Thursday, January 29, 2009

LASIK Question of the Day: Can I Have LASIK if I Am Pregnant?

LASIK should not be performed if you are pregnant. LASIK requires a stable prescription and a stable corneal thickness. During pregnancy and even while nursing, hormone changes can cause fluctuations in tears, corneal thickness and your prescription. Thus, if you are thinking of getting pregnant, are pregnant or have had a baby within 6 months of your desired LASIK surgery date-you should delay your LASIK. Consider LASIK only when your eyes, prescription and tears are stable.

LASIK Question of the Day: Can I Have LASIK if I Have Dry Eyes?

Dry Eye patients may not be good candidates for LASIK. Having a normal healthy tear film is requisite for getting the best results from LASIK Surgery. The tear film acts to provide a smooth optical surface and keeps the eye lubricated so that the eyelids can move easily across the surface of the eye. LASIK can cause dry eyes for may patients after their surgery. If you start out with poor tears and then have LASIK, it is probable that you will have a slow course of healing and visual recovery. However, your LASIK Surgeon should be the judge as there are a number of dry eye treatment options that can be used before LASIK to improve your tears and possibly eliminate your dry eye so that you are a good candidate.

Friday, January 23, 2009

LASIK: Question of the Day: Why is LASIK the most popular type of Laser Eye Surgery?

The first type of laser eye surgery for the correction of nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism was called Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK) and the Excimer Laser was approved to perform it in the US in 1995, PRK is still performed for selected patients who have thin corneas, dry eyes or certain corneal dystrophies. The LASIK procedure was developed due to two limitations of PRK. First-LASIK offers a fairly quick visual recovery, usually allowing patients to drive without glasses or contacts within 24-48 hours after their LASIK Surgery. Second-LASIK Surgery is performed between the layers of the Cornea rather than on the surface and as such causes minimal discomfort for patients. These two advantages have made LASIK the most popular laser eye surgery,

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

LASIK: Question of the Day: If I Only Wear My Glasses To Read, Can I Have LASIK?

Laser Vision Correction, which is the term that is used to encompass all types of Laser Eye Surgery for the correction of nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism, is primarily used for the correction of distance vision rather than near vision. If you only wear glasses for reading then it suggests that your distance vision is acceptable and that you do not need correction and thus would not need LASIK or any type of Laser Eye Surgery. If however you need glasses to see at a distance, AND you are entering your 40's are suffering blurry near vision when you wear your eyeglasses, it is entirely possible that you might be a candidate for Monovision LASIK where your dominant eye is corrected for distance and your non dominant eye is corrected for near. If this applies to you be sure to discuss it with a LASIK Surgeon or their staff during your consultation.

Monday, January 19, 2009

What Happens if I have LASIK and Get a Cataract When I Am Older?

If you have or are planning to have LASIK , understanding any increased risk of Cataract Surgery later in life might make you concerned. But-the reality is that there is no increased risk of complications of Cataract Surgery after you have had LASIK. The incision created for cataract removal today is very very small and is far away from the LASIK flap . LASIK Surgery is not intraocular surgery, it is performed in the Cornea, between its layers, thus there is no activity going on inside the eye itself. No structures involved in Cataract Surgery are actually involved in LASIK Eye Surgery so there is no chance of scarring or tissue changes that will affect your Cataract Surgery procedure. However, what the LASIK procedure does do is change the shape of the Cornea.The shape of the Cornea IS one of the factors considered in determining the strength of the Lens Implant to correct your vision after Cataract Surgery. So, if you have had LASIK and need Cataract Surgery, it is helpful to the Cataract Surgeon to first know that you have had LASIK Surgery-AND if possible, it is helpful to know what your corneal measurements were prior to having had LASIK. If it is possible to provide your Cataract Surgery woth the name and phone number of the LASIK Surgeon or LASIK center or LASIK practice that you went to, they can arrange, with your permission, to have the Corneal measurments sent to them for consideration in yourt Lens Implant power calculation. There are many precise formulas that can be used to assist the Cataract Surgeon in Intraocular Lens Implant (IOL) calculations in order to insure that you get the best results. In the occassional but infrrequent event that the power of the IOL is miscalculated slightly it is always possible to wear a slight eyeglass prescription or even to ahve the IOL switched for one with a more accurate power. This is called a Lens Exchange. If you have had LASIK, just be sure to tell your Cataract Surgeon so that he or she can take all of the necessary measurments and any extra ones when doing your Lens Implant calculations. Having LASIK and enjoying freedom from the hassle of eyeglasses and contacts for many years is well worth the slight possibility of requiring some extra measurments when you need Cataract Surgery .

