> What is LASIK?
The LASIK procedure is designed to reduce or eliminate the need for glasses or contacts. When light reaches the cornea (transparent outer layer of your eye) the light bends and travels onto the back of your eye (the retina). This is known as refraction. When the light doesn’t bend just right, it doesn’t focus correctly on your retina and as a result, your vision is blurry. Lasik can be used to correct three types of refractive errors: nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. When performing Lasik, our surgeons use the most advanced technology with two types of lasers to gently reshape the cornea (to change how the light reaches and focuses on the retina) with computer-controlled precision. Following LASIK you will see clearly and have sharp vision both near and far away. To be considered a candidate, you must be at least 18 years old, have healthy eyes, and have a stable eye prescription for the last twelve months.
> Who isn’t a good candidate for LASIK?
LASIK is a good option for most people but may not be the best solution for you if you:
- have a vision prescription that has changed in the last year
- are pregnant or nursing, as these conditions can cause temporary and unpredictable changes in your cornea
- have uncontrolled or untreated eye disease
- have a corneal dystrophy, a history of herpetic keratitis (a herpes infection in the eye), or autoimmune disorders such as lupus
- are on certain medications
- have thin corneas
However, since LASIK isn’t perfect for everyone, following a free ocular analysis, let our skilled staff help you determine if one of our LASIK alternative procedures may be right for you.
> Is LASIK painful?
Many patients are surprised to find that they don’t feel any pain during their LASIK surgery. Prior to surgery, you may be given a mild sedative to help you relax. Anesthetic drops are used to numb the eye before LASIK eye surgery begins. During the laser correction, you may feel a slight pressure sensation. After your procedure, your eye may feel a bit irritated (scratchy, gritty or watery) for a few hours. These are temporary symptoms and most patients are quite comfortable after taking a short nap. You will be prescribed eye drops to aid in the comfort and healing of your eyes in the next few days following your procedure. For most people, vision improves within 24 hours. If a lubricating drop or ointment is being temporarily used, once it is discontinued, your vision will be crisp and clear.
> How long will vision correction last?
LASIK permanently reshapes your cornea. However, over time your vision may not remain sharp for the rest of your life. Should your vision begin to change as your eye continues to age there are many solutions available to assist in correcting the changes.
> What side effects, if any, should I expect after LASIK surgery?
Temporary side effects following laser vision correction can include dryness of eyes, sensitivity to light, and halos at night. Glares or halos at night usually resolve within a few weeks. However, night vision disturbances associated with imperfections in the eye prior to LASIK are now able to be reduced with the CustomVue WaveFront technology OCCR uses during the LASIK procedure. While healing, dry eyes can be treated by using artificial tears. Everyone’s eyes are different so individual results may vary.
> What if I move my eye during the LASIK surgery?
Our advanced, customized LASIK technology called CustomVue provides the most precise, accurate form of laser vision correction available today. 3D eye tracking ensures that even if your eye moves during the procedure, your treatment remains exact and specific to your customized LASIK procedure. In fact, the device we use is able to track movement thousands of times per second—much faster than your eye is capable of functioning.
> Will I have perfect vision after LASIK?
Many of our patients attain 20/20 vision or better after vision correction surgery. In fact, 94% of patients who undergo the CustomeVue LASIK procedure achieve 20/20 vision or better. Ophthalmic Consultants of the Capital Region performs LASIK and our provided LASIK alternative procedures with the upmost confidence after thousands of successful procedures done with the latest and safest technology. However, it is important to understand there are no guarantees of achieving 20/20 vision. In the majority of cases 20/20 does occur and corrective lenses are not needed.
> Why do I have to remove my contacts before laser vision correction surgery?
Contact lenses can alter the shape of your cornea and can also prohibit oxygen flow to the cornea. For that reason, we ask that you refrain from wearing them both before your LASIK consultation and before surgery. Soft lenses should be removed three days before your exam, and toric lenses should be removed seven days before the exam. If you wear rigid gas-permeable or hybrid lenses, leave them out at least 30 days prior to your ocular exam. Removing your contacts allows your cornea to be restored to its natural shape before measurements are taken, giving you the best possible results from your procedure.
> What is the benefit of advanced CustomVue™ Laser vision correction (LASIK or PRK)?
