Regarded as one of the fastest growing of all medical procedures, LASIK has eliminated the need for contacts and glasses for more than 12 million Americans since the LASIK technique was granted FDA approval in the late 1990’s.
With laser vision correction, a laser is used to correct the shape of your cornea so that you are able to clearly focus clearly, without the dependency on glasses or contacts. Since then, the technology has exceeded advancement expectations. Even with extraordinary technology, the success of your LASIK procedure depends upon the skill, commitment and experience of your surgeon.
Dr. Di Pascuale is one of the only cornea specialist certified refractive surgeon in El Paso, Texas. You may have heard friends or family talk about their LASIK procedure. Chances are, if they had LASIK in the early days of laser vision correction they might tell you about the complications they had such as halos and ‘starring’, especially when driving at night. However, today’s advanced LASIK lasers have dealt very authoritatively with these issues, achieving a much lower likelihood of night vision issues. In fact, patients in some studies report better night vision. At Cornea and Cataracts Specialty Center , we use the most advanced lasers available to ensure the most precise and desirable outcomes for every patient.
Your Results Are What Matters Most
The Doctor at Cornea & Cataract Specialty Center is committed to your individual results – and these results are dependent upon the surgeon that you choose for your procedure. Our doctor at Cornea & Cataract is highly trained in laser vision correction and LASIK surgeries over the past 15 years. During our free consultation, he will take the time to find out what is important to you and how it pertains to your vision, with the ultimate goal of providing you with among the best LASIK EL Paso has to offer.
Your eyes are the only ones you have – and we expect you to be fully educated before considering any procedure involving your eyesight. Please take some time to review the different procedures, take our self evaluation to see if you would be a candidate, and even request your free copy our LASIK visual guide. If you’re interested in receiving LASIK in El Paso and want to learn more, please feel free to utilize the information we have here, including our Free LASIK Info Guide.
What Can LASIK Correct?
LASIK has the ability to restore vision to 20/20 or even better for people suffering from nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. This procedure provides a significant improvement in lifestyle and freedom from the hassle and irritation of lenses. Specific results depend on your eyesight – each result is unique to the patient.
Common Vision Problems LASIK Can Correct
There are three main parts of the human eye:
- The cornea
- The lens
- The retina
The retina is like the film in the camera. In normal vision, the cornea refracts (bends) light so it can be directed through the lens and focused onto the retina. Vision problems requiring glasses are usually the result of irregularities in the shape of the cornea. This causes an error in the refraction of the image and results in blurred or distorted vision. LASIK solves these issues by using a laser to reshape the curvature of the cornea and correct this refractive error so that normal, clear sight is obtained.
Nearsightedness – Myopia
Nearsighted people see close objects clearly, but not distant objects. In nearsightedness, the curve of the cornea is too steep or the eye itself is somewhat elongated. This results in images being focused in front of the retina. LASIK corrects this condition by flattening the curvature of the cornea so that images are precisely focused on the retina.
Farsightedness – Hyperopia
Farsighted people see distant objects better, but objects at medium to close distances are blurred. In farsightedness, the shape of the cornea is too flat or the eye is too short. This causes light rays to focus behind the retina. LASIK corrects this condition by reshaping the outer area of the cornea so that it focuses images correctly.
Astigmatism is the inability to focus clearly at any distance due to an irregular or misshapen cornea. With astigmatism, light rays focus at different points on the retina causing images to overlap and blur vision. LASIK corrects these irregularities and achieves clear vision.
LASIK vs Lenses
Glasses can scratch, break, fog up, fall off, and sometimes interfere with side vision. Contacts may irritate the eyes. LASIK has none of these drawbacks. LASIK is the ideal solution for eyes that cannot tolerate glasses or contacts, or for patients who simply want to be free from the burden of wearing and caring for corrective lenses.
After LASIK, most patients can pass their driver’s test, swim and participate in other sports without corrective lenses. Myopic patients often find that their night vision improves after LASIK. Because they no longer have to depend on lenses, LASIK patients even enjoy broader choice of careers and athletic activities after they have the surgery.
How LASIK Works
Three steps to 20/20 Vision
- The first step of LASIK procedure is the creation of the cornea flap – a thin segment of the outer layer of the cornea.
- Next, the flap is lifted and a laser is used to re-shape the underlying corneal tissue to correct any irregularities.
- Finally the flap is folded back into place where it bonds quickly. Healing is rapid and most people completely return to normal the very next day.
LASIK takes only minutes per eye. You can expect to feel little to no pain throughout the entire procedure. Some people sense just the slightest sensation of pressure. Inserting or removing contact lenses or just rubbing eyes that are tired from wearing glasses can produce more discomfort than a LASIK procedure.