Thursday, January 15, 2009

LASIK Costs and the Economy

The current economic situation in the United States has made many people who were considering LASIK pause. Certainly if someone has lost their job and is facing grave financial times, LASIK Surgery should not be a priority. However, even given the depth of the economic downtown we are presently encountering, the unemployment rate is still in the single digits. This means that for the 93% of people still working and employed and earning money-LASIK is affordable. If you have been considering LASIK Eye Surgery and wear contact lenses or eyeglasses, take the next step and learn about LASIK and find out if its right for you by having a LASIK consultation. From that decision you can then evaluate your personal situation and see if this is an acceptable time to have LASIK. While the economy may appear frightening, life goes on for the 93% of the population working and being productive.

Monday, January 12, 2009

LASIK Expectations-After Your LASIK

After your LASIK it is important the know what to expect and what is normal and what is not. Ir is completely normal after LASIK to begin with slightly blurred vision for a few days that gradually day by day improves. Your eyes are still healing shortly after LASIK and this means that there will be changes in your corneal swelling, thickness and shape as well as the integrity of your tear film. All of these daily changes result is a gradual change in your vision. That said, in all likelihood you will be able to pass a drivers license test without any correction after just a day or two after LASIK. Pretty much 95% of people who have LASIK find this to be the case. It is not normal or expected to have pain. Pain is not normal. You should expect to feel some dryness and grittiness that again improves each day/ You will need to be using artificial tears eye drops frequently throughout the day-perhaps every 2-3 hours for a while in order to prevent the sensation of dry eye. Keeping your eyes moist also helps the visual recovery. Depending on the overall health of your tears before your LASIK Surgery you may find that is is necessary to use the artificial tears for as long as six months in order to get rid of any sensation of dry eye. There is no harm in doing this. it is just part of the healing process. By the end of three months you should be at the point where you have pretty much achieved your final vision correction. Any real changes in your vision correction at this point should be reported to your LASIK Surgeon. It is important to understand that you must be going back to your LASIK Surgeon for regular follow up visits through at least three months after your Laser Eye Surgery whether you think you are seeing well or not. Only by having a recheck can he or she look at the cornea and the tear film and be certain that it is healing properly. If there is a need for your eye surgeon to adjust your eye drops they will be able to do so quickly if they are seeing you foe regular follow up visits. Always ask what the prescribes follow up schedule is BEFORE your Laser Eye Surgery. If the LASIK Surgeon or the counselor is only necessary for you to come back "if you need to" during the first month or so and then you only need to come back if you fell like something isn't right-RUN AWAY. There are many instances of patients being told "call us if you have a problem". You may be a part of the feedback process but it should not left to the patient to determine the follow up schedule and to wait for a problem to develop. This is bad medicine and trusted LASIK Surgeons do not practice this way.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

LASIK Expectations-During Your LASIK Surgery

On the day of your LASIK Surgery it is completely normal to experience some anxiety. But, regardless of the type of Laser Eye Surgery procedure that you are having-you should relax. When you arrive at the LASIK practice or LASIK center a staff member will greet you and go over any last minute paperwork. If necessary, any additional testing might be done or be repeated. If you have not already done so, you will need to sign an Informed Consent indicating that you understand the risks and benefits of LASIK as well as any possible complications and that your eye surgeon has reviewed the alternatives to LASIK for your vision correction. Next your LASIK surgeon or a staff member may give you some oral tablets or pills that are an anti-anxiety medication to help you remain relaxed. This is a mild medication and will make you calm and at most just a little "dull" but not sleepy. The staff will then place a series of numbing drops in your eye. These do not make you uncomfortable but do make your eyes numb during your LASIK procedure so that you will feel virtually nothing during the entire Laser Eye Surgery treatment. You will be accompanied into the laser room where you will be instructed to position yourself comfortably in a bed like chair or platform. Take a moment to position yourself so that you are comfortable. Expect to hear the low humming like sound of the laser and maybe some air rushing sound or vacuum sound. When the laser actually fires you will hear it make a sharp clicking sound. After you are comfortable, a staff member will clean your eyelids and the surfaces around your eye with an alcohol or medicated pad or swab. Then a sterile lightweight drape will be placed around each eye as it is readied for treatment. Your LASIK surgeon will gently place a fine instrument between your eyelids to help you remember not to blink. This will not be uncomfortable but will feel like a mild pressure. The eye surgeon will then create the flap of tissue under which the laser energy is applied either by using a laser or another instrument called a microkeratome. The creation of the flap takes less than a minute, in fact only a few seconds and causes no discomfort---again only a mild pressure. During the flap creation, it is normal for your vision to get dark and then back to normal again. You will not see the flap being created. Once the flap has been created, the actual Laser Eye Surgery procedure itself is performed after the flap has been gently folded back. Depending on the laser and the strength of the prescription that you need corrected, the laser portion of the procedure can take 4-90 seconds. During the Laser Eye Surgery portion, you will hear the clicking or tapping sound of the laser itself. There is no discomfort. You will be instructed to look at a light and hold steady. Relax because even if your eyes move a bit the laser will actually track the movement and put the laser spots in the correct location for your correction. Upon completion of the Laser Eye Surgery portion of your treatment, the LASIK Surgeon will replace the flap into its original position. With LASIK, because the cornea "sticks" to itself there is no need for stitches. At this moment your vision will be blurry but will be dramatically improved compared to before your LASIK Surgery but will not be nearly as good as it will be the next day-and it will be even better the day after. It is likely that within 24-48 hours after having LASIK you will be able to pass a drivers test for driving without any vision correction. During the first day or so after your LASIK Surgery, it is normal to feel a sandy gritty sensation as if something is in your eye. This is also going to make your eyes feel dry as well. A sensation of dry eyes after LASIK is an expected event. You will need to use lots and lots of artificial tear drops-do not scrimp on these-use them every 2-4 hours or more if necessary to make you comfortable. By about three months after your LASIK, your vision will be pretty much stable and where it is going to be. The majority of the visual recovery after LASIK occurs in the first week or so and then, there are slow gradual improvements each day until about that three-month window. This is something that you should expect. Do not judge your final result until you are at least three months after your Laser Eye Surgery.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