To reach your full vision potential and results, we use WaveScan WaveFront™ technology to personally customize your surgical treatment. This “customized” procedure is known as CustomVue™. We use this technology to correct imperfections, providing a never before available level of precision and accuracy to the reshaping of your cornea. CustomVue has been proven to improve the quality of night vision. While glasses and contact lens wearers often experience halos and glare, the CustomVue LASIK procedure can significantly reduce the likelihood of their occurrence.
> How soon after LASIK surgery can I resume normal activities?
There are minimal restrictions in the first weeks following LASIK. Many patients are able to resume normal activities the following day. Vision results from LASIK can vary, but most patients are able to see clearly 24 to 48 hours after surgery. Further vision improvement may continue over several months. Your doctor will recommend avoiding certain activities, like swimming and contact sports, for several weeks.
> How does PRK compare to LASIK?
PRK and LASIK surgery have comparable results and your doctor can discuss which is most appropriate for your condition during your ocular consultation. A major difference is that LASIK surgery creates a hinged flap on the cornea. LASIK patients report minimal irritation and their vision stabilizes more quickly than PRK. PRK involves treating the surface of the cornea. PRK recovery takes a few days with hazy vision and some discomfort. PRK is often recommended when a patient’s cornea is too thin for LASIK.
> Can LASIK correct presbyopia?
Neither PRK nor LASIK can correct presbyopia, a natural change in the eyes that affects everyone over the age of 40, so patients who need reading glasses will continue to need them after surgery. However, the Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) procedure is an alternative treatment to LASIK for those who are over the age of 45 and experiencing the symptoms of presbyopia. Talk with our surgeons to find out if an RLE procedure is right for you.
> Can both eyes be treated at the same time with LASIK?
Yes, the surgery can be performed on both eyes simultaneously. Most patients find it more convenient to have both eyes corrected on the same day.
> How long can Visian ICLs remain in my eyes?
Because Visian ICLs are created to work seamlessly with your body’s natural chemistry, the lenses can remain with you throughout your entire life. But if changes to your eye health or vision occur, our specialty ophthalmologists can easily remove or update the lenses.
> What kind of diagnostic technology does OCCR utilize?
Every great LASIK outcome begins with proper diagnostics, and we have invested a great deal of time and effort to ensure we have the best tools to make the proper diagnosis.
Pentacam® AXL HR (High Resolution)
The Pentacam was developed by Oculus Optikgeräte GmbH in Wetzlar, Germany and forms the bedrock of our ocular analysis software used during a refractive evaluation. It provides high-resolution tomography and images the shape, size, and position of ocular structures involved in refractive surgery. It captures elevation data, curvature, and thickness of the cornea. It is used for Visian ICL sizing, pre- and post-operative exams, and for identifying forme fruste keratoconus and other rare corneal diseases that may escape notice during a routine preop exam at the slit lamp. In some cases these pre-existing corneal conditions may complicate the outcome of routine LASIK procedures. The Pentacam is an invaluable screening tool that identifies patients with these conditions and helps us direct them toward other refractive surgeries that could more safely meet their needs. Finally, the AXL component of our Pentacam feature set takes 32 highly accurate laser optic measurements of the entire eye. We use this information to direct the lens implant power for Tecnis Symfony, Tecnis toric, Alcon PanOptyx, and Crystalens for Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE).
Carl Zeiss Anterior Segment OCT
Our state of the art Carl Zeiss Ocular Coherence Tomography (OCT) scanner was developed by Carl Zeiss Meditec in Jena, Germany and provides spectral domain, high-resolution optical coherence tomography. A high-definition fundus camera helps assess the overall health of the peripheral retina, macula, and optic nerve. It provides imaging of the back and front of the eye for evaluating complex LASIK cases and shows the positioning of Visian ICL technologies in the eye as well as providing intraocular lens sizing information.
CEM-530 Specular Microscope
Nidek in Gamagori, Japan developed the CEM-530 Specular Microscope to more accurately determine the health of corneal cells in the eye. Using backscatter lighting, critical endothelial cells that act as water pumps to keep the cornea from swelling can be photographed and quantitatively assessed. Inappropriate contact lens use can affect the health of this corneal endothelium, and our imaging system is able to count the number of remaining functional cells contact lens users have in the central and paracentral cornea.
Wavescan Wavefront™ System
The Wavescan Wavefront System was developed by Abbott Medical Optics, Inc. in Santa Ana, California. It features wavefront optics engineered by the same company that built the Hubble telescope. Wavescan measures a total of 240 data points within the eye and allows OCCR to personalize LASIK treatments according to each eye’s unique characteristics. It also determines eye prescription to 0.01 diopter.