Individuals may experience nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and/or astigmatism for a number of reasons; however it is typically due to a change in the shape of your cornea as it relates to the dimensions of your eye. Light is refracted inaccurately by the cornea onto your retina causing unclear vision.
In use since the late 1980s, LASIK utilizes a laser beam to remove small amounts of tissue from the cornea to reshape it and correct the refractive error. The reshaped cornea then focuses images correctly on the retina. For many patients, a successful LASIK procedure can mean clearer vision with the potential to eliminate glasses, or contact lenses, forever.
What is LASIK?
LASIK is a refractive surgical procedure to help correct vision problems. The term LASIK is an abbreviation or acronym for Laser-Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis, which means "to reshape the cornea, from within, using a laser". In LASIK, the corneal surface is treated underneath a protective corneal flap. It is one of several corrective procedures for the treatment of familiar vision problems that you may already have heard of, including nearsightedness, farsightedness and/or astigmatism.
While glasses and contact lenses also help correct problems such as these, they are considered vision aids, not vision correction. LASIK and other procedures are, in fact, designed to help people reduce, if not completely eliminate, the need for glasses and/or contact lenses.
How does LASIK work?
The initial steps begin before the day of your procedure day. Several tests and examinations are performed which collect specific data in order to determine the best possible options for you and also to eliminate any future complications. Tests include, but are not limited to, the following:
· Visual Acuity
· Infrared Pupillometry (measurement of nighttime pupil size)
· Dual Scheimpflug Imaging using the Galilei Dual Scheimpflug Analyzer
· Pachymetry (measurement of corneal thickness)
· Corneal Topography (measures both anterior and posterior surfaces)
For the LASIK procedure itself, there are 3 basic steps: Step 1: Accessing the Corneal Stroma, Step 2: Laser Treatment, and Step 3: Closing Stage. Step 1 and 2 have options that you may choose from to “customize” the LASIK procedure to your particular needs. It is important to understand your options as they apply to each step of the procedure in order for you to make the best possible decision for yourself.
Stage 1: Accessing the corneal stroma
(Terms such as “all-laser LASIK” or “bladed vs. non-bladed techniques” refer to this step in the procedure)
After your eye has been completely numbed using "eye drop" anesthesia, an eyelid holder will be placed between your eyelids to prevent you from blinking. Dr. Lin will need to access the corneal stroma (inside the cornea) in order to correct your corneal refraction with the chosen laser.
Method options offered by IQ Laser Vision (click for more details):
· Micro-LASIK – specially designed technique that creates a flap, using a Microkeratome, which is nearly half the thickness of standard flaps.
· Z-LASIK – commonly referred to as the “ALL-LASER” technique because the corneal flap is created using a special femtosecond laser.
· LASEK – (Laser Epithelial Keratomileusis)– a technique in which access to the corneal stroma is created using a special solution which allows the corneal epithelium to be “rolled-back”.
· PRK – (Photorefractive Keratectomy) – PRK completely removes the corneal epithelium in order to gain access to the corneal stroma.
Stage 2: Laser Treatment
(Terms such as “Conventional” and “Custom Wavefront” refer to this step in the procedure)
Once Step 1 is completed, the cornea will be gently reshaped and adjusted in order to reflect light accurately onto your retina. This step involves using a laser to treat some of the corneal tissue in order to reduce the steepness of your corneal curvature.
Method options offered by IQ Laser Vision (click for more details):
· Allegretto WaveLight Eye-Q 400Hz – Custom WaveFront laser; The fastest, most accurate FDA-approved laser available
· NIDEK Excimer EC-5000 Laser – Conventional laser; One of the most reliable excimers lasers in the market today with proven results
Stage 3: Closing Stage
Once the laser is complete the corneal epithelium/flap is gently positioned. The protective flap naturally bonds with the cornea without the need for stitches nor adhesive.
Most patients report immediate vision clarity after the procedure. You will be provided with maintenance eye drops and everything you will need for the next few days. Once you return home, take a nap for a few hours and wake-up to enjoy crystal-clear vision!
What are the benefits of LASIK?
