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Can Lasik Correct Astigmatism?

The “perfect” eyeball would be a smooth sphere with optical lenses that function at their best. But in the real world, this rarely happens. Usually, eyes are not shaped perfectly and visual acuity is therefore compromised. When you have astigmatism, the eye is elliptical – similar to a football shape. As a result of this asymmetry, light rays traveling through it scatter, and vision is blurred.

Astigmatism is a common vision condition. By definition, it is simply a refractive error like nearsightedness and farsightedness. Just like those vision conditions, astigmatism can be corrected with prescription eyeglasses, contact lenses and LASIK. At our eye care clinic, we perform comprehensive eye exams to determine your candidacy for laser surgery. Book a consultation with our optometrist about LASIK.

How can LASIK help?

If you have only a mild astigmatism, laser correction surgery may not be required. But if astigmatism is disturbing your vision, LASIK can be an option.

During this procedure, your eye surgeon will use a laser to reshape your cornea so it is more spherical and can focus light properly. LASIK thereby improves vision across your entire visual field, and not just the part of your view affected by prescription eyewear.

How successful is LASIK for correcting astigmatism?

LASIK for astigmatism can be an excellent solution when compared to alternatives, such as glasses or contact lenses. That’s because eyeglasses and contacts work by cancelling out the visual distortion, whereas LASIK totally changes and corrects the irregularity in your cornea. For many people, the procedure is transformative to their lives.

The success rate of LASIK for astigmatism is associated strongly with the vision prescription of the patient and the unique shape of the eye. Official reports state that LASIK is most suitable for people with a prescription of up to four cylinders of astigmatism. Also, if you only have a tiny amount of astigmatism, such as 0.5 diopter, LASIK may not provide a significant benefit. Therefore, the success rate of LASIK for astigmatism varies, which is why you need an experienced eye doctor to assess your eyes and vision to determine your candidacy.

Our LASIK optometrists offer specialized consultations and eye exams.

Is LASIK affordable?

Even if you have an extreme vision prescription, LASIK is still regarded as an elective treatment by most insurance policies, so it isn’t covered by their basic plans. However, significant savings are frequently offered by various insurance plans. Our staff is knowledgeable about ways to make LASIK affordable, and we’re happy to share the info!

To discuss LASIK and other vision correction procedures, contact us for an appointment.

At Sullivan Ostoich Eye Center, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 847-776-8900 or book an appointment online to see one of our Hoffman Estates eye doctors.

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The Advantages of LASIK

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Why is this Laser Surgery So Popular?

LASIK was approved by the FDA in the mid-1990s, and it has continued to rise in popularity ever since. By 2006, the American Academy of Ophthalmology completed a 10-year study and concluded that LASIK eye surgery was both effective and safe. At this point, millions of people have had LASIK performed in order to remove their eyeglasses and contact lenses forever, and clinical data supports the fact that LASIK results are mainly positive and successful. As many sports stars and fashionable celebs rave about their LASIK experiences to the public, it has became even more trendy.

At Sullivan Ostoich Eye Center, we offer full pre-operative consultations and post-operative eye care for LASIK. We’re here to answer all your questions about LASIK, determine your candidacy and explain the many advantages of this amazing, popular laser surgery. For more information, contact us in our Hoffman Estates clinic, serving the surrounding Northwest suburbs of Chicago.

What does LASIK correct?

LASIK can effectively resolve myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism.

How is LASIK performed?

This eye surgery begins by using a laser to make a thin corneal flap, which is laid back. Your surgeon then reshapes the revealed inner part of the cornea with a laser, removing the necessary amount of corneal tissue – as related to your personal visual requirements. After this part of the procedure, the flap is replaced in position and eye drops are inserted.eye-surgery-hoffman-estates-il

What is the attraction of LASIK?

Simply put, people are excited about the opportunity to see clearly without eyewear. Along with this motivation, the most attractive features and advantages of LASIK include:

  • Immediate Results: LASIK is done by reshaping your cornea beneath a thin corneal flap. This flap allows your corneal surface to remain intact, which lets you see well and comfortably as soon as the next day – without wearing glasses or contacts. Many patients report improvement as soon as they sit up from the surgery.
  • Quick and safe: LASIK is typically completed within 10-15 minutes
  • New activities and career options: specific careers, such as the Navy and Air Force, require candidates with proper vision. In addition, activities such as cycling, swimming and skydiving are much easier to do without corrective eyewear.
  • Painless: very little discomfort is usually experienced with LASIK
  • Rapid recovery: no stitches or bandages are generally required, and healing is fast – as only the inner part of the cornea was affected
  • Future adjustments: if your vision changes again after LASIK was performed, adjustments can be made years laterAppointment Lasik

In addition to all of the above advantages, a number of unexpected fringe benefits have also been reported by patients who had LASIK. For example, many individuals are pleased to enjoy sharp peripheral vision for the first time, as their eyeglasses never helped when looking sideways. Other people claim that their allergy symptoms were reduced, with less sinus pain caused by eyeglasses resting on their nose.

