lasik to improve their farsightedness usually find a dramatic improvement the day after the Lasik surgery. It might be that there is a temporary blurring of objects in the distance, but this will resolve itself. If this condition remains for more than a few days, the Lasik physician can recommend and prescribe temporary glasses until vision is stabilized. These are all typical post-operative recommends for a Lasik patient, in order to feel comfortable with what to expect after the Lasik procedure. As with any medical treatment, get all of your questions answered by the staff of your Lasik center for your individual case. Talking to Your Lasik Surgeon For anyone considering a Lasik procedure to correct vision, it is crucial to find a physician that is reputable and caring. It is also very important that they are experienced and knowledgeable in the Lasik procedure, and that they have a track record of patients that are happy with the treatment they received and the results that they got. This guide gives a number of basic questions that you should ask when deciding on which Lasik center and which doctor to select for your Lasik procedure. The comfort you have during the process, and even the results that you receive, may depend on getting good answers to these questions. It is important to realize that the answers to these questions will vary from physician to physician. The first question to ask is "How many years have you been performing this type of Lasik surgery?" There are several variations of the Lasik procedure, and the doctor should have a track record of at least three years in doing Lasik procedures. This amount of time also allows the doctor to watch his patients and the long term success of their Lasik procedures. Next, ask the physician for the number of Lasik procedures they have performed in the last two years. The physician should do the operation frequently enough that he is well versed in current procedures. Also, he should be successful enough that prospective Lasik patients feel comfortable in coming to the Lasik center. The physician should perform at least 500 Lasik surgeries in the last two years. At this point, ask what percent of his clients that underwent Lasik surgery ended up with 20/40 vision or better. Notice that not all patients will achieve 20/20 vision, and that is acceptable. However, it is important that 90 percent of the patients get at least a 20/40 correction after the first Lasik procedure. Claims of much more than 90 percent might make him seem much better, but in this case ask for evidence that that number is true. There are some exceptional physicians out there, but also a few Lasik doctors that make unfounded claims. Asking the doctor what percentage of Lasik patients achieve 20/20 should run about 50 percent. Again, if the number is greatly higher, ask for evidence. Finally, ask about post-Lasik complications. The percentage of patients that experience complications after 6 months is complete should be 3 percent or less. If the physician claims that complications are so rare that he doesn't keep records, you should be very suspicious and ask for evidence, if any. No doctor is perfect. Similarly, when asked the percentage of patients that require an additional operation to achieve clear vision, the number should be less than 10 percent. To wrap up the interview, ask the physician what types of Lasik procedures he recommends and practices, and under what circumstances he denied a Lasik procedure to a patient. Not all vision challenged people are good candidates for a Lasik operation, and the doctor should at least have a few examples of people he dissuaded from the operation. Finally, ask about the cost of the operation and if financing plans are available through the Lasik center. A physician that is willing to sit down and discuss these questions is often a physician that will address any other medical issues that come up, and is a good prospect to perform your Lasik procedure. Thoughts From an Experienced Lasik Patient I have noticed that more people I work with are talking about, or undergoing, the Lasik vision correction procedure. I don't know really know why Lasik has suddenly become more popular in my company, but I do know that there are a number of rumors about Lasik that I am not sure are true. Let me just talk about my long term experience with Lasik. It has been more than eight years since I had the Lasik procedure, so I was one of the early and brave pioneers! Perhaps I wasn't that brave when considering Lasik, for my vision in each eye was worse than -9. Even now, Lasik physicians consider that a very strong case and do caution prospective clients that the Lasik process will likely improve their vision, but may not eliminate the total need for glasses. The Lasik operation itself had mild pressure and some unusual feelings, but no real discomfort or pain. This is still true in modern Lasik procedures, and hopefully they are even better at keeping the client comfortable. I do notice that now Lasik physicians also give a mild sedative mainly for psychological reasons, which I think I would have appreciated back then. Two or three days after the Lasik operation I was astounded to find I had VERY clear vision in each eye, at least 20/20. Considering my previous prescription, you can imagine how fervently I thanked my Lasik physician. However, I did also have temporary symptoms of considerable dryness in each eye (which was helped by eye drops), and also halos around lights at night. A few months after the Lasik procedure I noticed my vision changing a bit, though very slightly. The best way I can describe it is that the crisp edges no longer looked exceedingly crisp, but each object still seemed to be in focus. At my one year Lasik correction anniversary my physician said that one eye was still at 20/20, but the other had changed slightly to 20/40. However, I was still a great statistic for the Lasik correction procedure, and we were both still happy with the results. In the years between the original Lasik procedure and now, my vision is still 20/20 in one eye and 20/40 in the other. I do have a pair of glasses and one contact lens for that eye, but rarely bother with them unless I am doing something like watching a movie. My long track record after the Lasik procedure has given hope to a number of other people in my office. I do want to say though that I was over 35 when I had the operation, and my Lasik physician said that the stability of my eyes and my age were good indicators that the Lasik results would be long term. I hope this encourages people with bad vision to talk to a local Lasik physician about scheduling a Lasik procedure. Find a physician that has a