LASIK FAQs - Vermont Laser Vision - LASIK


What is laser vision correction?
Laser vision correction is a procedure that improves vision by permanently changing the shape of the cornea (the clear covering of the front of the eye) with a laser. Often referred to as LASIK (an acronym for the medical term laser assisted in-situ keratomileusis), it is the most commonly performed laser procedure and an effective treatment for a wide range of vision problems. The VISX Star S4 Excimer Laser utilizes ultraviolet light to precisely reshape the inner layers of the cornea. This reshaping can correct nearsighted, farsighted and astigmatism.

Dr McCormick using LASIK machine

Dr. McCormick performing LASIK procedure.

What is Bladeless LASIK?
Bladeless LASIK uses Femtosecond Laser technology to create the LASIK flap. Before the advent of the Femtosecond laser, the LASIK flap was made with a microkeratome (small blade). Studies have shown that Bladeless LASIK demonstrates enhanced precision in LASIK flap creation, improving consistency and safety during LASIK surgery. The improved precision using this technology has resulted in the NASA space agency approving femtosecond lasers for astronauts. The U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps have also approved, and strongly recommend femtosecond lasers for use on their personnel.

What is iDesign?

The iDESIGN Refractive Studio received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval in June,2018 making it the only system to use topography-integrated, wavefront-guided technology. The iDesign procedure is a safe and effective platform for treating nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. It is the only FDA approved platform for the treatment of monovision.

In just 3 seconds, the iDesign system scans the eye, creating a map that is as unique to you as your fingerprint! This sophisticated technology analyzes how light waves pass through your eye. Each scan evaluates over 1,250 data points on the cornea and captures the unique imperfections of your visual pathway. In fact, the iDesign system employs the same technology NASA uses on its space telescope to view new stars millions of miles away. The technology provides measurements down to 0.01 Diopter increments (compared to 0.25 diopter increments used for glasses and contact lens prescriptions); making iDesign 25 times more precise than standard methods for prescribing contacts and glasses. The scans that are captured by iDesign are then transferred to the VISX Star4 Excimer Laser to guide a customized treatment plan that is specifically designed for you!

Am I a Candidate for LASIK?
Vermont Laser Vision offers free consultations to confirm your candidacy for laser vision correction. Your candidacy depends upon a variety of factors that are thoroughly evaluated during the comprehensive exam. It is important to understand that not everyone is a candidate for LASIK. Here are some basic guidelines:

  • Over 18 years of age
  • Best corrected vision of 20/40 or better
  • Stable glasses prescription for at least two years
  • No active eye disease or visually significant cataracts
  • No uncontrolled auto-immune disease
  • A healthy cornea
  • Not pregnant or breastfeeding
Am I too Old for LASIK?
There is no strict age limit for LASIK. That said, it is important to have healthy eyes. We need to establish that your visual concerns are due to refractive error and not cataracts or an eye disease. Cataracts are a natural aging change that also induces a change in the refractive error. Most individuals over the age of 55 will have some degree of cataracts, even if the cataract is not yet visually significant. Dr. McCormick may not recommend LASIK if you have cataracts. A comprehensive eye exam to evaluate your eye health may be recommended instead of a LASIK evaluation if you are over a certain age.
Will I Need to Wear Glasses after LASIK?

Depending on your age you may need reading glasses after LASIK. Presbyopia is a natural aging change that occurs in your early-to-mid-40s. This change is not remedied by refractive surgery. If you use bifocals or reading glasses before LASIK, we expect that you will need them after LASIK as well. There is a treatment option known as monovision, or blended vision, where the dominant eye is corrected for distance vision and the non-dominant eye is left slightly nearsighted. This allows for some range of vision after LASIK, but it is not suitable for everyone.

There are no guarantees with LASIK and you still may need to wear glasses after treatment to achieve your best vision.

Is LASIK Safe?
The FDA approved LASIK as a safe and effective treatment in 1996. Some studies indicate that LASIK is safer than long-term contact lens wear. Not everyone is a candidate for LASIK. Dr. McCormick will complete a comprehensive preoperative evaluation to determine your candidacy for treatment.

Does LASIK hurt?

Dr. McCormick does his best to make the procedure as comfortable as possible. Numbing drops are used to anesthetize the eye so you should not feel pain. There is a feeling of pressure during creation of the LASIK flap. This sensation lasts about 30 seconds per eye. The laser treatment that delivers your vision correction is also typically about 30 seconds.

About 1-3 hours after the procedure you may experience a mild burning sensation. Some patients equate this to peeling onions. Dr. McCormick prescribes a pain reliever to be taken as needed. Most patients are comfortable with taking nothing more than Tylenol or Advil.