Everyone is a unique individual with different eyes – and the particular benefits of LASIK vary from person to person, yet the advantages are clear across the board! If you’re interested in LASIK, it’s important to choose an expert, qualified surgeon and to be assessed for appropriate candidacy for the procedure. Our optometrists are experienced in performing eye exams to determine who is a good candidate for LASIK. Contact us in our Hoffman Estates, IL, office to schedule an appointment!

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

Q: “Is laser vision correction covered by my insurance?”
A: Most policies do not cover Laser Vision Correction. Flexible spending plans may be used to pay for LASIK. We also provide patient financing plans.

Q: Will I need to take time off from work?
A: Do not plan to return to work the day of the procedure. Any additional time off would depend on the type of laser vision correction. Most LASIK patients are able to return to work the day after surgery.

Q Does laser vision correction hurt?
A: The cornea will be numbed with eye drops during the procedure. Most patients feel little to no discomfort both during and after LASIK.

Q: Will both of my eyes be done at the same time?
A: In most cases both eyes are are done on the same day. This will avoid a period of imbalance that occurs if one eye still needs correction while the other one doesn’t.

Q: Is laser vision correction permanent?
A: Yes, a permanent change to the shape of the cornea will occur. Laser vision correction will not prevent or be able to prevent conditions that come with age like the need for reading glasses (presbyopia) or cataracts.

Custom LASIK in Hoffman Estates

Wavefront Technology is the scientific base for Customized LASIK laser vision correction currently being performed today. Wavefront Technology has improved the visual outcomes of patients and provided significant advantages over conventional LASIK.

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Wavefront Technology in Hoffman Estates

The VISX® WavePrint™ system is both a diagnostic and treatment approach that allows the doctor to take very precise measurement of the patient’s eyes. This is similar to a fingerprint of your vision. Just like a fingerprint no two corneal maps are the same. In the system’s diagnostic phase, a device called the WaveScan makes a WavePrint Map, a detailed map of the patient’s vision. In the treatment phase, the laser uses the information from the WavePrint Map to perform the vision correction.

Clinical Study Results

VISX's FDA clinical study results were remarkable. Among other things:

  • At one year after the VISX CustomVue procedure;
  • 100% of the clinical study participants could pass a driving test without glasses or contacts
  • 98% of the clinical study participants could see 20/20 or better without glasses or contacts
  • 70% of the clinical study participants could see 20/16 or better without glasses or contacts
  • Four times as many clinical study participants were very satisfied with their night vision after the VISX CustomVue procedure, compared to their night vision before with glasses or contacts.

History

Wavefront technology was first developed in 1978 by Josef Bille, Ph.D., director of the Institute for Applied Physics at the University of Heidelberg, to measure wavefront distortions that occurred when light traveling through the atmosphere entered a telescopic lens. This technology removed any visual distortion or aberrations from the atmosphere allowing astrophysicists to more accurately view images of the stars and planets.

It is now possible to utilize this technology to record detailed information about the visual characteristics of the eye. Unlike standard measuring devices such as corneal topography, which measure the front surface of the eye called the cornea, the wavefront scans the way the entire optical system processes light.

“Fingerprint” of the EyeWavefront analysis works by measuring the distortion or irregularities of the eye, known as higher-order aberrations. When a ray of light first enters the eye, it passes through the cornea to the lens and vitreous, ultimately reaching the retina. As it bounces off the retina and returns back through the cornea, the wavefront analysis detects and documents these distortions, which are unique to each individual. Because each patient has a unique visual optical system, the wavefront data has been likened to a fingerprint.

Custom LASIK

Once the wavefront data has been documented for an individual patient, the next step is to use this information to utilize the excimer laser to correct the higher-order visual aberrations. The surgeon can then determine what adjustments must be made to the corneal surface to produce a clear, crisp image for the unique individual needs of each patient. The use of wavefront technology to provide a more precise laser vision correction is known as, "Custom LASIK" or "Wavefront-Driven LASIK". Early data suggests that the 5-10 percent of patients who demonstrate higher-order aberrations are the patients that will significantly benefit from Custom LASIK treatments.

Custom Lasik is particulary helpful for patients with significant astigmatism or large pupils. Other patients may benefit from Custom LASIK to a smaller degree.