good track record, and one that you trust, and I hope that your long term Lasik results will be as good as mine! Tales From the Lasik Waiting Room As an experienced Lasik patient I thought I might give a glimpse into the worst part of the Lasik procedure... the waiting room. I have had a Lasik procedure twice, the second being a follow up since one of my eyes needed additional work after the healing procedure was complete. I was distinctly less nervous about the second procedure, and observed and talked to a number of the other Lasik clients that were waiting with me. One was a young woman in her early twenties who talked incessantly trying to keep her mind off of any of the Lasik brochures and information on the table. She had been thoroughly oriented to both the Lasik operation and post-op procedures, but had brought along a few stuffed animals to keep her company during the operation. Most Lasik physicians recommend a minimum age of 18 due to sufficient maturity of the eye, but maybe waiting for some emotional maturity might be another factor. On the other hand, I wondered what I looked and sounded like waiting for my first Lasik operation. Talking to a few of the other Lasik clients, I realized I was not the only one in for a second Lasik procedure. Two others were like me in that they did not get sufficient improvement in their vision to satisfy themselves or the Lasik surgeon. In all of our cases, our first Lasik procedure of several months earlier went well, and none of us were particularly nervous. It did surprise me, considering that it was 6:30 AM, of the variety of clothing styles of the Lasik clients. Most of us, considering the hour and the rather frigid temperature of the Lasik operating room and the waiting room, were dressed in snug and warm sweat suits or other comfortable wear. One Lasik patient was dressed in formal business attire with full makeup. This puzzled me for at least two reasons: any makeup, lotions, or other things that could get into the eye are forbidden for at least 24 hours before the surgery, and it is highly recommended to go home and sleep as quickly as possible after the Lasik procedure. The only thing I could figure out was that she wasn't actually getting a Lasik procedure, but no one else is there at 6:30 AM. Her dominating and withering look made me decide that any pre-Lasik conversation with her was better left unsaid. I was probably the fourth person escorted into a waiting room for a final discussion on Lasik post-op procedures, but I could not tell how long I had been waiting. I think they avoid clocks for a very good reason. The lady two seats down from me was calm enough about her Lasik procedure to go back to sleep while waiting, which seemed like an eminently sensible idea. Each patient is offered a mild sedative before the Lasik procedure starts. It is mainly for psychological purposes, as my first Lasik experience was not painful at all. I did take it for my first experience, but my own Lasik history and the others I have heard in the waiting room make me think that I don't need it. But I take it anyway, just in case. I hope that this window into a Lasik waiting room helps give the attitude that for most people it is not a dreaded procedure, and for those of us that have had Lasik done, a rather uneventful one. My Questions about the Lasik Procedure Many people that wear glasses or contact lenses have listened to the claims of how Lasik can give them perfect vision. They have also heard great Lasik success stories, as well as stories from people that were not sure they had given the decision enough thought. This guide lists the most common questions asked by people who are considering Lasik vision correction, and answers given by reputable physicians. The first and most important question asked about Lasik is, not surprisingly, "Is Lasik safe?" The answer is that it is normally quite a safe procedure, with success rates above 95 percent for good, experienced Lasik surgeons, and 90 percent average over all physicians that perform the Lasik procedure. This statistic about Lasik success assumes that the patient is a good candidate for Lasik surgery. The requirements have some specific details and should be gone over with the physician that will perform the Lasik procedure. It is a very good idea to ask the Lasik physician which patients he has declined to perform the Lasik procedure on, to make sure that the particular physician has and operates with good standards. Any Lasik practitioner that tries to imply that everyone that comes in to his office is a good candidate for Lasik vision correction should be viewed with some skepticism. In any case, it is wise to interview several different physicians that perform the Lasik procedure before deciding on one. A second frequently asked question about Lasik is "What are the possible complications from Lasik surgery?" Common side effects are starbursts or halos when looking at a light, sensitivity to light and difficulty with glare and night vision, and some sensation that a foreign body is in the eye. Most of these effects will pass within a few days after the Lasik procedure. Between 1 and 3 percent of patients will have a lasting side effect such as halos or some vision fluctuation. It is a very good idea to discuss your particular situation with the Lasik physician to determine if you might be prone to any complications. There are also variants of the standard Lasik procedure, one of which uses additional waveforms to map out an individual eye, or techniques that only use lasers rather than a scalpel and a laser. One question we all hesitate to ask is "Will the Lasik procedure be painful?" Since our eyes are one of the most sensitive parts of our bodies, it is comforting to know that having Lasik vision correction is usually nearly painless. There is often some mild discomfort after the procedure, but this is effectively controlled with medication. "Will I have 20/20 vision once the Lasik correction is done?" Though many patients do get nearly perfect vision, not all patients have their vision totally corrected. You can definitely expect to have improved vision and minimized dependency on any glasses or contacts. "What is the cost and how do I pay?" A typical Lasik surgeon charges between $500 and $2500 per eye, depending on the patient and the surgeon. However, a Lasik physician should be selected on experience level and track record, not on the lowest price. Insurance rarely covers the cost of Lasik, but many Lasik centers have a type of financing program offered to their clients. Find several Lasik physicians in your area using the Internet feature DocShop and make a point to interview several on your list. Consider Lasik as one way to significantly improve the quality of your life.
