Everything You Need to Know About Corrective Laser Eye Surgery

  • Complications

    People with vision problems such as nearsightedness, astigmatism and farsightedness often turn to laser surgery to correct these problems.  If you are considering laser eye surgery, you may be concerned that something will go wrong with the procedure.  Vision complications from laser eye surgery correction are very rare. If a complication does occur after having the procedure done, it may be treated with additional surgery.

    Laser eye surgery includes Radial Keratotomy (RK), Photorefractive Keratotomy (PRK), and Laser Thermal Keratoplasty.  During PRK, the doctor will utilize an excimer laser to reshape the eye.  RK uses a scalpel to reshape the corneal tissue.  Complications with these procedures are rare but as with any type surgery, there are still risks involved.Get
    more help about eye laster treatments form this website www.washingtonlaser.bostonlas
    er.com.

    Compared to Lasik surgery, PRK and RK surgeries cause more post-surgery discomfort which may last more than a week. It may also take up to six months to have improved vision.  Since the potential exists for blurred vision after PRK, many surgeons perform this procedure on a single eye at a time.

    Less serious complications reported after laser eye surgery can include:

    • Irritation or eye infection. You doctor can prescribe antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medication.
    • Dry eyes. This can occur after laser surgery.  If this occurs, your doctor may prescribe artificial tears or dry eye medication.
    • Undercorrection, overcorrection or regression.  This means that the results of your laser surgery were less than optimal.  There can be different reasons for this problem.  You may be able to receive additional treatments to correct the problem. Find more information about cataract laser eye surgery from www.bostonlaser.com.

    The following are additional side effects that could possibly occur after surgery:

    • Reactions due to anesthesia taken during surgery
    • Light sensitivity
    • Glare or halos around lights
    • Corneal related haze

    Irregular astigmatism which results from an uneven corneal surface can also arise after surgery.  This happens when the laser used is not correctly centered on the eye.  Symptoms include double vision and can be treated with additional surgery. Find more about cataract laser eye surgery by visiting this website www.bostonlaser.com.

    Keratectasia or keratoconus is another complication that occurs when eye tissue bulges on the surface. It can result in distorted vision and cannot be corrected with further laser treatment.  Corneal implants or gas permeable contact lenses are used to treat this problem.

  • Cost

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    Laser eye surgery is another alternative for people who wear glasses or contact lenses.  It can reduce or eliminate a person’s dependence on lenses.  In most cases laser eye surgery is considered cosmetic and not usually covered by insurance companies.  Therefore, it is important to know the costs involved before undergoing this type of medical procedure.

    In addition to the more popular Lasik surgery, laser eye surgery also includes Photorefractive Keratotomy (PRK), Radial Keratotomy (RK) and laser thermal keratoplasty. During a PRK procedure, the doctor uses an excimer laser for the removal of corneal tissue in order to reshape the eye.  RK uses a scalpel to cut the corneal tissue.  With laser technology, doctors can sculpt the eye.

    These procedures usually require a pre-operative exam in which your doctor determines the amount of correction required for your particular vision problems, and will provide pre-surgery instructions.  On the day of surgery, your doctor will apply local anesthesia to the eye area.

    The typical cost of these procedures are comparable to that of Lasik.  Costs are affected by geographic location, doctor’s expertise and reputation, technology and equipment used, pre-operative procedures, follow-up visits and medications.

    Choosing a laser eye surgeon is an important and often costly decision, therefore it you should do some research before you make your selection.  Working with an experienced and reputable doctor will increase the likelihood of having good results after surgery.  You may want to get a recommendation from your primary doctor or ask for referrals from other people who have had surgery.  You should be cautious of doctors and centers advertising extremely low rates.  Most likely you will get what you pay for and will be sacrificing quality care in order to save money.

    Before choosing a doctor or center for your laser surgery, you should examine whether the price advertised includes any subsequent follow-up visits.  You should also ensure that the cost of the procedure is consistent with what is required for your particular medical condition.  Discuss the provider’s policy for visits due to complications, irritation or infections after surgery.  Since many insurance companies do not cover the cost of these types of procedures, you may also be able to work out a payment plan with the doctor or center. Many of them have flexible payment plan options.

  • Recovery

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    Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK) is a vision correction procedure that was developed before the advent of Lasik surgery.  PRK uses an excimer laser which involves a cool ultraviolet light beam that precisely removes small pieces of tissue from the cornea surface to reshape it.  People who are nearsighted, farsighted and have astigmatism can benefit from a PRK procedure since it smoothes out the irregular cornea.

    Many patients often want to know the difference between PRK and Lasik surgery since the two procedures are quite similar.  During Lasik, the corneal flap is created and reshaped from within.  In PRK the outer surface of the cornea is reshaped.  Both procedures use lasers for reshaping the cornea.  However, after PRK, the outer layers of the corneal tissue must heal and so the recovery time is a bit longer compared to Lasik.