Laser Eye, Optometrist in Hoffman Estates, IL

Are You A Candidate?

Not everyone is a candidate for the LASIK procedure. Each individual person has extremely unique eyes. No 2 cornea maps are the same just like with a Fingerprint or DNA sample. This is why a pre-operative exam is absolutely necessary. Before LASIK is performed you will be required to undergo a series of diagnostic tests to determine the stability of your vision. After a thorough evaluation of your cornea, the doctors will be able to determine if you are a candidate. This thorough diagnostic evaluation is the first step in creating a positive outcome for your best possible visual outcome or personal best vision.

Expectations

Your decision to have LASIK laser vision correction is a serious decision. Ultimately, you will be the one to make the final decision. When electing a LASIK surgeon it is important to select a surgeon that can understand your visual needs and explain the potential of the laser. In 98% of LASIK cases the visual outcome is 20/40 or better, however, this is a surgical procedure and risk is still involved. This is why selecting a surgeon with a vast amount experience is important. The ultimate goal of LASIK is to reduce your dependence on glasses and contact lenses. LASIK does not always create perfect 20/20 vision, though the vast majority of cases are successful in improving vision. Ask the right questions before selecting your surgeon. Make sure that your surgeon of choice has the right answers, the best technology and the experience under his belt to ensure a safe and effective procedure. It is possible that this is one of the most important decisions that you will ever make. This is your eyes and your life.

Woman with laser pointing to the eyes, Eye Doctor in Hoffman Estates, IL
Woman eye with advanced technology, Eye Doctor in Hoffman Estates, IL
Woman filling the insurance form, Optometrist in Hoffman Estates, IL

LASIK is not an effective method for treating presbyopia, which is near vision degeneration due to the aging of the eye requiring reading glasses.

About LASIK Eye Surgery and
Laser Vision Correction in Hoffman Estates

Laser Vision Correction including LASIK eye surgery has been growing in popularity since its FDA approval in the mid 1990’s. Millions of people have selected this surgical procedure with the possibility of eliminating glasses and contact lenses from their lives. LASIK eye surgery provides several advantages over glasses or contacts because it corrects the visual problem as opposed to simply treating the symptoms. For the most part, the clinical data suggests that an overwhelming amount of people who have chosen LASIK eye surgery have had positive results. At the AAO in 2006, the American Academy of Ophthalmology released a 10-year effectiveness study that concluded LASIK eye surgery was both safe and effective. Many celebrities and sports stars have even sung the wonders and value of this amazing eye surgery.

In recent years, new technological advances have made LASIK eye surgery safer and more accurate. Later in this chapter we will discuss the new technologies that have improved LASIK and laser vision correction. Despite all of the positive outcomes, considering LASIK eye surgery is a matter to be taken seriously. Not everyone is a candidate for this procedure. Selecting the right surgeon and determining appropriate candidacy really becomes a critical issue in how well you will see after surgery. Please see some of the criteria listed below when starting your quest to select an appropriate LASIK surgeon.

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Determining Candidacy

The first step in undergoing LASIK is the pre-operative evaluation. This process involves a series of diagnostic tests that determine the overall health of your eyes. Your cornea thickness is a critical component to your LASIK candidacy. If you do not have the proper amount of cornea thickness the procedure is not recommended. If you are a candidate for LASIK eye surgery we also suggest having a discussion with the actual surgeon who will be performing the surgery. In our practice, Dr. Sullivan will be able to help you determine how successful the surgery could be. Expectations for LASIK surgery will be vital to your happiness so make sure you participate in your discussion with Dr. Sullivan. Dr. Sullivan personally performs the pre-operative and post-operative exams.

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LASIK Candidacy Requirements

  • The patient must be over the age of 18
  • The patient must have necessary amount of corneal thickness
  • The patient must have had a stable glasses or contact lens prescription
  • The patient’s prescription must be within the treatable parameters
  • The patient must discuss expectations with the staff or surgeon
  • The patient must not have an extreme case of dry eye syndrome. For more information regarding dry eye syndrome CLICK HERE
  • The patient must have had a consultation regarding the benefits and possible risks of the surgery

The Procedure

LASIK, formally known as (Laser Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis) is a refractive surgery procedure designed to reshape the cornea or outer surface of the eye. By reshaping the cornea LASIK surgeons can actually correct the refractive error of a patient. The common refractive errors that LASIK can treat effectively include myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism. LASIK eye surgery first involves creating a thin corneal flap with a laser.

The Excimer Laser

Once the flap has been created it is carefully laid back and the inner part of the cornea is prepared for Excimer laser treatment.

