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 Frequently asked questions


What is an Excimer laser?

An excimer laser is a surgical instrument that produces a powerful controlled beam of light. Laser light is directed and controlled precisely and delivered in brief, intense pulses. The excimer laser produces a beam of ultraviolet light in pulses that last only a few billionths of a second. Each pulse removes a microscopic amount of tissue from the surface of the cornea, thereby changing the shape of the cornea.

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What is hyperopia?

Hyperopia (farsightedness) occurs when light rays entering the eye are focused behind your retina instead of directly on it. Farsightedness is typically hereditary, begins in childhood and stabilizes in the late teens or early adulthood. Options for correcting hyperopia include eyeglasses, contact lenses, other refractive surgical procedures and hyperopic PRK.

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What is myopia?

Myopia, or nearsightedness, affects approximately 70 million people in the United States. Myopia occurs when light rays entering the eye are focused in front of your retina instead of directly on it. Options for corrections nearsightedness are eyeglasses, contact lenses or refractive surgery including PRK and LASIK.

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What is LASIK?

LASIK utilizes the Excimer laser and an automated microkeratome to reshape the cornea. The microkeratome lifts a small flap of the cornea. This flap is laid back while the Excimer laser removes microscopic layers of the cornea. Once the laser is complete, the corneal flap is put back in place.

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What is PRK?

PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) is a surgical treatment for nearsightedness or farsightedness in which the an Excimer Laser flattens or reshapes the front surface of the cornea by removing microscopic amounts of tissue.

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What are the indications for use for hyperopia?

The excimer laser can be used for the reduction or elimination of mild to moderate hyperopia ranging from +1.0 to +3.0 diopters with a moderate amount of astigmatism in patients with documentation of stable refraction (less than 0.5 diopter change) over the past year who are 21 years of age or older.

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What are the indications for use for myopia?

The Excimer laser can be used for the reduction or elimination of mild to moderate myopia ranging from -1.00 to -10.00 diopters with preferably a max of 5.00 diopters of astigmatism in patients who are 18 years of age or older who have documentation of a stable refraction (less than 0.5 diopter change) over the past year.

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What are the benefits?

Besides avoiding damage to the surrounding tissue and allowing more precise corneal shaping, the biggest advantage of PRK and LASIK is less than 20 percent of the outermost cornea is removed. Unlike radial keratotomy, in which cuts were made through as much as 90 percent of the depth of the cornea, the eye is not significantly weakened in PRK or LASIK.

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What are the side effects and risks?

As is the case with any surgery, patients undergoing any of these procedures should be aware of possible side effects and risks. Following PRK, patients may experience double vision, haziness, light sensitivity and other temporary problems. These usually decrease over time and eventually disappear completely. However, a small percentage of patients may experience permanent vision difficulties such as night vision problems and a minor halo or glare.

LASIK patients generally experience good vision within 3 days of the procedure. Dry eye is a common problem immediately following the procedure, but is usually not significant. Other symptoms occasionally disturbing the patient are glare and halos, and mildly fluctuating vision. These usually decrease over a six-week period and eventually disappear completely.
Serious complications happen very rarely, but include severe infections where patients have lost vision completely and even lost an eye. But putting things in perspective, the literature shows that severe infections are more common as a complication of contact lens wear than following excimer laser surgery.
All candidates that undergo any eye surgery/laser, are informed of potential complications in a special consent form.

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Am I a candidate for refractive surgery?

To determine if you are a candidate, the eye doctor will dilate your eyes and measure your refraction. Your doctor will check the overall health of your eyes. An important test called a computerized corneal topography is performed to determine the shape of the cornea. Some further testing is often performed.

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How does LASIK work?

LASIK is a “hybrid” procedure, combining the comfort of the ALK technique with the accuracy of the excimer laser. First, the doctor will use an instrument called a microkeratome to create a thin surface-flap under the microscope; this will only take a few seconds. Then the excimer laser, which as been pre-programmed with your exact correction, applies a cool ultraviolet light that precisely sculpts a very small amount of the sub-surface of the cornea. These short laser pulses correct the curvature of the cornea, allowing images to be focused clearly on the retina. The flap is then smoothly folded down where is quickly bonds back in place, usually in two to three minutes, resulting a smooth, clear surface.

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How long does it take?

You should plan on being in the office for approximately an hour and a half. The actual procedure however, usually takes less than 15 minutes. Depending on your prescription, and the amount of correction needed, the laser itself only takes 20-90 seconds to correct your vision.

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Does it (LASIK) hurt?

No. The treatment itself is painless. You will be given plenty of numbing (anesthetic) drops to completely numb the eye. You may feel a light pressure sensation around your eye, and after the procedure is finished you will feel a sensation our patients describe a “wearing a poor-fitting contact lens” for a few hours…but you shouldn’t have any pain. We rarely find the need to prescribe anything for pain after the procedure-other than eye drops.

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How long will it take to get my final result?

Although everyone is a little different, the vast majority of our LASIK patients achieve legal driving vision or better the very next day. Clear vision comes in quickly; one of the most exciting advantages of the LASIK procedure. The final result may take anywhere from a week to several weeks or even a few months in rare cases.

Can I drive myself home after the procedure?

No. You’ll need to have someone drive you home after the procedure. Although your vision may (or may not) be good enough to drive right after the procedure, the medication you will be given prior the procedure is a mild sedative, and sedatives and driving don’t mix.

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When can I go back to work?

Although everyone is a little different, the majority of our patients see well enough to back to work a day or two after the procedure.

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Do you do have both eyes done at the same time”?

That decision should be made between you and the doctor. With LASIK, one typically does both eyes at the same time. Vision comes in so quickly and the post-operative sensation is minimal, so doing both eyes at the same time makes sense to most of our patients.

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Can children have this done?

No. The approximate minimal age range for Laser Vision Correction is 18-21. That’s because we require a “stable” prescript. Children are likely to have their prescription change over time, just like their shoe size and height change with time.
Is there a maximum age.

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Am I too old to have Laser Vision Correction?

Although there is no real ”maximum age” for laser vision correction, we should first need to determine that the overall health of your eyes is good, and that your vision difficulties are not being caused or hindered by cataracts.

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So in the LASIK procedure do they actually cut the eye?

The microkeratome used by the doctor precisely creates a very fine surface-flap, just prior to the corrective laser treatment. This is entirely different from the incisions made in the cornea during the Radial Keratotomy (RK) procedure.

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What if I blink?

The doctor uses a small lid-holder, which cups the upper and lower lids, and makes blinking impossible.

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