Glaucoma is an eye disease that may cause loss of vision when the pressure within the eye becomes too high and damages the nerve fiber layers that surround the optic nerve. Often called the “silent thief of sight”, glaucoma can have no noticeable symptoms until 80% of your vision is lost. At Family Eye Care Dr Kvitle manages glaucoma with various medications and if surgery is required he makes the appropriate referrals to a Glaucoma Specialist for treatment
Thinking about laser vision correction?
Frequently Asked Questions
About Laser Vision Correction
How do laser vision correcting procedures work?
Laser vision correction procedures encompasses a variety of options that actually modify the cornea or the front surface of the eye. The latest technology involves a quick, painless and very accurate laser.
What is RK?
Radial keratotomy, RK, is the practice of using a scalpel to make six to eight radial incisions in the cornea to flatten it and help the nearsighted see distances better. Although, this technology is rarely done anymore.
What is PRK?
Photorefractive keratectomy, PRK, is surgery that uses a laser beam to sculpt a thin layer of the surface of the cornea to the individual's refractive needs. The surgeon reshapes the surface layer by scraping away the outer surface of the cornea and then reshapes it's underlying tissues with a cool ultraviolet beam. Depending upon the severity of a patient's nearsightedness, this process can remove anywhere from 5% to 30% of the tissue's thickness.
What is LASIK?
Laser-assisted intrastomal keratomileusis, LASIK, is the most popular procedure at this time. It is a quick and painless procedure involving a reshaping of the eye's inner corneal layer with laser technology. The surgeon uses an instrument called a microkeratome to create what is known as a corneal flap. Once this flap has been created and folded back, a laser is then used to reshape the cornea and improve the patient's vision of distance. With the reshaping completed, the flap is returned and a natural process of healing begins.
Who is a good candidate for vision correcting procedures?
Vision correcting procedures cannot be performed before puberty. This is because the lens does not attain its final shape and stabilize itself until the approximately ages of 18-21. Refractive surgery should not be performed until the eye is stable. In most cases, anyone between 18 and 70 can generally have vision correction procedures done in order to treat both nearsightedness and an astigmatism.
To determine if you are a good candidate you should start by scheduling an exam with your primary eye care doctor. Only a comprehensive consultation with your doctor can accurately determine if you are eligible for a vision correcting procedure. The ideal candidate is at least 18 years of age, has not had a significant prescription change in the last year and free from ocular diseases such as cataracts or glaucoma.
Can my vision be perfect with laser vision correction?
Your level of success with LVC depends upon individual vision conditions, the expertise of the laser surgeon, and the type of follow-up care program. Each individual is a little different, and so are their corrective needs.
Assuming you are the right type of patient for this procedure, the results of this technology are very good. Most patients will have 20/40 vision or better without glasses or contact lenses. Refractive surgery is not a guarantee and some patients may still need corrective lenses to perform certain tasks. Removal of the cataract and intraocular implants can be used to correct for distance vision when cataracts are present. Laser vision correction could be used to correct refractive error following cataract removal if necessary.
Can vision correcting procedures be used for treating cataracts?
Laser vision correcting procedures such as LASIK cannot treat cataracts. Typically patients with cataracts suffer from continually worsening vision. Therefore, the real refractive power of the eye cannot be determined, making it inadvisable for them to undergo laser vision correction. Removal of the cataract and intraocular implants can be used to correct for distance vision when cataracts are present. Laser vision correction could be used to correct refractive error following cataract removal if necessary.
How much do laser vision correcting procedures cost?
The cost of the procedure depends upon several variances. Only after the patient's medical history and current information are clearly understood are we able to recommend which type of laser procedure will be best for you. Type of procedure, latest in laser equipment technology and the skill of the surgeon are all factors that determine the cost. Thus, we do not recommend you shop around for the lowest price. Considering these factors laser surgery can cost between $2500 to $3500 per eye.
How long does the procedure take?
The procedure is a very short process. LASIK patients are typically in the laser room for
20-30 minutes. Once the preparation steps have been administered, the actual laser treatment time is typically less than one minute per eye. Total time spent in the laser center on the day of the procedure is performed is usually less than two hours.
Will I feel any pain during the procedure?
Vision correcting procedures are performed on an outpatient basis requiring only topical anesthesia (eyedrops). Some surgeons will administer low doses of medications to relax the patient, yet the individual will be awake and comfortable during the entire procedure.
Can I wear my contact lenses right up to the procedure?
Soft contacts cannot be worn for at least 72 hours before the procedure. Hard or gas permeable lenses cannot be worn four to eight weeks prior to the surgery. Glasses, however, can be worn at any time prior before procedure.
When can I return to work?
This also depends on the patient and the procedure performed. Some doctors recommend you to stay home for a week; others permit you to return to work within two days following the operation. LASIK has the quickest recovery time.
Will I ever have to wear my glasses again?
You will probably need to wear reading glasses as you get older. This is caused by condition called presbyopia in which the lens of the eye begins to lose flexibility making it difficult to read. This typically occurs between the ages of 40 to 50.
What will my recovery be like?
Are there any side effects to vision correcting procedures?
Temporary side effects include a difference in power or image size between the two eyes, double or hazy vision, increased sensitivity to light and halos around lights. For a few hours following the surgery, the patient may experience a sensation similar to that of having an eyelash in their eye.
As with any surgical procedure, there is a degree of risk involved with refractive surgeries. Risks include the possibility of decreased vision loss due to under-correction, over-correction, infection, discomfort, night glare, flap complications, or healing haze. Studies presented by laser manufacturers and reviewed by the FDA show that 94% of patients with mild to moderate myopia, who have undergone laser vision correction, have achieved 20/40 distance vision or better (sufficient to qualify for a drivers license in most areas) with one treatment.
Can I be treated again if I remain nearsighted after the procedure?
Doctors have been utilizing enhancement procedures to refine laser vision correction for quite some time. Typically, patients need to wait six months for the eye to completely heal and the refraction is stable prior to undergoing the enhancement procedure. Additional fees are usually not charged for enhancements.
Dr. Kvitle refers his patients to ophthalmologist Dr. Joe Gira for all his LASIK procedures. Please click on the link for further details