The Excimer laser is then utilized and applied to the cornea removing the calculated amount of corneal tissue. The amount of corneal tissue removed is directly related to your specific visual needs. After the laser has been applied the thin flap is then repositioned in its normal position and several drops are administered.

What should I expect?

As patients begin to sit up from the surgical chair they typically notice an immediate visual improvement. At first, vision appears cloudy due to the drops administered but over the next day, you will typically notice drastic improvements in your overall visual outcome.

How Long is the Procedure?

The LASIK eye surgery procedure lasts no more than 10 minutes.

How long is recovery?

Because LASIK treats the inner part of the cornea, the healing process occurs more rapidly. Patients typically resume normal activities within a few days. No stitches are required; however, protective goggles can be used at night to prevent the rubbing or bumping of your eyes. The first 72 hours after the procedure are critical to this healing process. Patients are asked to return home, get plenty of rest on the first night and use the eye drops to aid in the healing process.

Post-Operative Care

After your LASIK eye surgery in Hoffman Estates you will need to have your eyes examined on a regular basis. The first of these visits are on the first day post-op and at one month. Dr. Sullivan may adjust this schedule based on a patient’s individual needs. Dr Sullivan will examine your vision and check the healing process and bonding of the corneal flap made in surgery.  Some LASIK centers may have hidden fees regarding post-operative care. Please make sure to ask about the cost of continued post-operative care. If you feel you have been improperly informed by a LASIK center with false advertising or hidden fees please let our trade associations know about the matter or contact the Eye Surgery Education Council or ASCRS (American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery).

The Cost of LASIK Eye Surgery in Hoffman Estates

Compared to wearing glasses and contact lenses for over 5-10 years LASIK can be a great value. The initial costs can often be burdensome to our patients. Because we are dedicated to providing excellent affordable vision financing arrangements are available. Our LASIK Coordinator will be happy to discuss these financing options and what this will cost on a monthly basis. Enrollment is often very easy.

Payment Options

We have a variety of payment options designed to make this decision more of a reality for all of our prospective patients.

Surgery for Presbyopia

Presbyopia is a common age-related condition in which near vision worsens due to the hardening of the lens of our eye. It causes people to have difficulty reading and performing other tasks that require sharp and focused close vision.

Symptoms begin around the age of 40 when you begin to see people with untreated presbyopia holding books, magazines, newspapers, and menus at arm’s length in order to focus properly and avoid eye strain. Other symptoms include headaches or fatigue when trying to focus on something at close range.

Causes of Presbyopia

During our youth, the lens of our eye and the muscles that control it are flexible and soft, allowing us to focus on close objects and shift focus from close to distant objects without difficulty. As the eye ages however, both the lens and the muscle fibers begin to harden, making near vision a greater challenge.

Surgical Treatment for Presbyopia

The most common form of treatment for presbyopia is wearing reading glasses, bifocals or progressive lenses. Bifocal and multifocals are also available in contact lenses for those who prefer to be glasses-free. A third option, however, is a number of surgical procedures that allow you the freedom of correcting your near vision without the use of glasses or contact lenses.

LASIK

Monovision LASIK in Hoffman Estates

Monovision is a technique that began with presbyopia-correcting contact lenses designed for individuals with presbyopia and nearsightedness or astigmatism. Each eye gets a different lens power – one lens is used in the dominant eye to correct for distance vision and the other for near vision. The eyes adapt to the two lens powers by learning to use the appropriate eye for the necessary distance power. Monovision LASIK surgery is based on the same principle of correcting each eye for a different refractive power and has shown just as high if not higher success rates than the contact lens technique. Usually, patients will try out monovision with contacts first to ensure that it works and that the eyes adapt properly.

PresbyLASIK

PresbyLASIK is a procedure that is currently available in Canada and Europe and undergoing clinical trials in the United States. As opposed to monovision LASIK, this procedure is a multifocal alternative in which different rings of refractive power are created on the cornea, similar to multifocal lenses. This provides vision correction at all distances simultaneously.

Conductive Keratoplasty (CK)

Conductive Keratoplasty uses radio waves via a hand-held instrument to mold the corneal surface to improve near vision. The procedure can be done on one eye using the monovision principle and is a good solution for those that do not need vision correction for nearsightedness or astigmatism. The effects of CK, however are not permanent and the improvement in near vision will diminish over time.

Corneal Inlays or Onlays

Corneal inlays and onlays involve surgically implanting a small lens into the eye to increase focus and near vision. The distinction between inlays and onlays is in where the lens is placed on the eye.

