Everything You Need To Know About LASIK
1) What is the iLASIK procedure?
It is an all-laser vision correction procedure that uses proprietary technology to measure the unique characteristics of your eye and provide a completely customized correction for exceptional visual clarity.
LASIK with iLASIK® technologies have been used in over 15 million procedures worldwide.
2) How does the iLASIK procedure work?
There are three steps to the iLASIK procedure:
Step 1: Creating Your Eye Map
A detailed 3-D map of the unique visual imperfections of your eye is created using wavefront eye-mapping technology that is 25x more precise than the measurements used to write a standard prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses.
Step 2: Preparing Your Eye
An ultra-fast laser creates a thin flap to prepare your cornea for your personalized wavefront vision correction.
Step 3: Delivering Your Personalized Treatment
In this final step, an ultra-precise laser gently reshapes your cornea to the desired curvature, based on the digital information from your personalized eye map measurements.
3) How do I know if the iLASIK procedure is right for me?
The iLASIK procedure helps people do the things they love to do without the hassle of contacts or glasses.
It is FDA approved to correct mild to severe nearsightedness, farsightedness, and all types of astigmatism. If you meet the following conditions, it’s likely you are an excellent candidate for the iLASIK procedure:
- You are at least 18 years old
- Your eyeglass prescription hasn’t changed more than 0.50 diopter (D) in the past year
- You meet general health requirements for eye surgery
- You are highly motivated to be less dependent on glasses and contact lenses
A certified LASIK doctor can tell you with greater certainty whether the iLASIK procedure is right for you.
4) Is the iLASIK procedure safe?
iLASIK® technologies have been used in more than 15 million vision correction procedures worldwide. In fact, NASA astronauts and US aviators are able to have laser vision correction surgery today because of studies validating the safety and precision performance of the technologies.
Talk to your doctor about the risks of this procedure. Though side effects occur infrequently, these may include:
- Eye dryness
- Reduction of vision or the possible need for glasses or contact lenses after surgery
- Visual disturbances such as halos, glare, starbursts, ghost images and other visual symptoms
Complications from the iLASIK procedure are infrequent and usually can be successfully managed medically or with follow-up care. The expected frequency of complications varies, depending on how much nearsightedness, farsightedness and/or astigmatism you have prior to the procedure and other factors.
5) How much does the iLASIK procedure cost?
By choosing the iLASIK procedure, you are making a solid investment that pays dividends in glasses-free vision for years to come and offers significant long-term savings compared to contact lens wear.
For example, the average 25-year-old will spend roughly $30,000 on contacts and contact lens care (including exams, lenses and supplies) by age 50, compared with an iLASIK procedure fee range of $4,200-$5,000 ($2,100-$2,500 per eye).
Most certified iLASIK® system doctors offer attractive financing options to make the iLASIK procedure easy on your pocketbook, and there are financing options available outside the doctor’s practice as well.
6) Where can I find an iLASIK doctor?
Use our LASIK Doctor Locator to find iLASIK® system doctors in your area, request a consultation, and choose a doctor who is right for you.
7) What part of the eye is the treatment performed on?
The iLASIK procedure is performed on the cornea — the clear front surface of the eye located in front of the pupil and the colored iris.
The cornea provides about 65 to 75 percent of the focusing power of the eye. The rest is provided by the eye’s lens, which is located behind the pupil.
The cornea is clear because it is a highly organized network of collagen (a connective tissue protein) and it contains no blood vessels.Back to top
1) What is “wavefront technology”?
Wavefront technology is an advanced, digital optical imaging technique used to detect, analyze and correct complex optical imperfections called higher-order aberrations that cannot be corrected with regular eyeglass lenses.Eyeglass lenses correct only simple refractive errors — nearsightedness, farsightedness and/or astigmatism. But most people also have higher-order aberrations (HOAs) that affect the quality of their vision.
By correcting HOAs as well as common refractive errors with wavefront technology, LASIK using iLASIK® technologies often produces noticeably sharper vision than that possible with eyeglasses and contact lenses.
2) What is wavefront-guided LASIK?
Wavefront-guided LASIK creates a personalized 3-D map of the optical quality of the patient’s visual pathway (from the front of the cornea to the back of the retina). These measurements are obtained with an instrument called a wavefront aberrometer during your iLASIK pre-op exam and consultation.
Wavefront-guided LASIK measures and treats lower-order aberrations (LOA) such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism as well as higher-order aberrations (HOAs), with the goal of providing better vision than that possible with eyeglasses, contact lenses or conventional LASIK.
Wavefront-guided LASIK produces a higher level of personalization compared with wavefront-optimized LASIK (see the next question below), which is based only on the eye’s refractive error and corneal curvature.
3) What is wavefront-optimized LASIK?
