How does LASIK surgery work?
With LASIK surgery, an excimer laser reshapes the inner layers of the cornea, the transparent dome that covers the front of the eye, to enable light rays to focus properly onto the retina (the tissue that lines the back of the eye). Depending on the type of vision problem, the cornea will be treated to have a steeper, flatter, or more rounded curvature.
The Consultation Process
All of our LASIK consultations are 100% free and there are no obligations. During your consultation, we will gather information through various tests that will provide us with measurements of the shape of your eye and your precise vision prescription. The testing will be followed by a thorough examination by Dr. Poulsen, an eye surgeon in Fresno, CA, where he will check the eyes to make sure they are healthy and free of any eye diseases. Dr. Poulsen will also discuss with you what your vision needs are and exactly what your goals are with LASIK eye surgery. All of this information will be used by to determine your candidacy for LASIK or another refractive surgery. The entire process takes about 1 hour.
Our LASIK Surgery Process
LASIK surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure to correct common vision conditions including astigmatism, nearsightedness, farsightedness, and presbyopia. The procedure is quick, virtually painless and can be broken down into the following 5 steps:
Step 1: Prior to your arrival, the information we gathered during your consultation is used to design a custom treatment which is then programmed into our wavefront optimized laser. Upon request, Valium can be prescribed to ensure that you are as relaxed as possible for your procedure.
Step 2: Eye numbing drops are administered to make the procedure painless.
Step 3: A thin flap is then created in the cornea and gently folded back, exposing the inner layers of the cornea.
Step 4: Prior to starting the treatment, the laser is lined up and “locked on” to the pupil. The accurate tracking capabilities of laser allow it to adjust to the slightest of eye movements. The length of time for the actual laser reshaping process varies with each patient, but generally takes less than 15 seconds per treatment.
Step 5: Once the laser treatment is completed, the corneal flap is replaced and eye drops are administered to prevent infection and to accelerate the healing process.
After the surgery, the patient is provided with protective eyewear, dark sunglasses, and prescription eye drops. Dr. Poulsen also gives the patient a phone number where they can contact him directly if needed.
The FDA recognizes LASIK as a safe and effective procedure. The risk of infections or complications is less than 1% and minor difficulties such as dry eyes and night time glare make up around 3-5% of post-op patients.
The surgeon will give you a thorough eye exam before the surgery to ensure your eyes are healthy and that you are a suitable candidate for LASIK correction. You will also be tested for cataracts, glaucoma and other eye conditions that would disqualify you from LASIK surgery. A corneal topographer will be used to electronically map your eye, which will be used to plan your surgery for the most precise results possible.
After administering the anesthetic (numbing) drops in your eye and positioning your head under the laser, the surgeon will place an eyelid speculum under your lids to hold your eyes wide open. Following this, the surgeon will create a thin flap on the top of the cornea and fold it back out of the way. The laser will be aligned to your pupil and the tracking mechanism will be engaged prior to the start of treatment. The laser will then reshape your cornea to the proper curvature. The flap will be repositioned over the cornea and smoothed into place.
Once the LASIK surgery has been completed, the surgeon will put some antibiotic and anti-inflammatory eye drops in the eye(s). You will be provided with detailed instructions on post-operative care along with protective goggles. It is necessary to have someone available to take you
home as you won’t be allowed to drive immediately after the surgery. You will probably notice clearer vision immediately, but it will remain pretty foggy for the first several hours following your procedure.
You may also experience mild burning sensation or itchiness for a few hours after surgery. It is recommended that you take it easy and keep your eyes closed as much as possible when you get home. Keeping them closed will minimize any stinging or burning sensation that you may experience for a short while after surgery. Most people can drive themselves to the post-operative appointment, the day following surgery.
There are some restrictions for the first week following the surgery and they include no swimming, no sports, no eye makeup, and no heavy exercising. Patients also need to schedule a brief check-up with Dr. Poulsen the morning after the surgery so he can make sure that everything looks perfect.
Yes, this is the most common way to perform the procedure if both eyes are in need of correction. Most patients find it more convenient to have LASIK surgery on both eyes at the same time.
The laser procedure typically takes 5-10 minutes per eye and the actual laser treatment lasts less than one minute per eye. You won’t spend more than 30 mins in the surgery room. The entire process including pre-op paperwork, the procedure, and post-op instructions, takes about an hour.
On the day of your surgery, you will be instructed to keep your eyes closed as much as possible and to take it easy. There are some restrictions for the first week following your surgery including no eye make-up, swimming, heavy cardio, or sports. Most people can resume their work and other daily activities as soon as the very next day.
