Blade-free LASIK: A Comfortable and Convenient Way to Enhance Your Vision
While most patients can achieve clear vision through the use of corrective eyewear such as glasses or contact lenses, many are looking for a more convenient and permanent solution. LASIK performed at our state-of-the-art facility in Austin can eliminate or significantly reduce patients’ need for corrective eye wear. Using the latest techniques, William McGlathery, M.D., offers the blade-free intralase method of LASIK, a procedure commonly referred to as iLASIK. Contact us today to learn more.
By making alterations to the cornea, iLASIK can correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. Most patients suffering from these conditions are good candidates for iLASIK. However, because this treatment reshapes the inner tissues of the cornea, patients with an especially thin cornea may not be good candidates. An in-depth examination of the eye will be performed to determine candidacy. If for any reason William McGlathery, M.D., determines that LASIK is not a good treatment option, we can explore alternative laser vision correction procedures.
Before surgery, close analysis of the patient’s cornea will determine precisely where corneal reshaping should take place. The iLASIK procedure begins with the application of numbing drops to the eye. This ensures that patients will be completely comfortable throughout the procedure. While some patients may feel slight pressure, most report feeling nothing during treatment. Next, Dr. McGlathery will use a special laser to create a “flap” in the surface of the cornea. This is a safer and more precise approach than traditional LASIK, which uses a blade to create the flap. The corneal flap is lifted to allow access to the center tissues of the cornea. Using a second laser, the cornea will be reshaped as needed. Finally, the corneal flap will be lowered. No sutures are needed to facilitate the healing process.
The LASIK procedure can be completed in a relatively short amount of time. The process itself should only take about 15 minutes for both eyes. However, at Broberg Eye Care, we never rush our patients through the doors. We take our time to explain the procedure, answer any questions that a patient may have, and make certain that patients are comfortable.
The most significant benefit of any LASIK procedure is the correction of vision impairment. The majority of patients who undergo LASIK will experience results of 20/20 vision or better. However, we provide iLASIK because of the additional advantages it offers our patients. Patients who undergo iLASIK can expect:
- A safer procedure
- Advanced precision
- A quicker recovery
- Reduced chances of complication following surgery
We also offer several financing options for LASIK that can fit almost any budget.
Getting Ready for Your Surgery
Prior to your surgery, you will be evaluated by one of our surgeons to ensure that LASIK is right for you. You should tell your doctor about past and current medical and eye conditions. You should also provide the name of any medications that you are allergic to or are currently taking. During your consultation, your surgeon will also take the time to review the procedure and its expected outcomes, as well as answer any questions that you may have.
Contact Lens Use
Contact lenses can effect the shape of the cornea, even weeks after you have stopped wearing them. For this reason, it is important that patients stop using their contact lenses for an adequate amount of time prior to surgery. A failure to do so can compromise your post-operative results and mean that you do not achieve optimal visual acuity. Your surgeon will provide you with an exact duration after evaluating your unique needs, but recommendations generally outline:
- Soft contact lenses – Stop use at least two weeks prior to surgery
- Toric soft lenses or rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses – Stop use at least three weeks prior to surgery
- Hard lenses – Stop use at least one month prior to surgery
Patients should also prepare for surgery by arranging transportation to and from our practice on the day of your procedure. After surgery your vision may be temporarily blurry, making driving difficult and dangerous. The use of sedatives can also effect your ability to drive. As such, patients should plan on having a family member or friend get them home safely.
24 Hours Before Your Procedure
In the 24 hours leading up to your LASIK procedure, you should stop using:
The reason you will need to stop using these products is that any debris left on the face or along the eyelashes can increase the risk of infection. Your doctor may also ask that you scrub your eyelashes for a set period of time before your appointment to remove any build-up along the lashes. Lastly, your eyes will be cleansed in a very specific way just prior to your procedure to minimize the risk of infection.
LASIK is a highly effective procedure for treating farsightedness, or difficulty focusing nearby objects. There are two types of farsightedness. Hyperopia can result from corneal irregularities or the position of the crystalline lens. Presbyopia, on the other hand, is caused by age-related changes in the lens. These conditions can make it especially difficult to use the computer or read without corrective eyewear. At Broberg Eye Care, we can create a custom plan to treat your farsightedness using LASIK technology, reducing or eliminating your need for glasses when reading or engaging in other tasks that require up-close focus.
What Causes Farsightedness?
Vision problems are caused by errors in the way your eye refracts, or bends, incoming light. The lens and cornea of the eye are responsible for focusing light on the retina, which then converts the light into signals transmitted through the optic nerve to the brain. Hyperopia occurs when your eye focuses images behind the retina instead of directly onto the retina, resulting in a blurred perception of nearby objects. This error results from irregularities in the shape of the eye, the cornea, or the position of the lens. Presbyopia results from a gradual thickening and loss of flexibility of the lens. This age-related condition usually begins to develop after age 40. Both conditions cause patients to have difficulty focusing on up-close objects.
How does LASIK Improve Up-close Focus?
