What is the Difference between a Routine Eye Exam and a Medical Eye Exam?

Posted by Maria C. Scott, M.D.

Jun 1, 2015 11:30:00 AM

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 If you're scheduled to have an eye exam in the upcoming days or weeks, you may be wondering what exactly this will entail. Usually, your eye exam is classified by your insurance provider as either a "routine" or "medical" eye exam. However, this often has nothing to do with what the actual contents of the eye exam will be. Keep reading to learn the difference between these two terms.

Routine vs. Medical

Ultimately, what determines whether your eye exam is classified as "routine" or "medical" depends on two factors: the reason for your visit and your final diagnosis. If you're only at the eye doctor for a standard checkup and the doctor doesn't find any significant issues, then the exam will be categorized as routine. Similarly, if the doctor finds that you have vision problems stemming from an eye imperfection like farsightedness or astigmatism, the exam will also be categorized as routine. However, if you have a medical problem like cataracts, glaucoma, or an infection, then the exam will be categorized as medical in nature.

Insurance Differences

So how does this distinction between routine and medical eye exams affect you? To begin with, medical insurance plans may not cover eye exams that have been judged to be routine. To cover part or all of the costs of a routine exam, you may need a specialized vision insurance plan. However, some medical insurance plans do cover a routine eye exam at infrequent intervals.

Secondly, you should be aware of what is known as a refraction fee. If you have concerns about your eye health, but you would also like your vision to be checked, then your doctor may charge you for the medical exam and the checkup separately. As already mentioned, many medical insurance companies will cover only the medical exam, leaving you to pay the refraction fee out-of-pocket.

Conclusion

Staying informed about the costs and options of your medical care is crucial. Before going in for your eye examination, determine whether it is likely to be classified as a routine or medical exam. Always check with your insurance provider to see what is covered and not covered under your plan, as well as any possible deductibles and co-pays.

A reminder if you are interested in LASIK, check out our guide. 

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An Interview with Justin Berk, Meteorologist

Posted by Dr. Maria Scott

Dec 17, 2014 11:00:00 AM

justin_berk_lasikWhat made you finally take the plunge and have LASIK?

Justin: After years of dealing with poor vision and dealing with contact lenses and glasses, the cost of new contact lenses and solution, I was fed up.  It was a big decision for me to consider having someone work on my eyes, but my eyes were getting more and more irritated, so I was ready for a change.

What was your life like before LASIK?

Justin: Often I had tired or irritated eyes. I had dealt with poor vision since I was a child.  My allergies aggravated my eyes frequently. I was always aware of my eyes when playing with my kids and doing anything outside, like swimming, running, biking, snowboarding, etc. Traveling always included a supply of solution, a spare pair of contact lenses and my glasses that I wore at night or for emergencies.  It was just a nuisance.

What held you back from getting LASIK?

Justin: Plain and simple, I was afraid of someone touching my eyes.

How has LASIK changed your life?

Justin: I can’t believe how well I see already. It’s only been a few weeks and my vision is even better than when I wore my contact lenses. I see 20-15 now.  Wow!  Best of all -- no more glasses or contact lenses for me!

After LASIK, are you more likely to pursue different activities?

Justin: It might take a little while to get adjusted to some things.  I can’t wait to go snowboarding or swimming without the hassle of tearing up or fear of losing a lens. 

What would you tell someone who is considering LASIK?

Justin: Do it! I wish I had gotten LASIK years ago. For real!  If you are considering LASIK, I must give my full endorsement.  Usually, LASIK consultations are free and it’s worth your time to see if you are a candidate.  If it’s fear holding you back, I was there too.   I am so glad I stepped out of that box for a few minutes to change my life.  Having the ability to see without my contacts and glasses is incredibly freeing

Why did you decide to have Dr. Maria Scott do your surgery?

Justin: Dr. Scott was highly recommended. After meeting her, I felt really comfortable. While I was getting the procedure done, I truly felt like I was in the best hands and everything was going to work out great.

A reminder if you've been following along with Justin's journey and are interested in LASIK, check out his Friends of Justin Berk LASIK Promotion.

