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You're a busy person, but you've still made time to have laser eye surgery. Whether you're having traditional LASIK, LASEK, EpiLASEK, PRK, or Wavefront (VISX, LADARVision, LADARWave) guided custom LASIK or LASEK vision correction, take care of yourself and your eyes. Grab your to-do list and note down these pre-operative tips:
1) Don't wear soft contact lenses three days before surgery.
2) Don't wear eye makeup on the day of the surgery.
3) If you wear eyeglasses, your laser eye surgeon will want to review your prescription, so bring your glasses to the hospital or clinic.
4) Eat a light meal before surgery--you'll be having local anesthetic, (numbing eye drops), so you don't have to have laser eye surgery on an empty stomach.
Above all, relax--trust your laser eye surgeon and look forward to vision correction that will help you keep your active lifestyle.
You've rejected LASIK and custom LASIK options such as VISX, LADARWave and LADARVision. Where do you go from here? Your laser eye surgeon may recommend LASEK, which saves 160 microns more corneal tissue, or PRK, especially if you have thin corneas. But you have other laser eye surgery and vision correction options:
* Intacs Corneal Implants and lens implants such as Clear Lens Exchange (reversible procedure)
* RK (not allowed if you're also a candidate for the military, and just reduces myopia)
* Automated Lamellar Keratoplasty (ALK--unpredictable)
* Astigmatic Keratotomy (AK, rarely performed and only for oval corneas)
* Conductive Keratoplasty (CK, for patients over forty, temporary reduction of farsightedness without a laser)
When weighing laser vision correction and non-laser eye surgery procedures, you need to ask your surgeon about the risks and benefits. If you're under 40 years old, you may discover that you're willing to take the laser vision correction plunge.
If your LASIK laser eye surgeon does a LADARWave diagnostic and tells you that he can only perform a custom LASIK ladarvision laser vision correction on your left eye, do you argue? Only if you're not well-informed.
When the LADARWave or VISX detects the need for more vision correction in one eye, and possibly no vision correction needed in the other, you can safely have custom LASIK laser eye surgery on one eye. You can also have conventional LASIK on the other eye if your laser eye surgeon recommends the procedure.
If you have presbyopia or advanced myopia, you will most likely have different procedures on your eyes--one eye has vision correction for distance vision and the other for near vision. VISX can correct the dominant eye (the eye that mainly focuses)while the non-dominant eye receives conventional LASIK treatment.
Ask your ophthalmologist about the risks and benefits of having just one eye treated with laser vision correction. At least you won't be arguing blind.
Dilation may be everyone's least favorite part of eye surgery. While traditional LASIK laser eye surgery requires eye dilation, your laser eye surgeon may use vision correction technology that skips the dilation step.
The VISX CustomVue laser vision correction system uses ActiveTrak 3-D Active Eye Tracking to map all three inter-operative dimensions, with no dilation. The LADARVision and LADARWave system do require dilation. If you're sensitive to light, or if you don't want to risk light sensitivity, VISX is an excellent alternative to LADARVision. Zyoptix doesn't mention anything about pupil dilation, and advertises the most accurate eye tracking technology. So if you hate eye dilation, you may not have to suffer through it if your laser eye surgeon decides a Zyoptix or VISX laser vision correction system is right for you.
Eyeball tracking may provide you with a small advantage if you're getting laser vision correction. LADARVision uses eyeball tracking to up to -7.00 D of nearsightedness with less than -0.50 D of astigmatism. The LADARWave diagnostic system will determine your lower or higher order aberrations, that is, the degree of your astigmatism or nearsightedness. The VISX system can also detect aberrations higher than the -6.00 diopters of myopic astigmatism the FDA approves. If your results are greater than -6.00, check with your doctor to see which procedures the FDA has approved to treat your vision. LADARVision is approved to treat nearsightedness of up to 8 diopters.
Eye tracking studies have shown improvements six months after eye tracking with the LADARVision vision correction system, although the Bausch and Lomb Zyoptix system provides the most accurate results, with a 30% greater chance of achieving 20/20 vision than if you choose a competitor's technology. In any case, eyeball tracking and mapping will give your laser eye surgeon an edge in correcting your vision, so you need to ask whether your laser eye surgery will involve eye tracking.
You know that your eyes are a precious investment, and you're not fooled by advertisements of "jiffy-eyes". While you can enjoy relief from glasses or contacts that cramp your style, your laser eye surgeon will tell you that sometimes you need a laser vision correction after your laser eye surgery, especially if you have myopia. If you have high myopia, you may tend to regress from your desired 20/20 vision.
Vision correction enhancement procedures are common. Just make sure that your laser eye surgeon doesn't over-correct and create hyperopia, or farsightedness, in the hope that your vision will regress toward normal uncorrected vision.
