Is laser vision correction surgery right for me?

The health of your eyes, refractive error (i.e. glasses or contacts prescription), occupation, leisure activities, age and personal expectations all help to determine whether you are a good candidate for vision correction surgery. You must have realistic expectations and understand that LASIK and PRK surgery offers about a 90% or greater chance of gaining normal or near-normal vision. But it is impossible to guarantee 20/20 vision with every vision correction procedure, and it may be necessary to wear thin glasses at certain times such as when driving at night.


What is Laser Vision Correction?

Laser Vision Correction (LVC) is a procedure designed to reduce or eliminate nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism. Permanently reshaping or "sculpting" the surface of the cornea with a cold laser beam accomplishes this. The most commonly performed procedures are LASIK and PRK.


What surgical options do I have?

LASIK (AKA: Laser In Situ Keratomileusis) is the most well known laser refractive procedure. It is popular because patients are relatively pain-free and the vision recovers rapidly within a few days. The reason the eye heals so fast is because a thin flap is cut within the cornea during the treatment. And this is why 60% of laser patients choose LASIK.

PRK (AKA: Photorefractive Keratectomy or Advanced Surface Ablation) provides the same excellent visual outcome as LASIK but there is no flap cutting. Because of this, it requires longer healing times with regard to comfort and vision. Some patients are not good candidates for cutting a flap (e.g. thin corneas), thus PRK is a safe and excellent alternative to LASIK.


How Do You Cut the Flap for LASIK?

Previously, LASIK flaps were created by using a blade called a microkeratome. It has worked well for many years but a newer way of cutting the flap using laser technology has been shown to be safer and more predictable. The eye surgeons at Professional Eye Associates only want to offer the very best for our patients. So we offer the all new No-Blade, All-Laser Intralase laser technology to create the LASIK flap. The Intralase laser cuts the flap with laser precision which offers more protection and more precise results for you.


What are the pros and cons of LASIK vs. PRK?

LASIK is widely accepted because it is relatively painless and the vision is enhanced almost immediately afterward. LASIK requires the creation of a thin flap on the cornea which is the reason why patients have faster vision recovery and minimal discomfort. But some patients are not good candidates for a flap; thus, PRK is an excellent and safe alternative. Patients with PRK have prolonged recovery with regards to comfort and vision compared to LASIK but do not require a flap. Both LASIK and PRK are equally effective in treating near-sightedness, far-sightness, and astigmatism. Both procedures use the same excimer laser to sculpt the cornea into the right shape.


What happens on the day of the procedure?

We ask that you arrive 45 minutes prior to the appointment time for your procedure. You should bring a family member or a friend who will need to take you home afterward. On the morning of your procedure, you may eat a normal meal. Once you arrive, a technician will greet you and take you through the entire process. You will be given a mild sedative by mouth to help make your experience more comfortable. Your technician will then escort you to the laser suite. The procedure itself is short and relatively painless. Your surgeon and laser team will walk you through the steps of surgery and will let you know exactly what is happening so that you can be relaxed and confident during the process. Most patients notice a significant improvement in their vision right away.

Approximately two hours afterward, you will be ready to go home. It is imperative that you wear the clear protective eye shields to cover both eyes while you take a nap or sleep. Most of our patients wake up from their nap with little to no discomfort. Most patients notice a significant improvement in their vision that day. It is very important to follow your after surgery instructions exactly. Take all the eye drops and pills as directed, and sleep as much as possible that first night. This ensures the best result possible. The day after LASIK surgery, most patients typically see well enough to drive themselves to their first after-surgery exam without the need for glasses.

How much time will I need off work?

Most LASIK patients return to work the next day, so there's little downtime. PRK patients may need several more days to recover. Your laser surgeon may suggest that you take it easy for two to three days and will make a recommendation for recovery time based on your individual vision needs and work environment.


When will I be able to see?

Many patients can read the clock on the wall in the laser room immediately after LASIK. However, your sight may fluctuate for a period of time after the procedure. It's important that patients have realistic expectations. While not all patients undergoing LASIK gain 20/20 vision, national studies show that 92%of them see 20/40 or better after the procedure. That qualifies an individual to pass a driver's license exam without wearing glasses or contact lenses. It is extremely rare (<1% of patients) to have a serious vision-threatening complication from LASIK or PRK. LASIK and PRK is performed worldwide and the vast majority of our patients have expressed the profound life-changing and life-enhancing effects of laser vision correction.


Will I ever have to wear glasses again?

It is a common misconception that the laser treament "wears off" over time. The laser treatment is permanent and never loses its effect. However, just like our waist size, the eyes can change over time. These changes may alter your prescription which can lead to blurry vision. But don't worry. If there are no other medical issues with your eyes, a laser enhancement can be performed to correct your vision even years after the initial laser surgery.