You can expect to start seeing better right away. However, your eyes will need to rest while the healing process takes over. After the procedure, you’ll be asked to go home and relax or take a nap. After a good night’s sleep, you can expect to wake to your first morning without lenses. One of our patients’ most frequent comments after LASIK surgery is that they can see the alarm clock for the first time without the need for glasses.
The freedom to swim, hike, travel and work without the inconveniences of glasses or contacts is yours to enjoy – this is just the start of life after LASIK.
Considering LASIK? First you need to know if you are a candidate. Give us a call today to schedule your Free LASIK Consultation.
You may have heard friends or family talk about their LASIK procedure. Chances are, if they had LASIK in the early days of laser vision correction they might tell you about the complications they had such as halos and ‘starring’, especially when driving at night. However, today’s advanced LASIK lasers have dealt very authoritatively with these issues, achieving a much lower likelihood of night vision issues. In fact, patients in some studies report better night vision. At Atlantis Eyecare, we use the most advanced lasers available to ensure the most precise and desirable outcomes for every patient.
What is Advanced Wavefront Customized Technology?
Your eyes are as unique as your fingerprints, and the most precise laser vision correction technology addresses these highly individual characteristics. This advanced technology creates a detailed 3D map of the surface of the cornea and translates that information into digital treatment instructions which are then sent directly to the VisX S4 excimer Laser System. If you are seeking custom LASIK or would like more information regarding our custom LASIK eye surgery procedure, give us a call today!
It means highly customized treatment of the corneal conditions that have been creating your vision problems, plus the confidence that your surgeon is using the most advanced state-of-the-art technologies to help you attain your vision goals.
In the final analysis, your successful LASIK outcome depends most on the skill, commitment, and experience of the surgeon who performs the procedure.
Once you have satisfied for yourself that you are in the best possible hands at Cornea and Cataracts Specialty Center , rest assured that we will use the most advanced technologies to correct the refractive errors that caused poor vision in the first place and leave you with the best vision your eyes are capable of achieving. El Paso’s best LASIK technology is here at Cornea and Cataracts Specialty Center !
Considering LASIK? First you need to know if you are even a candidate. Give us a call today to schedule your Free LASIK Consultation.
Alternatives to LASIK
Advanced Surface Ablation (ASA) is the modern version of the PRK laser vision correction procedure and is the preferred approach in certain patients. ASA utilizes the exact same high technology laser that is used with LASIK. Like LASIK, ASA can be used to treat myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism.
Also called LASEK or Laser Epithelial Keratomileusis, this relatively new procedure represents a surgical advancement over PRK. It was first approved by the FDA in 1995. It combines certain elements of both PRK and the more popular LASIK procedure and may offer some advantages over LASIK for certain patients.
ASA is most commonly chosen for patients with corneas that are too thin for LASIK or when creating or lifting a LASIK flap carries an undesirable risk. This procedure is often referred for patients in special requirement professions such as the military, aviation and the special forces.
With LASEK, instead of removing the epithelium, as with PRK, a flap of surface epithelium is loosened with a diluted alcohol solution and moved aside. The surface under the epithelium is treated with the laser and the epithelial flap is returned to its original position, as with LASIK. A protective, soft contact lens is then placed over the cornea to make the eye more comfortable while it heals.
Healing may be improved using the epithelial flap as a natural protective bandage with LASEK, as opposed to completely removing the epithelium as with PRK. It may also reduce postoperative discomfort and the incidence of postoperative haze. Plus, the margin of safety with LASEK is increased over LASIK as the need for microkeratome (mechanical device used to create the corneal flap) is eliminated.
It usually takes from three to five days for the epithelium to fully heal. Because the return to functional vision is longer than with LASIK, many LASEK patients prefer to have one eye treated at a time.
Although the ultimate visual results after ASA are outstanding and equivalent to LASIK, the first few weeks can be somewhat unpredictable with regard to vision quality and post operative comfort. For most patients, the recovery from ASA resembles LASIK in that the patient quickly achieves a very useful level of vision and minimal discomfort. For others, the discomfort can be more prominent and a slower visual recovery can occur, and for this reason, we advise that during the postoperative period, the patient has minimal visual and occupational requirements. It is also wise to delay travel until comfort and vision have reached suitable levels.
We will ask you to avoid immersion of your eyes in water for weeks. This includes swimming and hot tubs. Otherwise, as your vision improves, you may resume your normal activities without major restriction.
If a person’s cornea is too thin, the degree of myopia too high, or the shape of the cornea abnormal, a laser treatment of the surface of the cornea, Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK), may be a better option. PRK was the first procedure performed using the excimer laser.
What happens during PRK?