Wavefront-optimized LASIK produces computerized laser treatment plans based on typical lower-order aberrations associated with specific refractive errors. In particular, wavefront-optimized LASIK attempts to minimize the effect of spherical aberration.
The goal of wavefront-optimized LASIK is to provide better visual outcomes than conventional LASIK — primarily by reducing the amount of spherical aberration caused by the laser reshaping process during LASIK.
4) What type of laser is used for iLASIK surgery?
The iLASIK procedure uses two sophisticated state-of-the-art medical lasers: an ultra-fast laser (femtosecond laser) that creates a thin flap to prepare the cornea for treatment, and an ultra-precise laser (excimer laser) that gently reshapes the cornea based on the digital information from a 100% personalized eye map.
5) What is an excimer laser?
An excimer laser is an ultra-precise medical laser that creates a highly focused beam of cool ultraviolet (UV) rays to gently reshape the cornea. The excimer laser reshaping process is called ablation and it takes only about 30 to 60 seconds.
6) What is a femtosecond laser?
A femtosecond laser is an ultra-fast medical laser that creates the thin flap to prepare the cornea for treatment. The femtosecond laser creates a pattern of pulses of laser energy at a specific depth within the cornea. At this point, corneal tissue is separated by a process called photodisruption. The creation of the iLASIK flap with a femtosecond laser takes less than 20 seconds.Back to top
1) How much nearsightedness can the iLASIK procedure correct?
The iLASIK wavefront-guided laser is FDA-approved for the correction of up to -11.00 diopters (D) of nearsightedness (myopia) with and without astigmatism. The actual amount of myopia correction depends on factors including the thickness and shape of your corneas and how much astigmatism you have. Your eye doctor will discuss these factors with you at your pre-operative exam and consultation.
2) How much farsightedness can the iLASIK procedure correct?
The iLASIK excimer laser is FDA-approved for the correction of up to +3.00 diopters (D) of farsightedness (hyperopia) with and without astigmatism. But factors such as the shape of your cornea and how much astigmatism you have may influence the amount of hyperopia that can be corrected in your eyes. Your eye doctor can advise you of your specific needs at your iLASIK pre-operative exam and consultation.
3) How much astigmatism can the iLASIK procedure correct?
The iLASIK excimer laser can correct up to 3.00 diopters of astigmatism, which includes more than 97 percent of cases of astigmatism among adults.Back to top
1) How old must a person be to have a LASIK procedure with the iLASIK technologies?
You must be at least 18 years of age. This age limit is to decrease the risk of your eyes continuing to change after the procedure. Bring records of your previous eye exams with you to your iLASIK consultation. Your surgeon will want to see that your eyeglass prescription has not changed more than 0.50 diopter (D) over the previous 12 months before you have the iLASIK procedure, regardless of your age.
2) What conditions might disqualify me from having the iLASIK procedure?
Most people with healthy eyes and mild to moderate refractive errors are excellent candidates for the iLASIK procedure. But the following conditions might reduce your suitability for the iLASIK procedure or disqualify you from having the procedure:
- Autoimmune diseases (e.g., rheumatoid arthritis; lupus; multiple sclerosis)
- Type 1 diabetes
- If you are taking Accutane® (a prescription medication for acne)
- If you are taking Cordarone® (a prescription medication for irregular heartbeat)
- A history of Herpes simplex or Herpes zoster eye infections
- Signs of keratoconus or abnormal corneal topography
- Significant dry eye that is unresponsive to treatment
- Severe allergies
Your eye doctor will discuss these and other possible contraindications at your pre-operative exam and consultation.
3) Can I have LASIK with the iLASIK technologies if I’m pregnant?
Because hormonal changes during pregnancy can affect your eyes and vision, it is recommended that you do not have the iLASIK procedure if you are pregnant.
Also, you must use medicated eye drops for several weeks after iLASIK surgery to prevent infection and control inflammation, and the effect of these medications on unborn children are not fully known.
4) Can I have the iLASIK procedure if I have cataracts?
A cataract is a clouding of the lens inside the eye, which is located behind the pupil.
The iLASIK procedure corrects vision by reshaping the clear front surface of the eye (cornea) to eliminate nearsightedness, farsightedness and/or astigmatism. It cannot correct blurry or indistinct vision caused by cataracts.
When it’s time for cataract surgery, your surgeon can restore the vision you’ve lost due to cataract formation; and he or she can select an intraocular lens (IOL) that corrects your specific amount of nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism, reducing your need for glasses after cataract surgery.
5) Can I have the iLASIK procedure if I have dry eyes?
Dry eyes can affect the accuracy of pre-operative measurements that are crucial to achieving good vision after the iLASIK procedure. Also, dry eyes can affect how well and how quickly your eyes heal.
For these reasons, if you have dry eyes you need to have the condition successfully treated before proceeding with the iLASIK procedure.
