Refractive Vision Correction

  • Refractive Vision Correction


    Refractive surgery and laser vision correction are among the most exciting medical developments of the past several decades. Laser vision correction can now be used to treat nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. Using the most advanced technology available today, we are able to reduce or even eliminate the need for eye glasses or contacts.

    We believe in a conservative approach to refractive surgery and take time with our patients “one-on-one” to discuss all questions and concerns. The decision to have laser vision correction is an important one and we believe in helping our patients to make an informed decision. At Simpson Eye Associates, patients receive expert care in an environment with the individual in mind.

    What is Laser Vision Correction?
    Laser Vision Correction encompasses PRK and Refractive Vision Correction:

    (PRK) Photo Refractive Keratectomy is performed using the Excimer laser. First used to cut silicone computer chips, the laser has been refined and studied extensively and was then approved by the FDA in the Fall of 1995. Its use in our practice began one month later. The computer driven laser produces cool light energy that precisely reshapes the surface of the eye (cornea), thus changing its power to improve your vision. This can be done in a matter of seconds.

    (Refractive Vision Correction) Laser Assisted In-situ Keratomileusis combines the use of the Excimer laser to reshape the cornea after an automated microkeratome creates a thin flap in the corneal surface to expose the area to be treated. To reshape the cornea to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism, the laser is used to remove a small amount of corneal tissue beneath the flap. The corneal flap is then replaced to its natural position without the use of sutures. This allows for a more painless treatment and a surprisingly fast recovery time.

    Am I a Candidate for Laser Vision Correction?
    You very well may be. Those of you who presently suffer from nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism may be a candidate where previously you were not.

    A complete eye examination can be performed at one of our offices using the most advanced diagnostic equipment. You and the doctor would then decide which procedure is best for you. If you are considering refractive surgery, a screening exam can be scheduled to answer your questions.
    If you have one or more of these problems, you may be an ideal candidate:

    • Wearing glasses all the time interferes with your occupation.
    • The lifestyle you want requires good vision without depending on constant glasses or contact lens wear.
    • You are contact lens intolerant.

    Is the treatment painful?
    The patient’s eye is numbed with anesthetic drops. This makes the treatment essentially painfree, although the bright light may be discomforting. Most patients experience little or no discomfort afterwards. After refractive vision correction, most patients are able to resume their normal daily activities almost immediately. There are, however, a few temporary restrictions. For example, swimming and contact sports are best avoided for a few weeks.

    How much time off from work will I need?
    Very little. In most cases, you may go to work the next day if needed. We can perform the correction on a Thursday or Friday afternoon and you can be back to work by Monday.

    How long will the surgery take?
    The surgery itself takes only about 20 minutes; however, you may be at the laser center for approximately one hour.

    Is the procedure permanent?
    Yes, but the procedure will not prevent any age-related conditions such as presbyopia or cataracts which would have to be treated in their normal manner.

    Will I still need reading glasses after the procedure?
    The need for reading glasses as you get older is inevitable whether you have laser vision correction or not. This is termed presbyopia and generally will manifest in your early to mid-forties. This occurs because of a loss of flexibility in the focusing mechanism of the eye. The laser has no effect either positive or negative on this focusing mechanism (the lens of the eye). You may opt to have one eye intentionally undercorrected if you are nearsighted to compensate for this. This is called Monovision and should be discussed with your doctor.

    Does my health insurance cover this type of procedure? What are my options?
    Some insurance plans do cover refractive surgery and it is certainly worth calling your insurance representative to find out more. Also, many company benefit plans provide ways for you to pay for better vision with non-tax portions of your salary. Some will even let you borrow from your 401-K plan. Even the IRS now allows a medical deduction when you improve your vision.

    What will it cost and do you have financing plans?
    The cost will depend on the type of corrective surgery you and your doctor decide is best for you. We do, however, offer flexible payment plans as well as accept all major credit cards to meet your requirements.

    What are the risks of refractive surgery?
    No surgery is without risks, however, the success rate is quite impressive. This is something you need to discuss with the doctor during your eye exam. We will be happy to discuss the benefits, risks and side effects of treatment. We do take steps to reduce the possibilities of risks.

    I am interested in laser vision correction. What do I do next?
    Give us a call or e-mail us so that we can have you come in for a screening or exam to determine if you are a candidate. Ask our refractive counselor who can give you more details on upcoming seminars and appointments. Please have your eyeglasses or contact lens prescription available to assist us. Let us help you make an informed decision.