LASIK Surgery

LASIK Surgery performed at PCVI in Eugene Your optometrist is highly trained and knowledgeable regarding LASIK, and will be able to tell you if you are a candidate. A dilated examination, which includes special tests generally not done in a regular examination, will be performed by your optometrist. This will allow the doctor to determine if there are any problems that would preclude you from surgery. If you have cataracts or keratoconus you may not be eligible for LASIK. If there are other issues that relate to your eligibility for LASIK, your doctor will discuss these in detail.

If you are a contact lens wearer, removal of contacts prior to your evaluation will be necessary. At least 2 weeks is recommended for hard or "RGP" lenses, and at least 3 days for soft lenses. This may vary depending on your doctor's recommendation. Some preliminary tests include corneal mapping and measurement of the corneal thickness. These may be done at your doctor's office or may be done prior to your procedure at Pacific ClearVision Institute.

Is LASIK For Everyone?

LASIK is a procedure that covers a wide range of vision correction, but many factors need to be considered when determining whether or not LASIK is for you. Even if your eyes are healthy and your vision has remained stable for years, your optometrist considers your goals very seriously prior to LASIK. Should these be largely achievable with the procedure, you are likely a candidate. Your optometrist will question you about this in detail. Expectations need to be realistic as well. No surgeon can guarantee 20/20 vision. Studies indicate that 93% of all patients achieve 20/40 vision or better following LASIK which would allow you to pass a driver's test without glasses.

In our experience at Pacific ClearVision Institute, the majority of patients do achieve 20/20 and are very happy. We do tell patients it is possible that a thin eyeglass lens may be necessary to provide the sharpest vision after LASIK. This is necessary mainly in those who have such a slight residual refractive error, that may not be correctable by an enhancement.

How Do I Prepare For LASIK?

If you and your optometrist decide that LASIK is for you, an information packet will be sent to you. You will also be required to view an informed consent video outlining the benefits and risks of LASIK either at your optometrist's office, or at Pacific ClearVision Institute. On the day of your LASIK, eat lightly and take your normal medications. A driver should bring you to the appointment because you will need to keep your eyelids closed for approximately six hours after the procedure.

No makeup around the eyes should be worn the day of surgery. It is very important to have ALL makeup thoroughly cleaned from the eyelashes and eyelids prior to LASIK. Upon arrival to Pacific ClearVision Institute, some additional tests will be done. A final refractive check is done to confirm prior data. Our surgeon will also meet with you prior to the LASIK. This is the time to ask any questions you may have. Our physicians are happy to discuss your questions on a personal basis and will take the time to make sure they are answered to your satisfaction. Prior to LASIK, should you be concerned about nerves, please ask the helpful staff for some medication for this.

What Can I Expect During LASIK?

After the doctor examines your eyes and answers any questions, you will be taken to the laser room. You will be seated in a comfortable chair that will lie back, placing your eyes in position for treatment. The first eye to be treated is prepared using special drapes and a separator is used to keep the lids from blinking. With some people, especially those with small eyelid openings, this can be slightly uncomfortable. At this point, a special instrument is placed on the eye to cause it to become firm. During this time your vision will go dark and you will hear a humming sound of the microkeratome making the "flap" as described earlier. This takes only a few seconds. After the microkeratome is removed, the flap is lifted out of the way and the laser is applied to the exposed surface of the cornea. The laser has been calibrated carefully to deliver the exact treatment your eye needs. This is highly controlled to ensure an excellent outcome.

Once the laser is finished, the flap is laid back down and adheres on it's own without stitches. This takes a couple of minutes. After the surgeon is sure the flap is seated properly, the other eye is treated in the same way. Once the procedure is done, a careful examination by the surgeon is done at the microscope. The eyes are covered with a clear shield and you are advised to keep them closed for 6 hours.

After LASIK

The use of specific eye drops will be reviewed extensively with you at your LASIK appointment, and you will receive prescriptions for medications. These are to prevent infection and to control the healing of your eyes during the first week. Typically there is no pain following the procedure. Your eyes may feel scratchy but generally nothing worse. Six hours after surgery you should see a significant improvement in vision. In 24 hours, 80-85% of the healing has occurred. Usually you will be able to drive yourself to the post-op visit without glasses or contacts. For a week or so, it is common for one eye to be clearer then the other. Generally over the course of a month this difference lessens so that they become quite balanced.

You may need reading glasses if you had bifocals or reading glasses over contacts prior to LASIK. After the first day post-op exam with our surgeon, other follow-up appointments will be with your primary eye care provider. These usually occur at one week, one month, and then three to six months.

Will I Need An Enhancement?

At approximately three months, most individuals' vision will stabilize. In our experience about 5 percent of individuals need enhancements. This is greatly affected by the level of correction needed initially. The higher the change, the more chance one will have of needing a second correction.

Changes To Expect

As a rule, LASIK is a very stable procedure. However, the eyes do change over time and things unrelated to your LASIK procedure can occur. The most common is "presbyopia" or the inability of the eyes to close focus as we age. Since LASIK attempts to achieve clear vision in the distance, your eyes will need to adjust to see up close. Those between 40 to 45 years of age or older notice that near vision may be more difficult, and their eyes will not be able to adjust automatically. It is important to understand this as it will affect the way you use your eyes after LASIK if you are of this age. Typically, glasses for reading only are used. In some people "monovision" can be done surgically, making one eye see better for reading and the other for distance. Ask your optometrist if this may work for you.

Some people will note an increased dryness of the eyes after LASIK. This is generally temporary and will diminish over the course of several weeks or months. Frequent use of eye lubricating eye drops helps alleviate the symptoms. Other changes in the eye over time can be cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, and other health-related problems. These occur regardless of having had LASIK. Other specific questions about possible changes in vision should be addressed to your optometrist or to the staff at Pacific ClearVision Institute.

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