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I've heard a lot of great things about LASIK. What can LASIK do for me?

Laser vision correction, or LASIK, can treat a broad range of near-sightedness, far-sightedness, and astigmatism. While laser vision correction has proven overwhelmingly successful in reducing dependence on glasses and contact lenses, the degree of improvement varies among individuals. How well and how quickly your vision improves depend on how well you heal and the strength of your optical prescription. Most laser patients with mild to moderate prescriptions do achieve 20/20 vision or are within 1 to 2 lines of 20/20 vision on an eye chart. This means they no longer need glasses or contacts to drive, play sports, watch movies and TV, or participate in careers requiring excellent vision such as police and fire service.

Am I a good candidate for LASIK?

The best way for you to determine this is with a thorough exam from your eye doctor. Appropriate candidates must be at least 18 years old, in good general health, and have good eye health with no diseases such as cataracts or glaucoma.

Will the procedure hurt?

Most patients find the procedure slightly uncomfortable. One good way to learn more about how it might feel is to talk to someone who has had the procedure, such as a friend, a relative, or a staff member at the doctor's office. For most patients, the feeling of anxiety and the fear of the unknown are worse than the actual procedure. Anesthetic drops are used to numb the eye just before surgery begins, and you may be given a mild sedative. After your procedure, your eye may feel a foreign body sensation or irritation for a few hours, but most patients are quite comfortable after taking a short nap. Your doctor will give you drops for your eyes to counteract potential dryness you may experience for several days following the surgery.

What will my recovery be like?

Most LASIK patients see quite well the day following their procedure and may be able to resume most of their normal daily activities, but patients with stronger prescriptions may recover more slowly. Although the speed of visual recovery depends on personal healing patterns, most patients notice dramatic visual results within the first few days following their procedure.

What are the risks?

There are risks with laser vision correction. However, the chance of having a vision reducing complication has been documented as minimal in a number of clinical studies. Millions of people have had excellent results from laser vision correction.

Potential complications include conditions such as dryness, complications in making the surgical flap, night glare, under or over-correction, and reduction of best-corrected vision. Proper pre-operative screening ensures that you proceed with the procedure only when it is medically advisable. Diligent post-operative care helps to identify and address any potential healing complications.

What is the difference between Conventional LASIK and CustomLASIK?

CustomLASIK uses a tool called a wavefront analyzer to measure accurately the way light travels through your eye. The resulting map of your eye is then programmed into the laser, and the laser treats your eye based upon that personalized, three-dimensional map. CustomLASIK helps to treat "higher order" aberrations, which are tiny imperfections in the eye that can have a significant impact on one's vision quality. Higher order aberrations have been linked to visual glare and halos. Higher order aberrations have not been previously treatable with contacts, glasses, or Conventional LASIK. Conventional LASIK is still a very good choice for many patients, though most will prefer the higher level of customization that CustomLASIK can provide. Ultimately, you need to discuss the options with your doctor.

Is the actual LASIK part performed the same way in CustomLASIK as it is in Conventional LASIK? Or is it a completely different procedure?

The actual LASIK procedure is performed in exactly the same way in both Conventional LASIK and CustomLASIK. The pre-operative testing for Conventional LASIK and CustomLASIK differ greatly. The wavefront analyzer used in CustomLASIK brings additional knowledge and accuracy to the surgeon.

How will I know what procedure I need to have?

Your eye care professional is the best person to tell you that. CustomLASIK is necessary for some and desirable for many. Everyone's eyes are different, and your eyes may best be treated with CustomLASIK. You should schedule a consultation with your eye doctor. Together, you can determine what is right for you.

How much does LASIK cost? Is there a price difference between Conventional and CustomLASIK?

The cost of CustomLASIK is generally greater than the cost of Conventional LASIK. CustomLASIK is performed using some of the most advanced technology in the vision industry. The procedure combines the technology of the wavefront analyzer with the precision of a computerized laser and the skill of your surgeon.

Adapted from "FAQ," TLC Laser Eye Centers, a CompBenefits partner.


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