Don’t forget to ask your LASIK surgeon these 8 important questions during your consultation or before the procedure.
Since being introduced on the market in 1999, LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) has become one of the most popular procedures for patients who want freedom from glasses and contacts.
The refractive surgery’s boom in popularity is well deserved. It enjoys a 98.5% satisfaction rate and remains a safe surgical option for patients who wish to improve their vision.
Despite its stellar reputation, people should proceed with care. Prior to surgery, patients should ask their LASIK surgeon a few important questions.
Not every patient is an ideal candidate for LASIK. Some people have eye conditions and medical histories that make them ill-suited for the surgery.
A few basic requirements for a safe LASIK surgery include:
Being over the age of 21
Stable eyesight - i.e having a prescription that has not changed for over a year
Having thick and healthy corneas (your surgeon will assess this during your visit)
Patients should avoid LASIK if they have:
An unstable refractive error (change in your glasses during the past year)
Extreme myopia, hyperopia, or astigmatism
Severe dry eye
Corneas that are too thin
A cataract affecting vision
Corneal scars or disease
Keratoconus (cone-shaped cornea) or other corneal diseases
If a patient has doubts or questions about whether they're a suitable candidate, they should discuss them with their LASIK surgeon.
Even if a patient is a LASIK candidate, it does not mean it is the best surgery for their optical needs. Other refractive surgeries on the market may better suit some patients.
For example, Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) is a better option for patients over 40. People with thin corneas or active lifestyles may benefit more from a refractive surgery like PRK.
Patients should consult with a specialist to determine which surgery is the best fit.
Prior to the procedure, patients will have a consultation with their LASIK surgeon. The goal of this consultation is to assess the patient's ocular health and determine if they are a suitable candidate for surgery.
To get ready for the consultation, patients should review their medical history and be prepared to answer questions about their vision, general health, and surgical procedures they’ve received in the past.
People with contacts may need to stop wearing their lenses for a few weeks prior to a consultation. Contacts can affect the corneal shape and prevent the LASIK surgeon from getting accurate measurements.
The doctor will dilate the patient’s eyes during the consultation. To be safe, patients should ask a friend or family member to drive them home.
Nearly all patients who receive LASIK can enjoy their day-to-day activities without glasses or contacts.
Around 94% of patients achieve 20/20 vision or better three months following their LASIK surgery. Over half (59%) will have 20/16 vision, with 22% seeing at 20/12 or better.
All patients achieve 20/40 vision or better three months after LASIK.
LASIK will permanently improve vision, but that does not mean a patient’s vision will never change after the operation.
For instance, LASIK does not correct presbyopia - age-related loss of close-range vision. As we grow older, the natural lens in the eye hardens, making it more difficult to focus on close objects.
This is why many people over 40 need reading glasses. Like the rest of the population, people who have received LASIK will also experience a decline in close vision and may need reading glasses.
LASIK can compensate for presbyopia through an option called monovision. Some patients can have adverse effects, so it’s best to discuss the procedure with your LASIK surgeon.
LASIK is an extremely safe surgery. However, certain patients may experience side effects after the procedure.
Immediately after surgery, some patients may have grainy vision, mild irritation, or a foreign body sensation. These side-effects are short lasting and usually disappear in 2 to 4 hours.
Patients may also experience redness, and dark spots on the whites of the eyes. These are normal and will typically go away a few days or a few weeks following surgery.
Other side effects which can happen after surgery include:
Difficulty with night vision
Dry eyes and accompanying symptoms
Glare, halos, or starbursts around light
Minor pain or discomfort
Although rare, if a patient has a concerning side-effect, they should contact their LASIK surgeon immediately.
An enhancement is an additional procedure that fixes refractive errors, degraded vision, and other unsatisfactory outcomes.
LASIK has a satisfaction rate of over 98% and few patients will require enhancements. However, in rare cases, patients may need enhancements in the time after their surgery to refine their refractive outcome.
Our office covers the cost of enhancement surgery up to a year after the patient’s initial procedure.
Patients will notice improvements in their vision immediately after surgery. In the days following your LASIK procedure, patients should receive a follow-up call from their LASIK surgeon. At our office, Dr. Besser or a member of his staff will call patients later in the day to check in and make sure they are recovering well from LASIK.
Most patients can perform normal activities in the days after surgery. However, they should avoid submerging their eyes in the water and performing strenuous activities in the weeks after surgery.
Patients may notice some fluctuations in vision, but vision normally stabilizes completely three months after the procedure.
If you’re in the greater Los Angeles area and wonder if you’re a good candidate for LASIK, contact Dr. Besser’s office to schedule a consultation.
Is there an ideal age to get LASIK surgery? Learn what patients of different ages should take into account before considering the surgery.
Learn how much does LASIK eye surgery costs, and if it's covered by insurance.
What is Refractive Lens Exchange and is it a viable alternative to LASIK? Learn more about this procedure and if it’s right for you.