If you had refractive laser vision correction surgery and you choose to have enhancement surgery through VISX or LADARVision's LADARWave Wavefront diagnostic technology, studies done on VISX have shown that Wavefront can be effective in treating higher order aberrations. However, some surgeons won't perform Wavefront laser vision correction on eyes with higher order aberrations--for example, if you're too myopic or too hyperopic.
In any case, ophthalmologists don't recommend having corrections for three to six months after your laser surgery. The eye needs time to heal, and you can expect some regression. Be on top of your treatment, in-between workouts at the gym, and have regular post-op diagnostics.
After having laser eye surgery, one can expect the following to occur:
-Eyes that burn, itch or feel like something is in them.
-Discomfort or mild pain. Some pain may even be moderate.
-Sensitivity to lights, glares or haloes around lights.
-Your eyes may be bloodshot.
-Plan on taking one or more days off work while your eyes recover.
-You will schedule an appointment to see your doctor within 24 to 48 hours of your surgery.
-You may have a two-week wait before using lotions or creams on your face.
-It may take as long as six months to receive stabilized vision.
-Avoid contact sports until your eye surgeon gives the okay.
-Avoid swimming or hot tubs for up to two months after surgery.
These are normal complications, but it is always best to let your doctor know so that he or she may ease any worries.
Before you choose to have a diagnostic eye exam, including a Wavefront or WaveScan diagnostic for vision correction, consider whether your eyeglass prescription has changed in the last year.
While VISX Star S4 Active Trak and LADARVision's LADARWave technology can map your eye, your laser eye surgeon won't take a chance on your eye map completely changing. The younger you are, the more your vision will change. A laser eye surgeon typically prefers to perform laser vision correction procedures on you if you're at least 21 and if your eyeglass prescription hasn't changed in at least two years.
Bear in mind that eye prescriptions tend to change throughout your twenties. If you can prove that you have a stable prescription, you're a good candidate for laser eye surgery. Get your complete vision history from your ophthalmologist--you're a responsible person, after all.
Opting for a vision correction procedure can be a complicated decision. Here are some questions to ask yourself before you agree to Laser eye surgery:
-Are you willing to have more than one surgery? Many laser eye surgeries require more than one.
-Will you still need reading glasses when done?
-Are you willing to accept that the even after the surgery, your vision correction may not be permanent?
-Know all the risks of the surgery going in, but also remember there are great benefits to this. Talk to your doctor and make sure you're comfortable with all of the aspects that accompany laser eye surgery.
-Do you know that there may be additional vision reduction in dim light after the surgery? Talk to your doctor about the other possible side effects.
As with any medical procedure, thinking it through, weighing the pros and cons and speaking to a medical professional is ideal.
You should expect to have the following things in order before you undergo laser eye surgery:
-Have a detailed exam from your eye surgeon completed.
-Understand, read, and sign any consent forms.
-Do not wear makeup to the surgery for at least 24 hours.
-Have someone to drive you home after the surgery.
-Take a few days off from work.
-Plan on a longer recovery, just in case.
-Be prepared for the sights and smells that go with the laser eye surgery. For example, the laser will make a clicking sound. The laser may also give off an odor that may smell something like burning hair during the procedure.
-Be ready for any eye drops or medications that may be needed for after surgery.
-Prepare yourself to wear a protective shield over your eye at night for one week.
-Do not have any other surgeries until your prescription is stable.
Knowing what is expected or what can happen before you have laser eye surgery can help you to feel more prepared and relaxed.
Is laser eye surgery for you? How do you know if it isn't? Here are some questions that may lead you in the right direction:
-Can you afford laser eye surgery? Does your healthcare plan cover eye surgery?
-Does your job make it necessary for you to have perfect vision? Are you operating machinery all day, or staring at a computer? These types of jobs can play a part in the decision to have laser eye surgery.
-Do you have any medical conditions that are chronic or impair your immune system?
-Do you have any other eye problems other than needing glasses or contacts?
-Do you take medications that may inhibit your healing? Talk to your doctor about all the prescription medication you are taking prior to electing to have laser eye surgery.
-Has your eyewear prescription changed in the last year?
-Do you have thin corneas?
-Do you have dry eyes?
Always talk to your ophthalmologist about the answers to these questions. If you have a medical condition, take certain medications, honestly can't afford the surgery and work in certain occupations, this surgery is not for you.
During an initial eye exam, a potential laser eye surgery patient has their eyes measured through a process called refractive stability. The day of the laser eye surgery, an eye exam is performed again and the results are the compared with the initial eye exam measurements. It is important that the measurements of the patient's exams are accurate and show consistency between them.
This is why laser eye surgeons prefer to only perform the surgery on patients that have had a stable prescription for one year. To many laser eye patients, the risk of having the eye surgery and gaining improved vision outweighs their concerns that their refractive stability is not stable. This is a gray area that you must discuss with your eye surgeon.