Laser vision correction helps to eliminate refractive errors such as near-sightedness, far-sightedness, and astigmatism, and enhances our ability to see at all distances (e.g. far, intermediate, and near) without the need for glasses. However, when we reach our 40s, even without laser surgery, we all develop presbyopia. Presbyopia is the condition which leads to the deterioration of our near focus vision. Patients need to be aware that presbyopia is a peculiar issue because it happens to everyone and is age-related. It progressively worsens over time, thus laser vision correction may or may not be a suitable option if presbyopia is your only problem. You can discuss this is in greater detail when you see your laser vision surgeon.

Lastly, the goal of LASIK and PRK is to reduce or eliminate the need for glasses or contacts. Since virtually all of our LASIK and PRK patients achieve 20/40 vision or better, very few need to wear glasses afterward. All of our laser surgeons will take care of you before, during, and after your surgery. This personalized attention and care is the reason why patients choose us over the discount places. They know that their surgeon will take great care of them every step of the way.


What's the first step?

Call our office and ask to schedule a LASIK evaluation. The consultation will be a thorough examination including computerized corneal mapping. At the end of the consultation, we will recommend a specific procedure to treat your vision problems. The entire consultation is conducted and supervised by your laser surgeon. You will be able to spend as much time as you need to have your questions answered. If you currently wear contact lenses, you will need to stop wearing them two weeks before your evaluation for soft contact lenses and one month per decade of wear for hard contact lenses.


Am I a candidate for LASIK?

In general, the ideal candidate for LASIK is over 18 years of age with healthy corneas. Candidates must not have a significant change in their prescription over the last 12 months. People with certain medical conditions or women who are pregnant may not be good candidates for LASIK.


Why should I choose your doctor over the discount places?

When it comes to eye surgery, you need to seek someone you trust. Our practice offers the expertise of three experienced and highly trained surgeons who have performed thousands of laser vision surgeries. Our doctors will care for you from start to finish. All of your before surgery, during surgery, and after surgery care will be performed by your laser surgeon. Some discount places attempt to reduce costs by having someone else other than your eye surgeon see you after surgery. Others only allow a few and limited visits after surgery before charging additional fees. And other discount centers have laser surgeons that come and go and change year after year. Our surgeons are here to stay and will care for you every step of the way.

We perform all of our laser procedures at our Dalton location. Which means you don't have to go far away and out of town to have this amazing procedure. We use the most advanced laser vision equipment to provide you with the very best vision possible.

Our laser surgeons and staff have been providing quality eye care to the North Georgia area for over 40 years. We are committed to taking care of your eyes beginning with your initial laser consultation to a full year of follow-up visits. We care and desire to ensure the long-term health of your eyes. Our laser surgeons are committed to the Northwest Georgia community. We are here to stay and we are here to help.


Is LASIK and PRK FDA-approved?

The FDA has approved medical devices such as the VISX excimer laser to treat low, moderate and high myopia, astigmatism and hyperopia. Approximately 2 million laser correction procedures have been performed in the U.S. alone using VISX laser systems and over 8,000 eye care professionals have had laser eye surgery on the VISX systems. It is a tried and true technology.


What are the risks associated with LASIK?

Like any medical procedure, LASIK has some risks. Because LASIK requires the cutting of a flap, problems with the flap can occur. The microkeratome flap-cutting blade worked great for the vast majority of patients, but flap issues occurred rarely. Now a new laser technology has come to revolutionize flap cutting. The laser surgeons at Professional Eye Associates offer the all new No-Blade, All-Laser Intralase laser technology to cut flaps. It is more precise and more predictable which provides a safer and smoother surgical experience for you.

Our laser surgeons will give you more detailed information regarding risks and complications prior to your LASIK surgery, and answer all of your questions. A very small percentage of patients who undergo the procedure have minimal side effects. Some patients report seeing halos around lights at night or having fluctuations in vision throughout the day, though most side effects are temporary. In rare cases, there can be an issue with the flap, but most of the time, your laser surgeon can intervene and correct the issue.


Is Laser Vision Correction Safe?

Over 3 million procedures have been performed worldwide since 1998. Data obtained during exhaustive clinical trials show that patients have experienced a significant improvement in glasses-free vision after laser vision correction with little to no complications.  Laser vision correction is a very safe surgery with a long track record to prove it.


Is There Any Newer Technology on the Horizon that is Better than Laser Vision Correction?

Laser vision surgery is a mature technology and has been perfected over many years. The technology is so good that there is no research or technology in the coming future that will replace this laser vision technology.


Can I afford Laser Vision Correction?

At Professional Eye Associates, we believe that financial considerations should not be an obstacle to obtaining this procedure. Being sensitive to the fact that different patients have different needs, we provide the flexible monthly payment option. It is specifically designed for LASIK/PRK, with payments as low as $108 per month. You may apply quickly and securely via the web. Click on the logo below to begin the process. If you prefer, you may also apply over the phone by calling 800-365-8295. Apply for LASIK/PRK Financing online!

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