Dr. Dean Dornic: Hi, I am Dr. Dean Dornic of the Laser Eye Center of Carolina. We are talking about ways to reduce your dependence on eye glasses and contact lenses and now I would like to talk a little bit about optimising results of the LASIK procedure. Let's talk a little bit about what makes somebody a good candidate for the LASIK procedure. Well, first of, a patient has to be at least 18 years of age to qualify for LASIK. The other thing that's important is that the LASIK procedure doesn't stop normal progression of refractive errors from occurring, that is, if every year an individual becomes more and more nearsighted, the LASIK procedure wouldn't stop that from occurring. So we like to see an individual whose prescription hasn't changed a whole lot. Now everyone's prescription changes a little bit with time, but if you have a pair of eye glasses that you can wear today and they were prescribed a year or two ago and you are still seeing reasonably well, then your refractive error would be considered stable. So that might make you a good candidate for the procedure. Of course, another thing that's important is you would have to want to be able to free yourself of eye glasses and contact lenses. If you don't mind wearing glasses and putting contact lenses in your eye, then there is no reason to consider a LASIK procedure, but if you find yourself in a situation where eye glasses or contact lenses get in the way of the things you enjoy doing, then you should consider one of these refractive surgery procedures like LASIK. Individuals who should not have LASIK would be a hyper-critical or Type-A type personality. In individuals for instance, who constantly goes back in to have their glasses remade because they are off a little bit and it takes two or three times to get their glasses prescription exactly right every time they go in for glasses, probably will not be a good candidate for LASIK procedure, because think about this, a LASIK procedure is like putting an eye glass prescription right on to your eye and you don't want to be in a situation where going back over and over again to do touch-up procedures because you were a little more farsighted than was intended or a little bit more nearsighted that was intended and so forth. If you are insisting that your vision be as good as it is with your glasses and contact lenses and wouldn't accept anything less, then you are probably not a good candidate for the procedure. There are other individuals who might not be a good candidate for the procedure. People who already start off with very severe dry eyes, might not be a good candidate for the procedure. Somebody who has certain eye diseases like Glaucoma or Cataract may not be a good candidate for the procedure. Somebody who has unrealistic expectations about the procedure, bifocal wearers have to look at this cautiously especially if they are assuming that they are going to see as well after LASIK procedure as they do in their bifocal glasses. Another thing that we see commonly would be somebody who has a lazy eye or Amblyopia who thinks that the LASIK procedure is going to solve that problem for them. There are a number of tests that need to be performed to determine whether someone is a good candidate for the LASIK procedure. One of the things that we do when a patient comes in is we like to have old eye glass prescriptions. If you can bring in your old eye glasses, we will analyze what your prescription was a year or so ago and check your prescription today to see how much change has occurred. There are other things that are important in the success rate of the LASIK procedure. Things like the curvature of the cornea, the thickness of the cornea, just a general health of the cornea. So a lot of the tests we do are just the same kind of tests that are done during a routine eye examination.
It is important that you feel comfortable with your surgeon and I know that is a difficult thing for a patient to try to determine who might be a good surgeon for them. I think that word of mouth is always good. You can get the recommendation of somebody else you know who has had the LASIK procedure. You certainly can check out credentials, check out what that surgeon's training is, what their experience is. There are some of the medical associations and boards you can check to see what the malpractice situation is with that particular surgeon. You want to meet one on one with a surgeon to make sure your goals are compatible with what the surgeon thinks he can achieve for you and it never hurts to interview more than one. The cost of the LASIK procedure is probably the most common question that we get when patients call in enquiring originally about the LASIK procedure and the cost you will find will vary greatly. In general, the cost is somewhere between $1,000 and $3,000 per eye and a lot of it depends on exactly what needs to be done and what technology is used. For instance, if a laser is used to create the LASIK flap versus a Microkerotome, that's going to cost more. Wavefront guided or Custom LASIK tends to cost a little bit more than a conventional LASIK procedure. In general, try not to let cost be the overriding thing in your decision making. Most offices offer a financing so you don't have to pay everything out of the block in the beginning. There are some other things that can be helpful. Sometimes there are insurance discounts. Well, preparation is an important part of the success of the LASIK procedure. In general, we want the cornea to be back to its virgin state and we know that contact lens wear can affect the shape of the cornea and the measurements we use in planning the procedure. So we ask soft contact lens wearers to be out of their contact lenses at least 1-2 weeks ahead of time. Hard lens wearers may have to be out even longer and minimum of four weeks. In addition, for the day of the procedure, we are going to ask that you have just a light diet. Don't eat heavy because you are going to be given sedatives during the procedure which can make you obnoxious. We are going to ask that you not wear heavy perfumes and colognes because the vapours from those fragrances can affect the mirrors in the laser. There are some important points about the recovery periods and these might be important in when you do the procedure. For instance, we don't allow women to wear eye make-up for a week after the procedure. We don't like to have our patients exposed to contaminated water so I am going to ask that you stay away from the swimming pool for about a week after the procedure and stay away from ocean water and lake water for about a month after the procedure. So for instance, you wouldn't want to plan the procedure for the week before you are going to go out on a vacation to the beach or something like that.