LASIK is short for laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis which is the most popular refractive surgery available today. There are more than one million LAISK surgeries performed in the United States every year.
Here in Northern Colorado, LASIK has become the premier surgery for vision correction because it’s quick and painless, there is little or no discomfort after the procedure and vision recovery is rapid- some patients already see 20/20 the following day.
LASIK has the ability to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. With a special technique called monovision, it can also reduce the need for reading glasses among patients over age 40 who wear bifocals.
Am I a good candidate for LASIK?
In Loveland, Fort Collins and Greeley there are some requirement in order to be a good candidate for LASIK. A couple of these requirements are: you should be at least 18 years old, have over-all healthy eyes, and you must have enough corneal thickness since LASIK corrects your vision by removing tissue from your cornea to reshape your eye.
There are some eye related issues that can disqualify you from being able to have LASIK. A few of these are: Chronic dry eye problems, corneal diseases and other abnormalities. The best way to find out if you are an acceptable candidate is for you to have a comprehensive eye exam. For your convenience, we are happy to provide LASIK pre-operative exams and consultations at our office. Please call our office in Northern Colorado for details at 970-204-4020.
A few important things to consider when making the decision as to whether or not to have LASIK are your expectations and your ability to accept a less-than-perfect outcome. LASIK can reduce your dependence on glasses and almost always gives you the ability to function well without the need for glasses or contact lenses. There are not any guaranteed outcomes for this surgery. LASIK doesn’t always create perfect vision. There are some cases when, a person’s vision after LASIK may be permanently less clear than it was with glasses before the procedure. You will need to ask yourself if you’re willing to accept the risk of a less than perfect result before you make the decision to have LASIK surgery.
LASIK is an elective surgery, not a required one.
The LASIK procedure
Here in Fort Collins, Loveland and Greeley, LASIK is an ambulatory procedure. This means that you will walk into the surgery center, have the procedure and walk out again. The amount of time that the actual surgery usually takes is less than 15 minutes for both eyes, but you should expect to be at the surgery center for at least an hour or more depending on wait times and recovery periods.
There are 2 steps to the LASIK surgery. First, the surgeon makes a thin, hinged flap of tissue on your cornea with an instrument called a microkeratome or with a laser. This flap of tissue is then folded back and the second step – the laser reshaping of your eye – begins. After the surgeon is finished with the laser treatment, which usually takes less than a minute, the flap is then put back to form a type of natural bandage.Then the surgeon does the same thing to your other eye.
What is wavefront LASIK?
Wavefront LASIK (also called wavefront-assisted, wavefront-guided or custom LASIK) is the laser treatment (or “ablation”) that is determined by a computerized mapping of the surface of the eye called wavefront analysis. In wavefront-guided procedures they are finding that they are more precise than ablations made by simply relying on only an eyeglass prescription. Plus, they can correct any subtle optical imperfections on the surface of the eye which are called “higher-order aberrations” that regular ablations can’t even treat. There are several studies which have shown how wavefront-guided ablations now provide sharper eyesight over conventional, non-wavefront LASIK and that hey-ay even reduce the risk of nighttime glare and halos.
After LASIK surgery
Many people in Northern Colorado like to know what to expect after a LASIK surgery. Generally, after the procedure, your surgeon or an assistant will then apply some medicated eye drops to your eyes as clear protective shields over your eyes. You will be able to open your eyes and see well enough to walk without the assistance of glasses. It is a requirement that you must have someone drive you home.
Here is a list of things that you will need to do in the next few days and weeks:
- You will need to use medicated eye drops multiple times a day for a week or more to protect your eyes from infection and to aid in the healing and recovery process.
- You will also need to use artificial tears frequently to help keep your eyes moist and comfortable.
- The best thing that you can do for your eyes is rest. You should not use your eyes much when you get home from surgery the next 24 – 48 hours. Many people find that they are more comfortable if the lights in your house are dimmed to a low setting.
- The following day, you should be seeing well enough to drive and can resume most activities. Please be careful, however, not to rub your eyes until your eye doctor tells you that it is safe to.
- You will be asked to return to the surgery center the following day so your surgeon or another eye doctor at the center can evaluate your eyesight and be sure that your eyes appear as they should. At this visit, additional instructions regarding using eye drops and artificial tears will be given to you, and yo will be able to ask the doctor any questions you have.
From this point forward (and sometimes for this “day one” visit as well), your post-operative care may be performed by an eye doctor other than your LASIK surgeon. When your postoperative care is provided by a doctor other than your surgeon or another doctor at the surgery center, it’s called co-management. Our office and doctors are more than happy to provide this postoperative care for you at our office through a co-management agreement with your surgeon. If you reside in Fort Collins, Loveland or Greeley, call our office for details at 970-204-4020.
What if my vision is still blurry after LASIK?
Many people in Northern Colorado can see quite clearly not long after LASIK, for some people it can take several months before their eyes are completely stable. While you wait improvements in your vision can still happen. However, if several months have passed and your vision continues to be blurry, please see your LASIK surgeon. The usual course of action is a second LASIK surgery (called an enhancement) which can sharpen your eyesight still further.
If for some reason an enhancement is not indicated or desired, eyeglasses or contact lenses are a wonderful alternative option. We would be glad to examine your eyes and discuss different vision correction options with you at that time.
Eyewear after LASIK
One thing to remember, even if your vision is 20/20 after LASIK, you will still need eyewear.
When outdoors, it’s important to protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays with sunglasses that provide 100% UV protection. If you play sports when wearing protective eyewear, be sure that the lenses are polycarbonate lenses for added protection. And when you are working with power tools or doing anything else where an eye injury is possible, wearing safetey glasses with polycarbonate lenses is an excellent choice.
If you’re over 40 (or soon will be), it’s likely you’ll need reading glasses after LASIK. Also, many LASIK patients can benefit from a pair of prescription eyeglasses for night driving in Fort Collins, Loveland and Greeley. Though these lenses may have only a mild prescription, they often can make your vision sharper for added safety and comfort.
Eye care after LASIK
Even though you have had LASIK do not put off having your regular eye exam. Even if your vision is perfect, there are other vision issues that we need to check to make sure that your eyes are in good health. Routine eye exams also help you make sure your vision stays stable after a LASIK surgery. We are glad to serve all your eyewear and eye care needs after your LASIK surgery.
For additional information or to schedule an appointment, please call 970-204-4020 or click on the link on the side of the page.