My Day for Lasik Surgery This story is for my family and friends who wonder what it is like to go through a Lasik vision correction procedure. I've shared my experiences with one or two colleagues at work that have also had Lasik done, and there are enough variations to give insight to those who are trying to choose between different Lasik physicians or different Lasik centers. First, my Lasik procedure was scheduled for 4 PM in the afternoon, which was fine with me. One of the directions for patient that has just had a Lasik procedure was to go to sleep as soon as possible, in order for the healing process to begin as quickly as possible. And usually by the end of the afternoon I am too tired after working all day to be very nervous. Well, usually anyway. I had only been there a few minutes when I was called into a room to prepare me for the Lasik procedure, and to get instructions (again!) on how to care for my eyes once the Lasik vision correction has been done. They offered me some Ativan, which is a mild sedative just to keep me calm during the Lasik process. The lasers themselves monitor any head or eye movement and turn themselves off when it occurs, so it isn't that the sedative is for anything other than psychological reasons. I took it anyway. All of my colleagues at work also took it, though none of us really felt any different than we did before. Apparently it is a VERY mild sedative. My eyes were prepared for the Lasik procedure by being dosed with eye numbing drops and some kind of medication. I cannot be sure of the other pre-operative steps, as I think I was trying very hard not to think about either Lasik or my eyes. Perhaps the sedative was a bit stronger than I imagined it was. At this point I was escorted into another room for some time, where I sat back, listened to the piped-in music, and awaited my turn in the Lasik operating room. There were two other people waiting with me in this room, so apparently my doctor different setup for his Lasik patients than my colleagues. Both were alone in their pre-op rooms until they were escorted into the room where the Lasik procedure was actually performed. As to the Lasik procedure itself, all of us have similar memories from this procedure. Each of us felt some pressure when the various Lasik implements were used on our eyes, though there wasn't any real discomfort or pain. There was a blurring of vision for the eye being worked on, but the real sensation was mainly audio -- the whirring and clicks of the machine. One of my colleagues also remembers a distinct smell, somewhat reminiscent of hair burning. There may have been a slight smell during my Lasik procedure, but it wasn't significant enough for my attention to be focused on it. After a short amount of time, my Lasik physician said he was done and that I had been a good patient. In all of our Lasik experiences, the operation itself was much easier than all of our worries about it beforehand. I hope this helps those of you considering having a Lasik procedure done. My Lasik Vision Story I am putting this story on the web to encourage those who are interested in a Lasik vision procedure, but have read so many horror stories that they are getting ever more reluctant. I had to get off of the Internet to get enough courage to even go down to a nearby Lasik center to have them talk about my individual case. I am glad I went, and the people were very kind, professional, and encouraging. Let me begin with why I was even interested in Lasik. I have worn glasses for thirty years, ever since I was a very little girl. I have very weak eyes, and needed to wear my glasses from the moment I woke up until I went to bed. I have a special spot where they are kept, and a number of backup pairs of glasses so that I never have to go without them. I also have had some dry eye problems for the last few years, which is often a reason that Lasik doctors do not recommend the Lasik procedure for some people. When I got to talk to the Lasik physician, he was encouraging but realistic. He stated that one of my eyes would be a good candidate for total vision correction, but the other eye would likely see only some (though possibly major) improvement. He stated that about one of his Lasik procedures per month are with clients with the same level of poor vision of my worst eye. I would also like to encourage those people with some problems to go ahead and visit their local Lasik center to talk to the professionals there. As I mentioned earlier, I have had some occasional problems with dry eyes. I also have pupils that dilate easily. Both of these can be reasons to be dissuaded from Lasik, but in neither case were my problems significant enough for the doctor to consider me not a good Lasik client. Do go and discuss your individual case. I cannot say that the information I was given made me totally relaxed about the whole procedure. I did talk myself into and out of the Lasik procedure several times during the weeks before it was done. The only thing I was a little bit surprised about was that I did not lose sleep over it, and that I actually showed up at the Lasik center to get the procedure done! I was given a mild sedative (as well as numbing eye drops) and the Lasik procedure went without a hitch. Though I did feel a mild pressure during the time on my eyeball, my hands were the things that hurt after the Lasik operation was over (I must have had them clenched the whole time!). I was so grateful to my physician who said things like "I'm using the laser for 20 seconds, 5 seconds to go, procedure done for this eye. Very successful." In this way I was reassured that the Lasik operation was going quickly and according to plan. I followed all my Lasik physician's instructions to the letter after the procedure, and I am so happy with the results! I could see much better even directly after the operation was over, and things have continued to improve. I personally do not have any of the problems that are often mentioned as effects, such as halos around lights, etc. I would strongly encourage anyone to be brave enough to go down to your Lasik center and at least talk about the Lasik procedure with a knowledgeable professional. I Remember My Lasik Procedure I guess I am one of the "old hands" in any Lasik online forum, in that I had my procedure more than three years ago now. I have noticed that most of the posting are from people whose Lasik vision correction was recent and did not go according to plan. I thought I might give my perspective on my Lasik adventure. First, let me start with my current vision situation, and then work backwards to the point before Lasik where I