6) I have thin corneas. Can I still have the iLASIK procedure?
It depends on how thin your corneas are, how much nearsightedness you have, and other factors.
iLASIK, like all types of LASIK surgery, corrects vision by reshaping the cornea. In this process, a very small amount of tissue is removed from the central cornea.
During your iLASIK pre-operative exam and consultation, your eye doctor will take detailed measurements of the thickness and shape of your cornea and calculate how much laser treatment is required to fully and safely correct your vision.
If the corneas are thin, the ECP will decide if the patient is a right candidate.Back to top
1) Is the vision correction from the iLASIK procedure permanent?
A person usually heal from LASIK and have their vision stabilized 3 to 6 months after the procedure. However, our bodies continue to age as part of the normal ageing process. Your eyes, like the rest of your body, may age over time and small changes in vision may occur. Each individual is different so the amount of change varies. In most cases, the degree of change in vision (if any) after LASIK, may be accommodated by the individual without requiring further treatment.
2) Will I still need glasses after the iLASIK procedure?
Most people are glasses-free after the iLASIK procedure. Still, some people who have minor refractive errors remaining after find LASIK that wearing eyeglasses part-time for tasks such as driving at night provides added clarity and comfort.
3) Will the iLASIK procedure eliminate my need for reading glasses?
No LASIK surgery will prevent the normal aging change in the lens of the eye that causes blurry reading vision some time after age 40 (presbyopia).
When most people start experiencing presbyopia, they simply purchase reading glasses and use them when needed to see small print. But there are options available if you have presbyopia and want to reduce or eliminate your need for reading glasses after the iLASIK procedure.
One option is to choose a monovision procedure — this is where one eye is fully corrected for clear driving vision and the other eye is intentionally left mildly nearsighted for clear reading vision.
A person usually heal from LASIK and have their vision stabilized 3 to 6 months after the procedure.
Ask your eye doctor about these and other options for reducing your need for reading glasses during your iLASIK pre-operative exam and consultation.Back to top
1) What are the specific risks associated with iLASIK surgery?
Your iLASIK surgeon’s primary goal is to keep your risks as low as possible and give you the best opportunity for exceptional vision from your LASIK procedure.Complications from the iLASIK procedure are infrequent and usually can be successfully managed medically or with follow-up care. The expected frequency of complications varies, depending on how much nearsightedness, farsightedness and/or astigmatism you have prior to the procedure and other factors.
2) Is the iLASIK procedure safer or more effective than other types of LASIK?
The iLASIK procedure has the added advantages of being a blade-free, “100 percent laser” procedure and employing the latest wavefront-guided technology to help you achieve your personal best vision.
The iLASIK procedure is particularly beneficial and likely to produce better outcomes than other types of LASIK for anyone with a significant degree of higher-order aberrations prior to surgery.
3) What happens if I don’t see well after the iLASIK procedure?
For the small percentage of patients who are dissatisfied with their vision (less than 5 percent), follow-up care usually will improve visual acuity and patient satisfaction.
4) How Reliable Are LASIK Surgery Reviews?
When considering LASIK or other elective surgery, it’s wise to learn as much as you can about the procedure and surgeons in your area.
The Internet is a great place to begin your research and locate LASIK doctors near you.
But when choosing a LASIK surgeon, online reviews should be only one factor among many that you consider.
Online reviews are available for virtually any product or service, and the variation in reviews is as varied as the personalities and experiences of the people who write them. Many LASIK surgery reviews posted online often don’t provide an accurate representation of the overall satisfaction most patients have with their LASIK doctors.
When choosing a LASIK surgeon, there is no substitute for a face-to-face consultation and dialog. Many LASIK doctors offer free, no-obligation consultations so you can get to know them and decide if LASIK is right for you. Others offer free information meetings for groups of potential LASIK candidates.
Recommendations from friends you trust also can be very helpful.
5) Fixing LASIK Complications: How To Begin
Like any surgery, LASIK offers significant benefits that come with some risk of complications. Occasionally, complications occur even when your procedure is performed by a highly skilled and experienced LASIK surgeon using the latest technology.
Thankfully, most LASIK complications are mild and can be successfully managed by your LASIK surgeon or eye doctor. The first step if you are unsatisfied with your LASIK outcome or are experiencing bothersome symptoms is to return to your LASIK surgeon for a thorough evaluation and consultation. If your surgeon cannot resolve your problems to your satisfaction, seek a second opinion from another eye doctor who has experience managing LASIK complications.
Keep in mind that complications from iLASIK are infrequent and usually can be successfully managed medically or with follow-up care. The expected frequency of complications varies, depending on how much nearsightedness, farsightedness and/or astigmatism you have prior to the procedure and other factors.
