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LASIK FAQ in Houston, TX

If you live in Houston, Missouri City or the surrounding communities of Texas, consider a call to Eye Excellence, led by board-certified ophthalmologist Mary T. Green, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.C.S., to learn more about LASIK and other laser vision correction procedures that we offer.

Is “laser vision correction” the same as LASIK?

LASIK is only one of several laser vision correction procedures that we provide at Eye Excellence. For patients not suitable or eligible for LASIK, we offer the option of photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) surgery as an alternative.

How long has LASIK been available?

LASIK surgery was approved by the FDA in 1995. Because the United States’ FDA approval process requires a series of comprehensive five-year scientific and clinical studies, excimer laser technology was first made available to patients outside the United States, even though the technology was originally developed within the United States. Most patients who received LASIK during the trial period were residents of other countries.

How is Custom vision correction achieved?

Custom laser vision correction is achieved through the use of CustomVue™ wavefront technology, which enables precise measurement and correction of the unique imperfections of a patient’s cornea.

What is Wavefront LASIK technology?

Wavefront LASIK technology was originally developed by NASA for use in high-powered telescopes to reduce distortion while viewing distant objects in space. Wavefront technology allows 25 times more precise measurement of corneal aberrations than standard conventional diagnostic methods. Dr. Green and the staff at Eye Excellence use this technology to create individualized treatment plans for each patient’s unique and personalized laser vision correction procedure.

Why is Wavefront technology so important to LASIK?

In the past, LASIK correction was one-size-fits-all, allowing for very little individualized correction of problems beyond myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. Although standard conventional technology can correct vision effectively, it will never match the LASIK outcomes achieved through the use of state-of-the-art wavefront mapping. Wavefront technology measures your individual vision, similar to a fingerprint, allowing Dr. Green to custom-tailor a correction for the unique characteristics of each patient’s eyes.

What is 20/20?

20/20 is the standard measurement for excellent vision. Using a combination of wavefront and CustomVue™ LASIK technology, patients now have the option to achieve vision that is even better than 20/20 vision. In fact, six months following a CustomVue™ LASIK procedure, over 74 percent of clinical study participants saw at 20/16 or better.

How can LASIK help my vision?

For patients who are nearsighted, farsighted or have astigmatism, LASIK may significantly improve your vision. For patients suffering from nearsightedness (myopia), the goal is to flatten the cornea, while for those with farsightedness (hyperopia), the goal is to add more curve to the cornea. Astigmatism is also corrected by reshaping an irregular cornea into a more normal shape.

Can everyone have LASIK?

Although most people are good candidates for LASIK, there is a small percentage of individuals, between five and 15, who do not qualify for LASIK, either because of their medical history, eye health, the thickness of their corneas or the severity of their eye correction.

Can I have Laser Vision Correction if I have had RK (Radial Keratotomy)?

In most cases, the answer is yes, although our staff will need to evaluate your condition to be certain. During Radial Keratotomy, cuts are made around the cornea to alter the corneal shape. In many patients, residual refractive error after RK surgery may be corrected with Advanced Surface Treatment (AST) or Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK) procedures. Schedule a visit to our office to discuss with our expert staff whether you may be a candidate for these procedures.

Am I a good candidate for LASIK?

Only a trained and experienced ophthalmologist such as Dr. Green can determine whether you may be a suitable candidate for LASIK by performing a thorough eye examination to assess your condition. To qualify for LASIK surgery an individual must be at least 18 years of age, not pregnant, have reached a point of stable vision with no significant prescription changes in one year and have a prescription within a correctable range.

Can both eyes be done the same day?

Yes. Usually, both eyes are treated at the same time.

Is LASIK safe?

LASIK is now a safe and common procedure, with almost a million laser eye procedures performed in the United States yearly. While all surgeries naturally involve some risk, laser vision surgery is less risky than most other procedures because LASIK is a highly technical process using a computer-controlled light beam and performed by a board-certified refractive surgeon. A discussion with Dr. Green and our knowledgeable staff will help you to better assess the risks and benefits of the procedure and what kind of results you can expect in your situation.

How do I prepare for LASIK?

To learn more about our options and how to prepare for LASIK, schedule a free consultation with our friendly office staff. We also recommend that you study the information displayed on our website.

Will I need to remove my contacts before my exam?

Patients who currently wear contact lenses must discontinue their use for a specified time period before LASIK can be performed. Wearing contact lenses can change the shape of your cornea and discontinuing their use over a specified time period is required to allow the cornea to return to its natural shape. This is vital in order for proper measurements and correction of your condition to be successfully achieved. Dr. Green will help you determine how long you must wait to undergo LASIK depending on the type of contact lenses you wear. Feel free to call our office for more information.

How long will my procedure take?

LASIK normally takes only 10 to 15 minutes to perform. The actual laser time is less than a minute and the entire visit is typically completed within two hours.

Is LASIK scary?

