Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Lasik Eye Surgery: Are You a Candidate?

Lasik eye surgery has been successfully performed on millions of eyes. This year alone, more than 2 million people are expected to undergo Lasik eye surgery. Don’t get too comfortable with those figures though because long-term effects will not be known for some time yet.

Although you’re sitting in a chair in a doctor’s office and conscious, Lasik eye surgery is surgery and as such, there are risks and complications to consider. In fact, not everyone is a candidate for Lasik. After you’ve been evaluated by your doctor, get a second opinion if he tells you that you are not a candidate for Lasik. If the next doctor tells you the same thing, take him seriously!

Who wouldn’t be a candidate for Lasik eye surgery? Obviously, if you’re not in good overall health, it wouldn’t be wise to sign up for any elective surgery. Diabetics, it is generally thought, would not be good candidates for Lasik eye surgery. If you’re pregnant or nursing, this is something you’ll want to put on hold.

You must be at least 18 years old and have had a steady prescription for glasses or contacts for at least the previous 2 years. In addition, your cornea, the part of the eye that is cut to make a flap so that the laser can then remove corneal tissue, needs to be a certain thickness in order for the flap to be successfully cut. If an eye doctor tells you that your cornea is too thin for Lasik eye surgery, listen to him because it could cause irreversible damage to the cornea if that small incision doesn’t go right.

Make absolutely certain you disclose all of the medications you are taking to your eye surgeon.
Finally, although not many, there are a few occupations that will pass you by if you have Lasik eye surgery. Certain jobs within the armed forces, pilots, and some jobs that require frequent immersion in water are some examples where this could be a problem. Even if you’re not currently affiliated with one of these jobs, you’ll want to think of your future.

Your vision will certainly be blurry for at least a day or two after your surgery. Some complications that can arise include continued blurry vision, halos around light and glare. You may have difficulty driving at night for some time. It could take several months for your vision to stabilize. At first, you can expect some burning, itching, and even a little pain.

Your doctor will give you some guidelines to adhere to after surgery. Follow these carefully. Don’t wear eye make-up until it is safe to do so. If you have severe pain, however, contact your doctor immediately.

As with any medical procedure, approach this with your eyes wide open, ask a lot of questions and then you will be equipped to make an informed decision about whether or not Lasik eye surgery is right for you.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Side Effects of Laser Eye Surgery

Both PRK and LASIK procedures involve a few risks. The chances of having severe vision-threatening side effects of laser eye surgery are very low. However, there have been a few cases of serious eye injury which required corneal transplant.

Infection and delayed healing

Approximately 0.1 percent of all patients suffer from corneal infection after PRK and slightly fewer after LASIK. This usually means an additional discomfort and slower healing, but no long-term effects after a period of four years.

Under correction/Overcorrection

Under correction or overcorrection is also one of the most common side effects of laser eye surgery. A surgeon cannot predict precisely how your eyes will respond to treatment. This means you might need to keep wearing corrective lenses after surgery. In some situations, you can have another surgical procedure to improve the results.

Decrease in Best-Corrected Vision

After a laser eye surgery, a few patients find that their best-corrected vision with contact lenses is worse than before. This is also one of the side effects of laser eye surgery, usually resulting from irregular tissue removal.

Excessive Corneal Haze

Corneal haze is part of the normal recovering process after a PRK procedure. It usually has no significant effect on the final vision and can be noticed only by an ophthalmologist with a microscope. However, in some cases, excessive haze can interfere with vision. The risk for having this side effect is much lower with LASIK than PRK.


This is yet another possible side effect of laser eye surgery. For some patients, the eye returns to its initial state within a few month. A new surgical procedure is usually possible in such cases.

Halo Effect

The halo effect can affect both PRK and LASIK patients and is noticed in low light. As the pupil becomes larger, a second faded image forms due to the untreated part of the cornea. This can often interfere with night driving.

Flap Damage or Loss

This side effect of laser eye surgery can only affect patients undergoing a LASIK procedure. In some cases, instead of creating a hinged flap on the center of the cornea, the entire flap tissue comes off. This can usually be replaced after the laser treatment. However, in some cases, the flap can be damaged or lost.

Distorted Flap

This side effect of laser eye surgery also affects only patients who have had a LASIK procedure. It consists of a distortion in the shape of the cornea created during the healing process, which can result in a lower best-corrected vision.

Other Side Effects of Laser Eye Surgery

Even when both the procedure and the healing process seem to go perfectly, there are some side effects that may still cause dissatisfaction. Older patients, for example, cannot have both good distance and near vision in the same eye without wearing glasses or contact lenses. Patients suffering from myopia which could still read without glasses may no longer be able to do that after surgery. If both eyes are not treated in the same time, the eyes might work awkward together in the period within the two treatments.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

How Much Does Laser Eye Surgery Cost?