6) Blurry Vision During Recovery From LASIK
Blurry vision is common immediately after LASIK and should be expected during the early stages of your LASIK recovery.
In the first few weeks after surgery it also is not unusual for you to experience variable blurry vision, where your vision is very clear one day (or at different times during a day) but is somewhat blurry at other times.
You will have a number of follow-up visits after your LASIK surgery, and your eye doctor will monitor your visual acuity. It may take up to six months for blurry vision to resolve completely during your LASIK recovery.
If you feel your vision is too blurry for safe driving or other activities during your LASIK recovery, ask your eye doctor if a temporary pair of prescription eyeglasses is a good idea.
Ask your LASIK surgeon for details about his or her experience with blurriness in patients.
7) LASIK Risks and Benefits: Making an Informed Decision
The benefits of LASIK surgery are clear, functional vision with little or no dependence on eyeglasses or contact lenses. And these benefits are obvious the moment you wake up in the morning.
But like any medical or surgical procedure, LASIK has associated risks and potential complications. Here are important LASIK risks and complications cited by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which oversees the safety of LASIK in the United States:
Some patients experience reduced visual acuity. A limited number of LASIK patients lose the ability to see some of the small letters near the bottom of an eye chart after LASIK surgery, even with the help of glasses or contact lenses.
Some patients develop debilitating visual symptoms. A limited percentage of LASIK patients experience glare, halos, and/or ghost images that can seriously affect nighttime vision.
Some patients do not see as well in situations of low contrast, such as at night or in fog, after LASIK, compared with their vision with glasses or contact lenses before LASIK.
Some people are under-treated or over-treated. Most LASIK patients can see 20/20 without glasses or contacts after surgery, but some may require an additional care due to an under-correction or over-correction of their vision.
Some people develop severe dry eye syndrome. Some LASIK patients are unable to produce enough tears to keep their eyes moist and comfortable after surgery. Dry eyes are uncomfortable, cause redness, and can cause intermittent blurry vision and other symptoms. These symptoms can be permanent, even with frequent use of artificial tears and other dry eye treatments.
Before deciding whether to have vision correction surgery, you should carefully weigh the risks and benefits of LASIK to decide if the procedure is right for you. Your LASIK surgeon can give you more specific information about your particular risks during your LASIK consultation.
8) Can LASIK Cause Blindness?
LASIK has been proven safe and effective and there are no reported cases of blindness from LASIK surgery among the millions of LASIK procedures performed worldwide.
The most common LASIK risks are: dry eyes; halos, glare and other visual disturbances; and over-corrections and under-corrections. Though blindness is not among the risks of LASIK, a very small percentage of patients lose the ability to read some of the small lines of letters near the bottom of a standardized eye chart, and some experience reduced visual acuity in low-light conditions.
When choosing a LASIK surgeon, ask about the doctor’s LASIK success rate and the percentage of his or her patients who experience LASIK complications. Also, ask how these complications are managed and whether additional costs are involved.
9) Wavefront Guided LASIK Complications: What You Should Know
In addition to correcting nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia) and astigmatism, wavefront LASIK surgery detects, analyzes and treats higher-order aberrations (HOAs) that can affect visual performance and satisfaction.
Wavefront LASIK complications are infrequent and usually can be successfully managed medically or with a follow-up care. The frequency of wavefront LASIK complications varies, depending on the degree and type of refractive errors present prior to surgery and other factors.
At your consultation, ask your LASIK surgeon for the latest data about wavefront LASIK complications among patients who were similar to you prior to surgery.Back to top
1) What are the advantages of the iLASIK procedure vs. PRK?
The recovery after the iLASIK procedure is significantly faster and more comfortable than that following photorefractive keratectomy (PRK). Most people who have LASIK with the iLASIK® technologies experience 20/20 or better visual acuity the day after surgery, whereas it can take days or even weeks for PRK patients to attain similar results. Also, PRK causes significantly more discomfort for a considerably longer period of time after surgery.Back to top
1) Swimming After LASIK
During the early stages of your LASIK recovery, it’s important to avoid swimming and other water-related activities that could increase the risk of contaminated water getting in your eyes and causing an infection.
Different LASIK surgeons may have different recommendations about when you can resume swimming and other water activities during your LASIK recovery, but here are some general guidelines:
- Swimming: Wait at least two to four weeks after surgery
- Hot tubs: Wait at least two weeks
- Showering/Bathing: It’s generally safe to resume showering and bathing the day after surgery, but be careful not to allow water to get into your eyes for at least a week. Also, don’t rub your eyes for at least a month after LASIK.
Ask your LASIK surgeon when it is safe for you to resume swimming and other activities during your post-op exams.Back to top
1) What Is a Typical LASIK Recovery Timeline?
