LASIK Questions and Answers (Click on any question or scroll down)
Is laser vision correction the same as LASIK?
LASIK is but one of many laser vision corrective surgeries that
are available. If a patient is not currently eligible for LASIK, Dr.
Seibel may suggest an alternative.
How long has LASIK been available?
United States FDA approval was granted in 1995. Though excimer
laser technology was developed in the United States, most of the original
patients received LASIK eye surgery elsewhere. This is because the
United States FDA approval process is more extensive, requiring comprehensive,
5-year scientific and clinical studies. Every year, over 1 million
Americans benefit from laser eye surgery.
What is Personal Best Vision?
Personal Best Vision is the highest achievable vision within
the physical limitations of your eyes. Because your eyes are not like
anyone else's, every individual is unique, customized technology was
created that you may benefit from laser vision correction tailored
just for you. For the first time in history, we are able to measure
and correct the unique characteristics of your vision, with the potential
of providing you with your Personal Best Vision.
How is Personal Best Vision correction achieved?
Individualized laser vision correction is possible through CustomVue
wavefront technology, which enables Dr. Seibel to measure and
correct the unique imperfections in your vision. Many of these imperfections
could never be measured before using standard methods for glasses
and contact lenses.
What is wavefront technology?
Wavefront technology, also called Wavefront LASIK or wavefront
sensing, was originally developed for use in high-powered telescopes
to reduce distortions when viewing distant objects in space.
This technology has now been applied to laser vision correction,
which identifies and can measure imperfections in your eyes 25
times more precisely than standard methods. Dr. Seibel uses this
information to create an individualized prescription for your laser
Why is wavefront technology
so important to LASIK?
Until now, physicians had to practice one-size-fits-all vision
correction. Such an approach can correct your vision fairly well,
but not as precisely as wavefront mapping, which uniquely tailors
your prescription to your individual 'fingerprint' of vision.
Now, with wavefront mapping, Dr. Seibel can custom-tailor a correction
for the unique characteristics of your eyes.
What does 'better than' 20/20 mean?
20/20 is the current standard for excellence in vision. But,
with the combination of wavefront and CustomVue laser
technology, individuals have the potential to have even better
than 20/20 vision. In fact, six months after a CustomVue LASIK
procedure more than 74% percent of clinical study participants
saw 20/16 or better.
How can LASIK help my vision?
If you are nearsighted or farsighted, laser eye surgery may be
able to significantly improve your vision. With nearsightedness
(myopia), the goal is to flatten the too-steep cornea; with farsightedness
(hyperopia), a steeper cornea is desired. Astigmatism can also
be corrected by smoothing an irregular cornea into a more normal
Can everyone have LASIK?
Most people can. However, about five percent of applicants do
not qualify. This may be because of their overall medical history,
the health of their eyes, the thickness of their corneas, or
the degree of their eye correction.
Can I have LASIK if I have had RK (Radial Keratotomy)?
Yes, usually. However, Dr. Seibel will need to evaluate your
candidacy to be sure. With Radial Keratotomy, cuts were made
around the cornea to create the effect of corneal change whereas
the laser used today is significantly more precise. Because of
the less precise nature of RK, sometimes the corneal change was
not exactly correct. Furthermore, the eye was weakened by RK,
and the possible subsequent instability of vision refraction
may persist even after LASIK correction.
Am I a good candidate for LASIK?
A specifically trained eye care professional can determine your
candidacy for laser eye surgery only during a thorough eye examination.
The following are the minimal conditions: At least 18 years of
age. Not pregnant. Have stable vision with no significant changes
in prescription for the last two years. Have eyes free from disease
and complicating injury. Have a prescription in a correctable
Can both eyes be done the same day?
Yes. Usually both eyes are treated in a single session. However,
it is possible to treat one eye at a time. Dr. Seibel will help
decide which option is right for you.
Is LASIK safe?
Over 1 million laser eye procedures are preformed every year.
While all surgery involves some risk, laser vision surgery is
less risky than more invasive procedures. LASIK is a highly technical
process using a computer-controlled light beam under the guidance
of Dr. Seibel's specifically trained and certified experience.
A discussion with Dr. Seibel and our staff will help you to understand
the risks and benefits of the procedure.
How do I prepare for LASIK?
To find out what your options are, call for an appointment
for a complementary
initial exam. We also suggest you read over the information
contained on our web site. We have a page specifically for preparing
for surgery. If you have any questions, please call us at: (310) 444-1134.
Will I need to remove my contacts before my exam?
If you presently wear contact lenses you will need to leave them
out for a specified time period before your comprehensive LASIK eye exam. Wearing contact lenses can change
the curvature of your cornea and removing them for a time allows
the cornea to return to its natural shape. This is vital for
proper measurements to be made, before your procedure can be
scheduled. The time required for you to leave out your contact
lenses depends on the type. For details see
our pre-op exam section.
How long will my procedure take?
Laser vision surgery takes ten to fifteen minutes. The actual
laser time is usually less than a minute. The entire visit will
be completed in about two hours.
Is LASIK scary?
You will be awake and fully aware during the procedure. As with
any strange experience, you might be a little nervous beforehand.
This is perfectly normal and a sedative will be available to
help you relax. Most patients say that they found the whole experience
to be ultimately enjoyable, and mention how comfortable they
Is there any pain involved with LASIK?
Laser eye surgery itself is painless. You will receive a sedative
before surgery, and topical anesthetic eye drops just prior.
