The Sabates Eye Centers Approach to LASIK
Ask someone on the street to name an eye surgery procedure, and chances are good they’ll think of this one. Because for nearly 25 years, LASIK has helped millions of people say goodbye to their glasses and contacts. LASIK (laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis) is a form of laser vision correction surgery used to fix refractive errors in the eye, such as farsightedness, nearsightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia.
How it Works
LASIK allows an ophthalmologist to treat the tiny affected areas within your cornea, the clear covering over the iris, pupil and anterior chamber. The VISX excimer laser produces a specialized beam of cool ultraviolet light that removes the tissue causing the refractive problem. First, the surgeon uses a special microkeratome instrument to cut a small “flap” of corneal tissue, which is folded back to allow the laser to do its work. Afterward, the flap is gently placed back to its original position and secured with an adhesive fluid.
The excimer laser light does not penetrate the eye and leaves surrounding eye structures (iris, lens, retina) undisturbed. Thanks to the rapid recovery of vision for most LASIK patients, it’s usually possible to safely treat both eyes on the same day.
Do You Qualify for LASIK Surgery?
If you’re between 18 and 65, there’s a good chance you do. The ideal age is between 21 and 60, because younger eyes may still be developing and older ones may have the presence of cataracts, two factors that usually rule out LASIK. Another is eyes that are too flat, too steep or too thin for the procedure to work properly.
That’s the improvement most of our LASIK patients experience as soon as they leave the operating room. (Additional improvement normally occurs, but response level and time frames vary.)
Specialized LASIK Equipment for Your Eyes
Modern LASIK processes use an excimer or exciplex lasers. This tool uses ultraviolet light to ‘ablate’ or remove tissue beneath the cornea without affecting the surrounding area.
Dr. Timothy Walline, M.D. - Dr. Walline sees patients at the Independence, Leawood, Prairie Village and Warrensburg Eye Centers, plus Truman Medical Center – Hospital Hill and Lakewood locations.
LASIK Frequently Asked Questions
Why Sabates Eye Centers for LASIK?
LASIK is quick, safe, painless and can be incredibly effective. But not always. And it isn’t for everyone. A free consultation exam with a Sabates Eye Centers ophthalmologist will determine if it’s right for your situation and goals. You’ll walk away knowing all the potential benefits and risks, along with realistic expectations for both the process and the results. And, the doctor you meet with is always the surgeon who performs your LASIK procedure.
How do I know if I’m a candidate for LASIK?
We recommend that you come in for a no cost, no obligation screening exam to meet your surgeon and discuss questions. When you bring your glasses or prescription, we can determine whether you are a candidate for LASIK.
If you know you want LASIK then we recommend that you discontinue wearing your soft contact lenses 2 weeks before your consultation, and hard or gas permeable contact lenses 4 weeks before that appointment. This is imperative, as use of contacts too close to the time of your surgical measurements can adversely affect your surgical outcome.
Are all patients who wear glasses and contact lenses, good candidates for LASIK?
Patients need to be between the ages of 18 and 65 years to qualify for a LASIK procedure. The prescription of younger eyes between 18 and 21 tend to change more, while patients between 60 and 65 may have the presence of cataract, which can disqualify them for this procedure. This depends on the amount and type of cataract present, so our surgeons would still like to have the opportunity to examine your particular situation.
Another common reason patients do not safely qualify for LASIK stems from their eyes being too flat, too steep, or too thin. Your surgeon easily determines these at the time of your consultation exam.
Can both eyes have surgery the same day, safely?
LASIK procedures are generally chosen by most patients to be done on both eyes on the same day. This is called ‘bilateral simultaneous’, and is discussed at length in the LASIK consent form you are given. Occasionally LASIK procedures are not safe to perform on both eyes in the same sitting, and although rare, can occur.
We treat each of your eyes like they are each their own person. Carefully, we utilize a completely separate sterile set of instruments and surgical gloves between your two eyes. Your surgeon will personally check each of your eyes prior to your dismissal home, on the day of surgery, if both eyes have surgery on the same day.
How long will the LASIK procedure actually take?
