FAQs about LASIK
Are there any risks involved with LASIK?
Yes, the primary risks include dry eyes, visual glare or halos, over-correction or under-correction, inflammation, infection, bleeding, or complications with the flap. Fortunately, the risk of the more serious complications is low, but they can still occur. We use antibiotic and steroid drops after surgery to help prevent infection and inflammation. If you have pain, increased redness, or decreased vision after surgery, please let our Raleigh LASIK surgical team know immediately.
Can I have both eyes treated the same day?
Yes, almost everyone has both eyes treated on the same day. First we treat the right eye, then the left eye. Treating the eyes on different days is an option for those who are interested. Come into our Raleigh office on Millbrook Road and we can talk about these options.
How fast will my vision recover?
With LASIK, vision is usually foggy or mildly blurry immediately afterwards, and slowly clears throughout the day of the operation. The next morning, much of the recovery has taken place and patients are usually seeing much better.
Recovery is slower with PRK. Vision can be blurred at times and more clear at other times for the first 4-5 days. At that point, most patients have functional vision, but it should continue to improve even more for the next 1-2 weeks before it stabilizes. In both LASIK and PRK, we consider the treatments to be mostly stable at six months and fully healed at one year.
How safe is LASIK?
LASIK is a safe and effective procedure for laser vision correction. Recently, a 15 year long-term follow-up study was published emphasizing the safety of LASIK. Now with advances in technology and our knowledge about LASIK, we expect that modern laser eye surgery is even more safe than it was 15 years ago when the study patients were treated.
It has also been shown that LASIK is safer than wearing contact lenses over the long term, as well as being less expensive. Some of the more common side effects after LASIK include dry eyes or seeing glare and halos at night. Fortunately, these side effects are usually temporary and improve weeks to months after treatment.
Is Laser Vision & LASIK Correction permanent?
Yes, we expect the changes in the cornea from LASIK or PRK to last a patient's lifetime. However, if the health of the eye changes over time, we can see changes in the prescription needed to see clearly. In younger patients, once they reach their 40s, they will need to use reading glasses in order to see up close after LASIK due to age related focus dysfunction (presbyopia).
Is LASIK covered by insurance?
Usually no, although we have seen very rare insurance plans that do pay some for LASIK. Often, insurance plans will offer discounts for LASIK that can help reduce the cost of the treatment. Flexible spending plans or interest-free financing options can be a great way to make laser vision correction more affordable.
Is the LASIK procedure painful?
No, we use numbing drops on the eye, to prevent the sensation of anything sharp or painful. At times during the procedure, there may be pressure on the eye or the sensation of touch or drops on the eye. During recovery, the eye may feel mildly irritated or scratchy. This usually clears after the first day.
What if my eye moves during treatment?
The LASIK laser treatment will stop if the eye is not aligned properly. Once the eye is re-aligned, the laser treatment can resume. The excimer laser used in our Raleigh surgical center, which is used for LASIK, includes an advanced eye tracking system that checks the position of the eye before every pulse of the laser (which occurs many times per second). If the eye is not in the ideal location or if it moves, the built-in safety measures will stop the laser. There is a target light in the laser to look at during LASIK, that will help keep the eye in the best position.
Who is a candidate for LASIK?
In our Raleigh office, we determine if patients qualify for LASIK during our free evaluation that may take about an hour. Generally, patients who are 18 years old or older with a stable prescription, healthy eyes, normal corneas, and adequate corneal thickness may qualify. This is an option for those interested in decreasing their need for glasses or contact lenses to see clearly.