    PRK is a fairly quick procedure and the patient is awake the entire time.  Your doctor may give you a mild sedative before starting and most do not feel pain during PRK.  Patients undergoing PRK will be required to lie down as the doctor ensures that the eye is positioned directly under the laser and usually each eye is operated on at a time.  A retainer is usually placed under the eyelids so that they remain open which is usually not uncomfortable. Anesthetic drops are applied to the eye to prevent pain during the surgery.

    Patients wear a bandage like contact lens during PRK recovery. Your doctor will also give you anti-inflammatory eye drops and antibiotics to assist with healing.  The time period for healing after a PRK procedure is usually longer than Lasik surgery. Patients will see improved vision after 2 weeks.

    You will most likely have several follow-up visits for the next year to ensure that there are not any complications and so that the doctor can monitor your recovery.  You should avoid strenuous activities for a month following surgery.  Irritants such as lotions and eye makeup should be avoided for at least two weeks after the procedure.  It is best to check with your doctor about things to avoid placing in the eye area.

    Unlike Lasik, PRK has a longer recovery rate which is why Lasik is a more popular procedure.  PRK patients are usually advised to rest for at least two days after surgery and may experience moderate pain during the first few days of recovery.  Vision may also fluctuate during the first few weeks and possibly as long as six months.

  • Keratectasia or keratoconus

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    Although most laser eye surgery procedures are successful, in very rare cases, serious complications can arise due to laser surgery.  Keratectasia or keratoconus is another complication that occurs when eye tissue bulges on the surface. It can result in distorted vision and cannot be corrected with further laser treatment. Corneal implants or gas permeable contact lenses are used to treat this problem.

    Laser eye surgery can help people who are interested in improving their vision without the use of glasses or contact lenses.  Technology has allowed surgeons to treat specific eye issues more precisely.  Therefore laser eye surgery can be costly.  It is important to know your options and what to expect before, during and after surgery.  This can help you prepare for any procedure you may undergo.

  • Recovery Time

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    After surgery, most people will have several follow-up visits for the next year to ensure that there are not any complications.  Follow-up visits also allow the doctor to monitor your recovery.  It is recommended to avoid irritants such as lotions and eye makeup for at least two weeks after surgery.  Check with your doctor about things to avoid placing in the eye area.

    It is common for many patients to experience dry eyes after having surgery. Your doctor will most likely give you a prescription for eye drops to help prevent any infection and too keep your eyes moist and lubricated.  Specific instructions after the procedure vary from doctor to doctor so it is important to follow up with any doctor visits immediately afterwards. Always follow your doctor’s specific instructions for recovery after having surgery.  If you do experience an infection or irritation, you should consult your doctor immediately.

  • Complications that Could Arise

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    As with any surgery, there exists the potential for complications to arise.  Compared to Lasik surgery, laser procedures such as PRK and RK surgeries cause more discomfort after surgery which may last more than a week. For some procedures, it can take up to six months to realize improvements in vision.  Typical complications that can arise include:

    • Dry Eyes – can be treated with artificial tears or dry eye medication.
    • Eye Infection – this can be treated with antibiotics or anti-flammatory medication.
    • Undercorrection, overcorrection or regression – You may be able to receive additional treatments to correct the problem.
  • Cost of Laser Surgery

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    The cost of laser surgery can vary depending on the area of the country you live in.  Other factors that influence price are: the level of experience of the doctor or surgeon, technology used, follow-up visits and medication, and the specific vision correction procedure performed.

  • Your Unique Condition

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    You should verify that the procedure you will be undergoing is right for your particular vision situation. If your doctor’s determines that you are a candidate for a certain type of laser eye surgery, your doctor should thoroughly explain any risks associated with the procedure you will  be undertaking.  They should also explain the benefits of the procedure as well as any precautions or other options available to you.  You should research all of your options before starting any laser eye surgery since it can be costly and there may be risks involved that could lead to complications.  Ask your doctor questions and research different providers before making a decision.

  • Choosing a Surgeon or Center

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    Choosing a laser eye surgeon is an important decision.  Laser surgery can be costly, so you should do some research before you make a choice.  Look for a reputable and experienced doctor.  You can get recommendations from your primary doctor or referrals from other people who have the procedure before.  Be cautious of doctors and centers that advertise extremely low rates.  Don’t sacrifice quality care in order to save money.

    You should also examine whether the price advertised by the center or doctor includes post-surgery follow-up visits.  Make sure that the cost of the procedure is consistent with the requirements of for your particular medical condition.  You can also discuss the center or doctor’s policy for situations involving complications, medication, etc.  Many insurance companies do not cover the cost of these types of procedures, you may also be able to work out a payment plan with the doctor or center.

  • Myopia

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    Myopia is a common eye problem that is treated with laser surgery.  When one has myopia, the cornea is either too steep or the shape of the eyeball is elongated.  This causes images to be focused inside of the eye instead of on the retina which is located in the back of the eye.