Everyone’s eyes heal differently, but here is a general timeline of what to expect during your LASIK recovery:
Immediately after surgery (day of surgery). As the anesthetic eye drops used during surgery wear off, expect some discomfort. If necessary, use over-the-counter pain medicine recommended by your LASIK surgeon or pain medicine prescribed by your surgeon. Vision is relatively clear, but some blurriness and fluctuation of vision is common.
Day after surgery. Some mild discomfort and/or dryness is common. Vision typically is acceptable for driving (20/40 or better).
First week after surgery. Some dryness/discomfort is possible. Vision fluctuates between relatively clear and mild blurriness.
2 to 4 weeks after surgery. Less fluctuation in vision. Less glare at night. Some dryness possible.
1 to 3 months after surgery. Vision mostly clear with only mild fluctuations and dryness.
4 to 6 months after surgery. Vision clear and stable. Little or no dryness or discomfort.
Your experience may vary significantly from this typical LASIK recovery timeline. If you have significant concerns about your vision after LASIK or what to expect during your LASIK recovery, contact your eye doctor or LASIK surgeon.
2) LASIK Recovery Tips: How To Help Your Eyes Heal After LASIK
The most important thing you can due to facilitate your LASIK recovery is to closely follow your post-op instructions given to you by your LASIK surgeon. Use all medications as directed for the time specified, even if you have no vision problems or discomfort symptoms.
Your eyes may feel dry after LASIK. Use sterile, non-preserved artificial tears very frequently in the early stages of your LASIK recovery to keep your eyes moist and comfortable and help the healing process.
Avoid rubbing your eyes or exposing your eyes to dust, wind and cigarette smoke. Wear comfortable wrap-style sunglasses outdoors to shield your eyes from dust, wind and UV rays. Also, wear protective safety glasses or sports goggles when performing any activities that could increase your risk of eye injuries.
Finally, if you have any unusual eye or vision symptoms during your LASIK recovery, call your eye doctor immediately for advice.Back to top
1) When do I have to stop wearing contact lenses prior to the iLASIK procedure?
Generally, you should stop wearing soft contact lenses at least two weeks prior to your LASIK procedure.
Rigid gas permeable (RGP or GP) contact lenses can affect the shape of your corneas for a longer period of time, so most eye doctors recommend you stop wearing these lenses a month or longer before your LASIK procedure.
Your eye doctor or iLASIK surgeon will give you specific advice about when to stop wearing your contact lenses at your iLASIK pre-operative eye exam and consultation.
2) Do I have to discontinue any medications I take prior to the iLASIK procedure?
In most cases, there is no need to discontinue your normal medications prior to the iLASIK procedure.
Bring a list of all medications you take (including supplements and other non-prescription, “over-the-counter” products) to your iLASIK pre-op exam and consultation. Your eye doctor will advise you if you should discontinue any of these products prior to the iLASIK procedure.
3) What takes place during my iLASIK pre-op exam?
Many tests will be performed during your iLASIK pre-operative (“pre-op”) exam to evaluate whether you are a good candidate for the procedure.
An important component of this exam is a thorough health history to make sure you don’t have any medical conditions that could increase your risk of complications or affect your visual outcome. Bring a list of all medications (including supplements and over-the-counter products) to your exam so your eye doctor can advise you whether any of these products could pose a problem.
Your eye doctor will perform a comprehensive eye exam that includes dilation of your pupil to thoroughly evaluate the health of your eyes. Also, care will be taken to determine the exact amount of nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism you have and to make sure your eyeglass prescription has not changed significantly within the previous year.
Your cornea (the clear front surface of your eye) will be thoroughly examined to ensure it is healthy, has a normal shape and is thick enough for the iLASIK procedure.
Additional testing will be done to make sure you have a healthy tear layer on the surface of your eyes and that there are no signs of a dry eye condition that could affect your visual outcome and the healing of your eyes after the procedure.
Also, the size of your pupils will be evaluated. Unusually large pupils may increase your risk of night vision problems after corneal refractive surgery.
Additional testing called a wavefront eye map is performed during an iLASIK pre-op exam. This is a sophisticated evaluation of the optics of your eye that determines the type and amount of lower-and-higher-order aberrations (HOAs) present. HOAs are subtle, irregular optical imperfections that can affect the quality of your vision and cannot be corrected with eyeglasses but can be minimized with the iLASIK procedure to give you even sharper vision.
4) What questions should I ask during my iLASIK pre-op exam?
Perhaps the most important discussion to have with your eye doctor or LASIK surgeon during your pre-op exam and consultation concerns your expectations for your vision after the iLASIK procedure.
A recent review of LASIK satisfaction worldwide found more than 95 percent of LASIK patients (including iLASIK patients) are satisfied with the results of their procedure. But it’s important to have realistic expectations.