LASIK treats hyperopia by reshaping your cornea so that it properly focuses light on the retina, resulting in clearer vision. During the procedure, your doctor will use a femtosecond laser to create a thin, circular flap in the surface of your cornea. The flap is opened, but remains hinged in a small area. Your doctor will use an excimer laser to reshape the stroma, or inner layer of the cornea, by removing microscopic amounts of tissue. Finally, the flap is closed and heals naturally.
Patients who have developed presbyopia can also benefit from LASIK treatment. The procedure involves adjusting the eyes for monovision, in which one eye is corrected for near vision while the other eye remains largely responsible for distance vision. Because some patients have difficulty adjusting to monovision, your doctor will supply you with a set of temporary contact lenses to simulate the effect prior to undergoing monovision correction.
What Are the Benefits of LASIK Treatment for Farsightedness?
Although each patient is unique, many LASIK patients achieve at least 20/40 vision, making glasses and contact lenses unnecessary. Patients are no longer hindered by corrective eyewear and can more easily perform professional duties and recreational activities. This results in an improved quality of life and increased self-confidence. Recovery from LASIK surgery is relatively quick, with patients returning to most everyday activities within a few days. Many patients experience improved vision rather quickly, but it can take up to three months to experience the full benefits.
LASIK questions to ask at Broberg Eye Care should generally be centered around the procedure’s safety, efficacy, recovery timeline, and candidacy requirements. In addition, before undergoing the procedure, you will have a private consultation with one of the doctors at our Austin, TX, practice to discuss the procedure in detail and give you a good understanding of what to expect during surgery. Patients who are prepared are more likely to achieve better results.
Is LASIK safe?
This surgical procedure uses laser technology to reshape the cornea, or outer surface of the eye, correcting the effects of nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. By reshaping your cornea, it allows your retina to produce sharper, clearer images. Approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), this procedure is proven as both safe and effective. Because it is performed with computer-controlled, state-of-the-art laser technology, like our Wavefront system, it offers optimal precision with reduced risk for complications.
Will I have perfect vision after a LASIK procedure?
Although patients are able to significantly improve their vision with LASIK surgery, we cannot guarantee 20/20 vision. However, many of our patients are able to participate in activities, such as reading, driving, and playing sports without wearing contacts or glasses.
To achieve a smooth and quick recovery, we encourage our patients to follow their post-surgical instructions carefully.
Can I have LASIK performed on both eyes at the same time?
Yes, both eyes can be treated simultaneously.
Are the results permanent?
Although results are long-lasting, they are not permanent. Certain changes related to your age, particularly presbyopia, can cause impaired vision or blurriness later on in life. In some cases, when results are not ideal, you may consider LASIK enhancement.
Can I have LASIK if I have cataracts?
There are certain eye conditions that could prevent you from undergoing LASIK, including cataracts, severe dry eye, glaucoma, eye herpes, and other infections.
Does LASIK hurt?
Before undergoing LASIK, anesthetic eye drops will be administered to numb the eyes so you should remain comfortable throughout treatment. Afterwards, once the anesthesia wears off, your eyes may feel tired, irritated, and sensitive to light. Our team will provide you with a list of post-surgical instructions and prescribe eye drops to assist you in achieving a smooth recovery.
How long does the procedure take?
The procedure can typically be completed in less than 30 minutes.
How can I qualify for LASIK vision correction?
To determine if you are a good candidate for LASIK, one of our doctors will perform a thorough eye and physical examination, carefully reviewing your complete medical history. General guidelines to determine candidacy include patients:
- With good ocular health, stable eyesight, and no history of eye infections, diseases, or disorders
- Over the age of 18
- Who are not pregnant or nursing
- Not participating in high-contact sports
- With no history of degenerative or autoimmune diseases
How much does LASIK cost?
The cost of LASIK varies from patient to patient and is dependent on a number of factors, including the type of LASIK performed, the complexity of the procedure, whether both eyes are being treated, and your insurance coverage.
What are the side effects or risks of LASIK?
According to the FDA, possible side effects include dry eye, sensitivity to light, halos, or difficulty driving at night. Most side effects subside with time and can be treated with medicated eye drops.
What happens on the day of the procedure?
On the day of the procedure, you will be taken to one of ours rooms and comfortably seated in a reclining chair. Once anesthetic eye drops are administered, the doctor will stabilize your eye with an eyelid speculum. The laser will then be properly positioned to reshape the cornea. Each eye takes about 15 minutes.
What precautions should I take for a fast recovery?
To achieve a smooth and quick recovery, we encourage our patients to follow their post-surgical instructions carefully. This may include:
- Not wearing makeup or using eye creams
- Not smoking
- Limiting your reading and screen time
- Applying eye drops as prescribed
- Attending follow-up appointments
When can I return to work?
As long as your job does not involve contact sports or strenuous activity, you can return to work within 24-48 hours. However, if your job involves reading or viewing computer screens, your eyes may easily tire or become irritated. This will subside within the first week.
When can I drive after LASIK?
If you see well enough the day after surgery, you can resume driving. Most patients can resume normal activities 24-48 hours after surgery.
When can I wear makeup after LASIK?
You will be encouraged to avoid wearing makeup or using lotions and creams around your eyes for the first week. Once you resume wearing makeup, throw out the old products and start with fresh ones to reduce your risk for infection.
Ready to see clearly?
We can help you decide if Laser Corrective Surgery is right for you. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.