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Life After LASIK- Part 3

Posted by Dr. Maria Scott

Nov 24, 2014 11:42:12 AM

justinanddrscottA Whole New World – Better than 20/20 – “I’m seeing 20/15!”

“I could not believe this. After all of the years of avoidance and hours of anxiety, it was a mere matter of minutes that changed my life. I don’t say that lightly. It truly has!”

Note: I am writing this nearly two weeks after my LASIK procedure. We just had one of the coldest November days in a lifetime and I already notice a huge improvement with my vision and my eyes.  The cold air and wind did not make my eyes tear, which is typically what happened to me pre-LASIK. 

Recovery

After my procedure, I was instructed to take a 4 hour nap.  Before I laid down, I had to put drops in my eyes to help with the healing process and tape shields over both eyes so that I would not inadvertently rub my eyes while I slept.  That night, I made it out for dinner.  I could not believe I was up, out and absorbing the world with my new vision. I was eating like normal, blogging/texting on my phone, and even had a few drinks. Maybe that was pushing it, but it really happened. Later that night, Dr. Scott followed up with me to see how I was doing and reminded me to put in my eye drops.

One Day Post-op Check-up

The next morning, I met Dr. Scott for my one day post-op exam. My vision correction before surgery was -4.50, but just one day after surgery I was 20/25 in my right eye and 20/15 in my left. The difference was explained as swelling that would go down over the next few days.  The lights were still a bit bright and hazy, but WOW! This was already amazing, so the thought that it would get even better was crazy!

For the following week, eye drops were prescribed to be taken every few hours, sunglasses to be worn outside, and eye shields to be worn over my eyes during any sleep time for protection.  Best of all -- no more glasses or contact lenses for me!

Highlights

I was shopping in a store, actually stopping in a store and it hit me. I was standing for what must have been a really long time and one of the employees asked if I was OK. I was better than OK. I was in awe consuming everything I could see. I had to stop and soak it all in.  One evening, out of habit I went to my bathroom to remove my lens. Oh! I don’t have them.  I showed off my new super power vision by being able to read things far away that my boys could not see. I really have vision better than a kid.

Keeping it real

My eyes are still healing. They don’t get dry often, but in the morning I notice they sometimes feel dry. I keep my drops on the nightstand and put them in just as I wake up. Within seconds, I am ready to go. In the first few days, I had slight headaches. I have been told that was just my brain getting use to the added stimulation of clear vision.  Those went away after day 3.  Since it gets dark early, night vision is a little different. Lights are still a little hazy, but I have noticed a marked improvement after week one.

One Week Post-op Check-up

Just one week after my LASIK procedure, I almost felt like I never had anything done.  Really, the fear, anxiety, and all else were distant memories. My vision check showed that my right eye had caught up to my left and now BOTH were 20/15!  The haze around the lights was much less noticeable and I was told it would improve each day. 

I could not believe this. After all the years of avoidance and hours of anxiety, it was a mere matter of minutes that changed my life. I don’t say that lightly. It truly has! My vision is amazing! 

If you are considering LASIK surgery, I must give my full endorsement. This is as a friend!  Usually, LASIK consultations are free and it’s worth your time to see if you are a candidate.  If it’s fear holding you back, I was there too.   I am so glad I stepped out of that box for a few minutes to change my life.  Having the ability to see without my contacts and glasses is freeing.  I am excited to see what it will be like on the slopes this year. 

Finding the right surgeon is key.  My experience with Dr. Scott and her entire crew made the whole experience easy.  She is extremely focused on the details and has a track record of success.  As good of a surgeon as she is, Dr. Scott is also a truly caring person.  You should hear how her staff talks about her. Meet her and you will know for sure.  Go through LASIK like I have, and you will see. Wonder Woman? I think so!

Promotion

I am so proud to be able to share this just for YOU!  There was such a positive response online from my mention of this, we have arranged for a ‘Friends of Justin Berk’ special. I am not getting paid for this. I just want to help as many who were in my shoes and endorse a local business.

Get $790 off bi-lateral LASIK! Plus, you can finance the procedure for 24 months interest free AND you can use your FSA or HSA!  Click here for your coupon.  The promotion is good until February 28, 2015.  If you go ahead, please let me know how it goes. I am confident you will be pleased like I and so many others have been.

