If you live in Tampa, Sebring or the surrounding area, consider a call to Newsom Eye, led by board-certified ophthalmologist T. Hunter Newsom, M.D., to learn more about LASIK and other laser vision correction procedures that are offered at our Florida practice.
Q: Is “laser vision correction” the same as LASIK?
A: LASIK is one of multiple vision correction options that we provide at Newsom Eye. For patients that aren’t a good candidate for LASIK, we offer multiple options that might be suitable for your unique vision.
Q: How long has LASIK been available?
A: LASIK surgery was approved by the FDA in 1995. Because the United States’ FDA approval process requires a series of comprehensive five-year scientific and clinical studies, excimer laser technology was first made available to patients outside the United States, even though the technology was originally developed within the United States. Most patients who received LASIK during the trial period were residents of other countries.
Q: Why is wavefront driven technology so important to LASIK?
A: In the past, LASIK correction was a one-size-fits-all procedure, allowing for very little individualized correction of problems beyond myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. If a patient was -2.00, they would get the exact same treatment as another patient with -2.00. As LASIK has advanced, wavefront technology measures your individual vision, similar to a fingerprint, allowing Dr. Newsom to customize your treatment based on your visions unique characteristics.
Q: What is 20/20?
A: 20/20 is the standard measurement for excellent vision, however does not mean “perfect” vision. It means if you take a normal person, with normal vision, they see 20/20. If someone sees 20/400 for example (really bad vision) it means what a normal person sees at 400 feet away, someone with 20/400 vision would have to be a 20 feet away to read the same thing. If someone at 20/15 vision (really good vision) it means what a normal person sees at 15 feet away, a person with 20/15 vision can read it from 20 feet away. The majority of patients that undergo LASIK at Newsom Eye see 20/20 or better.
Q: How can LASIK help my vision?
A: For patients who are nearsighted, farsighted, or have astigmatism, LASIK may significantly improve your vision. For patients suffering from nearsightedness (myopia), the goal is to flatten the cornea, while for those with farsightedness (hyperopia), the goal is to add more curve to the cornea. Astigmatism is also corrected by reshaping an irregular cornea into a more normal shape.
Q: Can everyone have LASIK?
A: Although most people are good candidates for LASIK, roughly 15 percent do not qualify for LASIK, either because of their medical history, eye health, the thickness of their corneas, or the severity of their eye correction.
Q: Who’s a good candidate for LASIK?
A: To qualify for LASIK surgery an individual must be at least 18 years of age, not pregnant, have reached a point of stable vision with no significant prescription changes in one year and have a prescription within a correctable range. During your initial evaluation at our practice, our doctors will do a series of eye tests to determine if LASIK is for you.
Q: Can both eyes be done the same day?
A: Absolutely. For LASIK and PRK, we perform both eyes on the same day.
Q: Is LASIK safe?
A: LASIK is one of the most widely performed elective procedures performed in the U.S. today. It is so precise and safe that the U.S. military and NASA now allows it for its pilots and astronauts.
Q: Will I need to remove my contacts before my exam?
A: Patients who currently wear contact lenses must discontinue their use for a specified time period before LASIK can be performed. Wearing contact lenses can change the shape of your cornea. Discontinuing their use over a specified time period allows the cornea to return to its natural shape. This is extremely important in order for proper measurements to be obtained. The length of time you must be out of your contacts depends on what type of contact you are wearing and how long throughout your life you have worn them.
Q: How long will my procedure take?
A: LASIK takes only minutes to complete. Most patients are in and out of our laser suite within 10 minutes, with the actual surgery only lasting 1-2 minutes.
Q: Is there any pain involved with LASIK?
A: Laser eye surgery is virtually painless. Topical anesthetic eyedrops will be administered just prior to the laser treatment to prevent any possibility of discomfort and to keep you relaxed. Most patients report no pain whatsoever, though some report a slight pressure as the flap is being created and/or as the eyelids are opened by an eyelid speculum.
Following the procedure, some patients report mild symptoms such as itchy, gritty, burning or watery eyes. These are temporary symptoms and will resolve themselves quickly in 1-2 hours.
Q: What if I sneeze during surgery?
A: There is no need for concern over this because if you sneeze during the procedure, the state-of-the-art eye tracker will immediately stop the laser. Once the eye is repositioned, the laser will restart and continue the procedure.
Q: What keeps my eyes from closing and from drying out during the procedure?
A: During the LASIK procedure, a special device is used to gently and comfortably hold the eyelids open, temporarily rendering the patient unable to blink. The eye will not dry out because it is irrigated with a soothing, balanced salt solution.
Q: Does Insurance Cover LASIK?
A: Because it is considered an elective surgery, most insurance companies do not cover LASIK.