Gregory Stainer, M.D., a premier Bakersfield, California surgeon has provided answers to commonly asked questions about LASIK eye surgery. Read the information below, or contact Southwest Eye Care and Laser to schedule a LASIK consultation.
LASIK eye surgery is a procedure that is capable of correcting a wide range of nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia) and astigmatism. LASIK is the acronym for laser in situ keratomileusis, sometimes referred to as laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis. The name refers to the use of a laser to reshape the cornea without invading the adjacent cell layers. In situ is Greek for “in the natural or normal place.” Medically, in situ means confined to the site of origin without invasion of neighboring tissues. Kerato is the Greek word for cornea and mileusis means “to shape.”
LASIK eye surgery is very safe. According to several large studies, there is approximately a 2 percent intra-operative and 3-5 percent post-operative complication rate. Most of these complications do not result in loss of two or more lines of best corrected visual acuity or interfere with vision long term. The rate of severe complications is substantially less than 1 percent. It is important for patients to understand that LASIK is surgery, and a small incidence of complications is to be expected.
LASIK eye surgery can benefit a great number of people with myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism. Candidates should have a strong desire to be less dependent on corrective lenses, have established realistic expectations, and understand the risks associated with LASIK eye surgery. Dr. Stainer will help establish clear goals during a complimentary consultation. There are several factors that doctors must evaluate before they can determine who is an eligible candidate for LASIK. Factors may exist that preclude a patient from being a candidate for LASIK eye surgery.
Patients are given a topical anesthetic (eye drops), so they experience no pain during the procedure. They are also given a small amount of oral sedative to help them relax. When the surgeon applies the eye ring, the patient experiences a sensation of pressure just before his or her vision fades for a few seconds. This ring is placed on the eye for 40 - 45 seconds. The microkeratome - the instrument the surgeon uses to create the flap - and the laser do not cause any pain or discomfort. For several hours after the procedure, many patients may experience a gritty or sandy sensation, burning or tearing of the eyes. We recommend our patients take a nap for the first two to three hours after they arrive home. After a few hours this uncomfortable feeling usually subsides.
Fast visual recovery characterizes this operation. Most patients achieve good vision the day of surgery after several hours of healing and greatly improved vision overnight. However, vision can continue to improve, and the best vision can still take two to three months to occur. Patients who undergo hyperopic LASIK often need to wait longer to be able to see clearly. Typically, they are unable to see with intense clarity for one or two weeks, with best vision coming several months post-operatively. Time is an important factor for more healing with all types of correction.
Most patients who have LASIK eye surgery do not need to wear glasses for their daily activities. However, if patients currently wear reading glasses, they may need to continue to wear them if they are over the age of 40. This is caused by the normal aging of the eye known as presbyopia.
Most patients can return to work the next day assuming their vision is adequate for their job. However, some people may feel fatigued for a day or so following surgery and we recommend that time to rest. We will always see our patient the next day for a one-day post-operative visit to ensure satisfaction.
You can resume most normal activities within 24 hours. We do advise that you avoid contact sports and swimming for one week and be careful with any activity that causes perspiration to run into the eyes. Our concern with these activities is the rubbing or drying of the eyes. It is important to talk specifically with Dr. Stainer about limitations. We advise no rubbing or applying pressure to the eyes for the first seven days. You may resume driving 24 hours after you finish the procedure.
A good candidate has to be at least 18 years of age with stability in their prescription. You cannot be too old for this procedure but a thorough eye exam during the consult will determine whether you have any other conditions that will hinder a good outcome.
Yes. This is a surgical procedure that permanently removes corneal tissue to reshape the eye in order to improve refraction. Remember, you should be aware that the eyes can still change with time, and LASIK eye surgery does not affect a number of visual conditions associated with age.
The price will differ from traditional LASIK and Wavefront guided LASIK. Each depends on the condition and prescription of each patient. This will be determined at the time of consultation. LASIK is considered an elective surgery and most insurance companies will not cover it. In many cases, the cost of the procedure can be covered by medical flex plans or cafeteria plans that allow pretax dollars to be set aside for medical expenses.
We do offer financing with a company that has several payment options to the patient. They offer no interest payment plans along with extended payment plans.
All of our laser vision correction surgeries are done at a surgery center. We have to maintain a controlled environment for the equipment as well as sterile surroundings.
Dr. Stainer uses the Alcon Allegretto Wave™ Eye-Q Excimer Laser System. This is kept and never moved from the laser room provided for us at the Millennium Surgery Center at 9300 Stockdale Hwy.
Please contact our office in Bakersfield, California to learn more about LASIK eye surgery.