Typically, patients should expect 1 to 2 hours for LASIK procedures. All our surgeons do their LASIK procedures at the Epic Surgery Center at our Leawood Eye Center. You are required to have a driver bring you to and from those surgical appointments. Ideally, they should plan on staying with you in the event you are able to finish at an earlier time.
What kind of vision can I expect the day after LASIK surgery?
Typically patients experience an immediate 50% improvement, sitting straight up off the table from their LASIK procedure. Distance and near vision are tested separately, as well as each eye. In addition, each patient has differing goals on their particular customized vision goals. Your doctor can estimate for you at the time of your consultation, as well as your first post-op visit, what time frame your eyes will take to respond to their distance, near, and intermediate vision needs. Different refractive errors (myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism, and presbyopia) each take various paths as they heal following LASIK surgery.
Other factors such as patient age and the severity of refractive error also play a big role in patient visual recovery. Most patients can safely drive themselves to their first day post-op visit from a visual standpoint; however exceptions do exist. One example is light sensitivity as one example. We ask that patients use good judgment and have a designated driver available, if needed, during the postoperative period of time.
How much work will I miss?
Most patients return to their normal activities the day after the LASIK procedure. Of course, this can vary with the type of work requirements for each individual patient. This will be discussed with you during your doctor’s consultation.
How long will my surgical results last?
LASIK procedures are considered permanent. However, human eyes don’t remain ‘permanent’ throughout our lifetime (e.g. cataracts can occur in our early 60’s typically, and create the need to wear minor corrective lenses again). Unforeseen eye diseases can arise during our lifetime that can reduce or remove vision in an eye (e.g. glaucoma, retinal detachment, macular degeneration) that may require the use of eyeglasses or contact lenses to enhance vision once again.
Following LASIK, the eye doesn’t return back to the same refractive state it was in prior to surgery however. This is why it remains important to maintain regular eye health exams with your doctor after surgery, to enable early detection of such eye disease. We typically know within the first 6 months after the procedure if an eye over or under responded to it. In keeping all your postop visits with your surgeon, they are better able to see your customized pathway of healing to assist you along the way.
What are the risks of LASIK?
The Food and Drug Administration of the United States (FDA) doesn’t allow new surgical procedures or devices to be used on human beings here in our country without first undergoing rigorous United States Clinical Trials that indicate them to be safe, efficacious, reliable, and in the best interests of the patient. There are important FDA Patient Information Booklets given to each of our patient surgical candidates for LASIK procedures, as required by law. Any patient undergoing such procedure should carefully read this informative material, and ask questions directed toward their surgeon at the conclusion of reading it.
Each eye, and each person, carries differing risks with this procedure. The question of risks involved is uniquely customized to each patient, following their consultation visit with their surgeon, and is done by their surgeon. Alternatives to LASIK surgery, complications, and risks are reviewed with patients after all the available information has been collected that uniquely relates to their particular situation. There are separate consent forms given to each surgical patient candidate prior at the conclusion of their consultation, reviewed with them, and sent home with them to allow further opportunity to make a good surgical decision.
Since patients eyes are typically dilated at the time the consent forms are given to them, surgeons at Sabates Eye Centers prefer patients to take them home and further explore them in the comfort of their homes without the nuisance of trying to read them while still blurry in our offices from dilation. Consent forms are very informative and are required reading of our patients prior to surgery.
Does insurance cover LASIK?
Most insurance companies consider a refractive surgery like LASIK an elective surgery and it is not usually a covered benefit. There are exceptions to this so it is worthwhile to check with your insurance company. We encourage you to call them personally.
How can I pay for my LASIK surgery?
We have many financing options available to patients and simply ask that you call and speak with one of our laser vision coordinators to assist you. You will be given a self-explanatory fee sheet prior to your surgery. Your surgeon’s fee is paid prior to the day of surgery, preferably on the day of your consultation visit or by the day before your surgery at the least. The facility fee for the surgery center is payable on the day of your surgery. All of this is pre-arranged with you prior to your surgery with one of our coordinators.
Do you have financing plans for LASIK?
There are various financing plans available and we will work with you to develop a flexible payment plan to meet your requirements. Our laser vision coordinator will be happy to go over such details at the time of your consultation.