Q: What is refractive surgery?

A: Refractive surgery is a procedure to lessen your dependence on corrective lenses for farsightedness and astigmatism.


Q: What is PRK?

A: PRK is a laser procedure used to correct a wide range of nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. We use the cool beam of the excimer laser to reshape your cornea. PRK differs from RK, which uses radial incisions (cuts) to flatten the cornea.


Q: What is LASIK and what does LASIK mean?

A: LASIK surgery is a surgical procedure used to correct a wide range of nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. A thin layer of the cornea is lifted to create a protective flap. The cool beam of the excimer laser re-shapes the cornea and the flap is then returned for a quick, natural recovery. Patients experience little discomfort and can return to work the next day. LASIK stands for "Laser in situ Keratomileusis". It is a cool beam laser that reshapes the cornea without destroying the adjacent cell layers.

“After years of great service from Clarkson I finally agreed to have the LASIK correction done. I was totally knocked out by the professionalism of the office staff and the variety of options made available to me. First class service!”
– Cheryl T.

Q: Are LASIK and/or PRK FDA approved procedures?

A: Yes! In 1995, the FDA approved the use of the excimer laser. LASIK's popularity has grown and is now the procedure of choice worldwide.


Q: What are the differences between PRK and LASIK?

A: In both procedures the cool beam of the excimer laser is used to re-shape the cornea. The approach to accessing the area of the cornea to be treated is very different, however. LASIK patients experience rapid visual recovery (with minimum discomfort) because a protective flap is created using tiny pulses of laser light. The flap is replaced after the procedure. With PRK the outer epithelial layer is lightly removed and a contact bandage is placed over the cornea. Mild discomfort may be experienced and the contact is removed within 5 to 7 days.

Q: What is astigmatism?

A: Astigmatism is when the front surface of your eye is not perfectly round; it can be described as being shaped like a football. Astigmatism can cause distortion of both near and far objects.


Q: What is nearsightedness?

A: Nearsightedness is a refractive error that can be treated with LASIK. If you are nearsighted, distant objects are blurry while close objects are clear. This is also called myopia.


Q: What is farsightedness?

A: Farsightedness is a refractive error that can be treated with LASIK. The technical term for farsightedness is hyperopia. Hyperopia requires an individual to use their focusing ability to see objects far away and more focusing ability than customary for near objects. Severe hyperopia can cause blurred images for both near and far objects.


Q: Is LASIK covered by insurance?

A: LASIK is considered an elective procedure and is generally not covered by insurance. However, we encourage you to contact your insurance provider to inquire about coverage; you may also consider contacting your human resources manager if you have a flexible spending account. Many patients choose to use this account for elective procedures.


Q: Does the procedure hurt?

A: The actual procedure does not hurt; numbing drops are applied to the eyes. You may experience a slight pressure sensation during the procedure. After the procedure, some patients may experience some discomfort, such as mild irritation, scratchiness, dry eyes, watery eyes, redness or sensitivity to light. We recommend sleeping and keeping the eyes closed for at least 6 hours to help reduce any mild discomfort.


Q: What are the side effects?

A: As with any surgical procedure, there are possible side effects. The most common to LASIK are sensitivity to light, night glare, dry eyes and mild irritation. Most of these are temporary and will subside within 2 to 3 days. Others may last up to six months.


Q: What are the long-term effects?

A: There is no evidence suggesting any long-term risks associated with LASIK.


Q: Do you give patients any type of anesthetic and/or sedative for the LASIK procedure?

A: Yes, we use numbing drops, not needles, for the eyes. You will also be able to take a mild sedative which will help you relax. However, you will need to remain awake during the procedure.


Q: How long will I be off work?

A: You may return to work and resume your normal activities when you feel able. Most patients return to work within 24 hours of their procedure. You should restrict yourself from wearing eye make-up for the first 7 days, showering (baths only for the first 12 hours), water sports, such as swimming, for 1 week and dirt or dust prone environments for a period of two weeks, unless you wear protective eyewear.  We also recommend you refrain from using the computer, smart devices, or anything with a screen for 48 hours post-surgery.

Q: If I wear bifocals now, will I still need to wear reading glasses after LASIK? Why would I still have to wear glasses?

A: For patients who are already experiencing difficulty with reading in their distance correction (normally patients nearing the mid-forties), LASIK can possibly treat one eye for near vision and the other for distance vision, thus decreasing the necessity for both near and distance glasses. We will consider this LASIK correction, if you wear monovision contact lenses.


Q: How many procedures have Clarkson Eyecare surgeons performed? Click to view Clarkson's video: LASIK at Clarkson LASIK

A: Our surgeons have completed more than 40,000 procedures.


“I had LASIK surgery with Clarkson and loved it. They are the best and have the lowest prices.”
– Marian D.

Q: Why is your price so much lower than your competition's price?

A: We own our own laser equipment. Therefore, we do not pay rental fees. We have our own surgical and ophthalmology staff and do not have to pay for referral fees. It is the policy of Clarkson Eyecare to provide quality LASIK at an affordable price.


Q: What special instructions are there for the day of the procedure?

