What Do I Need to Know Before Having Laser Vision Correction Surgery?

Most people who are in good health and are either nearsighted or farsighted or have astigmatism are candidates for some form of laser vision correction. In general, you should:

  • be older than 18 years of age
  • have no health issues affecting your eyes – such as thin corneas, keratoconus, corneal scarring, glaucoma, cataracts, retinal disease, herpes simplex, herpes zoster
  • be in general good health – do not have uncontrolled diabetes or a collagen vascular, autoimmune (e.g. lupus, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis) or immunodeficiency disease (e.g. AIDS)
  • not currently taking medications that may impair healing (e.g. steroids) or medications with ocular side effects (e.g. Accutane or Cordarone)
  • not currently pregnant or nursing
  • do not have astigmatism greater than 6 D
  • do not have any eye infections or history of eye injury
  • do not continuously suffer from dry eyes

To find out if you are a candidate for laser eye surgery, please contact our office to schedule a free, no obligation LASIK eye evaluation.

As long as your prescription falls within FDA-approved limits, LASIK or another advanced refractive procedure can correct either nearsightedness or farsightedness.

Being nearsighted, or myopic, means you cannot see things clearly in the distance.

Nearsighted people need glasses to drive or to watch television and some people with more extreme prescriptions may need glasses even to see the alarm clock in the morning.

If you are farsighted, or hyperopic, you may have trouble seeing things up close. Reading, eating or even talking to friends can all be difficult without glasses or contacts.

Astigmatism refers to an asymmetric curvature of your cornea. A “normal” cornea is round, like a basketball. If you have astigmatism, your cornea is shaped more like a football. Astigmatism can occur alone or in addition to either nearsightedness or farsightedness and can be corrected with LASIK.

Monovision is an option to help correct both your distance and near vision. The procedure corrects the focus of one eye for distance vision and the other eye for near vision. One eye will see things close up, the other eye will see things farther away and the brain will integrate the visual information from both eyes and filter out any blur. It is similar to hearing sound from stereo speakers. A different sound comes from each one and your brain combines the information to provide the entire range of sound. Monovision has been used successfully for over 20 years.

Advanced Wavefront LASIK is a highly customized laser vision correction technique that can correct your vision more accurately than ever before. The WaveLight Perfect Pulse technology measures 22,000 different points on your eye, creating a completely unique and comprehensive treatment plan. This information, as unique to you as your fingerprint, is transferred electronically to the laser, enabling the surgeon to adjust the laser and customize a solution for your unique visual requirements.

Most people, including those with higher-order aberrations, can benefit from Advanced Topography-Guided LASIK. Until Topography-Guided LASIK was developed, those patients with a significant amount of higher-order aberration had less satisfactory results with LASIK than others. Over 90% of people who currently wear glasses or contact lenses for nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism can now benefit from some form of laser vision correction. The best way to determine how a customized procedure may benefit you is to schedule a comprehensive eye evaluation including a Topolyzer scan and have these detailed measurements analyzed by Dr. Furlong.

What is the difference between LASIK and Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK)?

LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) and advanced surface ablation procedures like PRK are laser vision correction techniques used to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. Each uses a computer-controlled excimer laser to reshape the cornea and each has excellent post-operative results.

LASIK involves the creation of a thin corneal flap and the use of the laser on the internal tissue of the cornea. The surgery takes only a few minutes per eye and is generally painless. Afterward, there is very little discomfort and patients are often able to return to work the next day. Post-operative care typically involves at least three office visits.

Unlike LASIK, PRK does not involve the creation of a flap. With PRK, the epithelium (skin layer of the eye) is removed and the laser operates on the surface of the cornea rather than internally. Again, surgery takes only minutes per eye and is generally painless. Post-operative recovery for PRK, however, takes a little longer than recovery from LASIK. To assist healing after PRK surgery, a clear bandage contact lens is placed over the cornea during the 3-5 days needed for the epithelium to re-grow. Additionally, PRK patients typically use steroid drops for about a week, but may occasionally have to use them for up to one to three months and there is somewhat more discomfort during the first 3 to 5 days.

There are some patients who prefer PRK, as well as some medical conditions that make advanced surface ablation more suitable. Dr. Furlong will help you determine which procedure is best for you.