For example, LASIK cannot stop your eyes from aging or eliminate your need for reading glasses if you are already are over age 40 and are experiencing the normal age-related loss of near vision called presbyopia. Also, it’s possible you might experience problems such as dry eyes or glare after any type of corneal refractive surgery, including the iLASIK procedure.
5) Can I drive myself home after my pre-op exam?
Your pupils will be dilated for your iLASIK pre-operative exam. As a result, you will be significantly more sensitive to sunlight for an hour or two after your exam; so bring sunglasses with you. Most people are comfortable driving after their pre-op exam, but if you are concerned about this, you might want to bring someone along to drive you home.
Day of surgery
1) Do I have to discontinue taking any medications on surgery day?
Usually no. But bring a list of your medications with you to your pre-op exam, and your eye doctor can advise you about this at that time. If you have any concerns about this between your pre-op exam and the day of your procedure, call your iLASIK surgeon for advice.
2) Does the iLASIK procedure hurt?
Numbing eye drops will be applied to your eyes to keep them comfortable throughout the iLASIK procedure.
You will feel some pressure on your eye when the flap is created to prepare your cornea for treatment; but this is not painful and the sensation lasts less than a minute.
When you return home, you may experience mild to moderate eye discomfort that could last up to several hours. If this is bothersome, over-the-counter pain medication usually will ease any discomfort. Your iLASIK surgeon will advise you which products are best for this.
If you experience significant discomfort after your iLASIK procedure that is not relieved with over-the-counter pain medicine, call your iLASIK surgeon for further instructions.
3) Will I be given something to calm my nerves on surgery day?
Yes. If you feel nervous when you arrive for your iLASIK procedure, you will be given a mild oral medication (e.g., Valium) to help you relax.
4) Am I awake during the iLASIK procedure?
Yes, you will be awake during the iLASIK procedure. The entire procedure is quite brief and there is little or no discomfort.
5) What happens if I blink or move during the iLASIK procedure?
Your eyelids will be gently held open with a small device (lid holder) during the procedure, and eye drops used during the procedure will reduce any urge you might have to blink.
You will be lying on a comfortable chair during the brief iLASIK procedure, and your head will rest on a contoured cushion. Your surgeon will be close by and may gently hold your head to help you stay perfectly steady when the laser is active, which lasts less than a minute.
The iLASIK procedure also includes an automated “eye tracker” feature that monitors the position of your eye and compensates for any small involuntary eye movements during the laser treatment delivering the treatment right where it is intended.
6) How long does the iLASIK procedure take?
The entire iLASIK procedure (both eyes) usually takes less than 20 minutes.
7) Can I drive home after the iLASIK procedure?
You must have someone drive you home after your iLASIK procedure.
Protective shields will be placed over your eyes to help you avoid rubbing, touching or bumping your eyes in the hours following your procedure, and some blurriness is common for several hours. Also, if you were given a mild sedative to help you relax, it’s likely you will be a little drowsy.
8) Can I read and watch TV when I get home from my iLASIK procedure?
The best thing to do when you return home from your iLASIK procedure is to take a nap or simply relax and let your eyes rest a while. Be sure to use eye drops as recommended by your doctor to keep your eyes moist, healthy and comfortable.
It’s fine to read, watch television or use a computer a few hours later if your eyes are comfortable. But be careful not to overdo it before having your first follow-up visit.
1) Will my vision be clear immediately after the iLASIK procedure?
Most iLASIK patients are surprised by how clear their vision is immediately after the procedure. But some blurriness and fluctuation of vision is common and expected for the remainder of the day.
2) Will my eyes hurt after the iLASIK procedure?
It’s normal for you to feel some mild discomfort for a few days after your iLASIK procedure. In particular, some people report their eyes feel like an eyelash or something is “in” the eye. This feeling is usually caused by dryness.
Use artificial tears frequently to keep your eyes moist and comfortable during the first few weeks after the iLASIK procedure.
If you experience significant discomfort after your iLASIK procedure — particularly if it worsens over time — call your eye doctor for further instructions.
3) Are there special precautions I need to take the first few days after the iLASIK procedure?
Take care not to rub or bump your eyes. When outdoors, wear sunglasses to shield your eyes from the sun’s UV rays, reduce glare, and protect your eyes from trauma or drying out. Ask your LASIK surgeon about precautions.
4) How long do I have to wear an eye patch during sleep after the iLASIK procedure?
You will be given clear plastic shields to tape to your brow and cheek to protect your eyes during sleep after the iLASIK procedure. You can see through theses shields and they have ventilation holes, so they are not hot or uncomfortable.
Most eye doctors recommend you wear these protective shields at bedtime for at least two weeks after your iLASIK procedure, sometimes longer. Your doctor will advise you how long you should wear the shields before you leave the laser center on the day of your procedure and/or during your follow-up visits.