Refractive Lens Exchange

In refractive lens exchange the eye’s hardened lens is replaced with an artificial lens called an intraocular lens (IOL) to provide multifocal vision. This surgery is similar to and often done in conjunction with cataract surgery.

LASIK – Criteria for Success

LASIK can be a great solution for individuals that want clear vision without glasses or contact lenses, but it is not an ideal or even safe choice for everyone. If you have certain risk factors, not only will you likely not experience the positive results of LASIK but you could even experience unwanted complications.

If you are considering LASIK, keep in mind the following risk factors that typically disqualify a patient from candidacy:

  1. Under 18 years old: Children’s eyes are constantly changing and it is only once a child reaches the age of 18, that we can be sure that their vision has stabilized. Patients should experience at least a year of stable vision before scheduling LASIK otherwise they are risking the chance of having to repeat the surgery.
  2. Pregnant or Nursing Women: Hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause changes to your eyes and vision and could take up to a year or so to return to normal. Additionally, some of the medications used during or after LASIK could be harmful to a baby that is in utero or nursing. If you are pregnant, trying to get pregnant or nursing, speak to your eye doctor about if and when you can consider LASIK.
  3. Very High Prescription: Patients with a particularly high myopia or hyperopia may require too much tissue removal to properly fix the vision, increasing the risk of the procedure. In such cases, your doctor may recommend an alternate procedure such as PRK.
  4. Eye Problems or Diseases: If your eyes are not healthy, you can increase your risks of complications and inhibit the process of healing that takes place following the surgery. For chronic issues such as dry eyes, cataracts, glaucoma or other serious problems you may be disqualified from LASIK or any other surgical procedure. Other conditions such as an eye infection or injury may simply require you to wait until your eye is completely healed.
  5. Irregular Eye Anatomy (Such as Large Pupil Size or Thin Corneas): Patients with exceptionally large pupils may be disqualified from LASIK due to a higher incidence of negative side effects such as poor night vision, halos, double vision or glare. For LASIK to be successful, the cornea needs to be a certain minimal thickness. For those with thin corneas, an alternate treatment may be recommended.
  6. Systemic and Autoimmune Medical Conditions: Certain systemic diseases and medical conditions such as diabetes, HIV, immunodeficiency or rheumatoid arthritis that can affect your body’s ability to heal properly can disqualify a patient from LASIK. Certain medications can also disqualify you from being a candidate.
  7. Prior Eye Injury: Certain eye injuries, especially those that result in corneal scarring can pose as a risk for successful LASIK surgery.

Eye doctors and surgeons may have differing opinions as to which conditions and circumstances will disqualify you from LASIK candidacy. Your eye doctor and/or surgeon will complete a thorough exam to assess the risks and potential outcome to determine if LASIK is right for you.

LASIK Risks and Complications

If you are considering LASIK but worry about what can go wrong, be comforted knowing that complications are rare. It is exceptionally unusual for this procedure to cause permanent, or any significant vision loss. In the rare instances of complications, most of them can be resolved with additional laser “re-treatment”.

Selecting your eye surgeon is probably the most important step you will take to decrease the risks associated with LASIK. Experience and reputation go together. S/he will make sure you are a good candidate for LASIK before a procedure is recommended and scheduled. If problems develop during or after the procedure, the surgeon works closely with you to resolve them.

Are LASIK Complications Common?

Confidence in LASIK has grown through the years because of the solid success rate involving millions of procedures globally. With increasing sophistication and advances in the LASIK technology, most LASIK outcomes prove favorable.

Increasingly, refractive surgery in military personnel is viewed as a benchmark of safety and stability. Indeed, it appears that demand for refractive surgery in military personnel is exploding. Known as a force enhancer in military parlance, more than 312,000 refractive laser procedures have been performed by the Air Force, Army and Navy to date. The most common procedure is LASEK or PRK, but LASIK is gaining ground as more military studies examine its performance in aviation and combat situations. The rate of complications among military has also proven to be low.

eye exam enlarged eye smallLASIK Low Complication Rates

LASIK surgeons' well documented experiences prove that serious complication rates are well below 1 percent. This may be due to the fact that surgical candidates are carefully screened and thus pre-selected for success. Your candidacy for LASIK may be diminished, for example, if you are pregnant or have certain conditions such as diabetes which could affect your success or healing rate after LASIK. Be sure to discuss your health conditions and specifics with your eye doctor during your LASIK consultation or pre-op examination.

Expanded eye pupils may be a risk factor for LASIK complications, since pupils expand in the dark and they grow beyond the area of the LASIK eye treatment. Be extra sure to discuss this and any other concern you may have with your eye surgeon.