Essentially, Advanced PRK and Epi-LASIK are the same procedure, but Epi-LASIK has been replaced by Advanced PRK due to more precise surgical parameters and shorter healing and recovery times.

A Femtosecond (FS) Laser (also known as bladeless LASIK, iLASIK, IntraLASIK and All-Laser LASIK) is a laser device designed to make corneal flaps for LASIK surgery with a laser rather than a microkeratome (blade). With the precision of the laser, the surgeon can more accurately tailor the dimensions of the corneal flap based on pre-surgical measurements.

When it comes to LASIK, Dr. Furlong only offers his patients Advanced Bladeless LASIK.

As with any surgery, there are certain risks. Fortunately, however, the risks of laser vision eye surgery are low and patient satisfaction is high. The main risks include infection, overcorrection or undercorrection of your prescription, halos, a flap that shifts after surgery and dry eyes.

  • Infection – The risk of infection is VERY low, affecting only about one patient in 5,000 procedures. Dr. Furlong will prescribe antibiotic drops for use after surgery and monitor your eyes to ensure that there is no sign of infection.
  • Overcorrection or under correction of your prescription – Since the cornea is living tissue and everyone’s eyes are different, it is possible for your vision to be slightly overcorrected or under corrected after surgery. If your eyes are slightly off target, it is usually possible to do an enhancement to correct the remaining prescription.
  • Halos – After surgery, patients may see a “halo” of light around bright lights at night. For most patients, this occurs only for the first week or two after surgery, but some patients continue to see halos longer. During your pre-operative evaluation, Dr. Furlong will advise you of your risk for seeing halos long term.
  • Dry eyes – The eyes are typically drier than normal for the first week or two following surgery, though some patients may experience dry eyes for a longer period of time. It is important to use lubricating drops frequently. If the eyes are uncomfortably dry for a prolonged period of time, Dr. Furlong can prescribe other drops or suggest techniques that can help.
  • Shifting flap – It is possible that the flap created during LASIK may shift slightly immediately after surgery. This is most often a result of bumping or rubbing the eye early in the post-operative period. Twenty-four hours following surgery, the risk of the flap shifting decreases greatly. You should contact Dr. Furlong if you experience any sort of eye injury within the first day or two after surgery.

The FDA approved the use of the excimer laser for laser eye surgery in 1995. Since the mid-1990s, LASIK has become increasingly popular with leading eye surgeons throughout the world.

The cost of your LASIK procedure is determined at your eye evaluation. Most insurance plans consider LASIK to be elective surgery, but there are a few that offer some benefit that can save you money on the cost of the procedure. Your employer’s flexible spending or cafeteria plan may also offer tax advantages for LASIK. We can help you understand your options and what questions to ask your benefits administrator. In addition, Furlong Vision Correction offers several different payment options, some starting as low as $96 per month, to help make LASIK fit your budget.

Dr. Furlong has extensive training and experience in the latest refractive surgery techniques and has helped thousands of patients see better. He trained under Dr. Howard Gimbel, one of the world’s preeminent laser eye surgeons during his post-doctoral fellowship year at the Gimbel Eye Center in Calgary, Canada. Dr. Furlong believes so strongly in the benefits of laser vision correction that he has had LASIK himself!

Schedule a FREE, no obligation LASIK eye evaluation. Dr. Furlong and the staff at Furlong Vision Correction can explain all of the refractive procedures available and help you determine the best option for you.

What Will Happen During Lasik Surgery?

The procedure itself takes about five minutes per eye, with the actual laser treatment time lasting less than 20 seconds per eye. Patients are usually in the surgery suite for no more than 10 minutes and at the center for no longer than an hour and a half.

A small device is used to keep your eyelids open during the procedure and prevent blinking. You will not be able to blink and affect the outcome of the procedure.

Yes. All you need to do is relax and focus on the green light. Our WaveLight EX500 excimer laser will track and compensate for any eye movements during the surgery. Dr. Furlong will talk to you throughout the procedure so that you know what to expect. You may elect to take a mild, oral sedative before surgery to help you relax.

