Below are some of the most frequently asked questions patients have about their vision and general eye health issues.  If you have any other questions, or would like to schedule an appointment, we would love to hear from you.

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If you are considering LASIK eye surgery, it means you are living with nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism, and probably currently wear glasses or contact lenses.  LASIK is a great way to reduce your dependence on, or completely free yourself from, corrective lenses.  It may be especially appealing because of your profession or lifestyle.  It could be that you cannot wear contact lenses and dislike the appearance of glasses, or you may just want to reduce the expense and hassle of glasses and contacts.

However, LASIK is not appropriate for everyone.  There are several factors which determine the best candidate, including age, medical history, individual eye anatomy, and expectations.  Each person is a unique case requiring individual evaluation.

No website can tell you for sure if you are a good candidate for LASIK.  The only way to find out is to schedule a LASIK eligibility exam.  Be prepared to talk about your medical history, and any current diseases or medications.  You will also discuss instructions and expectations for the procedure, recovery, and results.  You will be given a comprehensive eye examination, including some tests especially tailored to evaluate whether your eyes are appropriate for the corrective surgery.  From the results of this exam, the doctor can work with you to decide if LASIK is the right choice for you.

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It is important to realize that, like any surgery, LASIK is not without risk.  However, major complications are extremely rare.  Most complications that do occur, however, are likely due to the old style "Blade Microkeratomes," the metalic blade that cuts the cornea to make the LASIK flap.  Here at Northern California Laser Center, we offer the All-Laser LASIK using the IntraLase that has virtually eliminated the potential for any complications.  Minor complications occasionally occur, such as dry eye, and halos or glare around lights at night.  However, such problems are uncommon, and are often treatable, and will usually reduce or disappear within months of the surgery.

There is no pain associated with the LASIK procedure.  Local anesthesia is used on the cornea, which is administered through eye drops.  Some patients may experience mild discomfort or pressure.  After the procedure, patients may experience minor irritation in the eye.  This should fade within a day or two.

Many people achieve 20/20 vision, or better, after undergoing LASIK eye surgery.  Although patients experience an improvement in their vision, some may still need to wear corrective lenses for certain tasks, though the necessary power of correction will be much smaller than before.

The result of the LASIK procedure is also influenced by the amount of correction needed.  Patients within a few diopters of 20/20 vision most often achieve sufficient results after undergoing LASIK that they no longer require corrective lenses.  Patients with a wider error, especially those who are extremely nearsighted, sometimes will still require corrective lenses after the surgery, though their prescription will be greatly reduced.

Eye exams are recommended periodically, with the interval differing for various age groups.  In the first three years of infancy, a child should have vision checked along with normal pediatric checkups.  Between the ages of three and six (the most crucial period of eye development) an eye exam should be scheduled every year or two.  After that period, until adulthood, exams should be scheduled as necessary.  During the twenties one should have at least one exam.  During the thirties one should have at least two exams.  In the forties, fifties, and early sixties, one should schedule an exam every two to four years.  For seniors, an exam every year or two is recommended.

In addition to these basic guidelines, people with a family history of eye problems, those monitoring a diagnosed eye disease, or those with certain high risk diseases such as diabetes, it is recommended that exams should be performed at least once a year.  Regular eye exams are the best way to keep you seeing your world clearly.

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Any abnormal phenomena or changes in your vision can indicate a variety of possible problems.  The key to preserving vision in the face of most eye diseases is early treatment.  Thus it is important to consult an ophthalmologist if you notice anything unusual or any change in your vision.  It could be a serious problem, or it could be inconsequential, but the peace of mind and the possibility of catching a serious problem early are certainly worth it.

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Many serious eye diseases often have little or no symptoms until they are well developed.  The only way to diagnose a problem early in such a case is to schedule periodic eye exams.  This is the best way to preserve the clearest vision possible for life.

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LASIK surgery is known for having a particularly quick recovery, partly because the flap acts as a natural bandage for the cornea.  Patients can usually return to work in a day or two, although it is best to take a few days off and take it easy to allow proper healing.  One should wait a week or two before recommencing strenuous activities, and at least a month or more before contact sports.  Vision improves vastly over the first one to three days, and generally reaches its final state within three to six months.

Throughout childhood and the teens, a person’s vision often does not remain stable.  The body is constantly developing and changing.  LASIK is a permanent procedure.  For this reason, LASIK may not be performed on minors.  Once your child is 18 or older, and his or her glasses or contacts prescription has been stable for at least a year or two, he or she may wish to consider LASIK corrective eye surgery.

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We encourage you to contact us with any questions or comments you may have. Please call our office or use the contact form below.