couldn't get around without a guide dog (no, just kidding, but it seems like such a different world from where I am now). Three years after Lasik, I have better than 20/20 vision in one eye, and 20/40 in the other eye. For those of you not familiar with Lasik, the procedure does not guarantee that everyone will end up with perfect vision. Most competent Lasik surgeons will take time to explain what realistic expectations for the surgery are, in that vision is noticeably improved but not guaranteed to remove any dependence on glasses or contacts. My Lasik doctor was very clear on this, but I thought it would be sufficient to be able to look around my kitchen and recognize the pot that I had left on the other side of the room. My doctor said that that expectation was something he could almost guarantee, and much better than that. Three years after the Lasik procedure, I only have one permanent side effect that I did not have before my Lasik vision correction (in addition to astoundingly better vision, I guess I should add). I do see halos around bright lights at night, but they are not really bothersome, and I have started to consider them rather pretty -- kind of like the artificial twinkle TV shows can put in people's eyes. I am glad that I am one of the more than 90% of Lasik patients who had a very successful procedure and outcome. For several weeks after the Lasik procedure I had blurry vision when trying to focus on items very close to me (anything closer than maybe six inches, though I don't remember precisely). I have asked my husband if he remembered me talking about any other post-op problems, such as fluctuating vision or sensitivity to light. Neither he nor I remember many problems after the Lasik procedure, though I did sleep a LOT and used the eye drops exactly as requested. Sleep is supposed to aid healing, and my Lasik physician recommended me to sleep quite soon after the operation to get a good start on the healing process. I think I took that to an extreme, but I wanted to rest my eyes as much as possible after the Lasik procedure. I do remember my vision getting a bit blurry after a long day (for a few months after Lasik vision correction) which may have been another reason I though sleep was a great idea. I have been a poster child for Lasik to my friends and family, and the great results have convinced several others to schedule their own Lasik procedures. As this is the story of my Lasik process, I will let others tell their own stories. I can only say from my perspective that there were few bumps in the road, and I would recommend the Lasik process to anyone interested in improving their vision. One additional comment: choose the best surgeon in your general area, you will be glad you did! How is Wavefront Technology Used in Lasik Vision Correction? The wonderful results of Lasik surgery have been improved by research adding new methods, such as Wavefront technology. This technology gives a Lasik physician the ability to see and accurately map even slight variations in the surface of the eye. This gives the physician the ability to more accurately tailor a Lasik operation to the individual, and result in even clearer vision. The concept behind Wavefront technology was originally developed by astronomers, in order to indicate if a mirror or a lens had slight imperfections in it. It is very important in astronomy to get near perfect optics in order to clearly see the small light sources million of miles away in the universe. In the 1970s a sensor was created to electronically check these surfaces, and a type of this sensor is now used in the Wavefront guided Lasik procedures. The idea to apply this technique, or to use this sensor, to the field of ophthalmology and later to the specific area of Lasik vision correction, was begun in Germany. The physician Josef Bille began using the sensor in his practice, and this started others to refine the sensor and how it is used and to apply it to Lasik technology. In 1997 the improved sensor, with greater accuracy and speed, was announced to the Lasik laser manufacturers. This allowed the companies that manufacture the Lasik equipment to develop tools using the Wavefront concept for each of their own laser systems. The FDA approved the first Wavefront guided Lasik vision correction system for general use. Initially, the Wavefront sensor makes a map of the eye's imperfections, and this map is sent to the laser that is used in the Lasik vision correction portion of the operation. This allows for precise eye alteration in order for Lasik to present the best vision correction possible. The Wavefront technology used in Lasik can be described easily at an informal level. A small, flat sheet of light (called a wavefront) is passed through the eye, reflected off of the retina, and passed back through the eye and is captured by the Wavefront machine. If the eye were perfect, the light would return as a flat sheet and be captured that way by the Lasik machine. However, any imperfections changes the way that the light returns, and this is detected by the Wavefront part of the Lasik process. A number of these small, flat sheets of light are sent into each eye from various directions and the results returned generated a three dimensional map of the eye to be used in the Lasik vision correction process. In addition to the commonly known problems of nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism, there are more than 60 other patterns that are known and can possibly be corrected for. All of this information generated by the Lasik sensor is converted by software into a set of directions to be carried out by the Lasik excimer laser. Ask your doctor about this exciting advance in Lasik vision correction, and see if this procedure is right for you! Good Post-Op Lasik Care One of the most marvelous advancements using modern technology is the Lasik vision correction procedure, where in the space of fifteen minutes many people can reduce or eliminate their reliance on glasses or contact lenses. There is very little preparation for the surgery on the Lasik patient's side, and the Lasik procedure itself takes less than twenty minutes. With current technology and an excellent Lasik physician, there is a very high success rate for nearly all Lasik surgeries. Though not all patients get or keep exactly 20/20 vision, there is a vast improvement in the Lasik client's vision and dependence on corrective eyewear. The two most important factors under the patient's control is the choice of the physician and good post-operative care. After visiting a few physicians or clinics that perform Lasik procedures, the client should have a very good idea of how they will be treated as a patient