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My LASIK Experience - Part 2

Posted by Dr. Maria Scott

Nov 21, 2014 9:00:00 AM

justinberkGit ‘er done!

I don’t know why but Larry the Cable Guy infiltrated my thoughts and title here.  I guess it just seemed like ‘Duh!’  I should have done this long ago.  But as I mentioned before, I grew up having poor vision and experienced frustrating conditions with my eyes. I just accepted it. But my past year of expanded horizons, including my 321 mile trek across Maryland, made me realize that life is too short and I should work through my fears for something that could improve my life. Thus, I considered LASIK and met Dr. Maria Scott, who has built a wonderful practice in Annapolis. As soon as I walked into the practice, I knew it was top notch. Every person on the staff loves working there and was just in such a friendly mood. This had nothing to do with me being a weather guy and giving an inside scoop to this winter. It was just their disposition that made me feel better instantly. 

Disclaimer: This is my LASIK experience and results. They may not be the same for you, so add this to your investigation.

My Evaluation

To be honest, I was hoping I wasn’t a candidate. Dr. Scott has such a good record of success, because she is an experienced, skilled surgeon and will only perform LASIK on qualified candidates.  Her team performs a very thorough series of tests to determine one’s candidacy.  As I mentioned in Part 1, my first evaluation did not confirm my candidacy. Because I had my lenses in the night before, Dr. Scott wanted me to take them out for two weeks to see if my corneas normalized. So I agreed to keep them out for two weeks and would come back for a second appointment. 

I honestly HATE my glasses. It’s not a cosmetic thing. I might look smarter, but it’s just the feel of them. Losing peripheral vision, pinching my nose, being crooked on my face… and since I don’t wear them out much, I have not bought a new pair in over 5 years. But, I made the sacrifice, just to see if it would make a difference and I could be a candidate for LASIK.  After my two week respite, my evaluation showed that my corneas had normalized and I was a candidate. Uh-Oh! Now I have to go through with it. To be honest, I was scared. I did not want anyone invading my eyes, but I was confident in Dr. Scott’s ability and believed LASIK could change my life.

The Day Before LASIK

I took to my social media the day before my surgery to mention what I was doing.  I did not expect to see the overwhelming support for LASIK and especially for Dr. Maria Scott. Go see the Facebook post for yourself. If there was ever an authentic endorsement, the hundreds of comments there did just that. The funny thing is that many people encouraged me to be tired beforehand, so that I would sleep more after the procedure to let my eyes heal.  No problem, I couldn’t sleep much the night before anyway.

Since I live 90 minutes away, I didn’t know how I would be after my LASIK procedure so I booked a hotel room. Besides, I needed to nap for 4 hours (doctors orders) and then have a follow up the next morning.  Regardless of where you live, you cannot drive after your LASIK procedure.  You will need a driver. 

My LASIK Procedure

The morning of my procedure flew by. When I arrived at 10 AM I was scared. It hit me. I am really doing this. Where is that pill???

I met with one of the TLC Laser Eye Center Counselors to review my paperwork.  Then, I had one last check up of my vision to make sure it was the same. Here’s the skinny on the rest:

  • Sticker with my name was placed upside down on my chest. That is so the Doctor can read it correctly from above your head.
  • Sedative took about 20-30 minutes to kick in.  I had the chance to just sit and chat to kill the time.
  • When I was moved to the laser suite, my heart could have jumped out of my chest. The reality hit, I am really doing this.  As they helped me lie down, I felt like a kid on the high dive wanting to climb back down…but it was too late and I wasn’t going to wimp out. After all, I told my boys I was going to do this.
  • Prior to the LASIK procedure, they clean your eyelids and eyelashes.  A series of antibiotic, anti-inflammatory and anesthetic drops were placed in my eyes.
  • I did feel pressure when a ring was place on my eye, but it was less than 20 seconds. I didn’t love that part, but it was totally worth it!
  • Dr. Scott told me I had ‘beautiful flaps’. I asked if she said that to all the guys, but she swore it was just how well the process was going. Truth is, I will NEVER hear that compliment again.
  • Yes, you are awake and conscious during the procedure and Dr. Scott let me know what she was doing and reassured me that I was doing well. 