Other LASIK Risks

Although the vast majority of LASIK procedures are positive there is still that 1% or even a fraction one percent that has complications. These patients may experience some serious and ongoing eye and vision problems after LASIK. The nature of surgery is that NO surgical procedure is ever risk-free.

Some LASIK patients who test out with excellent vision nevertheless still may experience side effects. For example, a patient who sees 20/20 on the eye chart with post-LASIK uncorrected vision may still be experiencing glare or halos around lights.

Be aware that signing the LASIK consent form in advance of your surgery is done so with the full understanding that, even in the best of conditions, there is still a slight chance something unintended could occur. Even so, most, if not all problems can later be resolved with corrective LASIK.

Some Common LASIK Complications

LASIK complications can occur with the hinged flap which is created on the cornea (clear covering of the eye) during the start of the LASIK procedure. This flap is lifted to access and re-shape the underlying cornea with the laser. It is replaced afterwards as the natural bandage.

If this cornea flap is not made correctly, it may fail to adhere to the eye during healing. The flap could also be inadvertently cut thicker than required or too thin.  Once the flap is replaced back on the eye, special care must be taken to avoid wrinkling. Flap complications could lead to irregular shaping of the eye surface.

Studies show that flap complications occur in 0.3 % to 5.7 % of LASIK procedures. Inexperienced surgeons definitely contribute to the high rates of flap complications. This is a reminder that you can improve your odds of avoiding LASIK risks by selecting a reputable, experienced eye surgeon.

LASIK flap complications include:

Irregular Astigmatism.  This can result from a less than smooth corneal surface or from laser correction that is not centered properly on the eye. Resulting symptoms may include double vision or “ghost images.” In these cases, the eye may need re-treatment  or “enhancement”.

Diffuse Lamellar Keratitis -DLK. This problem has been nicknamed “Sands of Sahara”. It is an inflammation occurring underneath the LASIK flap post-surgery. In rare cases, DLK can lead to scarring of the cornea. Permanent vision loss can occur without prompt treatment. Therapies include antibiotics and topical steroids. The flap also could be lifted and rinsed to remove inflammatory cells and prevent further tissue damage.lasik hoffman estates il

Ectasia or Keratectasia. This is bulging of the cornea occurring due to too deep a cut of the flap. When too much tissue is removed from the cornea during LASIK, or when the cornea has initially been weakened, as evidenced from corneal topography mapping prior to LASIK, Ectasia may result. The related distorted vision will likely not be correctable with laser enhancement. Rigid contact lenses or corneal implants (Intacs) may be prescribed to hold the cornea in place.

Over correction, Regression or Under-correction. An overcorrection or undercorrection of your vision can result in your vision remaining slightly blurred from residual farsightedness, nearsightedness, or astigmatism. Regression, when your eyesight is optimal at first after LASIK, but then begins to deteriorate, is due to a return of some nearsightedness. This can usually be corrected with an enhancement LASIK procedure.

Eye infection or Irritation. In rare cases, you may develop an eye infection, inflammation, or irritation requiring treatment with eye drops containing antibiotics or anti-inflammatory steroids.

A highly common reported LASIK complication is Dry Eye. Almost half of all LASIK patients report problems with dry eye during the six months following their LASIK procedure. This discomfort could be related to the reduced sensitivity of the eye surface following LASIK. If you are experiencing Dry Eye you may benefit from artificial tears or prescription along with oral flaxseed oil capsules.

By six months to a year post LASIK most of these complaints disappear once the eye has completed the healing process. Patients with a history of severe dry eye pre-surgery are typically excluded from being LASIK candidates.

Complications Unrelated to LASIK

LASIK patients who successfully have the procedure during their 20s or 30s should be aware that reading vision will change as you get older. This has nothing to do with the LASIK surgery. It is naturally the result of normal age-related loss of eye focusing ability called presbyopia. Because of presbyopia, almost all LASIK patients (similar to all persons see perfectly well without glasses during their  youth) will need reading glasses after age 40.

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LASIK

LASIK, short for laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis, is the most popular refractive surgery available today. Each year, more than one million LASIK procedures are performed in the United States.

LASIK has become the premier surgery for vision correction because it’s quick and painless, there is little or no discomfort after the procedure and vision recovery is rapid – some patients already see 20/20 the following day.

LASIK can correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. With a special technique called monovision, it can also reduce the need for reading glasses among patients over age 40 who wear bifocals.

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Am I a Good Candidate for LASIK?

To be a good candidate for LASIK at Sullivan Ostoich eye center, you should be at least 18 years old, have healthy eyes, and have adequate corneal thickness, since LASIK corrects your vision by removing tissue from your cornea to reshape your eye.