The procedure is performed using a WaveLight EX500 eye-tracking laser. This advanced system Perfect Pulse technology which will track any small eye movements and automatically make any needed laser adjustments. Dr. Furlong is in full control of the laser at all times during the procedure. The laser will not fire if your eye movements take you outside the treatment zone.

Patients experience virtually no discomfort during LASIK and eye drop anesthesia to numb the eye is administered prior to the procedure. If you experience post-operative discomfort, you may use Tylenol or ibuprofen during the first day or two after the procedure.

Dr. Furlong performs bilateral (both eyes) procedures on the majority of his LASIK patients because he believes it is safe and patients prefer the convenience. Because the LASIK procedure affords a rapid visual recovery, you can comfortably enjoy the convenience of having both eyes treated at the same time. However, it is always an option to have each eye treated on a different day.

On the day of the procedure, you will be at the laser center for about one to one and a half hours. After surgery, we recommend that you go home and rest, keeping your eyes closed as much as possible. Most patients do not require medication for pain. Sleeping or listening to music or a book-on-tape is a good way to pass the time. Watching TV or going out to dinner is not recommended. On the day following surgery, most patients are able to return to work and other normal activities. Surgery can be done on a Friday if a patient wishes to have the weekend to rest before returning to work.

What Can I Expect After Lasik Surgery?

Many people notice an immediate improvement in their vision when they sit up after surgery, although there will be an initial haziness that should clear by the next morning. The vast majority of Dr. Furlong’s LASIK patients see 20/25 or better the day after surgery. Often patients drive themselves to their first post-operative visit.

Dr. Furlong’s current clinical results show 100% of patients who had Advanced Wavefront LASIK surgery achieve 20/40 vision or better. Even more impressive is that 98% of patients obtain 20/20 vision or better and 65% of patients achieve 20/15 vision or better. Of course, your individual results may vary depending upon your pre-surgical prescription and the condition of your eyes. Dr. Furlong can provide more information regarding your potential outcome after he examines your eyes.

You will be given plastic shields to wear over your eyes immediately after surgery and for five nights following surgery to protect your eyes while sleeping. For the first month, care should be taken to not rub your eyes for any reason and patients should avoid getting sweat, dust or smoke in their eyes. It is also better to avoid swimming for two weeks, but with care, there is usually no problem with showers.

Any visual side effects from LASIK are usually temporary. The most common ones are a “ghosting” or lighter second image around the edge or border of objects, nighttime halos (a rim of light around bright lights at night), and mild fluctuations of vision. These effects can last anywhere from days to weeks and, in some cases, may last for months. There is also a possible decrease in your ability to see well in low contrast situations, such as driving at night. Dr. Furlong will discuss the possibility of these visual side effects in more detail after he examines your eyes.

There is no guarantee of 20/20 vision following LASIK or any of the other vision correction procedures. On average, approximately 2% of patients need an enhancement. It is possible, however, to have enhancement surgery if Dr. Furlong feels that it is medically safe and will improve your vision. An enhancement is a second LASIK procedure used to “fine-tune” any residual prescription of your eyes. The healing time after the enhancement is the same as after the first surgery.

Since everyone’s eyes heal differently, no one can predict a patient’s outcome with 100% accuracy. Generally, the worse your vision was before treatment, the greater the chance that you will need an enhancement. Enhancements are done no sooner than 2-3 months following the original surgery, allowing time for the eye to heal and the vision to stabilize.

As a patient of Furlong Vision Correction, vision results are covered by our very strong commitment to you.  The Furlong Vision Promise provides and enhancement, if needed, to maintain your vision results at any time of your life.  And that Promise is at no cost to you.

The vision achieved with LASIK is generally the vision you will have for the rest of your life. The correction achieved with LASIK is long lasting and very little vision change has been seen after years of patient follow-up in clinical studies. Cataracts or other eye health-related problems may occur later in life, but are not caused by or directly related to LASIK.

LASIK does not, however, prevent presbyopia, the age-related condition that makes people need reading glasses. LASIK patients may elect to correct presbyopia at some later date with an enhancement for monovision.

Since 98% of Advanced LASIK patients see 20/20 or better, very few choose to wear glasses again. Those who do, generally use them only in certain circumstances such as driving at night or in the rain. For most people in their 40s or 50s – whether they have had LASIK or not – reading glasses may be necessary.