5) When will my vision stabilize after the iLASIK procedure?
Some blurriness and fluctuation of vision is common for 2 to 4 weeks after the iLASIK procedure. This should continue to diminish with time, but some days it may be more noticeable than others. It’s not unusual for vision to continue to improve and become more stable for up to 3 months or longer after the iLASIK procedure.
6) How long does it take for my eyes to fully recover from the iLASIK procedure?
Though you can resume virtually all of your normal activities within a few weeks after your procedure, it’s common for full healing to take up to three months or longer. Ask your LASIK surgeon about recovery time.
7) How soon can I drive after the iLASIK procedure?
Generally, your first follow-up visit will be approximately 24 hours after your iLASIK procedure. Even if your vision seems clear, have someone drive you to this visit.
Your eye doctor or LASIK surgeon will examine your eyes and make sure they are healing properly. He or she also will check your visual acuity on a wall chart to confirm that your eyesight meets the legal requirement for driving (20/40 or better in most states).
Once this is confirmed, you are safe to drive without glasses or contact lenses. At this visit, your eye doctor might also give you paperwork to take to your local Department of Motor Vehicles office so you can have the “requires corrective lenses” restriction removed from your driver’s license.
8) When can I resume wearing makeup after the iLASIK procedure?
Wait about a week to resume wearing eye makeup after your iLASIK procedure. Discard your old mascara to avoid any risk of it being contaminated with bacteria that could cause an eye infection. Ask your LASIK surgeon about use of makeup.
9) How soon can I swim after iLASIK surgery?
Wait at least two weeks. Consider wearing swimming goggles for extra protection, and wait at least a month before diving. Ask your LASIK surgeon when it is safe for you to resume swimming.
10) How soon can I exercise after the iLASIK procedure?
You can resume your normal exercise routine within a few days, but avoid strenuous weightlifting or rubbing your eyes for at least two weeks. Ask your LASIK surgeon when it is safe for you to exercise.
11) Do I still need routine eye exams after iLASIK surgery?
Absolutely. Routine comprehensive eye exams are still needed after your iLASIK procedure to safeguard the health of your eyes and rule out serious, vision-threatening problems such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts and diabetic eye disease.
Unless your eye doctor recommends otherwise, have annual eye exams to monitor your vision and keep your eyes in top shape.
Also, wear quality sunglasses outdoors to reduce glare and shield your eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Choose lightweight polycarbonate lenses that provide 100 percent UV protection and are significantly more impact-resistant than other lenses for added safety.
Important Patient Safety Information
Indication: The iFS laser is a surgical laser that can be used to create flaps for use in laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) surgery.
Contraindications: You should not have LASIK flaps made using the iFS laser if you have certain preexisting eye conditions. Tell your doctor about any eye-related conditions, injuries, or surgeries you have had.
Adverse events: Possible complications resulting from LASIK flap creation include swelling, inflammation or pain in your eye, infection, or flap-related complications. Mild to severe light sensitivity occurred in 1% of patients between 2 and 6 weeks after surgery. Some patients (0.03%) noticed a temporary spoke-like band of light in their peripheral vision.
IMPORTANT PATIENT SAFETY INFORMATION
Wavefront-guided LASIK is contraindicated in patients with collagen vascular, autoimmune or immunodeficiency disease, signs of keratoconus or abnormal corneal topography, patients taking isotretinoin (AccutaneR*) or amiodarone hydrochloride (CordaroneR†) or are pregnant or nursing.
Wavefront-guided LASIK is not recommended in patients who have diabetes, a history of Herpes simplex or Herpes zoster keratitis, significant dry eye that is unresponsive to treatment, or severe allergies. For the treatment of low to moderate myopic astigmatism, lower uncorrected visual acuity may be anticipated in the treatment of higher degrees of myopia with and without astigmatism (≥5.0 D MRSE).