Can you afford Laser eye surgery? Most insurance plans won’t cover the cost since it is an elective surgery and linked more closely with cosmetic surgery. There are exceptions, however, but in most cases insurance won’t pay.

Laser eye surgery cost analysis demonstrate a wide variety of prices and an even wider variety of what is included in the price of the surgery. For example, is the initial consultation and examination included in the price should you elect the surgery? Are post-operative visits included in the price? How many? What about the eye drops used during the surgery? Some laser surgery centers charge as much as $100 for those drops.

As far as the cost of the actual surgery itself, advertised prices are usually per eye. Since it’s really not a good idea to have surgery on both eyes at once, you will probably just be looking at the cost of one eye initially.

Beware of Laser surgery centers advertising this surgery for $299 or $399 per eye. As a matter of fact, in November of 2005 a Florida company settled a false advertising claim that was brought by the Illinois Attorney General’s office. The suit alleged that the company did not make a full disclosure of their prices. They were advertising laser eye surgery for $299 an eye but customers were paying much more.

Why does laser eye surgery cost so much? It’s not a cheap business to run. The equipment is expensive, training employees is expensive and even royalties have to be paid to manufacturers. Laser eye surgery can cost as much as $2500 an eye. Yet in the same city you can find a well qualified eye surgeon to do the same surgery for $1500. so it pays well to shop around. Don’t accept laser eye surgery cost estimates. Insist on a breakdown of every charge.

Don’t make the mistake of letting your decision be based totally on cost though. This is far too important a procedure to be based solely on money. Make sure too, that you are given a full evaluation before you agree to the surgery. This involves more than just an oral consultation. This is not something for which you can be screened online either. It’s important that the eye surgeon examine your eyes before he can make his recommendation.

There are many questions to ask yourself besides, “How much does laser eye surgery cost?” Once you investigate all the different aspects of laser eye surgery, money may be the least of your concerns!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Corrective Laser Eye Surgery

Corrective laser eye surgery has become very popular in the last couple of years and is being used on a large scale in ophthalmology to treat various eye conditions. It can be used to treat diseases such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, presbyopia and diabetic retinopathy.


Glaucoma consists of a higher intraocular pressure that causes harm to the optic nerve. There are several types of corrective laser surgery used to lower this pressure and treat glaucoma:

Trabeculoplasty – Tissue from the eye structure that determines the flow of fluid (trabecular meshwork) is ablated with the use of a laser. This procedure causes an increased outflow from the eye. It is used for patients suffering from open-angle glaucoma.
Iridotomy – The tissue from the iris is ablated using a laser. This type of corrective laser eye surgery is used to treat closed-angle glaucoma.
Cyclophotocoagulation – The ciliary tissue is ablated using a laser. Cyclophotocoagulation is used to treat patients who didn't respond to other surgical procedures.

Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is a condition consisting of an abnormal growth of blood vessels that causes vision loss, generally associated with the old age. If discovered early, it can be treated using corrective laser eye surgery. The disease will not be cured, but this type of treatment can prevent future vision loss. There are two types of treatments used for this eye condition:

Laser surgery – involves using a laser to damage new blood vessels that appear in the eye.
Therapy (PDT) – A photoactive medicine is used together with the laser treatment to damage new blood vessels. The medicine is injected into the blood and then activated through corrective laser eye surgery, proving very effective in destroying blood vessels. However, you might need several sessions to get the desired effects.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is an eye condition consisting of an abnormal growth of blood vessels, as well as damaged blood vessels. Generally, it can be prevented or at least delayed with a good diabetes treatment. However, if this disease develops, it can be treated with a certain type of corrective laser eye surgery: laser photocoagulation. This procedure works by sealing leaking blood vessels and slowing down the process of abnormal blood vessel growth.


This is also an eye condition related to age in which the eye loses its flexibility and ability to focus on close objects. The type of corrective laser eye surgery used to treat this disease is called monovision. This surgical procedure corrects one eye for close vision and another from distance vision. This type of corrective laser eye surgery is not reversible, so patients are often advised to try it out with contact lenses first to see if the eyes adjust properly.

There are other eye conditions that can be treated with corrective laser eye surgery too. For more in-depth information on what these eye diseases are what procedures can be used and whether you are a good candidate, it is best to talk to a doctor.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Laser Eye Surgery History

Radial Keratotomy

The history of laser eye surgery goes back almost 100 years. Lans, a Dutch Ophthalmology professor, explained the basic principles of keratotomy in 1898. Sato, a doctor from Japan, did some pioneering trials with corneal incisions during the '30s. However, many of his patients suffered from late corneal decomposition after the treatment.

Radial keratotomy was put in practice by Dr. Fyodorov in Russia in 1970s, to treat a case of eye trauma. He used this technique to treat a boy who suffered from corneal lacerations after breaking his glasses. After treatment, the patient's vision was better than before injury. This success determined Fyodorov to make some research on past efforts in this field. His findings caught the attention of American ophthalmologists in 1978.