LASIK vision correction has a number of benefits, including:
· Freedom from the limitations of glasses and contact lenses
o Increased peripheral vision
o Decrease eye injury severity (injuries have the potential to be worse when wearing corrective lenses)
o No need to put on contacts every morning and remove them every night
o Decrease the chance of infection associated with handling contacts
· Results are nearly immediate – patients typically see improvements in their vision as soon as the procedure is done
· The procedure is quick – about 15 minutes
· The recovery is quick – nearly all of our patients return back to work after 1-2 days
· Eliminate the need for constant maintenance of contact lens cleaning, putting-on, taking-off, replacement, etc.
· In the long-term LASIK will be cheaper than daily-use contact lenses and glasses
Who is a candidate for LASIK?
Our ideal candidates for the refractive correction procedure are:
· Individuals who are over 18 years old
· Have healthy corneas and no major vision-related issues
· Stable vision – No significant change in their vision within the past 12 months prior to the procedure
· Patients who use glasses or contact lenses to improve their vision are ideal candidates
There may be times when IQ Laser Vision may need to turn away patients because they are not a good candidate for the procedure because our number one concern is not the number of patients we bring in but the quality of care and high level of service we provide. That is why it is important to come in for our FREE CONSULTATION, in order for IQ Laser Vision to determine your candidacy and provide the best vision correction options for you.
What you can expect?
We take pride in being upfront and honest with our patients, as it coincides with the high level of customer service and satisfaction that we strive for. It is important that our patients have realistic expectations with respect to their procedure outcomes. Actual results should be based on facts and statistics as opposed to personal desires or misconceptions. The goal of this procedure is to reduce your dependence on corrective lenses and/or contacts. Most of our patients never have to deal with the hassles of contacts or glasses after their procedure.
The national average of patients that require a touch-up is between about 15-20%, depending on which study you look at. At IQ Laser Vision, less than 5% of our patients require an enhancement.
What are the risks of LASIK?
Some potential risks may include:
· Dry eyes
· Halos (typically at night)
· Variations in recovery time – nutrition, adherence to IQLV recovery guidelines, and activity level are some factors that may have an effect on recovery time
· Genetic variations – age, gender, ethnic background, family health history – these may have effects
· Corneal abrasion – in very rare cases
All risks are discussed and addressed before, during and after the procedure. IQ Laser Vision is dedicated to answering any and all questions you may have to ensure complete conformability and proper expectations with the procedure.
FAQs about LASIK
Q: What are the odds of no longer needing glasses for distance with the laser procedure?
A: Studies have shown that nearly every patient experiences a marked improvement in their vision as compared to their previously uncorrected vision with glasses or contacts. Over 99% of patients will attain corrected vision that will meet or exceed the DMV licensing requirements.
Q: Will I experience any pain with this procedure?
A: Every effort is made to ensure that our patients have a very comfortable experience during and after their procedure. Most patients experience no pain and are able to return to their routine activities the following day.
Q: I am over age forty. Will laser vision correction eliminate my need for distance and reading glasses?
A: Laser procedures are very effective in correcting myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism. These disorders are a result of a corneal curvature that is either too steep or too flat for the length of the eye. Vision is improved when the laser reshapes the curvature of the cornea. After reaching the age of forty most people experience a decline in the quality of their reading vision. This problem is age related and is due to a weakness of the focusing mechanism of the lens of the eye. Although laser vision correction cannot directly correct this problem, LASIK can give good distance and reading vision to many patients by readjusting the focus of their eyes. During your consultation, we will let you experience what you can expect after your procedure.
Q: If I have LASIK and my vision changes later in life, what can be done?
A: Once your eyes have stabilized after surgery, the correction is permanent. In the rare event that your vision does change, re-treatment is a possible option. We would perform a thorough examination and ensure adequate corneal thickness is present before any further correction.
Q: Are there any long-term side effect of LASIK?
A: Over 17 million people, including Dr. Lin, have had LASIK over the last 20 years. Refractive surgeons have been performing a similar procedure for over 50 years, a procedure known as automated lamellar keratoplasty (ALK). There have been a few reports of the cornea becoming unstable years after the procedure is performed. These cases are very rare, and occur mostly in cases where the stromal bed is below 250 microns (0.25mm). When I perform the LASIK procedure, I measure the corneal thickness during the surgery to ensure that we leave at least 280 microns in the stromal bed. With the MICRO-LASIK thin flap LASIK technique we often have more than 360 microns in the stromal bed. We can discuss this and any other concerns you may have at your consultation.
