Frequently asked questions
Whether you are nearsighted or farsighted or have astigmatism, you wake up each morning to a blurry world. Laser vision correction (LVC) can help make your world clear. At Shannon Laser Eye Center, our experienced physicians and committed laser team want to ensure you make an informed decision about your vision correction options.
Laser vision correction is a simple procedure that uses the VISX Star laser to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. During the treatment, the laser's cool beam of ultraviolet light removes a small amount of tissue, usually less than the thickness of a human hair. Short pulses of this cool-beam laser light change the curvature of the cornea, allowing images to be more sharply focused on the retina.
Nearsightedness occurs when the curve at the front portion of the eye, known as the cornea, is too steep, resulting in blurred images in the distance. Farsightedness is when the cornea is too flat, resulting in blurred images close up. Astigmatism is the result of an irregular curvature of the eye. With nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism the eye focuses light improperly, causing the images of objects to appear blurry.
Just as glasses and contacts help you to see clearly, so does laser vision correction. But there are some guidelines: You must be at least 18 years of age, with healthy eyes and stable vision. The professionals at Shannon Laser Eye Center can provide additional information and advice during a free, no-obligation laser vision consultation.
Laser vision correction is the modern alternative to glasses or contact lenses. The goal of LVC is to reduce or eliminate your dependence on contact lenses and glasses.
Over 1 million LVC procedures are performed in the United States each year. Data obtained during exhaustive clinical trials shows that most patients experienced a significant improvement in uncorrected vision (vision without glasses or contact lenses) after laser vision correction.
LASIK is a surgical procedure that is capable of correcting a wide range of nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia) and astigmatism. LASIK is the acronym for laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis. The name refers to the use of lasers to reshape the cornea without invading the adjacent cell layers.
LASIK was first performed in clinical trials in the U.S. in 1991. It is important to note that the major components of the procedure have a long history. Ophthalmologists have been reshaping the cornea for over 35 years and using the excimer laser since the 1980s. LASIK has been approved in the United States by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as safe and effective.
LASIK can benefit a great number of people with myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism. Candidates should have a strong desire to be less dependent on corrective lenses and willing to accept the risks of surgery.
LASIK improves uncorrected vision—one's visual capacity while not wearing corrective lenses. Almost all patients can expect to drive without having to wear contacts or glasses, and many can expect to achieve 20/20 vision or better. However, there are no guarantees that you will have perfect vision. People who are most satisfied with the results of laser correction clearly understand the potential risks and complications and possess realistic expectations of what their vision will be like after the procedure.
The effects of LASIK are permanent. The effects of LASIK do not wear off. It is important to realize that a person's eye can still change internally. That is why many surgeons recommend having the procedure done after the major eye changes have occurred in one's life. For instance, LASIK is not recommended on children because their eyes change a great deal. If the procedure is performed after the age of 18, the chances of long-term stable correction are better. Patients should also note that while results are usually stable, they sometimes need to be modified by enhancement procedures performed after the initial one.
The whole procedure takes about 30 minutes for two eyes, including creating the flap and performing the laser surgery under the flap.
Patients may experience some discomfort and/or blurred vision for a few hours after LASIK is performed. Therefore, you are not able to drive home after the procedure, and should plan not to drive for at least 10 to 12 hours.
Patients are given a topical anesthetic eye drop to numb the eye, so they experience no pain. When the vacuum ring is applied, the patient experiences a sensation of pressure just before his or her vision fades for a few seconds. The IntraLase femtosecond laser beam is used to create the flap and the VISX excimer laser does not cause any pain or discomfort. For several hours after the procedure, many patients describe a mild burning sensation, such as after opening the eyes while swimming in chlorinated water. After the first few hours, this uncomfortable feeling usually subsides.
The majority of patients have bilateral simultaneous LASIK (both eyes done at the same time), but the choice remains the patient's.
You can resume most normal activities a few days after surgery. You should wear safety glasses while playing contact sports whether or not you have had surgery.
Fast visual recovery characterizes this operation. Most patients achieve good vision within 24 hours of the procedure and find that their eyes feel fairly normal. However, vision can continue to improve, and best vision can still take two to three months to occur. If necessary, adjustments to the surgery called enhancements can be done.
Most patients who have LASIK do not wear glasses for their daily activities. There may be a need to wear reading glasses if the patient is over the age of 40. This is caused by the normal aging of the eye known as presbyopia. This condition occurs with or without LASIK. Some patients may need a minimal prescription for some activities such as night driving.
Most people in their 40s or older will need reading glasses if their eyes are corrected for distance because the eye's lens loses flexibility with age. This condition, called presbyopia, cannot currently be treated by surgical methods.
If you have LASIK done to correct your distance vision, you can expect to have very clear overall vision. However, images close to you may not appear as clear after having LASIK if you are over 40.
Prior to treatment, you will have a thorough eye examination, called a laser vision consultation, conducted at Shannon Laser Eye Center to determine whether your eyes are healthy and suitable for LVC. Contacts will need to be removed prior to this consultation. Hard contacts are required to be out 21 days and soft contacts are required to be out for 10 days. Once the consultation has taken place, contacts may be worn again until 48 hours before the LASIK procedure. The consultation will include things like taking a detailed video and computer image of your eye that will show the curvature, shape, overall smoothness and regularity of the cornea. There is no charge for this consultation, which can usually be scheduled at a time convenient to you.
Once you become accustomed to the sound of the laser, anesthetic drops will be placed in your eye to numb it. In the laser room, you will be seated in a reclining chair, the physician will position your head under the laser and a retainer will be placed between your eyelids to gently hold them open during the treatment. The IntraLase femtosecond laser is used to make a flap in your cornea. This flap is laid back out of the way. Once completed, you will be asked to focus on a blinking red light while the laser removes microscopic amounts of tissue from the cornea. The laser will treat your eye for less than one minute and your total time in the laser area will be about 15 minutes. While the actual procedure is painless due to the numbing eye drops, you will experience some slight irritation during the immediate postoperative period.
At Shannon Laser Eye Center we recommend you plan to have laser vision corrections when you can afford a day or two to relax and enjoy the benefits of your new vision. A postoperative visit is required the next day and your eyes will be light-sensitive for a while. Healing of the eye occurs during this period so we recommened you take a few additional days off.
Most people requiring moderate laser vision correction should obtain vision similar to that experienced with glasses or contact lenses. Vision is somewhat blurry in the first day or two after the LVC procedure. It is expected that most patients should be able to legally drive without correction after about 24 hours.
Call us today to schedule your free laser vision consultation at 325.481.2286.