Dr. Leo Bores was the one to bring the technology to the United States after visiting Dr. Fyodorov in Russia. Since then, over 2 million people received radial keratotomy only in the United States.
The discovery of certain limitations of radial keratotomy determined doctors to research alternative forms of eye surgery.

The Excimer Laser

The use of the Excimer laser was another important step in the history of laser eye surgery. Dr. Srinivasin was the first to discover its potential in interacting with biological tissue while working in the IBM research labs. Dr. Steven Trokel was the one to use it for the first time in reshaping corneal tissue. This laser device emits a cold beam that when interacting with corneal tissue, destroys carbon-carbon bonds between molecules, causing tissue ablation.

The excimer laser has been used in refractive surgery worldwide since 1987 and proved a high level of effectiveness and safety. Millions of patients suffering from various eye conditions have undergone this procedure.

Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK)

Photorefractive keratectomy was also an important progress in the history of laser eye surgery. The first PRK surgery was held in 1988 in Germany. Millions of surgeries have been performed since then all over the world.

Laser Assisted In-situ Keratomileusis (LASIK)

LASIK is a more recent discovery in the history of laser eye surgery. The surgeon uses a blade to cut a flap of the cornea and then a laser to remove tissue underneath the flap. Compared to PRK, this procedure allows the cornea to remain mostly intact. Therefore, the patients who have LASIK feel more comfortable and recover better and faster after surgery.

Surgeons have been performing LASIK for about 15 years now. The first surgery was performed in United States trials in 1991. However, the main components of this procedure have a much longer history. Ophthalmologists have been using different methods to reshape the cornea for over 50 years, creating protective layers for over 40 years and using an excimer laser since late '80s.

In 1996, the FDA approved the laser treatment for myopia up to -6.00 diopters and in 1997; this procedure was approved for treating astigmatism up to -4.00 diopters.

Recent progress in the history of laser eye surgery includes advanced procedures to overcome the risks associated with laser treatment. Current technologies such as IntraLense use an extra laser instead of a blade and provide better safety and faster recovery. Other techniques allow an advanced level of accuracy and predictability, increasing the chance for a successful procedure.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Lasik Laser Eye Surgery Information

Computer technology has been used on a large scale in medical science during latest years. Laser eye surgery has increased in popularity, while non-laser procedures have also been improved. Many people have only heard about LASIK as a refractive surgery. However, there are many various types of eye surgery to correct vision.

Laser Eye Surgery

For these procedures, the surgeon uses a laser beam for reshaping the cornea and improving the eye's ability to focus. There are many different types of laser eye surgery, such as PRK, LASIK, Intralense or LASEK.

Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK)

This laser eye surgery procedure is used for treating astigmatism, nearsightedness and farsightedness. It involves cutting a flap from the outer and middle layers of the cornea and then the use of an excimer laser to reshape tissue under this flap. This procedure usually takes about one minute per eye.

Laser Epithelial Keratomileusis (LASEK)

In LASEK eye surgery, the process is pretty much the same, except that the flap is cut only through the outer corneal layer (epithelium). It is used mostly for patients with thin corneas, for whom a LASIK procedure will be more risky. This type of eye surgery can have some side effects, such as a slightly longer healing period with more discomfort.


In this type of eye surgery, the surgeon cuts the flap using another laser instead of a microkeratome.

Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK)

This type of laser eye surgery is used to treat mild to moderate farsightedness, nearsightedness and astigmatism. The outer layer of the cornea is reshaped in order to correct vision. No flat needs to be cut in the cornea. The surgery generally lasts less than a minute.

Non-laser Eye Surgery

These types of eye surgery involve correcting vision reshaping the cornea by cutting into the outer layers of the eye or using low heat radio waves.

Astigmatic Keratotomy Incisions

This procedure is used for correcting mild astigmatism. Bulgy areas of the cornea are corrected with the use of a blade. This procedure is often performed in conjunction with other eye surgery procedures. However, it is now used less frequently than laser eye surgery.

Implantable Contact Lenses

These implantation lenses are used to treat serious farsightedness and nearsightedness. The lens is inserted behind the iris, in front of the eye's natural lens. Unlike normal contact lenses, you cannot feel them and they don't need maintenance. This type of eye surgery usually takes 6 to 20 minutes.

Intraocular Lenses (IOLs)

This procedure has been used for many decades now and the lenses are usually implanted in the eye during a cataract surgery for replacing the natural lens. Years ago, intraocular lenses could only distance vision and glasses were still required for close vision. However, the procedure has been improved and now corrects close and intermediate vision as well.

While many surgeons would always choose laser procedures and the most advanced technologies, some still advise a few patients with specific eye conditions to have a non-laser surgery instead. All eye surgeries have possible side effects and involve certain risks, so you should consult a physician to explain you the advantages and disadvantages of each procedure.