Vision Procedures - Refractive
LASIK (Laser Vision Correction)
Carolina Ophthalmology offers screening exams and pre-operative evaluations for LASIK (laser vision correction). You should plan to be at our office for about 2 hours for your pre-operative visit. The exam usually requires a dilation that can lengthen your visit and leave your vision temporarily blurred, so you may want to bring a driver along for transportation after the visit. Surgical procedures for LASIK are performed by Dr. James Sbarbaro.
Once the surgery has been completed, you return to our offices for follow-up post-operative care. Carolina Ophthalmology has two trained cornea specialists on staff that are experienced in LASIK and PRK surgery in the event that a rare complication might arise. We will monitor your progress for a full year to ensure the best result.
How do I know if I will be a good candidate for LASIK?
The best way for you to determine if you are a candidate for LASIK is with a thorough exam from your eye doctor. Candidates must be at least 18 years old, in good general health, and have good eye health with no diseases such as cataracts or glaucoma. Laser vision correction can treat a very broad range of nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. Because eyesight does change with age, if you're not a candidate now, you may become one in the future.
There are a few other general requirements for qualifying as a candidate for LASIK surgery. Your vision must be stable for at least one year prior to surgery (no more than one-half unit of change). You must not suffer from an autoimmune disorder, such as rheumatoid arthritis or Lupus. You must have no history of herpes infection in the eye as LASIK may induce a recurrence. There must be no scarring on the cornea. Candidates should not be pregnant or nursing at the time of surgery, rather should wait three months after nursing (Note: hormones cause tissue fluctuations within the eye, changing the refractive error.) People who suffer from moderate to severe dry eye are generally not good candidates for LASIK. Milder cases can usually be treated so that LASIK is possible. You must understand the risks involved with LASIK surgery and have realistic expectations regarding the outcome.
What should I expect on the day of surgery?
Patients should plan to be in the surgery suite for a total of about 2 to 3 hours for their LASIK procedure. The actual laser time for LASIK is approximately 20 to 70 seconds per eye in most cases, with the total procedure time lasting about fifteen minutes. The LASIK procedure itself is virtually painless; however you may feel some pressure on the eye during surgery. Some people experience mild but temporary discomfort from the eyelid holder that holds open the eye during surgery. There are no needles. Instead, anesthetic drops are used to numb the eye just before surgery begins. After your procedure, your eye may feel a foreign body sensation (scratchy) or irritation for a few hours, but most patients are quite comfortable after taking a short nap. Dryness can be a bigger issue that can last for weeks; however drops can help relieve this condition.
While laser vision correction has proven overwhelmingly successful in reducing dependence on glasses and contact lenses, the degree of improvement may vary among individuals. How well and how quickly your vision improves depends on how well you heal and the severity of your prescription.