After the procedure, Dr. Scott walked me to another room to rest for a few minutes. We talked about the procedure and she reminded me to take my drops.  When you schedule your LASIK procedure, the coordinator gives you a schedule for specific eye drops you need after surgery to help with the healing process. 

I was sweating like a beast, but I made it!  Now, I was off with my dark sunglasses to take a long nap.  Stay tuned for Life After LASIK – Part 3 – and our Friends of Justin Berk  - Special LASIK Offer!

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Life Before LASIK - Part 1

Posted by Dr. Maria Scott

Nov 19, 2014 9:00:00 AM

LastDayinGlassesIn this three part series local, award winning meteorologist Justin Berk shares his journey with LASIK surgery.

 

A life of strain on my eyes 

I was nearly blind and now I can see - in HD. I had LASIK on November 7th, 2014. It was a Friday morning like any other, but it wasn’t. LASIK has already changed my life and I want to share my story in the hopes that it may help others make the decision to have LASIK. Disclaimer: I have a big mouth and if I like something, I want everyone I know to know. I love to share, especially when it’s good. So, here’s my story.

My blurry, strained, and itchy past

I was 10 years old when I was first prescribed glasses. I needed them to see the blackboard, but like many 10 year old boys, I never wore them. By junior high, my eyes had gotten so bad that I had to wear glasses all the time - or at least I was supposed to. My doctor believed I would be in bifocals by my senior year of high school and wanted to try a technique to limit the change in vision. He suggested I wear hard contact lenses in an effort to act as a cast, helping to form and hold the shape of my cornea. Hard Contacts STUNK! They were small, slid down my eye quickly and back up with every blink. It was hard to hold my focus and painful to keep in my eyes.

Sports

In school, I played baseball and ran track. My issue in baseball was at the plate. When I could see the ball, I could crush it! But, all too often in the batter’s box, while trying to focus on the pitcher and the ball, my hard lenses would slide down my eyes. I would either have to blink a lot or lose focus. That’s no excuse a coach wants to hear. Now that I coach my son’s teams, I get that. When I ran track, my eyes were often very irritated from the wind. I would finish a race with tears rolling down my cheeks. They weren’t always tears of joy from victory. Winter is my favorite season and I would do anything to be out in the snow. After sledding or snowboarding, I kid you not, I would sometimes have frozen tears on my eyelashes -- even with goggles.

Gas Permeable Lenses

When I was in college I made the switch to ‘gas perms’. These were a dramatic improvement, but not perfect. They were large lenses that fit better, but I still had tearing and irritation. 

Soft Lenses

When I was 30 years old, I made the move to soft lenses. Because of my astigmatism, I was told my vision would not be as crisp, even with ‘toric’ lenses that can help correct astigmatisms. It didn’t matter, I needed something to change. Soft lenses were a big plus. I even slept in them sometimes. Even more often, I would let my disposables overstay their welcome. I wasn’t the best patient. I still had frequent irritation and just accepted that was the way things would be. 

Deciding to get LASIK

I had become accustomed to having tired eyes. Taking my contacts out at night and putting on my glasses became a normal routine. Since I couldn’t see the clock, I had to wear a digital watch. This was especially important when I had to wake up early to do the weather on TV. Having to deal with my contacts became stressful while doing all kinds of activities with my two sons like swimming, going on amusement park rides, and just horsing around. There was always something that made me think twice about what I was doing because of my eyes and the possibility of losing a contact lens. I just wanted to live in the moment. 

So after years of dealing with poor vision, the effects of contact lenses and glasses, cost of new lenses and solution, I was fed up. It was a big move for me to consider having someone work on my eyes. I was squeamish thinking about it. But honestly, after meeting with Dr. Maria Scott at Chesapeake Care Eye and Laser Center, I felt a lot better about getting LASIK.