You will be awake and fully conscious during the LASIK procedure. Feelings of apprehension are normal and to be expected. If needed, Dr. Green will prescribe medication to help you relax. Most patients report that the experience is ultimately enjoyable and are surprised at how comfortable they were throughout it.

Is there any pain involved with LASIK?

Laser eye surgery is painless. Topical anesthetic eyedrops will be administered just prior to the laser treatment to prevent any possibility of discomfort and to keep you relaxed. Most patients report no pain whatsoever, though some report a slight pressure as the flap is being created and/or as the eyelids are opened by an eyelid speculum.

Following the procedure, some patients report mild symptoms such as itchy, gritty, burning or watery eyes. These are temporary symptoms and will resolve themselves quickly in 1-2 hours.

What if I sneeze during surgery?

There is no need for concern over this because if you sneeze during the procedure, the state-of-the-art eye tracker will immediately stop the laser. Once the eye is repositioned, the laser will restart and continue the procedure.

What keeps my eyes from closing and from drying out during the procedure?

During the LASIK procedure, a special device is used to gently and comfortably hold the eyelids open, temporarily rendering the patient unable to blink. The eye will not dry out because it is irrigated with a soothing, balanced salt solution.

When will I be able to see well?

Most people experience improved vision immediately following laser eye surgery, however, for several hours many patients report the sensation of looking through a foggy haze. This condition resolves itself quickly and within a day, approximately 80 percent of patients can see 20/20 or better. Nearly all patients achieve at minimum 20/40 or better, which represents the standard of vision required to drive without corrective lenses.

How much time do I need to be off work?

This is an individual decision and depends on your job and the nature of the work you do, as well as the type of procedure you select. In the case of LASIK, if your work is very light, you might resume daily activities on the first day immediately following surgery. It is critical that you avoid all contact with your eyes, however. So you must refrain from rubbing your eyes or exposing your eyes to dangerous chemicals for several days to allow the outer surface of the cornea to heal properly. We suggest that you rest for a day or so if at all possible. Dr. Green will prescribe a recovery plan based on your individual needs and work environment.

Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK) requires three to five days to heal. This period may occasionally be longer for some patients, depending on the level of correction performed. Following PRK surgery, a gradual improvement in vision occurs over two to three weeks.

When does my new vision become permanent?

LASIK typically dramatically improves your vision within the first 24 hours. After that, it is normal for vision to fluctuate from day to day, especially for the first couple of weeks after surgery. For most patients, it may take two to four weeks for your vision to stabilize completely following LASIK as the eye makes subtle adjustments to the procedure.

The correction achieved through LASIK is extremely stable and is considered permanent once healing is complete. Permanence and stability are two of the factors that have made laser eye surgery so popular; however, since vision may change over time and age-related conditions may set in, no surgery can prevent such natural age-related developments as cataracts, macular degeneration or presbyopia. In some patients, it may be necessary to perform a LASIK enhancement to fine-tune residual refractive error after some years pass.

Can my vision results be guaranteed?

No medical procedure can provide an absolute guarantee of results and LASIK is no exception. Although LASIK is statistically safe, precise and typically achieves satisfactory results, variations in visual outcome can occur due to a variety of factors.

Will I need glasses or contacts after LASIK?

An FDA clinical trial demonstrated that following LASIK:

  • 100 percent of participants could pass a driving test without the need for corrective glasses or contacts.
  • 94 percent of participants could see 20/20 or better without correction.
  • 74 percent of participants could see better than 20/20 without correction.

At Eye Excellence, the vast majority of our patients achieve 20/20 vision or fall within one to two lines of 20/20 vision following the LASIK procedure.

Is there a treatment for presbyopia?

Presbyopia typically develops in individuals over the age of 40, and you will probably require reading glasses unless you opt to have Monovision LASIK eye correction performed. In Monovision, one eye is corrected for long distance vision and the other for near vision, giving patients the opportunity to bypass the need for eyeglasses even with presbyopia. Premium intraocular lenses (ReSTOR®, TECNIS®, and Crystalens®) are also excellent treatments for presbyopia in patients.

Will I experience glare or halos at night?

Night vision problems have been significantly reduced thanks to the expanded treatment zones in LASIK surgery. Those few patients who do experience halos or starbursts at night generally notice improvement after about one month following surgery and these symptoms typically resolve themselves after three months.

Many patients report improvement in night vision following wavefront-guided LASIK surgery. In an FDA clinical study, the majority of participants were extremely satisfied with their night vision following the procedure without the need for glasses or contacts, in comparison with night vision prior to LASIK and with the assistance of glasses or contacts.

Does insurance cover LASIK?

In most cases, insurance does not cover LASIK.

Does Eye Excellence offer financing?

  • Even if your insurance plan doesn’t cover vision correction, you can use cash, a credit card, or approved financing for payment.
  • Choose from no-interest plans, extended payment options up to 48 months and no down payment.

If you live in Houston, Missouri City or the surrounding areas of Texas, and have additional questions about LASIK, please contact us today.