Q: How long does the eye take to heal after surgery?
A: The cornea is about 90% healed in the first 24 hours after the LASIK procedure. You can resume full activity after two weeks. However, there will be continuous healing for 3-6 months.
Q: Will I have perfect 20/20 vision after having LASIK?
A: This depends on your best correctable visual acuity. Some of our patients achieve better than 20/20 vision! Most patients achieve their full desired visual acuity. If the desired visual acuity is not achieved, an enhancement procedure is usually performed three months after the initial procedure.
Q: What will I see during the procedure?
A: During the procedure, we will ask you to focus on a blurry, blinking red light. Immediately after the procedure the red light should become much clearer, and you should notice an improvement in your vision.
Q: I am very concerned about being able to remain still during the procedure?
A: This is a common fear many patients have. Since every patient moves during the procedure, the laser treatment is designed to stop instantly if necessary. Our lasers, the Alcon Nidek EC-5000 and the Alegretto WaveLight Eye-Q 400Hz, have eye trackers that will follow your eye during the procedure. The laser delivers the pulses wherever they are supposed to go, despite any eye movements.
Q: What if I blink during the procedure?
A: To minimize blinking, your eye will be numbed by an aesthetic. Even if you blink, the eye is held open by a small device called speculum, a minimal discomfort, and the Eye Tracker will still track your eyes to ensure proper laser placement.
Q: Will I need to wear anything over my eye(s) after the procedure?
A: Patients will wear a clear shield immediately after the procedure and during sleeping hours.
Q: Will I have any scars?
A: The minimal scarring that occurs will be out of the visual axis (will not affect vision) and can only be seen with a microscope.
Q: In the event that I am not fully corrected, can I still wear contact lenses?
A: Yes, in almost all cases, you will be able to wear contacts after the procedure. However, it is rare for patients to wear contact lenses, except cosmetic colored contact lenses.
Q: Who is a good candidate for LASIK?
A: In general, patients who see well with glasses or contact lenses, have healthy eyes and are in good health are good candidates for laser vision correction. Whether or not you should undergo the procedure is a decision that should be made after a comprehensive exam by a skilled ophthalmologist who specializes in laser vision correction. Our exams are part of a no-cost consultation that will allow the patient and surgeon to discuss all options available such as LASIK, Micro-LASIK, LASEK, Intacs, LRI, or ICL.
Q: Is LASIK safe?
A: Laser vision correction is very safe, when performed by a skilled surgeon. Dr. Lin, himself, had LASIK over 15 years ago. He has performed over 25,000 refractive procedures, and has performed MICRO-LASIK® on his parents, and two brothers, one who is a doctor, and the other a lawyer. Dr. Robert Lin is a nationally known, and well-respected surgeon who operates with his patients’ safety as the top priority. Most complications can be treated with eye drops or a repeat procedure. More serious complications are rare because the procedure is limited to the front surface of the eye and not in the eye itself. There have been no reports of blindness caused by LASIK and none of Dr. Lin’s patients have lost significant vision. Without glasses or contacts lenses all of Dr. Lin’s patients have had improved near or distant vision. Dr. Lin and our staff will thoroughly discuss any risks and benefits before the surgery
Q: What takes place during a complimentary consultation at IQ Laser Vision?
A: At the FREE consultation, we will gather data about your eyes including: visual acuity, refraction, measurement of current glasses, biomicroscopy, infrared pupillometry (measurement of nighttime pupil size), pachymetry (measurement of corneal thickness), corneal topography (using up to 3 different systems to measure both anterior and posterior surfaces), and if applicable, wavefront analysis. Based on these findings, our surgeon, Dr. Robert Lin will select the best treatment for your eyes. He will take as much time as necessary to thoroughly understand your expectations and explain the risks and benefits of the procedure.
Copyright 2013 All Rights Reserved
Robert T. Lin, M.D. performs MICRO-LASIK®, Laser Vision correction, Lasik Eye Surgery, Lasek, Intacs and Visian ICL in Los Angeles and Orange County California.
18725 Gale Ave. Suite 1401-888-539-2211
City of Industry CA 91748 US
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