of that doctor. It is important to find a Lasik physician whose staff is responsive to questions and worries, and who are willing to see a post-operative Lasik client who is having a problem with their care. This is one of the more common complaints of those folks that undergo a Lasik procedure: insufficient information about post-operative Lasik side effects, or a staff that simply says "Lots of people experience that, no problem," when the patient actually should be seen by a member of the staff. A visit where the prospective Lasik patient talks with both the physician and one or two members of the staff will get an idea of how well a patient is welcomed once the Lasik procedure is completed. During this initial investigative visit, the client should ask the Lasik staff for a list of common, temporary side effects that can be experienced after a Lasik procedure. The staff member should describe any cases where the patient should make a point of contacting the Lasik center, rather than just enduring the side effect. Cases of pain, intense itching, or seriously blurred vision may indicate an infection or other serious problem, and should be seen promptly. It is truly very rare that any of these complications exist after a Lasik procedure, but make sure that the center is willing to see the patient if they think something is more than mildly wrong. One of the more common side effects after a Lasik operation is some form of dry eye, which often occurs during the nighttime while asleep. Not only is this uncomfortable, but if the eyelid sticks even slightly to the eye itself, it may dislodge the surgical flap done in the Lasik procedure, and delay healing of the eye. If this occurs, the Lasik center has several different viscosities, or thicknesses, of eye drops to alleviate this problem. The staff should be promptly notified so this problem can be addressed immediately. A good, responsive staff surrounding an excellent Lasik physician is the most important component in how to select a doctor. Interviewing the physician and staff about all aspects of the Lasik procedure, both the procedure itself and post-operative care, is the best way to make an excellent choice. Eye Care After a Lasik Procedure A person that is considering a Lasik procedure to improve their vision has two major responsibilities: selecting the best surgeon possible for their budget, and understanding and keeping up with eye care after the Lasik operation is done. Most Lasik procedures go very smoothly, and more than 90% of the patients are happy with their improved vision and have no permanent side effects. Part of this success is due to good care at home once the Lasik procedure is complete. The first step in having the best care after a Lasik procedure is to understand exactly what is directed by the Lasik physician. The prospective Lasik patient should be given a good understanding of the entire process when they first visit a Lasik center to interview the physician and the staff. On the day of the procedure, a member of the staff should very carefully go over exactly what steps should be done to encourage optimal eye health and healing after the Lasik operation. One thing that the patient should ask is what side effects are to be expected directly after the Lasik procedure, how long they should last, and which symptoms should be promptly told to the Lasik physician or member of the staff. A number of symptoms, such as fluctuating vision or halos around lights, are to be expected and are not a cause of worry. Ask the staff about any postoperative symptoms that are unclear, to make sure that they are thoroughly understood. Each Lasik physician has their own recommended procedures for their patients, but here is a list of typical suggestions that most Lasik centers recommend. First, get some sleep as soon as possible after the Lasik procedure is done. This gives a great boost to the healing process. Second, avoid any contact, bumping, or rubbing of the eyes for at least five days after the Lasik procedure. Most Lasik centers have some kind of eye guards to wear at night to prevent patients from rubbing their eyes in their sleep. Third, try to avoid eyestrain for some days after the Lasik procedure. It is tempting to try to read all of the signs and words that were previously blurry, but avoid this temptation at least for the large part. If any light sensitivity or glare is noticed, wear dark sunglasses for several days until this problem resolves itself. Some common Lasik side effects are temporary halos around lights, especially when viewed at night, but this is not a problem to be concerned with. It is very important to keep the eyes well lubricated in the days following a Lasik operation. Every Lasik physician will give eye drops to help this, and patient should be especially aware of this before going to sleep. A Lasik procedure may increase eye dryness temporarily, and during sleep this may make the eyelid stick slightly to the eye. When the patient wakes up, opening the eyelid is equivalent to rubbing the eye. The physician should be notified if this happens, for there are other varieties of eye drops that will solve this problem. Taking these simple steps will give nearly all Lasik patients an easy postoperative experience without any problems. Meet a Lasik Pioneer! One of the first publicized physicians that perform the Lasik eye corrective operation was Dr. Boothe, of Dallas Texas. He has performed the Lasik operation for a number of different clients, including members of the NFL Dallas Cowboys football team. There are countless testimonials of how satisfied his Lasik clients were with the surgery, even a number of years later. One of the important considerations for any doctor is kindness, and Dr Boothe's Lasik patients comment on this trait after their procedures. They all agree that Dr. Boothe made them feel very relaxed about the procedure, and took time to answer any and all questions that they might have. This is especially important with the Lasik process, as eye health is crucially important, and confidence in the doctor makes considering the Lasik option much more feasible. Dr. Boothe became a specialist of the eye, and especially the cornea, in 1987. He has performed more than 80,000 Lasik laser vision corrections in that time. He has also contributed to the field of expanding Lasik practice, with the new VISX three dimensional wavefront procedures. These procedures are especially useful for those people with unusual configurations of their eyes. One of the other newer Lasik procedures uses only the laser, instead of the usual Lasik operation using both scalpel and laser. He is the leader in the performance of this field, and has