Is LASIK Right for You?
How Does LASIK Work?
The shape of your cornea — the curved, outermost layer of your eye — plays a critical role in how well you see. When formed correctly, the cornea bends or refracts light in just the right way that allows it to land properly on the retina at the back of your eye, where it is translated into a clear image. Distortions in the shape of the cornea lead to common vision problems such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism — or, more generally, what is called a “refractive error”.
LASIK reshapes the cornea using a special cutting laser to precisely change the shape of your cornea to eliminate the distortions, correct your refractive error, and give you better vision. It replaces having to wear glasses or contact lenses on a daily basis in order to see clearly.
How Successful Is LASIK in Correcting Vision?
LASIK is a quick and effective treatment for vision issues. Not everyone is eligible for LASIK, so it is important to get a consultation with a doctor who understands the procedure. If you are eligible, LASIK can improve your vision and results will show quickly.
In general, most people achieve 20/20 vision or better following LASIK surgery. Over time, you may eventually need glasses for driving at night or reading as you get older.
Ultimately, the success of your LASIK procedure depends on your refractive error and other factors. People with mild nearsightedness tend to have the most success with refractive surgery, while people with a high degree of nearsightedness or farsightedness along with astigmatism have less predictable results.
Determining If You are a Candidate for LASIK
The first step is to determine if you are a candidate for a LASIK. When you initially contact us, we will ask you a few questions that help determine if you fit the criteria for LASIK.
We will want to know if you are at least 21 years of age. We will also ask if you have diabetes, an autoimmune disorder, or suffer from an eye disease, as LASIK may not be recommended when these other conditions are present. If you are pregnant, we will schedule you to come in for your free LASIK screening* sometime after your baby has arrived.
At this point, we will schedule you to visit the Stephenson Refractive Surgery Center for a free LASIK screening.* During this screening, our expert staff will gather a more in-depth health history and check your current vision prescription to see if it lands within the range of refractive error that LASIK can correct. In addition, we will conduct corneal topography — the mapping of the surface of the cornea — to determine if there is any evidence of disease, deformation, or scarring that might indicate LASIK will not work for you.
Your LASIK Consultation with the Surgeon
If the free LASIK screening* shows you are a candidate for LASIK, your next step will be to set an appointment for a LASIK consultation. As part of the Dean McGee difference, this consultation will be with the actual surgeon who will perform your surgery. This gives you the chance to know the person to whom you are entrusting your vision, and also allows the surgeon to know you and your individual vision needs in order to ensure you the best outcome possible.
During this consultation, the surgeon’s top priority is to make sure your eyes are healthy enough for LASIK. Your surgeon will perform a comprehensive eye exam to assess your vision and the probability of success with LASIK. The surgeon will also happily answer all your questions.
During your consultation, we will also acquire computer mapping of your visual error using the iDESIGN technology — the first step in the LASIK process — that allows your surgeon to provide you with a custom, personalized LASIK plan for no additional fee.
Once your surgeon has cleared you, you are ready to schedule your LASIK surgery and #SeeGlassesFree!
*Before a patient age 50 or older can be screened for LASIK, the patient will be required to undergo a cataract evaluation for which there is a charge. The cataract evaluation is not included in the free LASIK screening.
Learn what to expect on the day of your surgery and start the process by calling 405.271.2500 to schedule your free LASIK screening.*
What Does LASIK Eye Surgery Involve?
Before surgery, your doctor will discuss the risks and benefits of LASIK surgery, what to expect before and after surgery, and any questions you may have. If you wear contacts, you may be asked to stop wearing them prior to the surgery, but your surgeon will provide guidelines on how and when to stop wearing contacts.
LASIK surgery at the Stephenson Refractive Surgery Center at the Dean McGee Eye Institute involves three steps:
We will create your personalized vision profile using iDESIGN technology. This high-definition sensor uses more than 1,200 data points to render a 3D map of your cornea. It also measures the refractive error 20 times more accurately than a standard refraction, which gives a superior outcome. Your surgeon then uses this information to create a custom LASIK treatment plan for you — all at no additional charge.
We make your personalized LASIK flap using our state-of-the-art, ultrafast femtosecond laser. This laser uses tiny, precise pulses of light to create your unique flap — a thin layer of tissue that is folded back to reveal the corneal tissue underneath.
Guided by the iDESIGN technology, we will deliver your personalized vision correction using a second type of laser, called an excimer laser, to gently reshape the cornea and smooth out any distortions to eliminate your refractive error. When finished, your surgeon will reposition the LASIK flap and your procedure is complete all in a matter of minutes.
Why You Might Need LASIK
If you are considering LASIK surgery, you probably already wear glasses or contact lenses. LASIK can surgically correct the refractive errors that are typically improved with glasses and lenses. Refractive errors LASIK surgery can correct include:
- Nearsightedness: A condition where you can see objects up close clearly, but objects far away are blurry. This happens when the focal point of an image is in front of the retina instead of on it. A longer-than-normal eyeball, from front to back, typically causes this issue.
- Farsightedness: A condition where you can see objects at a distance clearly, but objects up close are blurry. In this scenario, your eyeball is too short from front to back, creating a focal point that is behind the retina.
- Astigmatism: A condition where the cornea is not smooth and curved equally in all directions as it should be. This abnormal curvature makes light focus on two different places in the eye, causing objects at all distances to appear blurry.