LASIK Expectations-Before Your LASIK Surgery

Patients who are considering LASIK often wonder to expect before during and after their surgery. While each LASIK surgeon will likely have somewhat different protocols or policies, generally there are some things that can be pretty similar.

First, before you have made the decision to have LASIK Surgery, you should expect to have a very thorough examination and consultation. This should include at a minimum a detailed review of your medical, family and eye history. You should disclose ALL of the medications that you have recently taken or are currently taking including those you purchased on your own at the drugstore. You should fully disclose any family or personal history of eye or systemic disease-even if you cannot understand the relevance. You should expect to have your vision checked with and without wearing your correction of glasses or contacts and you should have a very careful measurement of your prescription-called refraction. This should be performed both without eye drops and then again after having eye drops placed in your eyes to minimize your focusing ability. Your cornea should be "mapped"and the thickness of the cornea should be measured to make sure that the shape of your cornea and its thickness are safe for LASIK or any type of Laser Eye Surgery. An evaluation of your tear film, the health of your retina and optic nerve, the cornea, the eyelids, the crystalline lens, and the tissues and structures around your eyes should be done with a slit lamp microscope. Once these basic considerations are reviewed then you can be "qualified" as a LASIK candidate or not. However before you can decide, you should expect to have a discussion regarding your motivation for LASIK and what you wish to gain by minimizing your dependence on eyeglasses or contacts.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Should I Have LASIK Surgery?

Laser Vision Correction has been available in the United States since October of 1995. Over 12 million Laser Eye Surgery procedures have been performed for the correction of nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism making Laser Vision Correction one of the most frequently performed types of surgery. Yet, when one looks at the total number of people who are dependent on eyeglasses and contacts this represents only a few percent of the total number of optical correction wearers. It is widely acknowledged that the two main reasons more people do not have LASIK are fear of LASIK Surgery and the Cost of LASIK. The decision to have LASIK is a personal one and should be considered carefully. However, if we look at these two objections we can see that they are no longer truly founded. LASIK today is safe, effective and predictable when performed on patients who have been thoroughly examined and counseled regarding the likelihood of success, the risks and benefits and who have a clearly articulated need or vision correction goal that they wish to accomplish. That is, having what you want to achieve in terms of an improved lifestyle, is an important part of deciding if you should have LASIK. Without clear goals, it is difficult to measure actual success. While this may seem odd as we can measure all of the clinical things that tell us whether the outcome was good-without a set of goals you can never really decide if it was worth doing. Take the time to discover the reasons you want to be independent of glasses and contacts and NOT JUST THAT YOU WANT TO BE FREE OF GLASSES AND CONTACTS. The leave the clinical qualification of your eyes to an experienced LASIK surgeon. Once you have done these types of investigation...then whether you should have LASIK will become obvious and the decision an easy one.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Vision Correction, Cataract Surgery, Lifestyles

Achieving and maintaining your lifestyle requires many things. First it requires good health. Good physical health, good emotional health and certainly good financial health. When we consider good health it is important to keep in mind the role good vision plays across all areas of health. Without good vision throughout life, taking care of yourself can pose many challenges. Understanding that your vision correction options can help you optimize your lifestyle is a first step to keeping it intact.

During your early years and throughout your thirties it is important to preserve your vision and make sure that you are always seeing your best. Regular eye health and vision exams can help you achieve this. Should it be necessary to have an optical correction to see at distance, you may wish to investigate how eyeglasses, contact lenses or laser vision correction such as lasik might best fit into your lifestyle needs. Use patient information web sites such as to get a good feel for the risks and benefits of contacts vs. laser eye surgery if you have an active lifestyle that is not served well by eyeglasses.