done more than 45,000 of these operations. This type of Lasik procedure holds new promise for the field, and should be investigated by anyone considering any type of Lasik procedure. Looking at some of Dr. Boothe's background will help prospective Lasik clients to look for a physician of similar quality in their area. Dr. Boothe's center itself is located in the Dallas metropolitan area, but there are many fine doctors that practice Lasik procedures in all parts of the country. He has taught a number of other surgeons in the technique, and so one question that should be asked is where the physician received his training in the Lasik procedure, and which doctors taught the technique. A most critical part of traditional Lasik surgery is using the microkeratome to make and lift a flap in the eye. Dr. Boothe's love of medicine and absorption in furthering the techniques used in Lasik make him a pioneer in the field of ophthalmology. He is board certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology, and emphasizes that any patient should check the board certification for any physician they are considering for performing the Lasik procedure in addition to standard medical certifications, such as the American Medical Association. One reason that Dr. Boothe entered the field of Lasik surgery was because a good eye surgeon can dramatically improve the quality of life for his patients, as is attested by his many thousands of satisfied patients. The doctor that a patient selects for the Lasik procedure should have high standards for safety, accuracy, and precision. This should be reflected in the results and opinions of the patients that the doctor has. Lasik can be a life improving procedure, and careful selection of a physician in the same mold as Dr. Boothe can make it much more certain. Even a Chicken Can Get Lasik Surgery If you take the time to read any of the message boards or chat rooms on the Internet about Lasik surgery, you will wonder how anyone could get the courage to schedule a Lasik procedure, and why on earth they would want it. The various Lasik clinics sound anywhere from impersonal to something similar to Dr. Frankenstein's lab, and the Lasik procedure itself sounds, well, surreal. It seems like the only people that would get Lasik are those with such bad vision that they cannot get out of bed without their glasses on. Well, let me give you my story of how I chose Lasik. First of all, my vision is not good, but not terrible either. I can actually go to movies and see well enough to enjoy the film without glasses, but I need glasses to drive in order to read the street signs far enough away to act on the information. So for me, Lasik was not necessary, but I figured would simplify my life. I am outdoors very frequently, backpacking, climbing hills, and mountain biking. Glasses do not last long with me, and I am frequently grinding into the dirt which is not the best situation for contact lenses. For these reasons, Lasik looked very appealing. The paragraph above might make you think I am a "manly guy" (hope so, think so!), so why on earth would I be afraid of a little Lasik scalpel? OK, technically Lasik does NOT use a scalpel but rather a "microkeratome blade", but it is still a sharp object approaching my eye as part of the Lasik procedure. Nowadays Lasik physicians can get a laser to cut the flap in the eye, which is more than a little better than a sharp blade. But anyway, I had too many spills in my life to think any sharp object nearing my eye was a good idea, even under the skilled hands of a Lasik physician. After talking with three (yes, three!) independent Lasik physicians, they each assured me that a 28 year old guy in nearly perfect health (OK, I exaggerate a bit) with moderate nearsightedness was one of the very best candidates for a successful Lasik procedure. I decided to schedule my Lasik procedure with the one that had the best track record, and coincidentally took the most time to explain everything about Lasik to me. The Lasik surgery was not painful, though I accepted nearly everything they offered to give me comfort, including a sedative and a teddy bear. (I even went back to take a picture of me and the Lasik comforting teddy bear.) The only strange thing I remember about the Lasik procedure itself was a smell, something vaguely like hair burning. I suppose that was my eye. I am kind of glad they didn't tell me to expect that before the Lasik procedure, I am not sure I would have gone in. After a few years, I guess I was a nearly perfect Lasik client, as my eyes now have 20/20 vision and have remained stable long after the Lasik operation. I say that if you are a good candidate for a Lasik vision correction procedure, grab that teddy bear and go on in. My Intralasik Experience I wanted to investigate Lasik vision correction for myself, and found that there were several options. After talking it over with a great Lasik physician, I decided on using bladeless Lasik, or Intralasik, or Intralase. I cannot say that I decided that for any great technical reasons, mine were mainly psychological. The advantage of Intralasik over a traditional Lasik procedure is that a laser is used to make a flap in the eye. Every Lasik procedure needs to make a flap in order for the excimer laser to be able to reshape the corner. In traditional Lasik, the flap is made with a microkeratome, which is "a very small blade, not a scalpel". Well, maybe to you. Somehow, even though both the laser and the blade made the same flap, the idea of someone taking a sharp object to..... well, you get the picture. In addition (though there is a lot of argument and debate over this) using a laser to make the flap might (let me emphasize might to be fair to everyone) make the Lasik procedure have less chance of getting other cells underneath the flap. I don't really understand all of the Lasik arguments with regard to this, but I think you should discuss the various Lasik options with the physician. They do vary in cost also. Before I talk about the procedure itself, let me give a bird's eye view of myself as a Lasik candidate. In short, spectacular! Seriously, all of the items for a good Lasik candidate could describe me: a healthy guy in my mid-thirties, with moderate nearsightedness and slight astigmatism, with good results on all eye exam tests (thick cornea, no eye scarring or infections, etc.). I did visit two different Lasik surgeons to get their independent opinions of me as a candidate, and also their description of their services. One of the Lasik surgeons is on the staff at the medical college in a nearby major metropolitan center, so I was pretty assured that their opinions were valid. On the day of the Lasik