Below are some of the most frequently asked questions patients have about their vision and LASIK eye surgery. If you have any other questions, or would like to schedule an appointment, we would love to hear from you.
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iLASIK, LASIK -- What's the difference?
LASIK is the most commonly performed and best known laser vision correction surgery. iLASIK is the next generation, the next step up. It is a much safer and improved version of LASIK using a unique set of laser systems.
LASIK is short for laser in-situ Keratomileusis. It is a procedure where a thin layer of cornea (called the flap) is lifted and the exposed tissue underneath is reshaped with an Excimer laser system.
The most advanced and safest form of LASIK is achieved using a unique set of laser system that do this. The IntraLase femtosecond laser creates the flap and the Visx Star S4 IR performs the corneal reshaping using the CustomVue treatment with Iris Registration. This mouthful of words is shortened to iLASIK.
LASIK has been FDA approved since 1997. It has finally achieved a level of safety and accuracy, that even the US TopGun Pilots, Air Force Pilots and NASA Astronauts are now approved to have LASIK since 2007. In fact, the only treatment advanced enough and approved for them is iLASIK. Don't your eyes also deserve only the best?
Is LASIK right for me?
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 conditions 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.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation!
Is LASIK safe?
It is important to realize that, like any surgery, LASIK is not without risk. However, major complications are extremely rare. Minor complications occasionally occur, such as dry eye, and halos or glare around lights at night. However, such problems are uncommon, are often treatable, and will usually reduce or disappear within months of the surgery.
IntraLase has added a completely new level of safety to the LASIK eye surgery. Many of the problems encountered in the past with LASIK eye surgery have been virtually eliminated.
Does LASIK hurt?
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.
Is LASIK guaranteed to eliminate my need for glasses or contacts?
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 may still require corrective lenses after the surgery, though their prescription will be greatly reduced.
How long should I allow for recovery after having LASIK surgery?
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 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.
Is your iLASIK Surgeon Fellowship Trained?
Dr. Ash is a Fellowship Trained Cornea and Refractive Surgeon. What that means is that after his undergraduate studies and medical school, he spent a year in internship and then three years in ophthalmology residency. This three year period is required to become an eye surgeon. After these three years, an ophthalmologist may become Board Eligible and ultimately pass all the exams to become Board Certified. Many ophthalmologist at this point start doing LASIK with minimal to no training at all.
Dr. Ash spend an entire extra year of study with six world-renowned cornea specialists, learning everything about the cornea (the tissue that actually is operated on in LASIK surgery). He studied cornea surgeries including LASIK and Corneal Transplant surgeries. He also studied LASIK complications and their management in many patients from around the world who came for treatment of their problems. Dr. Ash's research works have been published in Ophthalmology, the official publication of American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Unfortunately, some surgeons may also claim to be fellowship trained surgeons, yet their fellowship training may have been in other unrelated specialities such as glaucoma or retinal surgeries. Their training is similar to many other surgeons who may have learned this surgery on a weekend course!
How is buying a car similar to having LASIK?
When one mentions LASIK Surgery, it is really as vaque as mentioning that one just bought a car. Well, what brand, what model, what options?
The Surgeon with his training and experience. Dr. Ash is a Fellowship Trained Cornea and Refractive Surgeon who has been performing LASIK eye surgery since 2001.
The Microkeratome is an instrument that creates a flap in the cornea for the laser system to reshape the cornea. Most LASIK centers still use a metalic blade system to shave the cornea. The IntraLase is an all laser system that very accurately and safely uses a laser to create a flap. Dr. Ash has had years of experience with many different metalic blade microkeratome systems. The safety and reliability of the IntraLase is so far superior that, he refuses to use the blade system anymore.
The Excimer Laser System, is a system that reshapes the cornea. There are many different maker and they all have different performances. Most systems also have different upgrade features. The most advanced, and upgraded laser system today is the Visx Star S4 IR. This system is able to deliver CustomVue treatment with Iris Registration. The combination of the IntraLase and Visx Star S4 IR with CustomVue and Iris Registration LASIK Surgery (called iLASIK for ease) is the only treatment so advanced that it is approved for use on TopGun and Air Force Pilots and NASA Astronauts.
The Service, is also essential. Dr. Ash is the only person interacting with the patients from the point of consultation to post-operative evaluations. Dr. Ash also includes the pre-operative examinations, surgery, a year of post-operative follow-ups, and any enhancements in his price. Many centers will make patients pay more for enhancements. Additionally, they may preclude patients with better than 20/40 vision from having enhancements. Dr. Ash believes in doing his best to achieve patient satisfaction with safest results.
How is your vision after LASIK similar to a TV Screen?
We have all been to the local electronics store, right? When you are there, you can spot your favorite TV because of clarity of the image, brightness and over all quality.
It becomes amazingly difficult to tell the subtle quality issues once the TV hangs on a wall by itself.
LASIK is no different. Many people rave about their LASIK eye surgery. They see great. Yet, it is hard to tell how good the quality of vision is, unless tested.
Almost eight hundered TopGun candidates underwent LASIK eye surgery, using the blade vs. the IntraLase, Custom vs. Conventional treatments. These candidates were tested in bright light, dim light, in fog, rain, dawn, dust, and whatever else you think of. By far the most resoundingly superior results were from CustomVue IntraLase LASIK eye surgery with Iris Registration (iLASIK). If the US government has already done the homework for you, why try to re-invent the wheel. Trust your eyes to nothing but the best.
What is the difference between Custom LASIK and wavefront optimized LASIK?
Recently there has been a significant amount of confusion about wavefront optimized vs. wavefront customized LASIK surgery. Under the page LASIK101 I have a fairly extensive discussion on this, but here is a simple explanation.
Wavefront is a sophisticated method of measuring the subtle irregularities of the eye. There are several layers of irregularity. At the second level, the sphere and cylinder are what we measure in glasses. This accounts for 85-90% of one's prescription.
Wavefront optimized laser like the Alcon's Allegretto Wavelight, treats every eye as a conventional surgery with a "spherical aberration" factor added in. Spherical aberration is a common finding and also a consequence of older models of treatment.
Wavefront GUIDED laser like Abbott's Visx Star S4 IR (what is used in iLASIK), measures each individual eye and treats the unique map of that eye, including its spherical aberrations, coma, trefoils, quadrifols and more. So, the treatment is likely to capture more of the irregularities of the eye. Better results have been also been noted clinically in very large studies compared to wavefront optimized treatments.
Ask for wavefront GUIDED treatment!