Do I have to be admitted to hospital?
No. The procedure is performed on a walk in-walk out basis. You will be at the surgical centre for 2-3 hours on the day of surgery. You will not be able to drive home, and are not permitted to take public transport. Please ensure that you have someone to drive you home.
How long does the procedure take?
The laser treatment itself usually takes less than a minute. Preparation takes a
little longer and you will be in the treatment room for approximately 20 minutes.
Do I need to take time off work?
It is advisable that you spend the day following surgery resting. While the procedure itself is quick, it is still considered a surgical procedure and as such proper rest and post-op care should be taken in the early recovery stages. Generally, a return to work 2 days after the LASIK procedure and 1 week after PRK is common.
Do I have an anaesthetic?
You will be awake during the procedure but the eye is completely numbed by local anesthetic eye drops so that you do not feel any discomfort.
Does it hurt?
LASIK: While the whole procedure is performed using numbing drops [there are no injections or needles] you may feel some sensations around your eyelids. During the procedure you may feel alsohave a sense of pressure on the eye , but not to an uncomfortable level.It is common for a patient to have grittiness/stinging during the first 4 hours post op.
PRK: The procedure itself is more straightforward than LASIK. After the anaesthetic wears off the eye can be sore for a day or two. The degree of discomfort varies from patient to patient, and suitable medication is provided for this period.
What happens if I blink or move my eyes during the procedure?
During the procedure a small spring clip [called a speculum] is in place to prevent blinking and an anaesthetic drop will ensure the eyes are comfortable. During the laser treatment an infra-red camera follows every movement of your eye, ensuring that each laser pulse is aimed at exactly the correct position on your eye. Small movements of the eye are easily compensated for by the laser tracking system.
How accurate is the laser?
The excimer laser is an extremely precise surgical tool. It can remove corneal
tissue with an accuracy of within a fraction of a micron (a thousandth of a millimetre).The laser is calibrated for accuracy before each treatment session.
Is the effect of laser treatment permanent?
Once vision has stabilized, the effect of the treatment is likely to be permanent.
However, refractive laser surgery will not prevent the natural changes in eyesight that take place with age (presbyopia).
Will I need glasses afterwards?
In the majority of cases the aim of surgery is to leave you glasses free. With a success rate of over 95%, very few people need to continue to wear glasses for distance vision. It is important that you understand that patients in their mid 40’s and older will almost certainly need glasses for reading, like most normally sighted people of that age. Some surgeons offer a monovision treatment, where one eye is corrected for distance vision and the other eye for near (reading) vision, reducing your dependence on reading glasses.
How soon will I be able to see afterwards?
LASIK – It is likely that your unaided vision will be substantially better the day after your treatment. Many patients are able to drive the following day.
PRK – In most cases, unaided vision will be noticeably better within one week of the treatment. However, it may take up to one month for your vision to stabilize.
Are there any long term side effects?
LASIK – There have been some late complications described after LASIK. Growth of epithelial cells under the flap. This is usually evident within a few months of surgery and can be treated by lifting the flap and removing the cells. Late dislocation of the flap is uncommon and generally only occurs with significant trauma to the eye. Ectasia is a rare condition where the cornea thins and weakens post surgery and corneal cross linking maybe indicated to stop its progression.
PRK – has been performed since 1987. There have been neither serious complications reported, nor any expected.
Is there a rebate from Medicare or Health Insurance?
Medicare offers a percentage of all your medical expenses as a tax deduction if you spend over a certain amount on medical bills in a tax year. Some Health Insurers (Medibank, BUPA, ahm and others) are now offering a rebate but they are mostly in the top bracket of cover only. Speak to your Health Insurance company for further details.
Is LASIK better than PRK?
Lasik has the advantage over PRK in that vision usually recovers by the following day and there is rarely any discomfort the days following treatment.
However LASIK has some disadvantages. The procedure is slightly longer and more complex than PRK, and there are potential complications relating to the flap that do not apply to the PRK treatment. You need to discuss both procedures with your surgeon to ehlp you decide the best option for your eye health and outcome.
Clinical results comparing LASIK and PRK indicate:
- For shortsighted, astigmatic and mildly longsighted patients both procedures have the same visual outcomes
- For longsighted patients with a high prescription, LASIK may provide a better visual outcome.