What to Expect
At the Alaska Lasik Center, we offer several educational opportunities for our patients so that they can make an informed decision as to whether laser vision correction is appropriate for them. You will also receive an abundance of information from the moment you contact our office.
The free consultation is a learning opportunity for potential patients. You will be seen by one of our certified ophthalmic assistants who will be happy to explain the procedures and answer any questions you may have. The free consultation will be able to tell you which procedures you may be a candidate for, but we cannot tell whether or not you will be a good candidate for laser vision correction until you have a comprehensive Pre-Examination with our surgeon, Dr. Coulter. Simply click here to contact us and indicate you would like a free consultation OR CALL Toll Free: 866-569-1551 Local: 907-569-1551 to set up an appointment!
If you are considering laser vision correction, the first step is scheduling a pre-examination to evaluate your candidacy for refractive surgery.
Pre-exams are done on weekdays Monday-Friday. The pre-examination is performed by our surgeon, Dr. Coulter, who is assisted by our Certified Ophthalmic Assistants. The pre-examination involves a complete eye examination with dilation drops, auto-refraction, glasses testing (please bring them), eye laser scanning, manual manifest refraction and numerous other studies. This will be a little longer than most eye exams you may have had in the past (usually 1 1/2 to 2 hours). We recommend arranging transportation because after dilation your near vision will be blurry and your eyes will be sensitive to light. The pre-examination will tell you with a certainty whether you are a good candidate for laser vision correction and which procedure would best suit your eyecare needs.
Scheduling a pre-examination does not oblige you to have surgery. Our philosophy encompasses the belief that laser vision correction is not for everyone. At no time will anyone pressure a patient into any form of surgery. This needs to be a comfortable evaluation and exchange between our clinical team and you. You will have ample opportunity to discuss your options and ask questions during the examination process with the surgeon.
If you wish, you can obtain a prescription from this exam. You have three months after the exam to decide whether laser vision correction is right for you and proceed with surgery. After three months we would have to re-examine you before being able to proceed with laser vision correction.
Oftentimes, at the time you schedule for your pre-examination, we will ask you if you would like to set up a tentative surgery date. This is simply for convenience in scheduling. You may schedule your procedure at any time before or after your pre-examination. We perform procedures every Thursday and Friday in order to offer the most flexibility to patients. All procedures are performed here in our office’s state-of-the-art operating room for your convenience. Post-operative examinations generally occur the day after surgery, a week month and three months surgery. Dr. Coulter personally performs all examinations, ensuring best possible outcomes!
If you are a candidate for laser vision correction and you choose to proceed, please keep in mind that if you wear contact lenses, they will need to be out for a certain period of time prior to your surgical procedure. It helps to have them out prior to the pre-examination, but is not necessary. Soft contacts and soft-toric lenses need to be out for two weeks and hard lenses must be out for at least four weeks before surgery.
Please arrange transportation for the day of surgery and for your 24 hour post-operative appointment following the day of surgery. You will receive a prescription for an antibiotic drop at your pre-operative examination. You must use one drop in each eye the night before and the morning of your surgery.
On the day of your surgery your face and body should be clean and dry. Absolutely no make up, perfume, cologne, hair spray, deodorant, etc. We also recommend avoiding alcohol and caffeinated beverages for 24 hours prior to and 48 hours following your surgery, as this tends to dehydrate the tissues and can delay the healing process.
Wear comfortable clothing on your surgery day. Avoid clothing, such as wool, that may generate lint in the surgical suite. In consideration of others, and to ensure that your visit is as comfortable as possible, please do not bring young children with you on your surgery day.
Lastly, depending on your occupation, you may need to arrange to be away from work for up to four days following your surgery.
The procedure is performed on an outpatient basis at the clinic on Thursdays and Fridays. On the day of your surgery you can expect to be here about two hours. You will go through a counseling session with our surgical counselor, during which you will sign consent forms and receive instructions for your post-operative care. Your eyes will be checked one more time prior to the procedure. You will be offered a mild sedative, such as Valium or Ativan, to help you relax during the procedure. The next step is surgery, which generally requires 20 minutes of operating room time, during which the laser is usually used for seconds on each eye. The actual duration of the procedure may vary according to the type and amount of correction needed.
Before the procedure begins, you will be given eye drops to numb your eyes. While you relax on the treatment bed, your eyelids are gently held open with a gentle soft silicone ring. You will be asked to focus on a special fixation light in a microscope. In a few seconds an infrared femtosecond laser and not a blade will create a thin membrane of 100 microns to save the most critical top layer of the cornea. A second laser will then reshape your corneal contour in approximately 30 seconds or less for most patients. After the procedure we ask you to stay and rest for 10 minutes to be sure you are feeling okay before going home.
The LASIK procedure offers extremely fast recovery. We ask you to go home and rest after surgery. Most patients start to experience slight discomfort when the numbing drops wear off. It helps if you can sleep or at least keep your eyes closed. Most patients are able to resume most day-to-day activities just 24 hours after the surgery. Your first follow-up exam is normally the morning after surgery. Please arrange transportation for this appointment as it is illegal for you to drive until your vision is confirmed. Most patients are approved to drive at the one-day follow-up exam. Your surgeon may prescribe eye drops for one or two weeks after surgery. You must also wear eye shields at night to prevent rubbing your eyes for the first week.
Please keep in mind that you should not drive for at least 24 hours after the procedure and in no event should you drive until your vision is clear.
4. After the Procedure
Your follow-up care is as important as the actual procedure. Please remember to schedule and attend all of your follow-up appointments.
During the counseling session on surgery day we give you a bag with safety-sunglasses, eyeshields for nighttime eye protection, anti-inflammatory eye drops, and a sheet with post-operative instructions for your drops and activities. Please wear the sunglasses we provide you, as most other varieties do not provide adequate protection. Follow the eye drop regimen recommended by the surgeon. Your first mandatory post-operative appointment will take place at the clinic within 24 hours following your surgery. Your appointment time will be given to you during the counseling session prior to surgery, but usually occurs the morning after surgery, bright and early.
You are required to attend three additional post-operative appointments (five for PRK). Post-operative examinations for LASIK are required at approximately one week, one month, and three months from the date of surgery. Each post-operative appointment takes approximately 15 to 30 minutes and are usually scheduled on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. It helps us evaluate and monitor the healing process of your eyes and guards against infection.
You will not be able to perform certain activities for up to three months after surgery. You will be given an activity schedule on the day of surgery. You will need to strictly adhere to this schedule.