As we enter our forties our eyes begin to develop a condition affecting our ability to focus from near to far and far to near. This condition, called presbyopia, affects virtually everyone who enters their forties. Presbyopia affects near vision and intermediate range vision such as required for seeing the dashboard on your car and your computer screen. The options for correcting presbyopia include eyeglasses, reading glasses, progressive addition lenses, bifocal contacts-and now, lens replacement surgery. Lens Replacement Surgery allows the replacement of the crystalline lens of your eye, that has stiffened and is not longer able to focus, with a new artificial lens implant. You can learn more about Lens Replacement Surgery at

As we transcend through our fifties and sixties, many of us develop cataracts-or a clouding of the crystalline lens. Cataracts can have a considerable impact on your vision and lifestyle if not treated. Cataracts can cause clouding or blurry vision, double vision, trouble with haloes and glare that can make night driving miserable, and an overall dimming of vision that cause colors to look faded. The treatment for cataracts is cataract surgery during which the cataract is removed and an artificial lens implant is inserted. Today, if you have any refractive error that has required eyeglasses such as nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism-it can be corrected during your cataract surgery by using a number of different types of lens implants. Lens implants today can correct astigmatism, can provide extra sharp distance vision even in dim illumination if they are of a type called “aspheric lens implants” and can even correct presbyopia if they are of the multifocal or accommodating near vision presbyopia correcting type lens implant. Get a complete review of cataracts, cataract surgery and lens implants at You can avoid the negative lifestyle impact of cataracts by discussing your daily activities and needs with a cataract surgeon who can guide the selection of an appropriate type of lens implant for your particular lifestyle needs.

Taking care of your eye health and vision and understanding your vision correction options can go a long way to helping you maintain the lifestyle that you desire.

Saturday, January 3, 2009


Over the past several years, for those considering LASIK to minimize or eliminate their dependence on eyeglasses or contacts, the major barriers to electing to have LASIK were cost and fear. The psychological barrier of fear has gradually declined for most people ans the cumulative number of very satisfied LASIK patients continues to grow. While we are all feeling the effects of the economy as we begin 2009, the cost of LASIK is likely to remian a major obstacle. There are several things to consider when evaluating LASIK costs.

First, you should not choose a LASIK surgeon, LASIK practice or LASIK center based on cost. LASIK is surgery-not an appliance! While advertising and promotion of LASIK would lead one to believe that LASIK is a commodity, it is no more a commodity than brain surgery-and I doubt whether patients shop for the best deal when needing brain surgery. Choosing a LASIK surgeon should begin with some careful investigation to gather information-perhaps by searching the internet to compile a list of local resources in your area. From this list, ask friends, family and coworkers if they are familar with the surgeons on your list. Then select a few of those who seem to have the endorsement of your trusted circle and phone their offices-see how your are treated on the phone-AND schedule an appointmemt for a consultation. It is reasonable to visit the offices of 2-3 LASIK surgeons to find the one where feel comfortable not only with the skill and expertise of the surgeon, but with the staff and environment.

Second, the cost of LASIK should cover all of the care and visits that you will need. As a patient, be wary of "a la carte" pricing as this puts you in an awkward position of selecting a "package" for covering your care when you have absolutely no idea how many visits are appropriate and how often you will need to be seen. This is surgery-each person heals differently and you want the best care and results without being told "call us if you have a problem". Unfortunately this happens when patients choose "low cost LASIK" packages that short change their care.

Third....once you have chosen the surgeon and the practice to perform your LASIK surgery, carefully review the payment options. Many banks or finance companies are only "too happy" to see you sign up for "zero % " payment plans. However f you do not carefully read the agreement, you will find that they have huge penalties if you have NOT fully paid off the balance within the defined term-i.e. 12 or 24 months. Ask the practice you are selecting to show you all of the different payment plans. Many are very flexible and allow you to select the term you wish to pay over and have quite low interest-WITHOUT the huge penalty. By selecting the payment plan that is best for YOU and not best for the can afford LASIK comfortably.

Last....contrary to what you may think...the cost of LASIK is not falling. It has been relatively stable for quite some time. There have been many "discount centers" that have promoted low cost LASIK and have since ceased to function, leaving the patient without ongoing continuity of care-NOT GOOD. You want to be sure that you have access to care in the future-so choose a LASIK surgreon, LASIK practice or LASIK center that has been in your area for a while and is likley to be in your area for many years to come. Corporate LASIK centers that are operated as business entities rather than private practices where the physician is the owner, are under huge economic pressure. Many have closed their doors...many more will.