Frequently Asked LASIK Questions
Reviewed by Jason Jacobs, M.D.
How do I know if I am a good candidate for LASIK Eye Surgery?
Most eyeglass and contact lens wearers who are in good health will find that they are probably good candidates for LASIK with certain considerations. Generally, if you are over 18 years of age and have healthy eyes that are free from retinal problems, corneal scars and any other eye disease it is likely that you are suitable. Some patients with thinner than average corneas, dry eyes or who are taking certain medications may not be good candidates. Along with being medically suitable, the best candidates are people with a lifestyle or occupation in which they are dissatisfied with having to wear contact lenses or glasses to see clearly all the time. The only way to definitively find out if you are a good LASIK candidate is to have a examination and consultation with a LASIK Surgeon so that the doctor will be able to determine if meet all of the criteria for getting good results.
How Long Does LASIK Surgery Procedure Take?
Typically, LASIK Surgery procedures are as an office procedure in the comfort and convenience of an excimer laser eye surgery suite. After the preparation where eye drops are instilled into your eyes so that you are comfortable, the entire treatment takes about 5 to 7 minutes per eye or approximately 15-20 minutes for both eyes.
Is the Effect of LASIK Eye Surgery Permanent?
Yes. Following an initial healing period of two to three months, the effect of the treatment is life-long. That said, you must still continue seeing an eye doctor regularly for routine eye exams in order to maintain your eye health and vision thought early detection of any eye problems, conditions or diseases that you may develop as part of the normal aging process or are associated with any other systemic health problems you encounter.
Will I Need Reading Glasses After the Treatment?
Generally, patients under 40 years of age read well without glasses following the treatment. Patients over 40 may need magnification for reading fine print. Presbyopia is the term that refers to the natural weakening of the focusing muscles that occurs in our early to mid 40s, causing us to need the magnification that reading glasses provide. The LASIK treatment does not correct or prevent Presbyopia. We also will be glad to discuss another option called monovision LASIK.
How Many Times Do I Need To Be Seen Following the Treatment?
Most patients are usually seen the day following the treatment and then at least 1-month and 3 months following the treatment. Some patients require more visits. Remember, we are available 24 hours a day when you have any questions, concerns or need attention.
How Soon After The Treatment Can I Bathe or Take a Shower?
Your LASIK doctor will advise you as to the specific, however typically you can bathe the same day as the treatment but you should not shower for 2 days after the treatment. As always, avoid getting soap or water directly into your eyes. Avoid rubbing your eyes during the first month after surgery.
When Can I Drive After The Treatment?
You should not drive the day of treatment. After that, you may drive when you feel confident that your visual acuity and eye comfort allow you to drive safely.
How Soon Can I Use Eye Makeup?
You may resume wearing eye makeup starting 1-2 weeks after your treatment. We strongly recommend that you purchase new eye makeup, specifically mascara, to avoid potential infection following your treatment.
How Soon After The Treatment Can I Exercise?
Non-contact sports can be resumed as soon as you feel capable. Eye protection is always recommended for racquet sports or rough sports where there is a risk of being hit in the eye.
How Soon Can I Swim?
You should stay out of swimming pools for one week after your treatment, and rivers, lakes and oceans for two weeks following your treatment.
What Kind of Anesthesia is Used During the Treatment?
Numbing eye drops are used. Sometimes an oral medication is used to help with relaxation. Don't worry -no needles or intravenous drugs are used.
Can you Have Both Eyes Treated at the Same Time?
LASIK Treatment can be performed on both eyes on the same day. This decreases the troublesome effect of being nearsighted in only one eye between the two treatments. You may elect to have one eye done at a time.
Does LASIK Eye Surgery hurt? Will I Experience Pain?
The LASIK treatment itself is painless because we put a few numbing drops in your eyes to make you even more comfortable. You will feel pressure on and around the eye during treatment. With LASIK, some patients may experience a feeling of "something in the eye" for a day or so after treatment.
Can I See the LASIK Treatment as it is Being Performed?
You will be "awake" but very relaxed. You will not be able to see any of the details of the LASIK treatment. You will see a number of lights, but the images will be blurred.
Will I Experience Pain after The LASIK Treatment?
Most patients experience a feeling of burning or scratchiness. This feeling generally lasts from one to three hours following the treatment. It is not unusual to have a mild dull ache on occasion late in the day of your procedure. Most people feel fine upon awakening if they can take a nap soon after the treatment.
How Soon After Surgery Will I See Well?
Each patient is different. The eye drop medications cause some blurring, but most patients notice a dramatic improvement even as they leave the office. More than 4 out of 5 patients can pass a driving test without glasses or contact lenses after the treatment.
Will My Eyes be Patched?
No, but clear, protective eye shields will be placed over your treated eye(s) following the treatment, and will be removed in our office the next morning. You will continue to wear these eye shields at bedtime for 1 week for protection.
When Can I Go Back To Work?
Most patients are back to work full-time the day after treatment. An additional day or two is rarely required before returning to work. If you can we, recommend that you take it easy for a couple of days.
Will I Need Glasses or Contact Lenses After The LASIK Treatment?
The goal of refractive surgery is to reduce your dependence on glasses and/or contact lenses, but LASIK patients still may benefit from reading glasses or distance glasses when they desire perfect near or distance vision. A nominal percentage of patients wear a thin pair of prescription glasses for night driving.
Should I have a Custom LASIK Eye Surgery Treatment or a Conventional Treatment?
The best treatment for you depends on the measurements we take from the Aberrometer and your other clinical measurements and vision complaints. This will indicate the presence and severity of aberrations, or distortions, which will necessitate a Custom Laser Eye Surgery treatment. You may have specific complaints that are related to the optical aberrations that are not corrected by your current glasses or contact lenses. Finally, Custom Laser Eye Surgery is usually indicated for anyone who has had previous corneal surgery.
Why should I have Custom LASIK Eye Surgery When Conventional LASIK Eye Surgery Worked Fine For My Friends?
Conventional LASIK Eye Surgery has provided excellent results for literally millions of people. However, if you are a patient who has unusual aberrations not readily corrected by conventional LASIK Eye Surgery, However, using a Custom Wavefront Guided or Custom Wavefront Optimized laser eye surgery procedure will prevent to creation of higher order aberrations which in the past had caused some patients to experience night driving and glare symptoms. Thus, unless there is a solid clinical reason-of, which there are some-a Custom Wavefront Guided or Custom Wavefront Optimized laser eye surgery procedure is the best choice for you. The best thing to do is attend a consultation and together, the LASIK surgeon and you, can determine which treatment option is necessary and best suited for your individual needs.
What Is the Real Difference Between Conventional Laser Eye Surgery and Custom LASIK Eye Surgery?
Conventional Laser Eye Surgery treats the vast majority of common optical aberrations called "lower order" aberrations. These are responsible for causing nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. Custom LASIK Eye Surgery provides a more precise treatment for patients who have "higher order" aberrations, which we can now measure with the Aberrometer. For these patients, customized laser eye surgery may provide a better quality of vision by measuring and addressing all of these aberrations as part of the treatment plan.
How Much Does Laser Vision Correction Cost? Can I Afford It?
Our practice policy is to arrange affordable monthly payments in order to help fit LASIK into your budget. As compared with eyeglasses and contact lenses LASIK can pay for itself in a few years time. Eyeglasses usually have to be replaced once a year or so and contact lenses, depending on the type, can be extremely costly. Speak with our Refractive Surgery Coordinator for more financing information. In most cases you can qualify FOR AN AFFORDABLE MONTHLY PAYMENT PLAN.
Your Company May Be Able To Help You Pay for LASIK!