Prior to surgery, drops are instilled to numb the eye. The patient lies down on a reclining chair with a secure headrest to hold the head still. The eye to be operated on is fitted with a speculum to keep the eyelid from blinking. The epithelium, a thin layer of cells that covers the cornea, is completely removed. The process of cell removal can vary by surgeon. The most common way is by using a solution of diluted alcohol to help loosen the cells from the surface where they are manually removed by the surgeon. A light is targeted toward the eye and the patient is asked to fixate or stare at the light so that the laser can be directed precisely to reshape the cornea. The cool laser beam then removes a very thin layer of corneal tissue – thinner than a human hair – and reshapes the cornea. The cool laser beam then removes a very thin layer of corneal tissue – thinner than a human hair – and reshapes the cornea to enable light to focus properly on the retina. The laser treatment time usually lasts less than one minute. Following the surgery, drops are once more instilled in the eye(s) to facilitate healing and prevent infection. A special contact lens is applied that acts like a bandage and must be worn for three to five days, as new epithelium grows back over the treated area during this time. The doctor will remove the special lens during a follow-up visit.
What are the Risks of PRK?
- A loss of perfect clarity of the cornea – usually not affecting vision – that often resolves over time.
- Glare or increased sensitivity to bright light.
- Seeing halos or hazy rings around bright lights, particularly at night.
- Loss of best corrected vision. Although rare (affecting fewer than 1% of patients), your vision with glasses or contact lenses may not be as sharp as before.
- An increase in intraocular pressure (IOP) due to post-treatment medications. This condition is usually resolved by drug therapy or by discontinuing post-treatment medications.
- Over-correction or under-correction of vision
Refractive surgery may not always yield the desired results. In some cases, the surgery can be repeated. PRK will not eliminate the need for reading glasses in patients around the age of 40.
The LASIK Advantage
Unlike PRK, another laser technique for vision correction, LASIK preserves the top layer of cells on the eye. The cornea heals more quickly and vision is restored faster than with PRK. Atlantis Eyecare uses only FDA approved laser technology combined with the diagnostic precision – originally invented by NASA – for use in high-powered telescopes, called WaveFront™ technology.
With less surface area to heal than PRK, LASIK patient recover very quickly, and most experience little, if any discomfort. Functional vision returns very rapidly, with the majority of patients seeing well enough to drive in a day or two without glasses or contact lenses. Most patients elect to have LASIK performed on both eyes at the same time.
Considering LASIK? First you need to know if you are a candidate. Give us a call today to schedule your Free LASIK Consultation.
Refractive Lens Exchange
Refractive Lens Exchange is a very successful technique for resolving vision problems using multifocal IOLs (Intra-Ocular Lenses) and is a popular option for patients who prefer to replace the eye’s lens before cataracts make this a necessity.
The beginnings of cataracts or the onset of presbyopia are both signs that eventually your vision will be affected enough to require surgery and replacement of the eye’s aging or clouded lens.
Rather than endure the inconveniences of close-up vision problems or the gradual deterioration due to cataracts, many of our patients choose to have the affected natural lens replaced with a multi-focal or accommodating IOL.
The advantages of pre-empting the aging process are:
- Eliminating the need for readers and bifocals
- Solving common vision problems such as astigmatism, nearsightedness and farsightedness
- The cornea is untouched making this an excellent option for patients whose corneas are too thin for LASIK
- The IOL can be removed and exchanged at any time to adjust for any future changes in the patient’s vision
- There is no future possibility of developing a cataract or presbyopia
While cataract surgery is often covered by Medicare or other insurance plans, Refractive Lens Exchange, if there is no significant cataract present, is considered an elective procedure and costs can range from about $2,500 to $4,500 per eye or higher, depending on the type of artificial lens used.
Aside from this economic consideration, the RLE procedure is identical to cataract surgery, one of the most commonly performed of all surgical procedures.
Answers to Help You Make an Informed Decision about LASIK
1. What are the Risks?
There are some risks in everything in life – from driving a car to taking a shower. LASIK is regarded as one of the safest of all medical procedures. More than 12,000,000 Americans have already had LASIK, and the number is steadily increasing. Experienced LASIK surgeons report a lower than 1% complication rate, and these complications have always been confined to quality of vision issues, not loss of vision. Many ophthalmologists believe the long-term risk of wearing contact lenses can exceed the one-time risk of LASIK by a factor as high as five times. * The surest guarantee of the best outcome possible is choosing an experienced surgeon.
2. How does laser vision correction affect the eye long term?
In numerous clinical studies throughout the world since the late 1980’s, excimer laser procedures have not produced any long-term negative effects on the eye’s integrity. Experts are confident that they will not discover any long-term problems, but significant data is not available yet for long-term results. Since the excimer evaporates only a very small amount for the future is expected. The procedure is considered permanent, although in some cases the procedure must be repeated to enhance the final outcome.
