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Frequently Asked Questions About Vision Correction

How does LASIK work?

The short answer ... LASIK (Laser-Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis) is a laser vision correction technique that uses an excimer laser to reshape the cornea and correct a wide range of nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. An instrument called a microkeratome is used to create a thin surface flap of your cornea. Once created, the flap is folded back, and the excimer laser, which has been pre-programmed with your exact correction, applies a rapid, cool ultraviolet light that systematically removes a precise amount of tissue from the stroma; the middle section of the cornea under the flap. These short laser pulses correct the curvature of the cornea, allowing images to be focused clearly on the retina. The flap is then smoothed back into its original position where it quickly bonds back in place; the entire procedure typically takes less than a minute. LASIK has been performed since 1996. Since you only have two eyes, we recommend taking as much time as necessary to consider all of the options and risks associated with this procedure. You should not make a decision this important based on this quick description.

What are the odds of eliminating my glasses?

At H Rubin Laser Eye, 100% of patients that have had CustomVue see well enough without glasses to pass the DMV eye test ("20/40"). Over 70% of CustomVue patients see better than 20/20, and 97% get 20/20.

Does the treatment hurt?

No. The actual treatment itself is painless. With both PRK and LASIK, anesthetic drops are used to ensure that there will be no pain or discomfort at the time of surgery. With LASIK, there may be a mild foreign body sensation for several hours after your treatment, but in most cases, those symptoms subside by the end of the day and should be no discomfort at all. After PRK, there can be mild to moderate discomfort for 1-3 days. To assist in the healing process, we use a bandage contact lens, similar to the Band-Aid you would apply to a scrape or cut on your body. We also give you a prescription for eyedrops. Once epithelial healing is complete, the lens is removed, there is no further risk of discomfort. With LASIK, many patients observe that they experience no pain or irritation. More often than not, most patients report that they needed nothing more than Advil or Tylenol and a little rest.

How safe is LASIK?

The FDA has approved LASIK as a safe and effective procedure. It is important, however, to remember that LASIK is not the right choice for everybody. Some people are not appropriate candidates, and if treated could have less than optimal results. We provide a thorough pre-operative evaluation to determine if you are a good LASIK candidate. If not, we will recommend the next best course of action.

Can I lose vision as a result of this treatment?

This is the one question asked more than any other. No patient in our practice has ever lost their vision, or suffered any accident or misadventure leading to blindness as a result of laser treatment. None of the patients in any of the extensive FDA studies of excimer laser treatment has suffered significant, permanent vision loss. In fact, there are only an extremely small number of cases - approximately one per million surgeries performed, that present serious eye or vision problems.

How do I know if I am a candidate?

Most people who are in good health and are either nearsighted or farsighted or have astigmatism are candidates for some form of laser vision correction. Generally speaking, you should:

  • Be in good general health
  • Have had stable vision for at least a year
  • Have no health issues affecting your eyes
  • Be 18-21 years of age, or older

How soon after the surgery will I be able to see clearly?

Over 90% of patients at H Rubin Laser Eye achieve 20/20 or better the day after surgery. That is one of the most exciting advantages of the LASIK procedure; the ability to see clearly ... quickly. Initially, your vision might not be crisp and may fluctuate slightly. This is perfectly normal and will improve with time. Each patient's visual recovery will vary from one day to one week. Most patients resume normal activities one to two days following surgery but it may take 1 to 2 months for your vision to fully stabilize.

Are there any potential complications with LASIK?

Yes, as with any surgical procedure, there is a risk for potential complications such as dry eye, the appearance of starburst, glare or halos at night, light sensitivity, and intraoperative flap complications. The risk of flap complications is extremely low, and our surgeon has one of the lowest flap complication rates in the nation. Dry eye and most other complications are temporary, and usually subside within 4 to 6 weeks.

Can I move during my LASIK procedure?

Many patients ask about this, and almost everyone moves a tiny bit during the procedure. Under the laser microscope, a person's face and eyes tends to move ever so slightly in concert with normal breathing. You shouldn't worry though, because our VISX STAR4 excimer laser will track and compensate for any eye movements during the surgery. In extreme cases, we can pause the laser treatment at any time during the encounter, and resume when it is safe to do so.

What if I blink when the laser fires?

The eyelids are gently held apart during the laser treatment by an instrument called a lid speculum. It may feel a little odd, but doesn't hurt. This should eliminate any concern about blinking during the procedure.

Do I need to have laser vision correction performed on both eyes at the same time or on the same day?

No. There may be reasons why only one eye is corrected, such as a procedure called monovision. Your laser vision correction surgeon can discuss this option with you. As a matter of preference, most patients choose to have their procedure performed on both eyes at the same time, but if both eyes are not treated on the same day, the second eye can often be done anytime following the first procedure.

Will I need to limit my activities after LASIK?

Yes. Your surgeon will advise you to limit only the most strenuous activities for the first few days or weeks following the procedure. You should not drive a car immediately following the procedure so we will remind you to arrange for transportation to and from our center. You should be able to return to work within a few days following the procedure, unless your work environment could expose your eyes to injury before they are completely healed.

Will I ever have to wear glasses again?

Since 97% of our Custom LASIK patients see 20/20 or better, very few find it necessary to wear glasses again. Those who do, generally use them only in certain circumstances such as night driving or sunglasses when outdoors. For most people in their 40s though, regardless of whether or not they have had LASIK, reading glasses may be needed.

How often will I see the doctor following my surgery?

Your post-operative appointments will be scheduled:

  • one day
  • one week
  • one month
  • three months
  • six months
  • one year

More frequent appointments may be scheduled as needed and of course, our doctors will make themselves available to see you whenever you (or they) feel that it is necessary.

Can I wear my contacts before my surgery?

Because contact lenses can alter the shape of your cornea, you will be instructed to remove your contacts prior to your pre-operative encounter. If you wear soft lenses, they should be removed a minimum of one week before your exam. If you wear rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses, you should remove them at least 6-8 weeks prior to your pre-operative appointment. By removing the lenses, the cornea will be restored to a more natural shape. Following your pre-op, you will be instructed on what to do with your lenses until your surgery date.

Can my results be guaranteed?

On a national average, 15% of all patients need to have an enhancement or "touch-up" procedure. At H Rubin Laser Eye our enhancement rate is consistently less than 2%. This is the result of an extremely thorough pre-operative encounter. Since this is a surgical procedure, and everyone's eyes will heal differently, there can be no guarantee of results in any specific case. We work extremely hard to see that each patient achieves the best possible result. No one can predict a patient's outcome with 100% accuracy, enhancements are done no sooner than 2-3 months following the original surgery, allowing time for the eye to heal and the vision to stabilize.

Do you offer financing?

At H Rubin Laser Eye, we understand that laser vision correction is an investment. We offer various financing options - ranging from short-term, no interest to long-term plans. Feel free to contact our Laser Vision Coordinator to learn which options may be right for you.

How do I schedule a consultation?

You may schedule a free consultation with one of our Laser Vision Coordinators by calling our office at 803-798-6060. Or, you may contact us via e-mail, and one of our receptionists will call you to schedule an appointment.