surgery I came in, paid my first payment for the procedure, and had my eye prescription rechecked. I was given post-procedure instructions on eye drops, no exercising (yeah!), and to go to sleep after the Lasik procedure. I was given a relaxant, and the Lasik physician and I went to the surgery suite. The chair has padded pillows to rest and restrict head movement, and a teddy bear to hold if I wanted it. There was a clamp to hold my eyes open, and a suction ring, and then my vision in that eye went a bit dim. The first Lasik laser made the flap, and I focused on a small light while the other laser made the cornea changes. This took less than thirty seconds, or so I was told. Mainly I was aware of clicking noises and some pressure, but no pain or real discomfort. After the eye flaps were put back in place, I rested in a recliner for about 20 minutes. I could see more clearly immediately after the Lasik operation was over, but was told not to try and test my eyes for a number of days, and rather concentrate on getting them healthy and healed. I am surprised and immensely pleased it went so easily, well, and pain free. I would recommend this type of Lasik procedure to anyone. My Grandfather and Lasik When I came home from college for the Thanksgiving holidays, I was very surprised to hear that he had undergone a Lasik operation for his vision. It came to my attention immediately, as he was wearing sunglasses on a rainy Maryland afternoon. Apparently one of the possible temporary side effects of the Lasik procedure is a sensitivity to light. After talking with him privately, he hadn't actually had any of the side effects that his Lasik physician had described, but was having a wonderful time making the family think that he did. What a character. Granddad is one that always enjoys new gadgets, people's sympathy, and the chance to tell another story to anyone willing to listen. It almost seems that the Lasik procedure was tailor made for him, especially since his Lasik operation was essentially trouble free. In addition to the sunglasses, the doctor that performed his Lasik surgery gave Granddad a pair of goggles to wear at night so that he would not rub his eyes in his sleep. Granddad also wore them at breakfast and for most meals, saying that a possible squirt in the eye from a grapefruit or wine glass was not allowed in the Lasik manual. I should mention that we don't usually drink wine, and that he was not given a Lasik manual. Two of the more common temporary side effects after Lasik surgery are sensitivity to light or to glare, especially at night, and some possibility of fluctuating vision for several days after the Lasik procedure. I have never seen a man milk so much out of a combination of one or both of these symptoms, though he never had either one. He couldn't clear dishes from the table because his fluctuating vision may have him drop the plates, and he couldn't drive to the convenience store at night because... well, you get the idea. I do wonder why I was told the real story of his Lasik procedure, but I guess a secret partner makes the stories all the sweeter. As it turns out, the only real post Lasik symptom that he actually had was dry eyes, and he had eye drops for that. As it turned out, he needed to get a second type of eye drops from his Lasik physician since he needed a thicker prescription to get through the night comfortably. Granddad was surprised that he seemed to be a model Lasik patient at his age, though his doctor said he had done a number of very successful Lasik surgeries for clients into their seventies, and even a few in their eighties. I am surprised that Granddad bothered to look into a Lasik operation, for I never noticed that he had a problem with his glasses. He says it was because Lasik would reveal the handsome man he is more clearly to the ladies, though he has been a widower for twelve years and seemed fine with that. He did say though that the clarity of vision that the Lasik procedure gave him is better than any he has had in over thirty years. Perhaps that is true, for my post Lasik grandfather is more interested in things and more active than I have seen him in the last few years. Perhaps Lasik is a part of that. Solving a Lasik Post Op Problem I had Lasik vision correction surgery two years ago, and am quite glad I did. I think that my Lasik story might be helpful to some that consider that they might not be a perfect Lasik client, and are concerned about side effects after the Lasik procedure. I did have a significant side effect after my Lasik operation, but have weathered it well, and still recommend the operation highly. My operation went exactly as described, with no pain or real discomfort at all. My Lasik physician was clear, stating each step that he completed so that I would know the Lasik procedure was proceeding as expected, and more quickly than I had imagined. I know that all of the discussion I had earlier with the Lasik professionals stated the operation generally took less than twenty minutes, but I was still surprised. At the end of the operation, my Lasik doctor replaced the flap to its correct position in my eye and covered it with some kind of clear goop. Even at that time I could notice a distinct improvement in my vision. I was instructed to wear goggles over my eyes for five nights in order to prevent me rubbing my eyes while I was sleeping. I guess they assumed that any good Lasik patient would not do that when awake. In addition, I followed all post-op Lasik procedure instruction to the letter. I slept immediately after the Lasik procedure was done (after I made it home, of course), used the eye drops religiously, and did not try to strain my eyes by reading everything that I could. I was amazed the immediate improvement in vision that Lasik makes, just as if there was a set of weightless contact lenses. Very impressive. My biggest problem in Lasik procedure recovery was a result of epithelial erosion. The flap that is made in the eye during the Lasik procedure is made from epithelial cells. Once the flap is replaced at the end of the Lasik procedure, these cells start to regenerate in order to fill in the line where the flap has been cut. All of this is normal post-op Lasik healing. However, in my case the cells would grow fine, but at night my eyes tended to dry out when I was asleep. So, when I woke up, my eyelid would pull up some of the new cells from their place where they belonged, where if my eye was sufficiently moist they would have stayed in place. I told this to my Lasik physician, who said this side effect just makes healing a little longer and it was not a serious side effect. When I went for a checkup to the Lasik center (which I highly