If you’re ready to live your life free from glasses and contacts, you’ve probably decided that laser eye surgery might be the best option for you.
Knowing which procedure is the best for you can seem overwhelming. Those who have chosen Laser Vision Correction (LVC) may find themselves researching and trying to weigh the factors among their options of PRK, LASIK, or SMILE surgery. Here’s the great news! All of these surgery options are offered in our very own in-house Refractive Suite by our seasoned expert Ophthalmologist, Dr. Jeff Sinclair and are all trusted, safe, and effective ways to correct your vision!
The decision of which surgery each patient receives is carefully chosen by Dr. Jeff Sinclair to best meet the needs of your specific eye health.
SMILE is an outpatient procedure on your cornea (the front refracting surface of the eye) used to treat nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. This procedure begins by numbing the eye with anesthetic drops and a suction tool is then used that will keep your eye perfectly in place for the procedure. Your surgeon will use a computer guided, highly focused laser light to create a tiny incision in the cornea and will use this area to remove a small piece of corneal tissue (called a lenticule). Once the corneal tissue is removed, this reshapes the cornea and corrects your vision! The procedure combines the safety of traditional vision correction techniques with even greater comfort and potentially greater precision.
LASIK is an outpatient procedure on your cornea (the front refracting surface of the eye) used to treat nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. This procedure begins by numbing the eye with anesthetic drops and use of an eyelid holder to keep your eye open during the procedure. A computer guided, highly focused laser is then used to reshape your cornea, so that when light enters your eye, it will be focused to a specific point on your retina and you can see clearly! If you are nearsighted, the laser is used to flatten your cornea. If you are farsighted, the laser is used to steepen your cornea.
PRK is a type of outpatient procedure on your cornea (the front refracting surface of the eye) used to treat nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. Your doctor will begin by numbing the eye with anesthetic drops, and will use an eyelid holder to keep your eye open during the procedure. The doctor will then use a laser to remove the epithelium, or the outer layer of the cornea. You will be asked to look at a target light while a laser reshapes your cornea based on your measurements. Your surgeon will put a contact lens over the eye to act as a bandage during the healing process..
In order to know if you are a good candidate for refractive surgery, your doctor will need to do a full eye examination and several specialized tests. Many individuals believe they are not a good candidate, but that is generally not the case! If your examination and tests indicate that you are an appropriate candidate, your doctor will review your medical and surgical options with you. At West Virginia Eye Consultants, we offer FREE CONSULTATIONS for Refractive Surgery!
In order to be eligible for refractive surgery, you must be at least 18 years old. This is because before then, you’re still growing and your eyesight may still be changing. As we grow and go through puberty, it results in hormonal changes, which can affect your eyes and vision. If you have refractive surgery before your eyes stabilize, they may continue to change after surgery. Generally, there is no upper age limit to laser eye surgery. However, it is important to note that once you hit your 40-50s, you may still need reading glasses to correct near vision due to a normal, age-related condition called presbyopia.
Even if you’re over the age of 18, your prescription may still be changing. Having a stable prescription is vital if you want your LASIK surgery to be as effective as possible. Most surgeons recommend that you have a stable prescription for one to two years before you get refractive surgery.
There are limits to how much refractive surgery can correct your vision. Corneal thickness plays an important role in determining proper candidacy for PRK, LASIK, and SMILE surgery. Due to the nature of the procedures, candidates must have a minimum corneal thickness to be able to perform the surgery safely and effectively. Results of surgery for the treatment of very high refractive errors are less predictable and may not be worth the cost and potential risks. Your FREE CONSULTATION will let you know if you are a candidate and if not, it may be able to let you know of other options.
Your overall health can have an impact on candidacy for laser eye surgery. If you have diabetes or certain autoimmune diseases, you may not be a good candidate. Some Eye conditions like cataracts or glaucoma make it difficult or even dangerous to have refractive surgery. Your eye doctor will help to walk you through options and whether any pre-existing health conditions impact your ability to have LASIK. If you have one of these conditions, you may be better suited for a different correction procedure like PRK.
Your surgery day will go by quickly, as the procedure only takes minutes to perform. Your doctor may recheck your glasses prescription to ensure the most accurate treatment. Just prior to surgery, you will be given eye drops to help numb your eyes. Then, your surgeon will use an eyelid holder so you will not have to worry about blinking. The laser itself usually takes 25 seconds or less, during which time you will stare at a blinking light. Finally, your eyes will receive more drops, your surgeon will do a final check of your vision, and you will be released to go home!
Most patients can expect an improvement in vision as soon as the day after surgery, but they typically notice halos around lights that tend to improve over the first few weeks to months. Enhancements can be done, if necessary about 4 to 5 months after the initial surgery. At West Virginia Eye Consultants, our laser vision correction patients enjoy excellent quality vision following their procedures and greatly enjoy their new freedom from glasses and contact lenses!
Laser Vision Correction surgery is considered cosmetic, therefore is not something that is covered by insurance carriers. West Virginia Eye Consultants has various financing options available for our patients to choose from to ensure anyone who qualifies can receive this life changing procedure! Did you know that the average cost of contact lenses for a patient’s lifetime is $27,000 to $39,000?! Laser Vision Correction costs a FRACTION of that! Choosing to have LVC is a MONEY SAVER!
There are risks with any surgery, which can include bleeding, infection, decreased vision and loss of vision. These complications happen very rarely and most complications can be managed medically or surgically to obtain the desired result. Ectasia is a risk that occurs with LVC and involves the development of irregular astigmatism due to a “bulging” of the cornea, which consequently causes blurry vision and an irregular cornea. One of he main goals of your evaluation is to rule out patients who are at risk for ectasia.
Your doctor will discuss this and all risks of surgery with you at the time of your evaluation.