Can LASIK Improve my Night Vision?
Yes, potentially. The sophisticated iDesign mapping system captures over 1,250 data points allowing the iDesign to detect even the smallest of imperfections on the cornea. Wavefront aberrometry is the secret to this custom mapping process by using a highly specialized camera, with a high definition Hartmann-Shack wavefront sensor, to capture each scan for a full visual range of the eye’s aberrations. Glasses and contact lenses only correct for lower order aberrations, iDesign is capable of scanning aberrations of both lower and higher order. As a result, iDesign treats your nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism while also treating visual imperfections like halos, glare and poor night vision.
How Long Does the LASIK Procedure Take?
Plan on spending 1-1 ½ hours with us on the day of your LASIK procedure. You are in the procedure suite for about 20-30 minutes. The actual reshaping of the cornea takes less than 60 seconds.
How Long will my LASIK Results Last?
LASIK permanently reshapes your eye. It is important to have a stable glasses prescription for two years prior to treatment. While LASIK permanently corrects existing nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism, it does not stop the advancement of these conditions. If your eyes are prone to change over time, having LASIK surgery now will not change that from happening. It is atypical for the eye to continue to change after showing stability for two or more years. If this does occur, you may have the option of having a re-treatment.
Will I Need an Enhancement?
Dr. McCormick uses state-of-the-art equipment, completes an extensive preoperative exam and considers your unique lifestyle needs when creating your customized treatment plan. Dr. McCormick’s outcomes are impressive with an enhancement rate less than 2%. That said, some individuals need a re-treatment in order to achieve their personal best vision. Some prescriptions have a higher probability of resulting in an enhancement. Dr. McCormick will review your chances of needing an enhancement during the comprehensive screening.
What if I Blink During the Procedure?
This is a very common concern and we have a very simple solution. Your eyelids are held open with a special eyelid holder during the procedure. Your eye will feel like it is blinking, but it is not.
What if I Move During the Procedure?
During the procedure you are comfortably reclined in a chair. When the laser is reshaping the cornea, Dr. McCormick will gently hold your head in position. Your job is to look at a fixation target light. The laser’s sophisticated software tracks the position of your eye throughout the treatment and adjusts the laser treatment to follow small eye movements. If you look too far off target the laser recognizes this and stops the treatment. Once you are realigned, the laser treatment is resumed.
When Will I See after LASIK?
Most people see better than they did without their glasses immediately after treatment. Visual recovery is usually one day to one week after treatment. In fact, most patients achieve legal driving vision, or better, the day after treatment. It may take 1-2 months for your vision to completely stabilize.
When Can I Drive after LASIK?
Most people achieve legal driving vision the day after treatment. It is important to have a driver to the procedure and the first postoperative visit the day after treatment.
How Much Time Do I Have to Take Off Work?
Recovery following LASIK is minimal. Most patients return to work as soon as the day after treatment for LASIK. Patients treated with PRK/LASEK can expect to return to work 7-10 days after treatment.
Will I Need to Use Drops After LASIK?
Yes. It is very important to use the eye drops as prescribed following treatment. This is imperative to optimize your long-term results. Over-the-counter artificial tear drops are usually recommended for several months after LASIK.
Will My Eyes be Dry After LASIK?
Yes, nearly everyone has dry eye for a period of time as a normal side effect after LASIK. For most patients this is temporary and can be remedied with the use of over-the-counter artificial tears. On the average, dryness after LASIK resolves over about six months. Some individuals experience more prolonged dry eye symptoms. Dr. McCormick completes a thorough eye exam prior to treatment to evaluate any preoperative dryness; he will counsel you about expectations following treatment.
What are the Risks of LASIK?

With a highly trained and experienced surgeon, LASIK is relatively safe. In fact, studies suggest that the risk of having a reduction in best corrected vision due to a complication of LASIK surgery is less than the risk of the same degree of damage from complications of long-term contact lens wear. Vermont Laser Vision offers a state-of-the-art facility where your safety is our top priority.

During your preoperative consultation, Dr. McCormick will have a candid conversation with you about the procedure, risks and alternatives. Some of these risks include over or under correction, LASIK flap complication, dry eye, glare, loss of best corrected vision or infection. It is Dr. McCormick’s goal to provide you with the best possible outcome. Careful patient selection and clear communication about realistic expectations is a pivotal part of his practice.

How Many Postoperative Visits are There?
It is important to be seen by an eye care professional following your LASIK procedure to ensure the best possible outcome. Typically, appointments are scheduled one day, one week, one month, three months and six months after treatment.
Can I Wear my Contacts before Treatment?
No. It is Dr. McCormick’s recommendation to discontinue contact lens wear for two weeks prior to your consultation and treatment. Contact lenses can induce a change in the shape of the cornea. Since the laser vision correction treatment is based upon precise measurements of the cornea, it is important for the cornea to return to its natural shape in advance of scans and surgery in order to yield the best visual outcome.
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