LASIK, or laser in-situ assisted keratomileusis, is an outpatient procedure that uses a cool laser beam of ultraviolet light to reshape the cornea, the clear outer covering of the eye. The laser removes microscopic layers of tissue to change the curvature of the cornea and correct common vision errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism.
Millions of people have been enjoying the benefits of laser vision correction since the early 1990s. You can expect to improve your vision and enjoy an active lifestyle without relying on glasses or contact lenses. LASIK is very successful in helping people gain freedom from corrective eyewear; however, the degree of improvement in vision may vary among individuals. Most people with mild to moderate prescriptions can achieve 20/20 vision or within one to two lines of 20/20 vision on an eye chart. Ask your surgeon about your specific prescription.
If you are 18 years of age or older, you may be a good candidate for LASIK as long as your overall medical status and the health of your eye is satisfactory. You should also have vision errors (nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism) that fall within the FDA-approved range and have had a stable prescription for the past 12-18 months. You would not be a good candidate if you have cataracts that have not been treated, a vision condition called keratoconus (an abnormal thinning of the cornea) or any ocular disease that is not controlled. For a complete list of contraindications, please speak with a patient counselor.
To understand the difference between All-Laser LASIK and traditional LASIK, you first have to understand that laser vision correction is a two-step process. The first step involves creating a small flap on the surface of the cornea. To do this, traditional LASIK uses a mechanical surgical blade called a microkeratome. All-Laser LASIK uses a femtosecond laser. All-Laser LASIK is sometimes called blade-free LASIK. The femtosecond laser creates a corneal flap that has a more consistent thickness. A corneal flap made with a blade can vary from 100 to 200 microns, whereas the laser can create a 100-micron flap every single time to within +/- 10 microns. Additionally, All-Laser LASIK eliminates the possible complications of the microkeratome blade, making it a safer, blade-free LASIK procedure with a faster healing time.
After the corneal flap is temporarily moved aside, the surgeon uses an excimer laser to reshape the cornea based on the patient's prescription. Once the reshaping is complete, the surgeon moves the corneal flap back into place and the flap begins healing immediately without stitches.
Clinical studies show that All-Laser LASIK is safer than traditional LASIK, with reduced risk of flap complications and infection. It is also more precise and accurate. The laser has a long wavelength, which allows cool laser energy to pass safely through the top layer of the cornea, and a short pulse, which delivers short bursts of energy close together for a smooth, precise separation of tissue, rather than a cut. With All-Laser LASIK, there is a lower incidence of corneal abrasion than with the microkeratome blade, along with reduced potential for persistent striae (wrinkles) that can obscure vision, and reduced problems with the growth of corneal epithelium under the flap. It also eliminates the risk of infection from use of a blade.
No, PRK, is an earlier form of laser vision correction that does not require a corneal flap, and can technically be called all-laser vision correction. But, only LASIK using the femtosecond laser is the blade-free, All-Laser LASIK that offers superior results with improved safety and reduced potential for complications.
Custom LASIK is an All-laser vision correction procedure that is tailored for your specific vision care needs. It is a customized approach to LASIK using mapping diagnostic system, and the femtosecond laser to create the corneal flap. Coastal Vision has the complete Wavelight suite—the fastest refractive laser suite in the U.S.
The goal of LASIK is to reduce or eliminate your dependence on glasses or contact lenses. Using All-Laser LASIK technology, 95 percent of patients achieve 20/20 vision, and some patients even achieve 20/15 vision. However, even with the best technology and skilled surgeons, we cannot guarantee perfect vision; the results may vary among individuals.
PRK is generally considered the forerunner to LASIK. PRK involves the use of a laser on the surface of the eye without creating a corneal flap. It takes longer to heal when compared to LASIK. LASIK is usually considered the treatment of choice because it offers less discomfort, faster recovery of vision, and less risk of corneal scarring. It also offers a wider range of correction.
Anesthetic drops are used to numb the eye before surgery. You may feel pressure, but little or no discomfort. You may also receive a mild sedative to help you relax and to alleviate any anxiety. After the procedure, your eyes may feel mildly irritated for a few hours, but this is temporary and can be relieved by keeping the eyes closed for several hours. You will be given eye drops to take care of any dryness you may experience in the first few days after surgery.
LASIK is an outpatient procedure that takes less than 10 minutes. You can expect to stay at the center for approximately one and a half to two hours the day of your procedure for testing, pre-operative care, and so you can rest before you go home.
Most patients will notice an improvement in vision immediately with a steady increase in visual acuity during the 24 hours following the procedure. Most patients are able to drive to their one-day post-operative appointment. Vision will continue to improve during the next one to two months. The speed of recovery may vary among individuals, although most can return to work and resume all normal activities within a few days. Ask your patient counselor about the specifics of post-operative care.
LASIK has been performed since the early 1990s and millions of people are happy with the results. However, as with any surgical procedure, there is some risk. Fortunately with LASIK, the degree of risk is very low and the potential of vision-reducing complications is less than one percent. Any risks and possible side effects are fully discussed prior to the procedure. The best way to prevent LASIK complications is to select a surgeon with extensive experience and skill performing laser vision correction. You can be confident in selecting Coastal Vision for your vision correction, knowing that your surgeon will be a highly respected and knowledgeable LASIK professional, and that we have the best technology in Southern California.
Occasionally, an enhancement may be required to help you achieve your best-corrected vision (BCV). If your eye is under-corrected or over-corrected, additional treatment, called enhancement surgery, can be scheduled within a few months. Depending on your vision correction plan, enhancements may or may not be included in the price of your procedure.
Both eyes are usually operated on during the same sitting. This is called bilateral surgery. Bilateral surgery restores balanced vision immediately, which is a benefit if you cannot wear a contact lens in the eye that has not yet been corrected.
The results of laser vision correction are designed to be permanent. You may need an enhancement to help you achieve your best-corrected vision, but the changes to your eye after LASIK are meant to last a lifetime. Any vision change in the future may be related to presbyopia (over 40 vision) or other eye conditions, such as cataracts.
Some patients may request that the surgeon treat one eye for near vision and the other eye for distance vision. This type of blended vision is called monovision. Not everyone is comfortable with this type of procedure. Talk with your doctor about whether or not you would be a candidate for correcting monovision.
Coastal Vision offers affordable vision correction procedures based on the type of procedure best suited to your vision care needs. Remember, LASIK is an investment that will pay off with greatly reduced dependence on glasses and contacts. You may no longer have the cost of maintaining your contact lenses and glasses, leading to significant savings over time.
Most of the time, LASIK is considered an elective procedure. However, you should check with your insurance company to find out if they provide coverage for LASIK vision correction.
A company-sponsored flex plan or medical spending account is an excellent way to pay for LASIK. Flex dollars are deducted from your paycheck before taxes, which allows you to pay for health expense with pre-tax dollars. Check with your employer to determine your company's flex plan rules.
Yes, Coastal Vision works with CareCredit patient payment plans. We also accept most major credit cards. Some patients take advantage of this option because their credit card reward program offers airline miles or points toward merchandise. Please call our experienced Vision Correction Counselors for more information at 714-771-1213.
At Coastal Vision, our LASIK consultations are always free.
Please call 714-771-1213 to schedule a free consultation and learn more about your LASIK options.