Does PRK or LASIK hurt?
PRK and LASIK are generally considered to be"painless procedures." Your eye is numbed with eye drops and you are awake and aware during the entire procedure. Some patients may experience what they describe as a slight discomfort, similar to feeling as if there is something in your eye, during the initial healing period of 2-3 days after the procedure is performed.
Does PRK or LASIK require stitches or shots?
No. At the time of the procedure, drops are used to numb the eye and then you will be asked to stare at a light during the procedure. With PRK, a protective contact lens, or medicated ointment is then placed on your eye until it completes its healing process. With LASIK, the"flap" is released using air, so a bandage contact lens is not required.
Are PRK and LASIK outpatient procedures?
Yes. You will spend about an hour at the laser center, but the actual procedure times are 5 minutes for PRK and 10-15 minutes for LASIK.
How do I keep my eye open? What if I can't see the blinking light?
Many people are worried about blinking or not being able to focus on the light during the procedure. An eyelid holder is used to hold the eye open during the procedure and the doctor can stop the procedure at any time during the laser treatment if you were to look away from the light. The computer will remember exactly where the doctor stopped the treatment and it will not have an impact on your outcome. Again, since the laser is a cool laser, there is no damage to the tissue and even if you somehow blinked, nothing would happen to your eyelid.
How does laser vision correction affect the eye long term?
In numerous clinical studies throughout the world since the late 1980's, excimer laser procedures have not produced any long-term negative effects on the eye's integrity. Experts are confident that they will not discover any long-term problems, but significant data is not yet available for over 10 years. Since the excimer evaporates only a very small amount of the tissue of the cornea, the integrity of the eye remains intact and no stability problems for the future are expected. The procedure is considered permanent, although in some cases the procedure must be retreated to enhance the final outcome.
Can I wear contacts again?
One of the advantages of LASIK and PRK is that they do not alter the integrity of the eye and, therefore, do not generally result in scarring which would eliminate your ability to wear contacts again.
How well will I see after the laser eye surgery?
It is realistic to expect to achieve correction comparable to what you are able to achieve with glasses and contacts after the surgery. Ninety-eight percent of all people can see well enough to pass a driver's license test without any correction after laser vision correction. We cannot, however, promise you that you will never have to wear glasses again. While almost everyone has significant improvement in their best uncorrected vision (what you can see without any glasses or contacts), some people may still need to wear a much milder prescription for reading or driving after the laser eye surgery.
What are the risks?
As with any surgical procedure, you may have some risks and/or potential complications. Early and temporary complications for refractive surgery are considered to be:
Discomfort - Very few people experience discomfort, which is normally described as a slight stinging feeling or the feeling as if you have something in your eye. You may take Tylenol or another over the counter pain reliever and some people find that ice packs help in the discomfort.
Light sensitivity - We provide you with a pair of sunglasses to wear upon leaving the center to assist you in the light sensitivity that will affect you for the first few days after the procedure.
Corneal haze - It usually resolves itself shortly after surgery; extreme cases are removed by free laser enhancement.
Under / Over Correction - Unless severe, these situations do not usually affect the overall vision results. High amounts of under correction are generally retreated with a no-cost enhancement procedure. Low amounts are corrected by wearing glasses for activities such as driving.