- What could prevent me from being a candidate for laser vision correction?
If you are in good general health and your general eye health is good, chances are that laser vision correction may be appropriate for you. About 10 percent of people are not candidates for laser vision correction for one reason or another. Thickness of the cornea and indications of other eye disease may affect your candidacy. Also, certain illnesses that affect autoimmune function may preclude you from being a candidate for laser vision correction, but not necessarily. You cannot have laser vision correction if you are currently pregnant or nursing. You will need to wait at least three months after your pregnancy or after you stop nursing. A thorough pre-examination can determine your candidacy for laser vision correction.
- How long do I need to wait before I can return to work after laser vision correction?
After LASIK surgery, we recommend that you have at least two days to recover without straining your eyes. If you have a procedure on a Friday, you should be able to return to work Monday. After a PRK procedure you may need more time to heal before returning to work. After the CK® procedure, you probably will need only one day to recover. Please be aware that after any of these procedures, certain activities may be restricted for a period of time.
- How old do I have to be for laser vision correction?
You need to be over 18 years of age, and your glasses or contact lens prescription should not have changed in the last year. If your eye is still changing from year to year, you should not have the procedure until the cornea is stable.
- Do I have to go without my contacts before having laser vision correction?
Yes. Contact lenses change the shape of your eye, so contact lenses have to be out prior to laser vision correction. Soft contacts need to be out for one or two weeks prior to your procedure. Soft toric lenses may need to be out longer. If you are wearing hard or gas permeable contacts, it’s important that you remove them at least three weeks prior to your exam. Your doctor will advise you how long you need to be out of your contacts prior to your exam and prior to your surgery.
- Is it painful?
There is no pain during any of the laser vision correction procedures since anesthetic eye drops numb your eyes. You will be given a mild sedative on the day of the procedure, as well. After the numbing drops wear off, you will experience mild irritation. Over-the-counter pain medications usually are sufficient to ease this discomfort. After LASIK, you might experience mild irritation for a few days after your procedure. An over-the-counter pain reliever or use of artificial tears will generally take care of this discomfort. PRK and LASIK patients experience more post-operative discomfort for three to five days post surgery.
- Is laser vision correction safe?
There are possible risks with any surgical procedure. Serious complications with LASIK, PRK or CK are rare. The chance of having a vision-reducing complication from LASIK has been documented in clinical studies to be less than one percent. The quality and care of the surgical tools is also very important. Alaska LASIK and Cataract Center believes that having dedicated, on-site laser machines in a controlled operating room environment where temperature and humidity are constantly monitored, contributes to better outcomes in our patients. Many risks and complications associated with LASIK can be reduced or eliminated through careful patient diagnosis and thorough pre-operative testing.
- How long does LASIK last?
The results of LASIK are permanent and have proven to be stable over time. Most patients do not experience significant changes in their vision once the postoperative results have stabilized, although this does not affect the normal aging changes of the eye known as presbyopia.
- Will I have 20/20 vision following laser vision correction?
Our commitment to you is that we will not perform laser vision correction on you or anyone we feel does not have a good possibility of achieving independence from glasses and contacts. With surgical procedures, experience is everything. Dr. Coulter is the most experienced refractive surgeon in Alaska, having performed thousands of procedures here in our clinic. The benefit of this experience is reflected by the fact that more than 95 percent of our patients achieve 20/20 or better vision after their treatment.
- Will I be free of reading glasses forever?
For people over 40, it is unrealistic to expect that LASIK will free you from ever needing reading glasses again. Often we can reduce dependency on reading glasses by under correcting one eye. This technique is called monovision, and although quite successful, it has some unique drawbacks. Monovision can be discussed in more detail at our seminars or during your free screening examination.
- Will both eyes be corrected on the same day?
For most procedures, both eyes can be corrected on the same day. In some cases either the surgeon or patient may decide to delay surgery on the second eye. Also, some patients with small corrections may only need surgery on one eye. This will be discussed at your pre-op examination.
- How long does the procedure take?
Since both eyes are usually treated during the same appointment, you will be in the surgery room for approximately 30 minutes. Once in the laser room your eyes will be cleaned and prepared for surgery. The surgery itself usually only takes five minutes or so per eye. Your will have tests performed both before and after surgery so the total time at our clinic will be approximately three hours.
- How long will the results of the surgery last?
Laser vision correction is considered to be permanent. However, your eyes can still change as you age which may cause a need for glasses or contacts or additional vision correction procedures in the future. As people reach their early forties, they develop presbyopia and begin to need reading glasses. If you’re over 40, you may want to consider monovision.
- What does “Board Certification” mean? Is Dr. Coulter Board Certified?
Dr. Coulter is Board Certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology. Board Certification is especially desired in a refractive surgeon because it shows a deep commitment to providing the best medical care and continual effort to be aware of advances in the specialty field. Board certification is completely voluntary and extremely rigorous.
The American Board of Medical Specialties oversees the 24 approved medical specialty boards in the United States, one of which is the American Board of Ophthalmology. The goal of each of these specialty boards is to raise the level of health care by ensuring doctors are exceptionally well-trained and prepared in their specialty. For Board Certification by the American Board of Ophthalmology, doctors have to pass a series of comprehensive examinations, show they have been trained in approved residency training programs and satisfy other board requirements. Doctors who achieve certification are then called diplomates of the specialty board. Dr. Coulter is a diplomate of the American Board of Ophthalmology. Recertification is offered for qualified diplomates every seven to ten years, confirming that the doctor can still be considered exceptional in their specialty.
- Is your surgeon involved from pre-op to post-op follow-up care?
It is important for the surgeon to be involved before, during and after a procedure to ensure the quality of care you will receive. Here at Alaska Lasik and Cataract Center, Dr. Coulter sees you for every exam. This way you also have the convenience of all of your appointments taking place in the same location from pre-op, to surgery and the post-op care.
- Isn’t all laser vision correction the same?
No. Many of the discount LASIK centers want you to believe that they are local and reputable, when in fact they come to Alaska and book surgeries back to back in bulk format. It costs less, but you do not get aftercare follow up visits with your surgeon. Laser vision correction will affect the way you see for the rest of your life. You should make your decision to have laser vision very carefully.
- Am I a Candidate?
Finding out if you are truly a candidate for LASIK surgery requires a thorough, comprehensive pre-exam with Dr. Coulter, our Board Certified surgeon and medical director of the Alaska Lasik Center.
- Is LASIK Safe?
LASIK is eye surgery and even though it is quick and painless, it is not uncomplicated and it requires an experienced surgeon. Not unlike any other surgery, there are potential side effects and we encourage you to weigh all the risks before you make an informed decision about LASIK.
A number of factors are crucial to a successful LASIK surgery. It starts with a thorough preoperative exam by a board certified surgeon and well trained staff, this will determine if you are a good candidate.
The quality and care of the surgical tools is also very important. Alaska LASIK and Cataract Center believes that having dedicated, on-site laser machines in a controlled operating room environment where temperature and humidity are constantly monitored, contributes to better outcomes in our patients.
Alaska LASIK and Cataract Center also has two different excimer laser platforms so that Dr. Coulter can customize the procedure to tailor to the size, shape and depth of a patients eye to ensure the best vision possible.