A: If you are a contact wearer, you must remove soft lenses 2 weeks prior to that day and remove rigid, gas permeable lenses 12 weeks prior. You will be asked to wear no eye make-up or aerosol sprays such as perfume, cologne or aftershave, etc. You will be requested to bring a driver with you on the day of the procedure and for your one-day post-op procedure visit. There are no restrictions on eating or drinking (except for Alcoholic beverages, which are very drying to the eyes). We do encourage you to eat something. We recommend that you dress comfortably but in nothing that is fuzzy or will shed lint. You will be asked to read and sign an informed consent form prior to the procedure.


Q: Am I a good candidate for laser vision correction?

A: The only way to know whether or not you are a good candidate for a refractive procedure is to be examined by a qualified refractive specialist. Your prescription or a brief screening examination provides only an estimate of your suitability. Several conditions can disqualify you from the procedure. Only with a comprehensive eye examination can you be confident of your suitability for LASIK.


Q: We are planning on starting our family. How long do I have to wait before I can have the surgery?

A: You would have to wait up to 6 months after your pregnancy before you could undergo LASIK surgery. If you decide to nurse your baby, you must also wait an additional 6 months after you have stopped nursing before you could have the procedure. Pregnancy and nursing greatly changes a woman's body and affects her vision. Therefore, her eyes must be stable before having the procedure done. A thorough exam would be completed to determine if the eyes had become stable.


Q: How long will it take my eyes to heal?

A: In LASIK, the front surface of the eye normally heals within 24 hours. If a bandage or soft contact lens was used, it can be removed within 24 hours of the procedure. Vision tends to stabilize more rapidly with LASIK than PRK so most patients are able to drive within the first few days following the procedure. The patient should be careful of bumping or rubbing the eyes for at least 3 months.


Q: How long does the procedure take?

A: Your procedure will take approximately 10 to 15 minutes for both eyes. The actual laser will take only 20 to 30 seconds to reshape your cornea. The remainder of the time is used to prep your eye(s) and complete the procedure. (The procedure consists of numbing the eyes, inserting a speculum to keep the eye open during procedure, creating the flap with the laser, ablation of corneal tissue, replacing the flap and realigning the flap.)


Q: What type of laser equipment do you use?

A: Our state-of-the-art surgery center has a WaveLight ALLEGRETTO Excimer Laser, a VISX Star 4-OR Excimer Laser and an FS200 Femtosecond Laser. The VISX Star 4 is a cool-beam laser system that performs our traditional LASIK procedures to correct refractive errors. The ALLEGRETTO WaveLight is a cool-beam laser that performs our custom LASIK procedure, which not only corrects refractive error, but also accounts for personal measurements of the optical system to result in an optimized LASIK result which in some cases can give patients better vision that glasses or contact lenses.The FS200 Laser is used for the creation of the corneal flap, which significantly reduces the risk of surgical complications during the first step of the LASIK procedure.


We also now offer the WaveLight Workstation procedure. The WaveLight Workstation combines the safety of the FS200 laser-created flap and the ALLEGRETTO Optimized procedure. With this procedure you get a completely personalized procedure based on advanced vision correction technology. The WaveLight Laser is designed to preserve the natural curvature of the eye. As a result, LASIK with the WaveLight refractive technology can help preserve the quality of your vision, ensuring your eyes are at their most natural and their most useful.


Q: Can you guarantee 20/20 vision?

A: As with any surgical procedure, there are no guarantees. Although the results are extremely good (95% of patients in national studies no longer need glasses for driving), the results of the procedure depend on your initial refraction, your own healing characteristics and other factors. It is good to look at LASIK as a way of achieving an extreme decrease in your dependence on glasses or contact lenses. If 20/20 vision is not obtained after the primary LASIK procedure, enhancements may be effective to further improve vision. 20/20 can only be achieved in patients who have the potential to obtain 20/20 vision.


Q: Can both eyes be done at once?

A: LASIK is often done on both eyes at the same time. The results are so predictable and the procedure safe enough that most people prefer to have both eyes done at the same time. Bilateral surgery is convenient in that is restores your balance vision as quickly as possible. With PRK, you may want to have your eyes done on consecutive weeks because it may take a few days for the functional vision to return. By doing one eye at a time, you can rely on the other while the postoperative eye is healing. Additionally, surgeons may elect to do one eye at a time in patients with extreme myopia because these patients can be less predictable in terms of their response to the laser.


Q: If necessary, can I still wear contact lenses after LASIK?

A: If your eyes have a residual refractive error after your procedure and you choose not to have an enhancement procedure, you can wear contact lenses. You may wear contact lenses within a few weeks. If you were a good lens wearer before LASIK, it is unlikely that you will have problems after. With PRK, you may need to wait up to 3 months before wearing contact lenses.


Q: Can I have cataract surgery if I need it in the future?

A: Yes. The surgical technique used will not change. However, your lens implant will be calculated using a different formula. LASIK does not speed up the progress of cataracts, nor does it prevent cataracts from forming.


“I had LASIK at Clarkson 13 years ago and still see it as the best decision I ever made.” – Kandall F.


Q: Can there be a problem with my eyes in twenty years because of LASIK?

A: This would be very unlikely. LASIK is a form of lamellar refractive surgery, and lamellar refractive surgery has been performed since 1949. Patients who have undergone these related, but less accurate and more invasive procedures fifty years ago, have not developed any unusual problems.


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