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Terminology

Questions

Some of the terms in our FAQ are medical terms. For a quick definition, try our glossary !

Frequently Asked Questions

Am I a good candidate for LASIK?
What does LASIK feel like? Will the procedure hurt?
What risks are associated with LASIK?
What is the recovery time for LASIK?
Is LASIK a good option for those who enjoy an active lifestyle?
Is LASIK a good option for pilots or professional drivers?
Is LASIK permanent?
What happens if I need enhancement of my LASIK procedure?
What is the success rate for LASIK?
If my vision deteriorates, is a retreatment of LASIK possible?
What are the major factors that would eliminate me as a candidate for LASIK?
What about High Altitude climbing & LASIK?

 

Am I a good candidate for LASIK?

The best way to determine if you are a good candidate for LASIK is to receive a free refractive screening examination from the doctor you choose from the more than 20 member physicians that Clarity Laser Vision Center offers.

In general, however, a good candidate is someone who is over 18 years of age, who is in good health, and who has no major eye diseases such as cataracts or glaucoma. LASIK procedures can correct most vision problems associated with nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.

By consulting with one of our Clarity Laser Vision Center member physicians, you can confirm that you are a good candidate and be a step away from your personal best vision.

 

What does LASIK feel like? Will the procedure hurt?

There is little to no pain either during or after your LASIK procedure. For many patients, the fear of the actual procedure is the worst part – patients frequently exclaim with surprise after the procedure’s completion, “that wasn’t that bad!” and describe any feeling they have during the surgery as simply “pressure.”

During the procedure, your doctor will place anesthetic eye drops in your eyes to ensure that you feel nothing for the duration of it. Once it has been completed, some patients will experience sensitivity to light or a slight “gritty” sensation, but neither is described as painful. To make you more comfortable, your doctor will provide you with eye-wetting drops, and it has been found that taking a nap is the best way to weather the immediate post-procedural “scratchiness.”

 

What risks are associated with LASIK?

As with any medical procedure, there are some risks involved in LASIK. However, the chances of finding your vision reduced after a LASIK procedure have been documented to be minimal. Potential complications include eye dryness, under or over correction, and loss of best-corrected vision.

Before your procedure, your doctor will thoroughly review with you all of the risks associated with LASIK, and you will be free to ask as many questions as it takes for you to feel comfortable with your procedure.

Each of Clarity Laser Vision Center’s doctors is well-trained in the science of LASIK, and each doctor will care for you personally after your procedure. The skill of your doctor – and the personal care by your doctor – ensures that your risk of complication is minimal at Clarity Laser Vision Center.

 

What is the recovery time for LASIK?

Most patients are able to return to virtually all of their normal activities within a day of receiving their LASIK procedure. PRK patients usually return to their normal activities within one to two days. 

 

Is LASIK a good option for those who enjoy an active lifestyle?

LASIK is a great option for those who enjoy an active lifestyle. Rumors of people “losing” their corneal flap are false, since the cornea is still 20% attached at its full thickness. Corneal flaps are stable and grow more stable over time.

However, for those who are still reticent to try LASIK, PRK another outstanding option. There are no cuts or flaps involved with PRK. It is the primary refractive surgery performed by the US military for that very reason – it is extremely stable.

 

Is LASIK a good option for pilots or professional drivers?

LASIK was approved for pilots by the FAA in 1998 because of its permanence and stability as a medical procedure. Because LASIK has such an excellent history of secure and improved vision, it is an outstanding option for pilots and professional drivers.

 

Is LASIK permanent?

LASIK is considered a permanent procedure, for it permanently improves you eyes’ ability to focus. LASIK does not, however, prevent age-related conditions such as presbyopia or cataracts. 

 

What happens if I need enhancement of my LASIK procedure? 

If enhancement is needed, this most often becomes obvious within the first three months after your procedure, and your doctor will lift the same corneal flap used for the initial procedure, do the necessary fine-tuning, and replace the flap. No additional cutting is required for an enhancement. At Clarity, our doctors will include free enhancement of your LASIK procedure for one year following your procedure, with some extending that period even longer, but check with your individual physician for his or her policy on enhancement.  

 

What is the success rate for LASIK?

National studies have shown that 98% of patients choosing to have refractive procedures have had “driving vision” restored to them, meaning that they were able to pass their driving test without the use of contacts or glasses.

 

If my vision deteriorates, is a retreatment of LASIK possible? 

Absolutely! To enhance your vision, the doctor will need only to lift the original corneal flap made for your first procedure, make the necessary changes to your cornea, and replace the flap. No additional cutting is required for most retreatment.

 

What are the major factors that would eliminate me as a candidate for LASIK? 

The two most common factors that would preclude someone from receiving LASIK are glaucoma and cataracts. Patients with glaucoma, however, after being successfully treated with medicated eye drops, become viable LASIK candidates. Patients with cataracts, after undergoing surgery for their cataracts, often find that they do not need LASIK.

Undiagnosed corneal or eye diseases can also rule a patient out as a candidate for LASIK, but if the disease is controlled, the patient is usually a suitable candidate for LASIK. Keratoconus, however, is a diagnosis that will rule a patient out for LASIK.

A person’s individual eye geometry is another factor in determining if LASIK would be a patient’s best option. The shape, diameter and width of each person’s cornea must be taken into account, and some patients may find more satisfying results with PRK or IntraLASIK.

 

What about High Altitude climbing and LASIK?

LASIK and PRK are not effected by changes in altitude.  This question comes up because old style RK had a lot of problems at altitude.  The goal of RK was to weaken the cornea to change the curvature, but it worked too well in that many factors caused vision to fluctuate afterwards, especially altitude.  The FAA never approved RK for pilots for that reason.  Modern excimer laser surgery fundamentally changes the cornea focal power without significantly weakening the eye.  

There have been a few reported cases where mountaineers with LASIK on Everest have noticed visual changes which cleared on descent.  None thought it impaired their climbing.  (Climbers without refractive surgery have also reported changes in their vision at altitude.)  There are many complex physiological effects that are exacerbated by extreme exertion at high altitude, but these have never happened with air travelers or pilots.