Most patients report that they experienced no pain whatsoever.
There may be a slight pressure sensation as the flap is being
created and as the eyelids are supported against blinking by
an eyelid speculum; while traditional eyelid speculums can be
more likely to cause discomfort, Dr. Seibel designed his Seibel
3-D Lid Speculum to more gently support the eyelids in order
to enhance patient comfort.
Afterwards, some patients report
mild sensations of scratchy, gritty, or watery eyes. These are
temporary symptoms and are not a problem for most. Dr. Seibel
can prescribe pain medication if needed, although he has yet
to do so.
What if I sneeze during surgery?
We have never had that happen, but it would not be a problem
if it did, as the eye tracker would immediately stop the laser.
When the eye was repositioned, the laser would be restarted.
What keeps my eyes from drying out during the procedure?
During your LASIK procedure, a special retainer will be used
to gently and comfortably hold your eyelid open and you will
be unable to blink. However, your eye will not dry out because
it will be irrigated with a soothing balanced salt solution.
When will I be able to see well?
Immediately following laser eye surgery most people notice that
their vision is better. However, for several hours it will seem
like you are looking through a foggy haze. This clears rapidly.
By the next day approximately 80 percent of patients see 20/20
or better. Nearly all have 20/40 or better, which is the level
of vision required to drive without correction.
How much time do I need to be off work?
This really depends on your job. If your work is very light,
you might resume daily activities the first post-operative day.
It is critical that you avoid all contact with your eyes, such
as rubbing, for several days to allow the outer surface of the
cornea to heal properly. We suggest that you take it easy for
two to three days and will make a recommendation for recovery
time based on your individual vision needs and work environment.
PRK requires three to five days of recovery, occasionally longer
depending upon original prescription, with a gradual improvement
in vision over that time.
When does my new vision become permanent?
Vision is usually dramatically improved within first twenty-four
hours. Then, it is normal for vision to fluctuate from day to
day, especially for first couple of weeks. How quickly your vision
clears depends primarily on your prescription. Normally, it takes
six to eight weeks for your vision to stabilize completely.
The correction achieved is extremely stable and laser eye correction
is permanent once healing is complete. This permanence and stability
is one of the reasons that laser eye surgery is now so popular
and well accepted. However, all eyes can change over time, and
no surgery can prevent underlying changes such as cataracts,
degeneration, or presbyopia.
Results since FDA approval of LASIK five years ago have shown
that surgery does not require updating - other than the possibility
of minor adjustments called enhancements. Sometimes with an individual
with a high amount of correction, it is necessary to perform
an enhancement to fine tune the corneal change.
Can my vision results be guaranteed?
As in any medical procedure, particularly surgery or laser therapy,
there can be no absolute guarantee of results in any specific
case. Even though laser eye correction is exceedingly precise,
variations in visual outcome can arise due to variations in individual
healing and other factors. Be wary of any LASIK surgeon who guarantees
a 20/20 vision result.
Will I need glasses or contacts after laser vision surgery?
Possibly. Although, six months after the FDA clinical study,
without glasses or contacts:
100% of participants could pass a driving test
The majority of our patients are within one or two lines of 20/20
vision after the procedure. Some patients with extremely high
degrees of correction may still require glasses after surgery,
but they will have thinner lenses.
94% of participants could see 20/20 or better
74% of participants could see better than 20/20
Individuals who wear reading glasses before the surgery will
most likely continue to need them afterwards. This is because
the need for reading glasses is caused by presbyopia, an age-related
condition that happens to all of us somewhere after forty years
Is there a treatment for presbyopia?
If you are older than 40 years of age, presbyopia develops and
you will likely need reading glasses unless a monovision eye
correction is performed, where one eye is corrected for distance
and the other for near vision. Prelex is a treatment
for presbyopia that has had some inconsistent results most likely
related to the particular lens implant utilized. Future IOL technologies
may provide desirable treatment alternatives.
Will I experience glare or halos at night?
With the new, expanded treatment zones of the lasers, night vision
symptoms have been greatly reduced. Dr. Seibel will be able to
evaluate in advance whether your pupils are larger than the treatment
zone, and what impact that will have on your potential surgery.
The few patients who experience halos or star-bursts at night
generally improve after one month and the problems typically
resolve by three months.
Many patients found their night vision was improved after their
Wavefront guided LASIK procedure. In fact, in the FDA clinical
study in which Dr. Seibel was an investigator, more participants
were very satisfied with their night vision after the procedure
without glasses or contacts as compared to their night vision
before with glasses or contacts.
What other considerations should I think about?
complications are a possibility with any medical procedure. A
small percentage of patients who undergo the procedure have experienced
mild side effects, including night-vision difficulties and under-correction
or over-correction, which can often be improved with a second
surgery. More rare and serious complications include a dislocated
flap, epithelial in-growth and inflammation underneath flap.
Proper following of post-op instructions and follow-up care is
essential. Most complications can be managed without any loss
of vision. Permanent vision loss is very rare.
Does insurance cover LASIK?
In most cases, insurance does not cover laser vision surgery.
You should expect to pay for your procedure in full at time of
surgery. Any available reimbursement by insurance company will
be made directly to you. For more information, please refer to
our Insurance page.
Does Seibel Vision Surgery offer financing?
At Seibel Vision Surgery, we believe that financial considerations
should not be an obstacle to obtaining this procedure. Being
sensitive to the fact that different patients have different
needs, we provide several flexible payment options. Please read
our Financing page for more information.
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