Chronic dry eye problems, corneal diseases and other abnormalities may disqualify you from having LASIK surgery. In order to know for sure if you are a good candidate, a comprehensive eye exam is required. For your convenience, we are happy to provide LASIK pre-operative exams and consultations at our office. Call us for details.

Important considerations when deciding whether to have LASIK are your expectations and your ability to accept a less-than-perfect outcome. LASIK can reduce your dependence on glasses and almost always gives you the ability to function well without the need for glasses or contact lenses. But there are no guarantees, and LASIK doesn't always create perfect vision. In some cases, your vision after LASIK may be permanently less clear than it was with glasses before the procedure. You have to ask yourself if you're willing to accept the risk of such an outcome before you decide to have LASIK surgery.

Remember: LASIK is an elective procedure, not a required one.

The LASIK Procedure

LASIK is an ambulatory procedure. You walk into the surgery center, have the procedure and walk out again. The actual surgery usually takes less than 15 minutes for both eyes, but expect to be at the surgery center for an hour or more.

LASIK is a two-step procedure. In the first step, the surgeon creates a thin, hinged flap of tissue on your cornea with an instrument called a microkeratome or with a laser. This flap is folded back and the second step – the laser reshaping of your eye – begins. After the laser treatment, which usually takes less than a minute, the flap is repositioned and the surgeon moves on to your other eye.

What Is Wavefront LASIK?

Wavefront LASIK (also called wavefront-assisted, wavefront-guided or custom LASIK) means the laser treatment (or “ablation”) is determined by a computerized mapping of the power of your eye called wavefront analysis. Wavefront-guided procedures are more precise than ablations determined by using only an eyeglasses prescription, and they can correct subtle optical imperfections of the eye called “higher-order aberrations” that regular ablations can't treat. Several studies show wavefront-guided ablations provide sharper vision than conventional, non-wavefront LASIK and may reduce the risk of nighttime glare and halos.

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After LASIK Surgery in Hoffman Estates

Appointment LasikAfter the procedure, your surgeon or an assistant will apply medicated eye drops and clear protective shields over your eyes. You can open your eyes and see well enough to walk without glasses, but you must have someone drive you home.

You will be expected to use medicated eye drops several times a day for a week or so to protect your eyes from infection and help them heal properly. You will also be told to use artificial tears frequently to keep your eyes moist and comfortable.

You should rest and not use your eyes much when you get home from surgery that day. You may also be more comfortable if the lights in your house are dimmed.

The following day, you should be seeing well enough to drive and can resume most activities. Be careful, however, not to rub your eyes until your eye doctor tells you it is safe to do so.

Usually, you will be asked to return to the surgery center the following day so your surgeon or another eye doctor at the center can check your vision and make sure your eyes appear as they should. At this visit, you typically will be given additional instructions about using eye drops and artificial tears, and you will be able to ask the doctor any questions you have.

From this point forward (and sometimes for this “day one” visit as well), your post-operative care may be performed by an eye doctor other than your LASIK surgeon. When your post-operative care is provided by a doctor other than your surgeon or another doctor at the surgery center, it's called co-management. We are happy to provide post-operative care for you at our office through a co-management agreement with your surgeon. Call our office for details.

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What If My Vision Is Still Blurry After LASIK?

Though most patients see quite clearly in a matter of days after LASIK, it can take several months before your eyes are completely stable. Until then, improvements in your vision can still occur. But if several months pass and your vision is still blurred, see your LASIK surgeon. Usually, a second LASIK surgery (called an enhancement) can sharpen your eyesight further.

If for some reason an enhancement is not indicated or desired, eyeglasses or contact lenses may help. We will be happy to examine your eyes and discuss the different options with you.

Eyewear After LASIK

Keep in mind that, even if your vision seems perfect after LASIK, you still need eyewear.

When outdoors, it's important to protect your eyes from the sun's harmful rays with sunglasses that provide 100% UV protection. If you play sports when wearing sunglasses, make sure the lenses have polycarbonate lenses for extra protection. And anytime you're working with power tools or doing anything else when an eye injury is possible, you should wear safety glasses with polycarbonate lenses.

If you're over 40 (or soon will be), it's likely you'll need reading glasses after LASIK. Also, many LASIK patients can benefit from a pair of prescription eyeglasses for night driving. Though these lenses may have only a mild prescription, they often can make your vision sharper for added safety and comfort.

Eye Care After LASIK

Appointment LasikAnd don't forget to continue to have routine eye exams after LASIK. Even if your vision is perfect, you still need to have your eyes checked for glaucoma and other potential problems on a regular basis. Routine exams also help you make sure your vision stays stable after LASIK.

