At Thomas Eye Center, our patients ask us frequently: “Doctor, what do you think about laser vision surgery?
Our doctors are well experienced in taking care of refractive surgery patients. We personally work with the most experienced and skilled refractive surgeons in the Atlanta area.
Do you recommend laser vision surgery?
Yes, for some patients. Patients need to have healthy eyes and realistic expectations. Laser vision surgery can significantly reduce your dependence on your glasses or contact lenses. You will be able to do normal activities requiring distance vision without the use of glasses or contact lenses. What laser vision surgery may not do is give you vision that is going to be precise that can be achieved with glasses or contact lenses. After surgery patients may still need glasses or contact lenses for precise distance vision such as driving at night. A major complaint after laser vision surgery is halos and glare at night and dry eye.
I wear bifocal/progressive glasses, will laser vision surgery eliminate the need for glasses for near vision?
No, laser vision surgery is designed to correct your distance vision. After surgery, we recommend that patients obtain over the counter readers or prescription reading glasses for near vision.
Some laser surgeons use a “monovision” approach with laser vision surgery and put the distance correction in one eye and the reading correction in the other eye. We usually do not recommend this procedure. Our doctors have fit many patients with contact lenses using monovision. We know that the balance between distance and near vision must be precise. Laser vision surgical procedures are not as accurate as a contact lens prescription. We also know that patients need many prescription changes, as they get older to achieve good vision at the computer and for reading. Near prescription changes cannot be made with laser vision surgery.
I am nearsighted (myopic), I can now take my glasses off and read at night. Will I be able to do this if I have laser vision surgery?
You will be able to until the time you turn about 40 years old. When you turn 40 you lose the ability to see up close and so when laser vision surgery corrects your distance vision it will also eliminate your ability to see up close without using reading glasses.
Is laser vision surgery safe? What are the risks of this surgical procedure?
Laser vision surgery is a safe surgical procedure if the patient has the proper pre-surgical testing and an experienced laser vision surgeon performs the surgery. But, it is a surgical procedure and complications can occur. The majority of complications are vision related, thus optimum vision may not be achieved with the surgery. Remember that laser vision surgery is permanent.
I am seriously considering laser vision surgery. What steps need to be taken so I can have surgery?
Schedule an appointment with our doctors for a pre-op LASIK evaluation. A comprehensive vision examination will be done to evaluate your vision and the health of your eyes. You will be dilated during this exam so the doctor can carefully inspect the inside of your eyes.
Our doctors must obtain many detailed eye measurements to provide to the laser surgeon. If you wear contact lenses, lens wear must be discontinued for a period of time before surgery. As a general rule, soft lenses must be removed for a minimum of 2 weeks and rigid lenses 4 to 6 weeks or longer.
If you have healthy eyes and we determine that your vision is stable, our office will then make the appropriate referral.
Once the referral is made, we will call you to schedule your initial consultation. After the initial consultation is completed, then a surgery date will be scheduled.
How soon will I see after surgery?
Your unaided visual acuity (ability to see without a vision correction) will be significantly improved immediately after surgery. Your vision will continue to improve as your eyes fully heal from surgery.
Does laser vision surgery cause pain?
A topical anesthetic eye drop will be applied to your eyes before the surgery. You will not feel any pain during the surgical procedure. Most patients notice a small degree of eye irritation or dryness for 24 hours after surgery. You will be given eye drops that will increase your eye comfort.
After surgery, who will provide me with vision care?
You will see our doctors for all of your post-operative care. You will be prescribed eye drops (antibiotic and steroid) for 1 week. We monitor the healing of your eyes and prescribe any vision device that is needed to enhance your performance.
Patients are normally seen for post-operative visits 1 day, 1 week, 1 month, 3 months, and 6 months after surgery. Patients are then seen on an annual basis for a comprehensive exam to evaluate vision and eye health.
Laser vision surgery does not reduce the incidence of retinal detachment, macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataract and many more ocular diseases that can seriously affect your eyes. Even after laser vision surgery, make sure to get your annual eye exam.
How long will I have to be off work after laser vision surgery?
We recommend three days. You should not be exposed to an unclean environment (i.e. chemicals, dust, dirt) for one week. In addition, severe physical stress should be avoided for several days.
Will my insurance pay for laser vision correction?
A few insurance plans will partially pay for laser vision correction. But, the majority of vision and medical plans consider laser vision correction as cosmetic surgery and will not pay for the surgery.
What is the next step?
If you are interested in LASIK, please call our office to schedule a pre-op LASIK evaluation.