Vision Correction Procedures Frequently Asked Questions
Laser vision correction questions answered 24 hours a day:
Does LASIK hurt?
Because the cornea is easily numbed with "eye drop" anesthesia, patients report little, if any discomfort, both during and after the procedure.
When will I be able to see after the procedure?
Results vary from patient to patient. Most patients have functional vision in one to three days. Full visual results are usually realized within one to four weeks.
Will I have 20/20 vision?
We hope so, but as with any medical procedure, there is no guarantee that you will have perfect vision or that you will not need distance or reading glasses again. However, almost everyone experiences improved vision, and most see well enough to pass a driver's test without corrective lenses.
Will my vision be distorted when driving at night after LASIK surgery?
While this was a more common problem in the past, it is very rare today. Nighttime distortion can occur when the pupil enlarges at night beyond the optical zone of the treatment. The treatments in Canada before the approval in the United States were at a 5.5mm optical zone. The FDA approved a 6mm optical zone for use in the United States, which greatly diminished nighttime distortion. The VISX Laser that we use can now treat up to 6.5mm optical zone and can further blend this zone out to 8mm. As part of the comprehensive LASIK evaluation, the pupil size is checked both in room light and within the infrared measuring instrument under dark-adapted conditions. Should the pupil be greatly enlarged under nighttime conditions, which is more common in young people, a nighttime problem might develop. This would be particularly true in patients who have a very nearsighted and/or astigmatic optical correction. Thus, patients who are likely to develop nighttime difficulties can be screened out ahead of time. When a larger optical zone or blended optical zone is used, greater treatment depth is required. This may not always be possible if the cornea is too thin, but such patients can be advised ahead of time that they may have nocturnal distortion and then decide on an informed basis if they wish to proceed with laser treatment or consider some other refractive modality such as the intraocular contact lens which will be available in the next 12 to 18 months in the United States.
Will my eyes be dry after laser vision correction?
While all patients are screened for tear production during the LASIK evaluation, and those with very dry eyes ruled out as laser vision candidates. All patients treated with laser vision correction will have, for a short time period, dryer eyes postoperatively. This is treated with artificial teardrops in all cases and in a few more extreme instances with a treatment called a punctual plug. In general, dry eyes are a more prevalent difficulty from mid life onward and in the winter seasons from the drying effects of heat.
What are the primary benefits of LASIK over PRK?
Photo-Refractive Keratectomy, or PRK, treats the surface of the cornea with the Excimer laser while LASIK treats the inner tissue of the cornea. For this reason, with LASIK there is less area to heal, less risk of scarring, less risk of corneal haze, less postoperative pain, less postoperative medications, and vision often returns very rapidly. It can also be used to treat higher amounts of refractive errors.
What are the risks associated with LASIK?
Like any medical procedure, LASIK has some risks. Because LASIK uses a microkeratome, results are more dependent on surgical experience than with PRK. Your doctor will give you more detailed information regarding risks and complications prior to your having LASIK and all of your questions will be answered.
Is LASIK approved by the FDA?
Yes, LASIK is now approved by the FDA. Several Excimer lasers have been approved and others are in the final stages of clinical trials.