People who wear glasses or contact lenses usually seek laser vision correction. The most common laser vision correction procedure is LASIK, but not all patients are LASIK candidates. At Feinerman Vision Center in Newport Beach, Dr. Gregg Feinerman receives numerous questions about LASIK in Orange County from potential patients. Below you will find answers about common LASIK and Laser Vision Correction procedures.
1) How Do I Know If I’m a Candidate For LASIK?
The only way to truly determine if you are a LASIK candidate is to schedule a consultation with a board certified ophthalmologist. Dr. Gregg Feinerman has more than 15 years of experience performing LASIK. During the consultation he will thoroughly examine your eyes to make sure you are a strong candidate for LASIK. If for some reason you are not a LASIK candidate then Dr. Feinerman may suggest an alternative procedure.
Deciding to have LASIK is a big step in itself; but you want to make sure your surgeon has the proper skills and experience. For example, Dr. Gregg Feinerman is a board certified ophthalmologist who is fellowship trained in LASIK. That is as good as it gets when choosing a LASIK surgeon in the Los Angeles / Orange County area.
Experience also counts, thus LASIK surgeons who have performed thousands of procedures generally have the experience and skills needed to perform a successful procedure. Your eyes are extremely important, and you want to make sure your in good hands with your LASIK surgeon.
2) Is LASIK painful?
Immediately after the procedure, you may experience some mild burning and tearing, but generally patients experience NO pain. Dr. Feinerman recommends solid rest for 4 hours following the LASIK procedure.
3) What is Involved in LASIK? How Long Does It Take?
LASIK usually takes approximately 15 minutes for both eyes. Regardless of the type of LASIK procedure, all patients will have a topical anesthetic drops placed onto their eyes. A corneal flap will be created, and after the flap is complete a laser will be used to make the prescriptive correction directly on the cornea. After the correction is complete the corneal flap is gently placed back into its proper position. During your consultation Dr. Feinerman will discuss the different types of LASIK; but he generally performs Custom ALL LASER LASIK on all suitable candidates.
4) What about recovery?
Recovery from LASIK is very rapid. During the first 3-4 hours after surgery your eyes may feel irritated. Vision is typically a little blurry during this time but will improve over the next few hours. The day after surgery your eyes may still feel somewhat irritated but your vision will be remarkably better.
5) I hate to have anything in my eye. What if I am really nervous?
A mild sedative will be made available prior to surgery to help relax your nerves and anxieties.
Dr. Feinerman and his staff had LASIK performed on their own eyes; thus they also understand LASIK from the patient’s perspective. Dr. Feinerman will speak with you during the surgery to help keep you at ease.
6) Will I need glasses after the surgery?
The vast majority of patients (ages 18-40) do not need glasses after LASIK. However, like all medical procedures, there are no guarantees. Thus it is not ethical to promise you will not need glasses after LASIK. With that said, it is also uncommon for people to need glasses or contacts after LASIK if they are age 18-40.
LASIK does not eliminate the need for reading glasses down the road. Most people in their 40’s will develop presbyopia, a condition that makes it hard to read newspapers or menus. Reading glasses will be required. LASIK does not correct presbyopia.
7) Will LASIK interfere with my lifestyle?
LASIK will only interfere with your lifestyle for the first week or two following surgery. It is important that your eyes are fully healed before resuming contact sports. Swimming, hot tubs and saunas should also be avoided for the first two weeks. Dr. Feinerman will discuss with you what you can and cannot do following surgery.
8) How long will the correction last?
LASIK is a permanent procedure; however a minority of patients may require an enhancement following their initial surgery. After LASIK, reading glasses may be necessary when you get older (in your 40s).
9) Is it true that it takes six months to improve vision after LASIK?
Minor fluctuations can occur, but most visual improvement takes place within 24 hours following the procedure. Most patients note that fluctuations have stopped after two weeks. At the same time, it may take additional time for the microscopic swelling in the eye to resolve and minor fluctuations to cease. Many patients do have small amounts of healing that may continue to improve over six months.
10) How safe is the procedure? Are there complications?
The LASIK procedure is very safe, and that is why it has been accepted by so many millions worldwide. With any surgical procedures, however, complications may arise. Vision-threatening complications do exist, but they are extremely rare. These include infections (an incidence of 1 in 5,000) and irregular healing processes that can lead to something called “irregular astigmatism” that glasses cannot correct and contact lenses or further surgery may be required to improve. There are also complications, which may lead to temporary blurriness, temporary dependence on glasses or contact lenses, or a need for additional surgery.
In most cases, the patient can still do well and recover with good vision. It is for this reason that LASIK patients should confirm the experience of their surgeon to determine if he or she has specialized training in cornea surgery. Because LASIK is performed on the cornea, knowledge of the healing properties of the cornea and management of any complications are critical to the patient’s well being. Knowing how to handle a complication, should one occur, can make a significant difference in the patient’s outcome.