Laser Vision Correction
With the advent of newer technologies and expanded range of correction achievable with Laser Vision Correction (LVC), this is becoming one of the most frequently discussed topics for many patients during their eye exam.
As your primary eye-care physician I can answer all of your questions about LVC. Having experienced laser correction myself, I can inform you of exactly what to expect and which procedure is best suited for your visual needs.
I am affiliated with both TLC (The Laser Eye Center) at http://www.TLCVision.com, and COLA (California Optometric Laser Association). I work very closely with Dr. Michael Furlong, who is the TLC affiliated surgeon in our area. Dr. Furlong is an excellent laser surgeon (he is the doctor who performed my Laser correction). His website is http://www.Furlongvision.com.
During your eye exam I gather information to give you an idea of which procedure will suit your visual needs. Many patients have heard of LASIK, but there are other procedures for LVC. Some of these include PRK, LASEK, Wavefront (or custom LASIK), CK, Intacs and Intraocular Lens Implants.
In our office we keep up with all of the latest technologies and determine which of these new technologies are of the most benefit for our patients. One such technology is Intralase, which uses a new laser-guided system to create the corneal flap before the actual laser procedure is performed.
I also determine, with your input, how to customize your vision with LVC. One example that many patients consider is Monovision. Monovision is a strategy that allows the patient to be as free as possible from wearing glasses. Monovision correction allows one eye to see clearly in the distance and the other eye is corrected for near vision. As a patient of Dr. Furlong, I tried Monovision. For my visual needs it works great. I don’t wear glasses for any of my daily activities from doing eye exams to working on the computer. I still have a correction that I wear for night driving, which means I wear glasses about 10% of the time. Not every patient is suited for Monovision, but in many cases we can determine that by emulating Monovision with contact lenses prior to the surgery date.
Consultation for LVC encompasses many topics. In this section I will touch on the most important areas and some of the most frequently asked questions.
Are You a Candidate?
Laser vision correction (LVC) can treat a broad range of refractive errors. LVC can now treat nearsightedness, farsightedness and various amounts of astigmatism. The patient should be at least 18 years old, have a stable prescription, be in good general health and free of any eye diseases. An in-depth examination of your eyes, your lifestyle, and your expectations help determine which procedure is the correct choice for you. We believe that you deserve an honest discussion to help determine whether you are a good candidate for LVC.
The Pre-Operative Evaluation
During your evaluation we will conduct a thorough medical and ocular health history. We will evaluate your eyes for any health problems that might contraindicate or could potentially impact the outcome of the procedure. We will carefully evaluate your spectacle prescription for stability and review all the findings with you.
If you are a current contact lens wearer you will need to stop wearing contacts before any pre-operative measurements are taken. The type of contact lenses will determine the time period that is needed prior to examination. Contact lenses may distort the shape of your cornea and change your corrected and uncorrected vision. Leaving your contacts out will allow the cornea to return to its natural shape and will result in a much more precise surgical outcome.
Your Expected Outcome
Your expectations are the most important part of our discussion about LVC and your decision to have surgery. The complete evaluation is the starting point, but it is up to each individual to reach a decision about the desired outcome. For many patients, improving their distance vision is the desired outcome and they realize they might need reading glasses. For some patients, monovision is the desired outcome and the patient realizes with this strategy supplemental glasses might be required. For many patients the desired outcome can be demonstrated with contacts prior to the decision. We work with each patient to determine the treatment choice that best serves their visual needs.
Choosing the Surgeon and Laser Center
Just as it is important to have a knowledgeable optometrist care for your eyes, it is equally important that you have an experienced surgeon and a reputable laser center. I am affiliated with TLC laser centers and can review with each candidate the advantages of a TLC surgeon and surgical center.
Once all of your pre-operative testing is complete and it is determined that you are a candidate for LVC, I forward the results to the surgical center. I also explain the procedure step-by step and answer any questions that you may have prior to the procedure. I also relate to each patient my own experience with laser correction a few years ago. I have been VERY very satisfied with the results.
The post-operative outcome depends as much on the right care after the surgery as the procedure itself. After the procedure, each patient sees the surgeon for the first day post-operative evaluation. All subsequent post-op care is done in our office at one-week, one-month and three-months. At each visit the corneal health is assessed and all questions are addressed.
Your Future Eye care
Once the investment has been made, routine vision health checks are required to insure the continual health of your visual system. Vision correction surgery does not eliminate the need for regular eye care. Eye health exams and assessment of your vision and visual needs will need to be conducted on a yearly basis. Many ocular health problems do not have any visual or obvious symptoms, which is why regular exams are necessary.