Is Lasik Magic?

If we select our patients carefully, following well-established guidelines, and perform LASIK correctly with well-maintained, proper equipment, LASIK IS pretty much magic.   The magic is that within 24 hours after LASIK 95+% of properly selected patients can see to perform their daily activities without glasses or contacts.

I’ve performed thousands of Laser Vision Correction procedures since the FDA approved Laser Vision Correction in 1996. Since the beginning, I have always been fascinated about why so many people are motivated to have Laser Vision Correction performed on them.Recently, I performed a case study in which I asked my patients, who were between 2-15 years post-Laser Vision Correction, why they decided to have their Laser Vision Correction procedure. In the end, I consistently found the same answers: “I was fed up with wearing glasses” and “I hated my contacts.” Laser Vision Correction Surgery can significantly decrease your dependence on glasses and contacts. In addition, Laser Vision Correction, when performed properly, is extremely safe.  If you have problems with wearing your glasses or contacts, Laser Vision Correction is the solution to your problems. We welcome you to schedule a free consultation with us, to find out if you are a good candidate for Laser Vision Correction. When performed correctly on the appropriate, well-maintained equipment, Laser Vision Correction can change your life!
Dry eyes are very common after LASIK and PRK.  The dryness is due to damage to the superficial sensory nerve endings in the cornea by the Laser.  These sensory nerves are the nerve endings that sense dryness in the cornea and then tell the tear glands in the eye to make tears.  The nerve endings do regenerate and regain function although they may not completely return to normal.  Most patients seem to experience significant dry eyes for 1-2 months after surgery that responds to lubricating eye drops or punctal plugs,   In my experience, long term dry eye is not common after Laser Vision Correction but patients do occasionally mention dry eye symptoms when opening their eye in the morning after sleeping.  This is sporadic and doesn’t seem to cause vision problems or interfere with their daily activity.  Very rarely, and I have not seen this occur in any of my patients, long term debilitating eye pain after Laser Vision Correction has been reported.  In my experience, long term corneal discomfort after Laser Vision Correction is very uncommon and the vast majority of patients report no eye discomfort at their one year post-op visit.

Lasers are being introduced into cataract surgery.  However, the Laser does not remove the cataract.  The Laser is used to make the incisions in the eye and the lens, and to soften the lens prior to removal from the eye.  This offers some precision to the cataract procedure, but it has not been shown to improve the outcome or safety of cataract surgery.  And it comes at an additional cost of $1000-$1500 per eye.  This cost is an out-of-pocket expense to the patient, not covered by any health insurance plans.  For more information visit common cataract questions.

The minute we’re born, we begin to slowly lose elasticity of the lens of the eye, and the ability to focus our eyes at near.  By age 35, we’ve lost 75% of our focusing and by age 50, we’ve lost 95%.  About age 43ish, we typically start to need reading glasses or bifocals. If, after age 43, we LASIK or PRK both your eyes for distance vision, you’ll need reading glasses to see at near, such as your phone.  Monovision is a highly recommended option.  If you’ve had monvision in your contact lenses, you’ll easily transition.  If you’ve never experienced monovision before, it takes some adjustment.  Monovision patients are typically seeing at distance and near without correction within days for LASIK and within 1-2 weeks with PRK.  It make take 3-6 months, however, before monofit patients become comfortable with monovision so that they no longer are aware they are doing it.  However, if they didn’t monofit, they’d be acutely aware of the need for reading glasses for the rest of their lives.

It seems like putting in eye drops should be simple, but it really isn’t.  Studies have shown that over 50% of patients do not use their drops correctly.  The most common error is touching the tip of the dropper to the eye and contaminating the contents of the bottle with bacteria.  Don’t do that!  The second error is using too many drops.  The eye only holds 1/10 of a drop so if you put one drop in the eye correctly, and then blink or close your eye, 90% of the drop will be squeezed out of the eye and run down your face.  That’s normal.  When the drop runs down your face don’t assume you missed and that you should put in more drops. The third error is using too many drops,  The eye only holds less than one drop so don’t put in 2, or 10, drops.  You’re just wasting the extra drops.  The last error is not following the correct instructions for the daily schedule for the drops.  For example if the drugs are prescribed to be used four times a day, over 50% of people forget at least one of those drops each day and 10% use the drop more than four times a day.

Not everybody is a candidate for LASIK but you may be a candidate for PRK.  If you were told that you are not a candidate for LASIK, consider getting  a second evaluation by me, or any other Ophthalmologist that performs Laser Vision Correction,  to see if you have surgical options to safely correct your eyes. It surprises me how often I see patients that were told that they are not a canddate for LASIK and were never presented the option of PRK.

I recently saw a very intelligent 40 year old woman for a second opinion.  She had undergone LASIK at a local “Laser Vision Center”.  She required two additional retreatments to enhance her vision.  She was still unhappy with the quality of her vision and wanted to know what options were still available for her.  I asked her if she had discussed the situation with her Laser Vision Surgeon.  She said she had not.  I asked her who her Laser Vision Surgeon was.  She did not know his name.  This is not highest quality Laser Vision Care. I can’t stress the point enough:  Select a Laser Vision Surgeon who will be available to you, and who will tell you her/his name!

If you’re tired of wearing glasses or contacts, LASIK or PRK may be a great choice for you. LASIK and PRK can successfully correct Nearsightedness, Farsightedness, and Astigmatism in over 95% of our patients. If you are over 45 years old, Laser Vision Correction can reduce or eliminateyour need for contacts, bifocals or reading glasses.

To be a candidate for PRK or LASIK, you must be at least 18 years old and have a stable eye prescription. The FDA defines stability as a change of .5 diopter or less in your glasses or contact lens prescription over the prior 12-month period. You must be free of medical problems related to your eyes such as cataracts or glaucoma. Laser Vision Correction is not advised for patients who are pregnant or nursing, or in patients with medical problems such as active rheumatoid arthritis or Lupus.

Contact our office to schedule your complimentary consultation to determine if you are a candidate for Laser Vision Correction.
You should not let cost drive your decision to have or not have LASIK. The cost of LASIK varies, with most eye surgeons charging between $1,500 and $3,000 (per eye), and some surgeons charging higher or lower than that range. Many ophthalmologists offer financing.
Cost often depends on factors such as:
  • Technology used
  • Surgeon experience
  • Wavefront availability
  • Surgical facilities used
  • Surgical equipment used
  • Candidacy screening
Generally, you should be wary of practices offering cut-rate LASIK for a few hundred dollars per eye. Oftentimes, these low rates come with undisclosed fees. The practices offering low-cost LASIK may employ part-time ophthalmologists, and your care may be managed by other staff, while the surgeon is there only to perform the surgery.
When selecting a LASIK surgeon, you’ll benefit from asking lots of questions. Instead of basing your decision on price alone, ask who will be handling your care. Ask whether the eye surgeon will be present from pre-op to post-op, and what will happen in the event of a complication.
Your ophthalmologist should possess LASIK experience, and should be available to answer any of your questions or concerns. Once you find the right ophthalmologist, then you can ask about financing options to address the cost of the surgery.

If you are interested in LASIK in Denver, please contact Richard A. Levinson, M.D., to schedule a free initial consultation with our experienced ophthalmologist.