Things to Consider Before Getting LASIK
LASIK is a surgery that can change your vision and your life, so it is important to ask questions and be educated about the process. At DMEI, we encourage everyone to ask their surgeon about the procedure, what they can expect, how to prepare for LASIK, and what to expect during recovery. There are no such things as stupid questions, so feel comfortable knowing that your DMEI surgeon is here to answer any question you may have.
In addition to asking any questions you may have up front, it is also important to consider your overall health as well as the health of your eyes before getting LASIK. Keep the following in mind before starting the LASIK process. Our expert staff can also help you determine if you are healthy enough to undergo LASIK surgery during your free screening* and the consultation with your surgeon.
Are You Healthy?
Like every surgery, being healthy is important to the success and outcome of any procedure. Certain illnesses and diseases may prevent your body from healing, so it is vital to disclose any conditions you may have with your doctor.
Certain conditions may prevent you from being a good candidate for LASIK, including:
- Autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis or lupus
- Chronic pain disorders, such as migraines, fibromyalgia, or irritable bowel syndrome
- Rheumatoid arthritis
When the body is fighting against a disorder, it has a harder time healing. People with disorders such as diabetes may need to be more careful as the condition does pose more complex issues during LASIK. However, the procedure is considered safe for those with diabetes as long as their blood sugar is well-managed and they do not have severe diabetic retinopathy.
Women who are pregnant should also be careful when considering LASIK due to hormonal changes in the body which may affect vision. Most experts agree that pregnant women should wait until they are no longer pregnant or nursing to be evaluated for a LASIK procedure.
Are Your Eyes Healthy?
Your eyes should be generally healthy in order to qualify for laser eye surgery. Conditions such as eye infections, severe dry eye, or conjunctivitis (pink eye) may delay the LASIK procedure until your eyes have healed.
Talk with your doctor if you suffer from chronic dry eye issues. Your doctor may prescribe treatments for your dry eye that will help your eyes become healthy enough for LASIK.
Benefits of LASIK
Imagine not having to wear glasses or contacts. Imagine the feeling of freedom in knowing your vision is the best it can be. Imagine the money you will save in prescription eyewear, contact products, and more.
LASIK can correct a wide range of refractive errors, including nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. It does this by reshaping the cornea with a laser so light can pass through the lens of your eye in an optimal way, giving you clear vision.
In most cases, the results are immediate with significantly improved vision the day after surgery. Most patients can also resume normal activities as soon as the day after surgery with no pain or discomfort.
Improved self-confidence is another benefit of LASIK. You will also feel more comfortable, active, and spontaneous, and you will never miss constantly looking for or cleaning your glasses.
Whatever your prescription, you owe it to yourself to come in for a free LASIK screening* to see if LASIK is right for you. Now more than ever, there is a great chance LASIK can help you.
Our Surgeons are experts in the field of eye health and LASIK procedures, and the Dean McGee Eye Institute is one of the top eye institutes in the nation. Our surgeons pioneered the LASIK procedure more than 20 years ago when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first approved the procedure. Our surgeons — David W. Jackson, MD; Kamran M. Riaz, MD; and Aman Mittal, MD — remain at the forefront today, using the most advanced and proven technology available.
LASIK is one of the safest, most studied, and most common procedures for vision correction. While any surgery carries some risk, LASIK is widely considered to have a low rate of complications and a high rate of safety. Side effects like dry eye or glares can occur, but are almost always temporary and resolve in a few weeks.
The Stephenson Refractive Surgery Center team at the Dean McGee Eye Institute is here to answer all your questions and help you feel comfortable with your decision to have LASIK surgery.
More than 45 million Americans wear contacts or glasses, which adds up to $22.8 billion annually for the eye industry. The average eyeglass wearer buys new glasses every one to two years, spending $200 to $600 per pair. People who need to have more than one pair of glasses, such as readers or prescription sunglasses, shell out even more money.
Contact lenses are even more expensive than glasses with the average person spending $250 annually. In addition to the cost of contacts, you will have to spend money on cleaning solution, contact lens cases, and more. Prescriptions and annual eye doctor visits are additional costs, not to mention the added expense of being fitted for contact lens.
While LASIK may seem expensive on the surface, you will be pleasantly surprised by how much money you will save in the long run compared to a lifetime of spending on glasses and contacts.
When it comes down to it, LASIK is an investment in your health and quality of life.
When was the last time you had 20/20 vision? Do you remember the freedom of being able to see clearly without the need for glasses or contacts?
Having LASIK does not just improve your eye health and vision, it improves nearly every aspect of your daily life. According to a report from the FDA, more than 95% of participants were satisfied with their vision following LASIK surgery, and many have reported improvements to their overall quality of life.
Having 20/20 vision can make athletic activity easier without the inconvenience of glasses and contacts, but you do not have to be an athlete to reap the benefits. LASIK can help you enjoy an active lifestyle, making activities like hiking, swimming, traveling, jogging, camping, and dancing easier when you do not have to worry about losing glasses or disinfecting lenses.
Vacations are also easier and more enjoyable after LASIK. You will never have to worry about forgetting your cleaning solution or losing your glasses overboard when you travel again. Plus, you can wear normal sunglasses instead of expensive prescription lens on the beach.
Self-confidence also gets a boost from improved vision. You will never have to feel self-conscious again because of your large frames or struggle to constantly push your glasses up when they slip down your nose. Your improved vision can give you a newfound confidence you never thought was possible.