recommend any time a Lasik client has any post-op worries or questions) they decided that I needed a thicker, more jelly like version of the eye drops to use at night. This worked well, and the rest of my post-Lasik recovery went well. I am a strong advocate of the Lasik vision correction procedure. I also strongly suggest interviewing a number of positions, and do not put low cost as the highest priority. Your eyes are very important, and a highly competent Lasik physician is the most important factor. Should I have Lasik or ICL? A number of people who are considering the Lasik procedure to correct their nearsightedness or farsightedness have of some potential problems of Lasik, and are wondering if there are other options. Though more than 95 percent of the Lasik patients have a very successful procedure without any major side effects, there are choices for people who wish to improve their vision. Let's compare two, and discuss these choices with a reputable ophthalmologist. Traditional Lasik surgery uses a scalpel to create a small flap in the eye, and then a laser reshapes the eye in order to focus accurately. There are two more recent forms of Lasik, one that entirely uses a laser and does away with the scalpel. Another variation uses a three dimension waveform for people with unusual eye shapes, and both of these are worth discussing with your ophthalmologist. Those people with very thin corneas or other issues that make Lasik not a good candidate for their particular case can consider implantable contact lens surgery. This is known as ICL in the eye surgeon's lingo, and is a good alternative to Lasik to permanently correct vision. These lenses function in exactly the same way as removable lenses, except that they remain permanently in the eye. Like Lasik, they reshape the eye in order for it to focus accurately. The patient will not feel the lens once the operation has been performed. Lasik and ICL are similar in several ways. Lasik can improve vision affected by nearsightedness and astigmatism, and ICL can improve these vision deficiencies also. Both Lasik and ICL also have some of the same risks, one of these being that the correction is not accurate after the first operation is done. Lasik is a much more frequently performed procedure, and less than 3 percent (according to the FDA) of these patients need to undergo additional surgery to further correct vision after the first Lasik procedure is done. Like any operation, there is a chance of infection in either a Lasik procedure or an ICL operation. Good post-operative care by the patient will minimize this and regular checkups at the Lasik or eye care center will nearly always clear this up without further complication. In a small percentage of the cases, either Lasik or ICL patients may not achieve perfect vision and may need to continue to wear corrective eyewear, though usually not at the same strength as the original eyewear. One advantage of ICL over Lasik is that ICL is a reversible procedure, where the implanted lens can be removed later if that becomes necessary. Lasik involves the reshaping of the cornea to bring objects accurately into focus, and is permanent. However, for a typical, healthy patient either Lasik or ICL will generally bring about the desired improvement in vision. Lasik is generally a less invasive procedure, and this is reflected in the current cost of the operation. The current price for a Lasik procedure is between $500 and $2500 per eye, depending on the type of procedure and the presiding physician. A typical price for ICL is between $1500 and $3000 per eye. Do some investigation into the options offered, and select the eye procedure that is best for your personal case. Pros and Cons for Lasik with IntraLase Those who have had a Lasik technique done, and those who are investigating having a Lasik vision correction procedure, know that the first step of that procedure is to create a small flap in order for the Lasik physician to reshape the cornea. This flap is created by the surgeon, and can be done using a small blade or using a laser. Using the laser is generally called a bladeless Lasik procedure, or IntraLasik, or IntraLase. For those that are considering a Lasik procedure, this review should be helpful in order to determine the pros and cons of the Lasik procedure using IntraLase. One comment to be made is that the risks and complications possible using the small blade are well known and documented, since that procedure has been done for years and has a database of millions of patients. Granted, 90% or more of all Lasik patients have no serious side effects or even minor lasting side effects, but it is true that a large part of the complications from Lasik procedures stem from the flap made with the microkeratome blade. Over the years additional techniques have been developed to further minimize such problems from the standard Lasik procedure. The introduction of the laser to create the flap is a new frontier in the Lasik procedure. The laser is used in combination with state of the art software to create a flap of a pre-programmed size at a specific depth and position. During this process, a soft suction ring holds the eye in place, but this causes no discomfort to the Lasik client. Generally the only effect noticed by most Lasik patients is a dimming of vision in the eye being worked on for the duration of the treatment of that eye. The use of the laser creates very small bubbles of water and carbon dioxide that serve as a good buffer between the flap and the cornea itself, and so this Lasik procedure conserves the eye very carefully. The whole process of creating a flap for one eye takes approximately one minute. The advantages of using a laser to make the flap for the Lasik vision correction procedure is that there is no way that the cornea can be abraded, nor any chance of the wrong size or depth of flap, since it is all pre-programmed with Lasik software. The exact vertical edges of the flap produced using this Lasik procedure help healing, and also decrease the possibility that the flap might slip or wrinkle if the eye is accidentally bumped or rubbed during the healing process. There are very few cons to using a laser to create the flap during a Lasik procedure. One is that the process takes a bit longer, up to a minute. A second reason is that the low level suction during this phase of the Lasik operation does result in eye redness for about 5% of the patients, but this goes away within a few days. The last reason is that there is still a difference in cost between this and the traditional Lasik procedure, but hopefully that will decrease as the years progress.
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