Long-term risks of wavefront-guided LASIK beyond 12 months have not been studied. The safety and effectiveness of wavefront-guided LASIK surgery have ONLY been established with an optical zone of 6 mm and an ablation zone of 8 mm for myopic treatments, and an ablation zone of 9 mm for hyperopic and mixed astigmatism treatments. The safety and effectiveness of the STAR S4 IR Excimer Laser System have NOT been established for wavefront-guided surgery in patients with low to moderate myopic astigmatism: whose WaveScan WaveFront diameter is less than 6 mm; for treatments greater than -6 diopters of MRSE or with greater than 3 diopters of astigmatism and for retreatment with CustomVue LASIK. The safety and effectiveness of the STAR S4 IR Excimer Laser System have NOT been established for wavefront-guided surgery in patients with high myopic astigmatism: whose WaveScan WaveFront diameter is less than 5 mm; for treatments greater than -11 diopters of MRSE or with greater than 3 diopters of astigmatism. The safety and effectiveness of the STAR S4 IR Excimer Laser System have NOT been established for wavefront-guided surgery in patients with hyperopic astigmatism: whose WaveScan WaveFront diameter is less than 5 mm; for treatments greater than +3 diopters of MRSE or with greater than 2 diopters of astigmatism and for retreatment with CustomVue LASIK. The safety and effectiveness of the STAR S4 IR Excimer Laser System have NOT been established for wavefront-guided surgery in patients with mixed astigmatism: whose WaveScan WaveFront diameter is less than 5.00 mm; for treatments greater than 5.00 D or less than 1.00 D of astigmatism and for retreatment with CustomVue LASIK. Although the WaveScan WaveFront System measures the refractive error and wavefront aberrations of the human eyes, including myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism, coma, spherical aberration, trefoil, and other higher-order aberrations through sixth order, in the clinical studies for low to moderate myopic astigmatism, hyperopic astigmatism and mixed astigmatism, the average higher-order-aberration did not decrease after CustomVue treatment. In the clinical studies for high myopic astigmatism, the average higher-order aberration increased after CustomVuetreatment. It is possible, after wavefront-guided LASIK treatment, that patients will find it more difficult than usual to see in conditions such as very dim light, rain, snow, fog, or glare from bright lights at night. Visual performance possibly could be worsened by large pupil sizes or decentered pupils. Pupil size should be evaluated under mesopic illumination conditions.
4) ADVERSE EVENTS AND COMPLICATIONS (LOW TO MODERATE MYOPIC ASTIGMATISM):
The clinical trial showed that the following adverse events or complications occurred in at least 1% of the 351 eyes at any interval up to 6 months post-treatment: inflammation of the cornea under the flap (1.4%); double or ghost images (1.4%); and scratch on the surface of the eye (1.4%). The following subjective symptoms frequency rated “often or always” were increased in the effectiveness cohort at 6 months post-treatment on 258 eyes compared with pre-treatment on 332 eyes: dryness (9% vs. 6%); fluctuation of vision (3% vs. 2%); glare (4% vs. 2%) and halos (7% vs. 5%).
5) ADVERSE EVENTS AND COMPLICATIONS (HIGH MYOPIC ASTIGMATISM):
The clinical trial showed that the following adverse events or complications occurred in at least 1% of the 184 eyes at one or more postoperative examinations up to 6 months post-treatment: cells growing under the flap (1.1%); scratch on the surface of the eye at 1 month or later (2.2%); swelling of the cornea between 1 week and 1 month postoperatively (2.7%) and double vision (or “ghost images”) in the operative eye (6.0%). The following subjective symptoms were reported as present “often or always” by a higher percentage of subjects 6 months after treatment than before treatment: dryness (10.8% vs. 9.3%); halos (21.6% vs. 15.4%); and ghosting or shadowing of images (2.8% vs. 1.1%).
6) ADVERSE EVENTS AND COMPLICATIONS (HYPEROPIC ASTIGMATISM):
The clinical trial showed that the following adverse events or complications occurred in at least 1% of the 144 eyes at any interval up to 6 months post-treatment: cells growing under the flap (2.1%); feeling of something in the eye (1.4%); double or ghost images (11.3%); and scratch on the surface of the eye (2.1%). The following subjective symptoms rated “often or always” were increased in frequency in the effectiveness cohort at 6 months post-treatment on 131 eyes compared with pretreatment on 136 eyes: dryness (17% vs. 6%); blurry vision (10% vs. 7%); fluctuation of vision (14% vs. 6%); halos (10% vs. 5%); double or ghost images (7% vs. 3%).
7) ADVERSE EVENTS AND COMPLICATIONS (MIXED ASTIGMATISM):
The clinical trials showed that the following adverse events or complications occurred in at least 1% of the 86 eyes at one or more postoperative examinations up to 3 months post-treatment: miscreated flap (1.2%); cells growing under the flap (4.7%); and double vision (or “ghost images”) in the operative eye (8.1%). The following subjective symptoms were reported as present “often or always” by a higher percentage of subjects 3 months after treatment than before treatment: dryness (22% vs. 6%); halos (20% vs. 13%).
The iLASIK procedure utilizes Advanced CustomVue technology with the STAR S4 IR Excimer Laser System and WaveScan WaveFront System, as well as the iFS Advanced Femtosecond Laser.
*AccutaneR is a registered trademark of Hoffmann-La Roche Inc.
†CordaroneR is a registered trademark of Sanofi-Synthelabo, Inc.
©2015 Abbott Medical Optics Inc. iLASIK, CustomVue, Advanced CustomVue, IntraLase, iFS, WaveScan WaveFront, STAR S4 IR are trademarks owned by or licensed to Abbott Laboratories, its subsidiaries, or affiliates.Back to top