LASIK surgery (laser assisted in-situ keratomileusis) is the most commonly performed and well-known type of refractive surgery. Using an eximer laser Dr. Pickard reshapes the cornea so that when a patient sees images they are focused on the correct spot of the retina (back of the eye), which allows the patient to see clearly usually without the need of glasses or contacts.
People who are nearsighted, farsighted, or have astigmatism, and wear glasses or contacts to correct their distance vision are likely candidates. Abnormally shaped or thin corneas, high refractive error, cataracts, and retinal problems are the most common reasons a person may not be a good candidate for LASIK. If you do not qualify for LASIK, there are other surgical alternatives that may eliminate or reduce your dependence on glasses or contacts. Scheduling a consultation with Dr. Pickard is the best way to determine candidacy and further explore surgical options.
The complication rate for LASIK is very low, making it a very safe surgery. Before surgery, a full comprehensive evaluation is done to identify factors that may increase the risk of complication. After the surgery, patients will use eye drops to prevent any post-operative complications.
Prior to having LASIK eye surgery, we must obtain extremely reliable scans, in order to have a reliable treatment. This means patients will have to refrain from contact lens wear for up to two weeks before having their LASIK consultation. After consistent, reliable scans have been acquired, some patients may return to wearing their contact lenses leading up to the procedure, but should NOT wear them the day of the scheduled surgery.
Like most eye surgeries, during LASIK surgery, the eye is anesthetized using an eye drop. The drop numbs the patients cornea, the surface of the eye being treated, so it is essentially a very painless procedure. Some patients report feeling slight pressure, this is due to the instrument used to keep the eye open, and the mild suction placed on the eye to perform the surgery. You should plan to be at the LASIK center for one to two hours the day of the procedure, most of that time is for preparation, as the procedure itself takes less than 10 minutes per eye.
Immediately after the procedure it is normal to have blurred vision and some discomfort. Some patients experience excessive tearing, light sensitivity, as well as glare or halos. These symptoms tend to resolve after the first 24 hours, but can persist for longer. It is crucial during this time that you DO NOT rub your eyes, follow all post-operative instructions, and use all necessary eye drops as directed. The day of the procedure you must have a responsible adult driver available to take you home, but the next day, if you are comfortable with your quality of vision, you may drive yourself to your follow-up appointment. Follow-up appointments occur within the first 24 hours of surgery, 1 week later, 1 month later, and vary between 3 and 12 months after the procedure.
Most people will lose some of their ability to see nearby objects when they reach their early to mid forties, which results in difficulty reading fine print, applying make-up, or performing some close-up tasks. With LASIK, to maintain your ability to see fine print, or things close-up if you are over 40, you and Dr. Pickard may decide to leave one or both eyes slightly nearsighted, or consider mono-vision LASIK – which corrects your dominant eye for good distance vision, and the other eye for near vision.
The cost of LASIK depends on several factors, some related to the patient and their desired visual goal, whether one or both eyes are being treated, what technology is being used, and the LASIK center itself, which all influence the cost. The price for LASIK is very reasonable, but it is an investment – an investment in your sight. A consultation with Dr. Pickard will more clearly outline the exact cost of the procedure, after determining candidacy and your visual expectation.
Most medical and vision insurance plans do not cover LASIK because they deem it elective or cosmetic, therefore medically unnecessary. Alternatively, some employers offer Flexible Spending Accouts, (FSA’s) which are often used to pay for eye surgery.
If you are interested and would like more information about LASIK eye surgery, contact one of our Oklahoma locations today! Call (405) 733-4545 to schedule a consultation with one of our eye care specialists.