Drs. Burks and Gailitis are board certified, sub-specialty train experts at cataract micro-surgery. They specialize in refractive cataract surgery and lens implant surgery utilizing the latest technologies. When other doctors send their families to us for eye surgery, that shows you something about our quality and expertise.
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Refractive Surgery FAQ’s
What is laser vision surgery?
Laser surgery is a vision correction procedure performed with a laser, most often an excimer laser. The laser is used to remove corneal tissue in order to reshape the surface of the eye and bring the eye into better focus thereby reducing or eliminating the need for corrective glasses or contact lenses.
How can I tell if I’m a candidate?
If you are 18 years old or older, feel that your glasses or contact lenses prescription is no longer changing, and have no serious medical or eye conditions; you may likely be a candidate for some form of vision correction surgery.
There are other factors that may disqualify you for laser correction surgery and an exam performed by a Ophthalmology Consultants will determine if you are a good candidate.
In general, a good candidate for refractive surgery:
- Is 18 years of age or older.
- Has had a stable corrective lens prescription for over a year.
- Has a prescription within -0.25 to -12.00 diopters of Myopia or up to +6.00 diopters of Hyperopia (farsightedness) or has astigmatism up to 6.00 diopters.
- Have healthy eyes free from disease or serious ailments.
- Is informed of both the risks and benefits of LASIK.
- Knows the alternatives to LASIK.
- Has a realistic expectation of how LASIK can improve vision.
What is the recommended minimum age for having Lasik surgery performed?
Generally, laser vision correction is performed in patients that are 18 years or older. If a patient is a good candidate with the exception of age, the surgery may be performed as an “off–label” procedure.
How long should my contacts be out before my exam and surgery and why?
Because it is important for your eyes to return to their “natural shape” prior to your surgery, FDA guidelines state that all soft contact lens wearers should be out of their contacts at least two weeks prior to their exam and surgery, and hard and gas perm lens wearers should be out at least three weeks. These are minimums and depending on how out of shape your eyes are it could take much longer.
How soon can I have surgery, and what do I do first?
If you don’t wear contact lenses, have no medical or eye problems, you may be able to complete the consultation, complete examination and surgery within a period of about one week. Otherwise, the period of time required for your eyes to stabilize after the wear of your contact lenses will determine how soon surgery can be performed.
Is it possible to correct both eyes at once?
Most patients elect to have simultaneous treatment; however, circumstances may occur where performing the surgery on one eye at a time may be preferable. There are some surgeons that prefer the one eye at a time treatment, but most surgeons do not.
How long does the surgery take?
Generally, you will be at the office for about one hour and thirty minutes. In terms of the actual surgery time, it takes approximately 20 minutes to create the corneal flaps and reshape the cornea with the Allegretto’s Wavefront Optimized laser system. Surface laser ablation procedures take less time, usually between 10-15 minutes.
Does the surgery hurt?
Patients generally have little to no discomfort with the LASIK procedure. Your eyes will be numbed before the surgery with anesthetic eye drops. Patients will feel a small lid support holding the eye open during the procedure, and there is a short period in the flap creation part of the LASIK procedure where there is a pressure sensation that most patients report this as “uncomfortable”, but not painful.
What happens on the day of the surgery?
Please arrive promptly at the time you are scheduled.
- Please wear comfortable clothing.
- Do not wear makeup, perfume, fragrant body lotions, cologne or after–shave, since vapors from these scents may interfere with the delivery of the laser beam.
- Avoid drinking any products containing caffeine, as you should go home and sleep after the procedure.
- You will need to arrange for transportation. We recommend you have someone you know assist you in getting you home safely.
In The Operating Room
- The Allegretto’s Wavefront Optimized laser is programmed with your correction before you enter the laser room.
- After you enter the laser room, it will take a few minutes to prepare and position you properly under the microscope.
- The procedure itself will take no more than 20-30 minutes.
Immediately after Surgery
- We ask that you go directly home and sleep. The healing begins while you are sleeping. It is best to go to sleep while your eye(s) are still numb.
- You will be provided with postoperative instructions as well as appropriate medication and eye drops to take home.
- A follow-up appointment is scheduled for the next day. This visit will be brief, but is very important. This visit allows the doctor to verify that the flaps are healing well and to measure your vision.
What Is Normal After surgery?
- You may experience tearing, burning, and foreign body sensations, but these sensations are usually gone by the following morning.
- A few patients may be light sensitive following surgery, and if so, this should go away in several days to a week or so. Sunglasses may be worn to ease the discomfort if needed.
- Some initial soreness may occur due to the suction ring. This also should quickly diminish.
How soon can I resume driving?
Since 99% of our Lasik patients will be at least 20/40 or better (legal driving vision) without their glasses the morning after surgery, most patients can resume normal activities the day after surgery. Occasionally, a patient may be somewhat light sensitive or still feeling the effects of the medications used the day before. Since your eye prescription has changed, you will need to update your drivers license status.
For those patients having PRK and Lasek surgery there may be a somewhat longer delay for their recovery. This is especially true if both eyes are done at the same time, as it generally takes longer to regain sharp vision.
How soon can I go back to work?
Depending upon the physical requirements of your job you can often return to work the day after your surgery. Most patients prefer surgery on a Thursday or a Friday to have the weekend to recover, although that schedule is really not necessary. You will need to protect your eyes from injury or rubbing. If you work in an environment that causes eye irritation it may be necessary to wear eye protection and to frequently use eye lubricants.
How soon can I start wearing makeup again?
We feel it is best that patients avoid wearing makeup for about two weeks after the surgery. We recommend this period to avoid the action of rubbing around the eyes that occurs during the removal of your makeup. Other facial makeup is alright to apply, simply avoid those items involving eye rubbing to remove the applied makeup.
How many checkups do I need after surgery?
- The typically postoperative follow-up schedule is:
- First day after surgery
- One month after surgery
- Three months after surgery
- Six months after surgery
- One year after surgery
What happens if it doesn’t work as well as it should?
There is always the possibility that the initial treatment does not adequately correct the refractive error. This generally is apparent immediately after the surgery and generally is not significant enough to require glasses for correction. However, the eyes need to stabilize before proceeding with an enhancement procedure. This stabilization period is typically three months for nearsighted patients and six months for farsighted patients. This explains why 75% of all retreatment procedures occur within a three to six month period after the initial operation.
A few patients may slowly change over a longer period of time as their personal healing may affect the result. We will monitor the progress of your eyes until the healing is complete and then perform an enhancement procedure as needed (99% of all re-treatments occur within the one year period).
What happens if my vision changes years later? Is it possible to do the surgery again?
If your vision does change over many years, it will be due to changes in the eye that are unrelated to the original laser treatment and reflect ongoing structural shape changes within your eye, or some other medical condition affecting the eye. These can, where safe and appropriate, also be addressed by the retreatment process even if many years later.