These are some of the factors that your surgeon would consider to determine if you are a good candidate for LASIK surgery:
- You must be 18 years of age or older
- Your vision must be stable for at least one year prior to your surgery
- Your corneas must be thick enough to safely do the procedure
Your vision prescription (refractive error) must fall in the range of what the laser can accurately treat.
- You should not be pregnant or nursing as the changes to your hormone levels can alter your vision.
- The surgeon will also examine the eyes for certain diseases or conditions that could hinder the healing process or affect the vision outcome.
- Please note that many patients who are not candidates for LASIK surgery are still great
candidates for laser vision correction with PRK (similar to LASIK, but without the flap).
You must remove your contact lenses before the pre-operative exam as the lenses can alter the shape of your cornea. If the lenses are soft, they should be discontinued at least one week before the exam; if you wear hard or gas permeable lenses, they must be removed at least 4 weeks prior to your exam. Once the pre-operative exam is done, you will be able to wear your lenses up to 24 hours before your surgery in case of soft lenses. If you wear rigid/gas permeable lenses, you may be asked to leave your lenses off until your day of surgery.
The surgeon will place an eyelid speculum which will prop the eye open and make blinking impossible. Even the anesthetic (numbing) drops that would be administered before the surgery would eliminate the natural compulsion to blink. Moreover, the laser’s computer will also be using its tracking system during surgery to monitor the position of your eye. The eye tracker adjusts the laser treatment to follow the small movements everyone’s eyes make during the procedure. The eye tracker forces the laser to stop the treatment if your eye moves outside the laser treatment range.
The most common side effects are temporary and include sensitivity to light, dryness of eyes or halos around lights at night.
LASIK is a pain-free surgery as a topical anesthetic medication is administered prior to the procedure to make you comfortable. Patients might feel pressure during the procedure, however, it is not painful. Post-surgery, patients might experience little or no discomfort. The eyes may feel dry, scratchy or watery, which are temporary symptoms. You will be provided with eyedrops after surgery which can be used as needed to treat these symptoms.
LASIK has a high success rate and the chances of having a complication after or during the surgery are low, especially with an experienced surgeon. If you have specific concerns, you should inquire with the surgeon about any risks he feels could be associated with your individual treatment.
Generally, most patients can achieve 20/20 vision on the day after their LASIK surgery. But it isn’t uncommon for some patients to require additional time (weeks or even months in certain cases) before the best vision is achieved. It is also possible that you need an enhancement procedure. For some patients, more than one treatment is needed to correct the full refractive error. This additional procedure is usually done at no charge if it falls within the post-op period.
If you are over the age of 40 and have refractive laser surgery to treat only the distance vision, you will eventually need reading glasses. This is due to an aging change that takes place within the eye (presbyopia) and involves the lens, not the cornea. This change will happen regardless if you have LASIK. There are ways to address both distance and near vision correction with LASIK or PRK. To determine if a patient with presbyopia is a candidate for this type of treatment, the surgeon and patient will first need to discuss their vision needs and expectations.
The LASIK vision correction gives fairly permanent results. However, there may be some age-related changes that will occur with the course of nature, regardless of whether or not you had LASIK surgery. This may affect your vision.
We offer 0% interest financing for 12 months through Care Credit. Patients can also make the payment using any major credit card (Visa, AMEX, MC or Discover), cashier’s check, or pay through cash. Insurance does not typically cover this procedure because it is neither elective nor medically necessary. We also offer 12 months of post-operative care including enhancements if needed.
The LASIK coordinator will be able to answer most of your questions. You will also be given an opportunity to ask the surgeon at the time of your consultation.
Many patients with glaucoma are still candidates for laser vision correction. You will need to share your full ocular history and any prior eye surgeries, so that the LASIK surgeon can determine the best vision correction option for you.
Yes, you can have a blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery) after LASIK surgery as the latter is not a contraindication to having blepharoplasty or another cosmetic eye surgery. Consult with your LASIK surgeon to determine how long you should wait after your vision correction surgery before undergoing a blepharoplasty.
We offer 0% interest financing for 12 months through Care Credit or payment can be made by major credit card (Visa, AMEX, MC or Discover), cashier’s check, or cash. Insurance does not typically cover this procedure because it is elective, not medically necessary.
Get in touch with our team at Insight Vision Center, the eye care center in Fresno
to book an appointment for LASIK eye surgery.