Dr. Scott’s warm, reassuring demeanor put me at ease. She answered all of my questions and thoroughly discussed the LASIK procedure. My LASIK consultation was extremely thorough. They took all kinds of measurements and when Dr. Scott looked at the test results, she was uncertain that I was a candidate. She asked me to stay out of my contacts for two weeks to see if my contacts, which I had only taken out the night before my exam, were skewing the results. Upon my second visit to her office two weeks later, I thought for sure I was not going to be a candidate. After another set of exams, Dr. Scott explained that my corneas had normalized and she gave me the thumbs up! I was shocked! I felt excited and nervous at the same time. Now, on to getting LASIK…stay tuned for Part 2.

In the meantime, here is a video I took the two weeks prior to my LASIK procedure:

 

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LASIK and Astigmatisms

Posted by Dr. Maria Scott

Sep 10, 2014 9:30:00 AM

6686290_s

A question we often hear from patients interested in LASIK is: "If I have an astigmatism, can I get LASIK?"

Most people with astigmatisms can get LASIK surgery.  Two amazing advancements that make it possible to more accurately and precisely correct astigmatisms, as well as nearsightedness and farsightedness, are Wavefront technology and Iris Registration. 

With Wavefront technology a Wavescan is used to take three-dimensional measurements of your eye and identify any unique imperfections such as lower-order or higher-order aberrations which affect your vision.  Depending on your particular aberrations the surgeon may or may not recommend surgery. 

If LASIK is possible, the information is transferred to the laser.  Adding Iris Registration further increases the accuracy. When you lie down for the procedure, your eyes naturally rotate (Cyclotorsional rotation) and your pupils may migrate.  Iris Registration is an alignment method that maps 40 points on your iris and focuses the laser using these points.  Therefore, if you have any eye movement, the laser is able to rotate with these movements. 

Combining Wavefront technology with Iris Registration allows the surgeon to deliver better results and more customized vision correction than ever before.  When you schedule your LASIK consultation, be sure to inquire if the surgeon offers these latest advancements. 

 

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Shaina Solomon Shares Her Life-Changing LASIK Surgery Experience

Posted by Chesapeake Eye Care

Apr 29, 2014 12:06:00 PM

Blog_Crop-01What made you finally take the plunge and get LASIK?
Shaina: I had been thinking about doing it for at least 10 years. In the months leading up to my decision to finally have LASIK surgery, I talked to lots of people that had LASIK. I received positive feedback from them and just decided I was tired of my glasses and needed a change. Talking to others helped me overcome my fear of problems that could occur from the surgery.  

What was your life like before LASIK?
Shaina:
I wasted time in the morning looking for where I left my glasses. I was unhappy with wearing glasses to social events - contacts were uncomfortable for me. I did not like the look of my glasses and the cost of prescription sunglasses.  

What held you back from getting LASIK?
Shaina: I was scared of complications from surgery, like getting dry eyes, my vision not being altered enough, and having life- long problems from surgery.

How has LASIK changed your life?
Shaina: I feel FREE! I can just get up and go! I don't have to look for my glasses. I don't have to worry about them fogging up or getting wet during outdoor activities. I don’t have any more dents on the bridge of my nose. I don't have to think about wearing contacts to social events and how uncomfortable they will be.

Now having LASIK, are you more likely to pursue different activities?
Shaina: Not really, but Lasik makes all of the activities I do sooo much better. I don't have to worry about losing my glasses when I go swimming, to the beach, kayaking, paddle boarding, etc. I don't have to worry about my glasses falling off and getting broken.    

What would you tell someone who is considering LASIK?
Shaina: Talk to others that have done it. Carefully follow all the pre and post op instructions....don't get lazy with the drops. Be ready to enjoy life free of glasses and contacts. Months after the procedure you won't be able to remember what life was like with glasses and will wish you had done it sooner.

Why did you decide to have Dr. Maria Scott do your surgery?
Shaina:
I selected Dr. Maria Scott based on her experience and reputation. As I researched a surgeon for LASIK, I found that Dr. Scott has received many awards and accolades from colleagues and patients. I also happened to run into many of Dr. Scott’s patients around Annapolis and they spoke very highly of her, the LASIK process, and her incredible results.    

What are you missing without LASIK?  Call 410-571-8733 today to schedule your FREE LASIK consultation. Don’t wait another minute!  

 

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How Much Does Lasik Eye Surgery Cost?