Corrective Eye Surgery Basics

In recent years there have been tremendous advances in the field of vision correcting eye surgery which is also known as refractive or laser surgery. Corrective eye surgery offers patients clear vision without the use of glasses and contact lenses. There are a number of types of refractive surgeries that are able to correct different vision problems, so if you are considering surgery here are some of the options you should know about.

LASIK

LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) surgery is perhaps the most well-known refractive surgery today. LASIK can help patients with myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism. During the procedure, the doctor makes a flap in the outer layer of the corner to reach the underlying tissue and then uses a laser to reshape the tissue which allows the cornea to then focus light properly. The procedure is usually painless and vision is usually clear within a few hours.

Recent advances in the field have developed subcategories of LASIK surgery such as Bladeless LASIK, which uses a laser rather than a mechanical tool to make the initial flap or Wavefront (custom) LASIK which uses computer mapping to guide the reshaping of the cornea and is able to create a much more precise visual correction for very subtle optical imperfections. There is also a procedure called Epi-LASIK in which following the procedure, the doctor applies a soft contact lens to protect the surgical area, holding the flap in place while it heals.

PRK

PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) also uses a laser to correct mild to moderate myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism. PRK was a precursor to LASIK which eliminated many of the complications of prior surgeries such as glare, seeing halos around lights, blurred vision and regression of vision. Unlike LASIK, the procedure only reshapes the surface of the cornea and not the underlying tissue. Consequently, there is often some discomfort for a couple of weeks until the outer layer of the cornea heals. Additionally, the patient may experience blurred vision during this period of healing. PRK does offer an advantage over LASIK in that there is less risk of certain complications. Wavefront technology is also available for PRK surgeries.

Due to the increased comfort of LASIK there was a period that PRK saw a decline. Recent studies show however that LASIK and PRK have similar long-term success for improved visual acuity and with the assistance of newly developed effective pain medications, PRK has become more popular again as an option.

LASEK

In LASEK or laser-assisted sub-epithelial keratomileusis, the doctor creates a flap smaller but similar but to LASIK, and then uses an alcohol solution to loosen the tissue around the cornea which is pushed aside, and then a laser is used to reshape the cornea itself. In an Epi-LASEK procedure, the doctor may apply a soft contact lens to hold the flap in place to assist in reattaching to the cornea as the eye heals. Patients that undergo LASEK generally experience less discomfort and quicker vision recovery than PRK patients. LASEK may be preferred over LASIK as a safer option for patients with a thin cornea.

Cataract Surgery

Cataract Surgery is a very common refractive surgery that removes the clouded natural lens of the eye and replaces it with an artificial lens called an IOL (intraocular lens). Many patients these days will receive a lens that also corrects any refractive error they have such as nearsightedness, farsightedness or presbyopia.

RLE

RLE or refractive lens exchange is a non-laser procedure the replaces the natural lens of the eye. This is the same as the surgery that is used to treat cataracts, ,yet for non-cataract patients, RLE is used to correct severe nearsightedness or farsightedness. The procedure involves the doctor making a small cut in the cornea, removing the natural lens and replacing it with usually a silicon or plastic lens. It is particularly useful for patients with minor corneal problems such as thin corneas or dry eyes.

RLE is more risky than the other procedures mentioned and can affect the patient’s ability to focus on close objects, possibly requiring reading glasses following the procedure. However, in cases of severe vision correction it is often the preferred method.

PRELEX

PRELEX or presbyopic lens exchange is for patients with presbyopia, the age-related condition in which you lose the flexibility of your lens and can no longer focus on close objects. Patients that prefer not to wear reading glasses or multifocals, can opt for a procedure in which the doctor removes the natural lens of your eye and replaces it with a multifocal artificial lens. This procedure is often done in conjunction with cataract surgery.

Phakic Intraocular Lens Implants

Phakic IOLs are implants that are used for individuals with very high nearsightedness who do not qualify for LASIK or PRK. The implant is attached to your iris or inserted behind your pupil, while the natural lens remains intact. Because this is a procedure that involves the inner eye, it is more risky than LASIK or PRK and is therefore also typically more expensive.

Conductive Keratoplasty (CK)

CK uses a hand-held radio wave device to shrink tissue on the cornea to reshape it. The procedure is typically used to treat mild farsightedness and presbyopia, particularly for patients who have already undergone LASIK.

Any surgical procedure has risks and may have some side effects or complications that you should research before you decide to go ahead with the surgery. Nevertheless, as technology advances these complications are being significantly reduced making refractive surgery a great option for vision correction in many patients.