If you are thinking about getting LASIK, you probably have questions. At Cavanaugh Eye Center, we are happy to share our wealth of knowledge with you! See below for answers to common questions about LASIK as well as your vision correction experience at Cavanaugh Eye Center.
LASIK is an abbreviation for laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis. This laser vision correction is a surgical alternative to glasses and/or contact lenses. LASIK is an outpatient procedure that uses an excimer laser to gently reshape the cornea, thereby altering the focusing power of the eye. Laser vision correction has been FDA approved for treating nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.
LASIK was approved for use in the United States in 1999 and is one of the safest, most highly effective medical procedures done today.
Most people who are nearsighted, farsighted, or have astigmatism can benefit from laser vision correction. The first step in finding out if LASIK is right for you is to schedule a refractive consultation appointment. Our experienced eye doctors, Dr. Cavanaugh and Dr. Jaynes, will perform a thorough evaluation of your eyes and make a specific recommendation based on many factors including your age, vision stability, overall eye health, current prescription, expectations, as well as a series of sophisticated eye scans. Your vision should be stable and co-existing conditions such as dry eye should be treated prior to consideration of refractive surgery. Our eye doctors and highly-trained surgical counselors will discuss all options with you. If a patient is not an ideal candidate for LASIK, we offer a number of non-LASIK procedures to reduce or eliminate dependence on glasses and/or contact lenses.
Performing LASIK on a patient during pregnancy or while nursing is not recommended. This is due to changes in hormone levels which may result in fluctuations of your eye’s prescription and variable vision. LASIK during pregnancy may result in unpredictable results. Additionally, most LASIK eye surgeons advise patients to wait a few months after they quit nursing to have LASIK performed.
Your consultation appointment will last about two hours and your eyes will be dilated. The visit will completely prepare you for surgery and will include an exam, diagnostic testing, and surgical counseling. You will have an opportunity to ask any questions you have about LASIK.
Contact lenses distort or warp the shape of the cornea and can make preoperative measurements inaccurate. Because of this, it is very important that you do not wear contact lenses prior to your preoperative consultation. Soft contact lens wearers need to be out of the lenses for at least one week and hard/gas permeable contact lens wearers need to be out of the lenses for a month plus an additional week for every decade of contact lens wear. Once accurate measurements are obtained at the consultation, you may resume wearing contact lenses until the day before surgery.
Yes, most patients have LASIK performed on both eyes during the same surgical session.
On the day of your LASIK procedure, you will be asked to arrive at our Overland Park office and Laser Surgery Suite about 30 to 45 minutes in advance of your scheduled surgery time to check-in and be prepared for surgery. Our pre-op technician will counsel you on what to expect during surgery and will go over your post-op instructions. You will receive a Valium, if you choose, to calm your nerves and begin to receive your first doses of numbing drops. Any repeat measurements or scans will be done at that time. Our experienced eye doctors will personally speak with you, answer questions, and examine your eyes prior to moving to the Laser Suite.
The LASIK procedure takes approximately five minutes per eye to perform, although the laser is on for just a matter of seconds. The average total time at the surgery center is about 1 ½ to 2 hours on the day of your procedure.
Most patients report that the LASIK procedure is painless or that they feel only a light pressure sensation. Before your procedure, you will be given anesthetic drops to completely numb your eyes. After your procedure, your eyes may feel scratchy with stinging and tearing for a few hours. Most people need only Tylenol or Advil and a little rest time. This improves after a three- to four-hour nap.
This is a common concern with patients. There is a target light for you to focus on during the procedure. Our precise doctors will also monitor your eye position through a microscope to assure proper alignment. To make sure the laser treatment stays properly centered, our laser utilizes an eye-tracking system – a sophisticated high-speed radar that follows your eye movements. It will only deliver laser treatment if your eye is in the correct position.
After the procedure, you may feel some slight discomfort (scratchy, stinging, tearing) that is most pronounced in the first 3-4 hours following surgery, so you will be asked to go home and take a nap. You will use medicine drops as well as artificial tear drops during the postoperative period. During your follow-up visit, your eyes will be examined to assess the results of your LASIK procedure and ensure proper healing. For best results, you must keep all recommended post-op visits.
Most patients experience improvement in vision almost immediately after their nap and certainly within 24 hours after their procedure, allowing them to resume most normal activities. You will most likely be able to return to work within a day or two, however, it may take several weeks for your vision to completely stabilize.
It is best to arrange for someone to drive you to and from your procedure as you may have been given a mild sedative. Patients may be able to drive the following day or when their vision allows, so we do request you arrange for someone to drive you to and from your required first follow-up appointment with your eye doctor the day following your surgery.
It’s common to experience glare and halos at night for the first few months after your procedure. These symptoms are a normal part of the healing process and typically diminish over time. Additionally, these symptoms are very rare in patients who obtain treatment with the newest generation of femtosecond and excimer lasers, like our Alcon Wavelight EX500 Excimer Laser.
As with any surgical procedure, there are risks to LASIK. Potential complications include under- or over-correction, corneal flap healing problems, dry eye, hazy vision, sensitivity to light, glare at night, loss of best-corrected visual acuity, and infection. The vast majority of patients do not have complications. A sterile, humidity-controlled laser suite will help ensure that the laser performs optimally. Having LASIK performed by a cornea fellowship-trained surgeon, like Dr. Cavanaugh is ideal to reduce possible complications and for quick and effective management if issues arise.
You can expect to achieve excellent results from LASIK. In most cases, LASIK has the potential to provide 20/20 vision but there isn’t a guarantee. Some patients who have higher prescriptions, pre-existing eye diseases, or other anatomical factors, for example, may not achieve 20/20 vision after laser surgery and may still need to wear glasses or contacts. It’s important to have realistic expectations and discuss your goals with your eye surgeon.
In most cases, the treatment effect of laser vision correction is permanent, especially if your eyeglass prescription was stable before treatment. Your distance vision should be very stable, however, your eyes will continue to naturally age which will lead to worsening of your near vision. Fortunately, you may be able to have additional procedures to compensate for this change. LASIK does not prevent the onset of other age-related eye diseases such as cataracts which could also change your vision.
Contact Our Kansas City LASIK Eye Doctors
At Cavanaugh Eye Center, our goal is to help you feel comfortable with all aspects of your LASIK procedure, and we are here to answer any additional questions you may have. Our highly experienced eye surgeons use state-of-the-art technology to perform our procedures and you can trust our skills and expertise for your LASIK surgery. Ready to find out if LASIK is an option for you? Contact us to schedule a consultation!