Posted by Dr. Maria Scott

Mar 4, 2014 11:00:00 AM

cost_of_surgeryLASIK eye surgery will vary in price depending on your treatment and the service provider; however, there are average amounts that you can use to estimate the per eye cost of surgery.  If you think the surgery is for you, starting to save early and planning financially is a great option. 

Don’t be fooled by cheap deals

Consumers will often see ridiculously low price offers for LASIK eye surgery. These offers can be very misleading and result in you having a procedure that is not right for your eyes.  When determining where to have your surgery, your decision should be based on more than just price. Other factors including the surgeon's experience, results, equipment (type of laser), and current condition of your eyes weigh heavily on the cost of surgery as well as the outcomes you can expect.

Average cost per eye

The average cost per eye for LASIK in the United States is roughly $1,600 according to information from the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center. This means that for a full surgery of both eyes, you are looking at an investment of roughly $3,200. This does not mean that you should not shop around. Having free consultations with medical practices can help you get an idea of what is fair and how pricing is determined. Once you have selected a surgeon, be sure that the price you are quoted is inclusive of the cost of surgery as well as any medications or other post-operative care you may need.  

Costs will also vary per eye based on the type of LASIK surgery you get. Traditional LASIK is the least expensive. If you have custom LASIK, you can expect the cost per eye to jump by roughly $300. Custom Bladeless LASIK surgery is the next step above that, and brings the average cost per eye to around $2,050. Bladeless LASIK involves a laser making a flap in the cornea. The more expensive surgery options are often more effective and may be required based on the current state of your eyes. 

Health insurance may help

Health insurance should definitely be on your mind when considering LASIK eye surgery. Most insurance companies do not cover LASIK, but you should always contact your insurance provider to determine if your health plan covers any part of the surgery. 

Flexible-spending accounts can cut costs

The use of a flexible-spending account can help you reduce your LASIK eye surgery bill.  Contributions to this type of account are made through pre-tax payroll deductions. Because the funds are not taxed, they represent a substantial savings towards the cost of the procedure. 

Figuring out how much LASIK eye surgery costs can be confusing.  Start by speaking with a qualified LASIK eye surgeon to determine what procedure you need. From there, you can estimate costs and start planning ahead for your big LASIK day.

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What to Expect the Day of Your LASIK Eye Surgery

Posted by Dr. Maria Scott

Feb 18, 2014 8:23:00 AM

lasik_eye_surgery_procedureLASIK eye surgery is a quick and painless procedure that can result in dramatic improvements in vision. Nevertheless, it is natural for many people to be nervous on the day of the procedure. By finding out what to expect, you can set your mind at rest. Here is a summary of what happens on the day of your LASIK eye surgery.

Before LASIK

Before carrying out the procedure, your eye doctor will examine your eyes to ensure that you are a suitable candidate for LASIK. One of the exams will include the use of a corneal topographer to record the shape of your cornea. LASIK works by subtly changing the curvature of this part of your eye so that it is better able to focus light.

The LASIK Procedure

Before beginning your laser eye surgery, your surgeon will use numbing eye drops to prevent discomfort. Specific medical equipment will be used to gently hold your eyelid open during surgery to prevent you from blinking.

The first step in the LASIK procedure is to create a flap in the cornea either by using a laser or a very precise blade. Once the flap has been created and carefully lifted, the surgeon applies computer-controlled pulses of cool laser light to the inner layers of the cornea. The inner corneal layer is reshaped with the laser to improve vision or eliminate the need for prescription lenses. You should not feel any pain as the laser correction takes place. You might experience a slight sensation of pressure.

The procedure uses Iris Registration, an alignment method that maps 40 points on the iris and focuses the laser using these points, to track eye movements to ensure precise correction. When one lies down, the eyes naturally rotate and the pupils may migrate. Iris Registration detects any eye movement and allows the laser to rotate with these movements to ensure accurate treatment. The surgeon then gently replaces the flap and aligns it to its original position. The whole procedure takes about 15 to 20 minutes.

After the Procedure

After surgery, you will need someone to drive you home. Your LASIK eye surgeon will suggest taking a long nap and rest as much as possible to allow the eyes to heal. To prevent accidental rubbing while the flap is healing, patients will be given a protective shield to wear at night following surgery. Some patients may feel slight irritation for a few hours, but most are quite comfortable after a nap and rest.