3. Can I Really Get Rid Of My Glasses?
By choosing LASIK with the right doctor with the most advanced technology, the typical person, ages 18 to 40, will not need prescription glasses. Between ages 40 and 50, a person will likely begin needing reading glasses whether they have had LASIK or not, due to the reduced flexibility of their eyes’ internal lenses. This condition is called presbyopia and can be effectively handled through a special LASIK technique known as monovision, which has given thousands the ability to see both close up and far away.
If you are considering LASIK and are using reading glasses, you should ask your LASIK surgeon if monovision is right for you.
4. Will LASIK Work For Me?
Most people over the age 18 who suffer from nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism can be helped with LASIK, but a thorough eye exam is the only way to determine if LASIK can achieve your expectations. The exam should include full corneal mapping (topography), Wavefront diagnostic technology, corneal thickness measurement, tear film evaluation and measurement of your pupil size to ensure that LASIK is right for you.
Your doctor should discuss your goals and expectations as well as the risks and benefits of the procedure. You should feel comfortable with your doctor’s assessment of your anticipated outcome before proceeding.
5. Will It Hurt? When Can I Return to Work?
For most people, in the hands of an experienced surgeon the procedure is virtually painless. Some people report feeling a slight discomfort, but nothing that they consider to be painful. After a good night’s sleep, most people awaken to the joy of seeing the world clearly without contacts or glasses, usually for the first time in many years. Most people are able to return to work within 24-48 hours after their LASIK procedure.
6. Isn’t All Laser Vision Correction The Same?
No. Procedures such as PRK and LASEK are forms of laser vision correction because they all utilize a laser to shape the cornea. The primary difference is in how the cornea’s surface is prepared for the reshaping procedure.
7. What About Nighttime Side-Effects?
You may have heard stories in the past about people having difficulty driving at night after refractive surgery. In the early stages of laser vision correction, nighttime side-effects sometimes including halos, starbursts, glare around lights and at times blurry vision. What you may not have heard was that these effects usually diminished in the first three months as the eye healed.
8. What if I Blink or Move during the Procedure?
Sometimes patients worry that they will affect the surgery by nervous or uncontrollable twitches or jumps of their eyes, called saccadic eye movements. The lasers used by Atlantis Eyecare in LASIK are married to high speed eye tracking system with a response time of milliseconds – much faster than your eye can move. This eye tracker completely neutralizes these eye movements to assure a quality treatment and increased patient safety.
9. Can I do both eyes at the same time?
The decision to have one eye done or both eyes done consecutively is a decision for the doctor and the patient. Initially, it was felt that time should be allowed between eyes. However, the standard of care in the United States, particularly with LASIK, has evolved to be either both eyes done on the same day or one eye at a time – whatever the doctor and patient decide. How do I compensate for the other eye’s correction in between surgeries? This is only a problem if you have your eyes done on separate days. If you wear contacts, you can continue wearing the contact in the untreated eye until your doctor instructs you to discontinue its use to prepare for surgery on the second eye. If you wear glasses, you can have one lens without any correction put into them until you have the second eye corrected.
10. Do I have to do anything special before or after the procedure?
A comprehensive eye evaluation is required prior to the procedure. Your doctor will explain all of the procedures to you before and after the procedure. If you wear contacts, you will have to remove them prior to your pre-operative evaluation (3-6 weeks for hard or gas permeable lenses and 7 days for soft lenses) and the procedure. After the procedure, you will need to have someone drive you home. You will need to see the doctor the next day, and you will need a driver for this office visit as well. You will be required to visit your doctor post-operatively at designated intervals for the first year.
11. Should I Wait For The Price to Come Down?
This question is usually prompted by concerns about affordability. Unfortunately, the cost of LASIK has been rising since the 90s and is likely to keep on rising. When you buy a new car, is it cheaper than 5 years ago? How about clothes, restaurants, and cosmetics? With today’s highly advanced technology, LASIK is very definitely a hands-on, personalized service provided by highly trained and qualified medical professionals using millions of dollars worth of equipment. So although some centers quote attractively (but unbelievably) low prices, the truth is, as with anything in life, quality and assurance come at a price.
The good news is that the one-time cost of LASIK works out cheaper in the long-run than ongoing expenses of glasses and contacts. With the financing options at Cornea and Cataracts Specialty Center , many people find their payments can be equivalent to what they are currently spending on glasses and contacts.
12. How do I Choose the Best Doctor?
This is definitely the most important question of all. Although LASIK is marketed as a commodity, it is a medical practice procedure, and in the final analysis the skill and care of the surgeon are the most significant issues. Look for a local surgeon who will personally oversee every step of the procedure and who will take the time to answer all your questions. Remember, the only ‘dumb’ question is the one you don’t ask.
When choosing a Lasik surgeon make sure you feel at ease in their care and that you’re being treated with the respect and care you deserve as an individual. Cornea and Cataracts Specialty Center can evaluate you for this amazing procedure. Call us today for your free consultation!