Most patients will experience a 50% improvement by that evening and 70% improvement by the next day. A patient’s vision should be fully restored within 1 – 4 days without the need for any corrective lenses. Most patients return to regular daily activity within 24 hours.

What to Expect After the Day of Surgery

After LASIK eye surgery, you will have a follow-up appointment to check your vision and determine whether you need further correction. Although TLC research findings show more than 90 percent of people who have LASIK achieve somewhere between 20/20 and 20/40 vision without glasses or contact lenses after surgery, there is no guarantee of perfect 20/20 vision after eye surgery. However, a review paper published by the American Academy of Ophthalmology reported that 95.4% of patients are satisfied with the results they achieved through LASIK eye surgery.

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Preparing for LASIK Eye Surgery

Posted by Dr. Maria Scott

Jan 21, 2014 11:52:59 AM

blurry_visionYou’ve finally decided to have LASIK eye surgery and toss your glasses or contact lenses aside. You look forward to the day, very soon, when you’ll be able to swim and see underwater, wake up and not have to squint to see the alarm clock. There are so many reasons that life is easier with 20/20 vision and once you’ve had your LASIK eye surgery, you’ll wonder why you didn’t schedule the procedure years ago.  

Now that you’ve made the decision to get LASIK to correct your nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism, you might be a bit nervous, wondering what to expect, what your recovery will be, and how to prepare for your upcoming procedure so you can achieve the best possible outcome. 

Preparing for Your Procedure

LASIK is a type of eye surgery in which the inner layers of the cornea are reshaped to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatisms, often eliminating the need for glasses or contacts. It’s the most common elective procedure performed in the United States today. LASIK is typically performed in a clinic by a board-certified ophthalmologist, using laser technology. The entire surgery is over in minutes and vision is restored within a few days. You can return to your normal activities, typically, in about 24 hours. 

Prior to your LASIK eye surgery, you’ll meet with one of our professional and dedicated staff members to go over your expectations, preparations you should make, and anything pertaining to your individual case and procedure. Any specific concerns you may have can be addressed at that time; however, in preparing for your LASIK eye surgery, there are a few requirements you’ll need to follow in order to ensure a successful outcome. 

If you wear contact lenses, you’ll need to follow certain protocols depending on the type of lens. You will need to remove your contact lenses according to the following schedule:

  • Soft Daily Wear – Two weeks prior to wavescan pictures and surgery. 

  • Toric – Three weeks prior to wavescan pictures and surgery. 

  • Extended Wear – Four weeks prior to wavescan pictures and surgery.

  • Rigid Gas Permeables (RGPs) and Hard Lenses (PMMAs) – dependent on use. You will need to discuss this with your surgeon.

Given these requirements, you should schedule your initial evaluation at least a month in advance and, at that time, switch to glasses only. The reason you’ll need to remove your lenses and change over to glasses only is that contact lenses distort the shape of your cornea. That’s why they work. By giving your eyes an opportunity to form their normal shape, you can be sure the corrections made by your LASIK eye surgeon meet your needs and result in the best possible outcome.

Don’t wear eye makeup or use eye creams for at least 24-48 hours prior to your surgery. You may be given specific instructions on how to clean your eye area prior to the procedure. Additionally, you may have other preparations to follow such as not using hairspray, powders, lotions or scented products the day of surgery.  By following the specific instructions provided by your doctor, you will lower your risk of infection.

The morning of your procedure, you may feel a bit nervous. This is expected and the professional staff at our clinic will do everything possible to make you comfortable. Be sure to eat a light meal and bring someone with you, or arrange for a ride home. Although the procedure is typically over in 15-20 minutes, having a friend or family member close by can be a comfort. Since your vision will be unfocused and blurry and you may feel a bit unsteady, driving is out of the question.

You’ve Already Done the Hardest Part

Making the decision to have LASIK eye surgery is the most important step. Preparing for the surgery and recovery is really the easiest part, as you will soon see, very clearly, without glasses or contacts!

 

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Topics: LASIK

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