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LASIK Eye Surgery

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Bennett Walton Vision offers free LASIK screenings.  Call us now at 713-893-2020 to make your appointment, or you can contact us here.

LASIK, or laser assisted in-situ keratomileusis, is a wonderful way to correct vision.  In fact, if you line up various surgeries in all of medicine by success rate, LASIK is among the top in terms of patient satisfaction.  One of the most common things we hear at Bennett Walton Vision is, “I wish I had had my LASIK sooner.”   LASIK uses a laser to reshape the cornea, or front windshield of the eye, in order to get things into better focus on the back of the eye, or retina.

Isn’t All LASIK the Same?

No.  All LASIK is not the same.  Early generations of LASIK, which are still performed at discount LASIK practices use a metal blade to create the flap, which is not as safe or reliable as the all-laser, modern generation LASIK that we perform at Bennett Walton Vision.  

The first laser, which is a femtosecond laser, creates a flap of protective corneal tissue.  Then, the flap is inspected and carefully lifted, after which the second laser, an excimer laser, reshapes the underlying cornea to the desired shape. The area is rinsed and cleaned with a sterile, eye-friendly saline solution, and the flap is replaced to seal back into position. The laser time alone is typically on the order of a few seconds, and the whole procedure takes about 15 minutes. Of course, the expertise to plan and carry out the procedure wisely, gently, and safely takes years, and Dr. Walton has over a decade of laser eye surgery experience.

I had LASIK done by Dr Walton at his previous practice. I was very nervous going into the procedure even to the point of not being sure I would be able to go through with it. Dr Walton’s personality was very calming and was exactly what I needed to get through the procedure. While it wasn’t comfortable, he walked me through it as it happened and made sure I was ready with each step. The results have been amazing, I was watching my dogs run around the back yard that same evening. Took a few weeks for everything to fully settle but my vision ended up at 20/20 in both eyes. 2 months in and I’m still amazed that I can just get up and see.

T. Anderson

What is PRK?

PRK, or photorefractive keratectomy, is similar to LASIK in that it uses the same reshaping laser.  The difference between PRK and LASIK is whether a flap of corneal tissue is used – as in LASIK – or the cornea is simply reshaped from the top surface underneath the superficial corneal skin cells – as in PRK.  Many laser vision correction facts apply to both LASIK and PRK, but there are some nuanced differences that are worth discussing with Dr. Walton.

Can I Have LASIK, or Who is the Best Candidate for LASIK?

Candidates for LASIK are 18 years and older, with a stable prescription and healthy eyes.  Beyond that, there are many measurements that help us make a wise decision about your surgical plan. Rest assured that Bennett Walton Vision provides many methods of vision correction, not just LASIK, so our true goal is to find the best way to help your eyes achieve their best vision in the safest way.

Can I Have LASIK if I Have Astigmatism?

Yes, LASIK can correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.

To correct nearsightedness – for people who have good near vision but poor distance vision – the corneal shape needs to be flatter.

To correct farsightedness – for people who need “plus power” glasses or contacts to see at both distance and near, the corneal shape needs to steeper.

To correct astigmatism, the cornea needs to be changed differently in different parts of the cornea.  Astigmatism refers to the focal power of the eye being not like a soccer ball or a basketball – with the same curvature in every measurement direction – but instead more like an American football – with a tighter curvature in the “quarterback grip” direction, and with a flatter curvature in the vertical kicking direction. For another example, think of the difference between seeing your reflection in an equally round soup spoon, which gives a more balanced reflection as if there is no astigmatism, versus a normal spoon, which has an oval shape that warps the reflection of part of your face.

Does LASIK Work for Reading Glasses or Readers?

Well, yes, but the answer is a bit more nuanced than that. In short, LASIK is effective at changing the focal point, which can be done with both eyes together or in a blended vision or monovision pattern to bring one eye closer for seeing up close.

This concept actually brings up an important discussion regarding how the eye develops over our lifetimes. We have a natural lens in each eye, behind the iris or “colored part”. When we’re young, it’s typically clear and flexible. LASIK, PRK or EVO ICL are excellent options for changing focal points of the eye, so they are generally the best options in people under 40. Dr. Walton will discuss the best one for your anatomy, prescription, eye health, lifestyle needs and other factors. Bennett Walton Vision is not a one-size-fits-all place. 

In our 40s, the lens becomes stiff in a natural progression called presbyopia, which means readers and/or bifocals for most people. For those who are nearsighted, they still need glasses to see far away, but they may take off their glasses and use their natural vision to see up close. LASIK, PRK, or EVO ICL can still bring things into focus in our 40s, but the natural lens’s stiffening increasingly limits the range from distance to near that each eye can achieve. As more range of vision is gradually lost, it might make sense to do a blended vision LASIK or a Custom Lens Replacement(CLR) . CLR involves replacing the natural lens, which cannot flexibly change shape to see both near and far together, with a new lens. The type of optics in the new lens will depend on your eye health, visual goals, and anatomy. An extra benefit of a CLR is that you will not need cataract surgery in the future, since the natural lens is no longer present to continue its gradual natural clouding.

Should I Just Choose the Cheapest LASIK?

No.  Discount LASIK providers often take a volume-based approach in which they attract patients with low prices with older technology, often including metal blades or other older technology, and then raise the price later when making their final recommendation.  We at Bennett Walton Vision do not believe in using cheap or discount technology for your vision, and we only perform modern LASIK with excellent lasers. 

Ultimately, LASIK and other vision correction ends up being less expensive than long-term contacts and glasses anyway for those who calculate the cost comparison.  When you consider the (price per contact lens box) x (number of boxes used per year) x (number of years of contact lens use looking forward in your life), it’s no surprise that LASIK, despite its higher upfront cost, saves most people many thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars.

Is LASIK Safer Than Contacts?

Yes. LASIK has a significantly lower rate of infection-related vision loss than contact lenses, and this is especially true for extended wear contact lenses like weekly and monthly lenses. Even daily disposable lenses, which are often the most expensive contact lens type, have a higher cumulative risk of sight-threatening infections than LASIK.

What Are LASIK Alternatives?

The most common alternatives to LASIK include PRK, EVO ICL, Custom Lens Replacement (CLR).  When you come in for a free LASIK screening, we will certainly give you our full opinion regarding what may be best for your eyes. The personalized part of the experience is why we love what we do.  

There is a procedure called SMILE, which is a cousin to LASIK. Dr. Walton has performed and even instructed other surgeons in the SMILE procedure. While it is an excellent procedure, quality-focused results review revealed that LASIK patients had a faster return to vision and slightly better vision. This is why we are more likely to recommend LASIK or EVO ICL than SMILE as the technology sits right now.

Does LASIK Wear Off?

No, tissue that is removed as part of the curvature change process does not grow back, but there can be subtle changes over time due to the aging process that would occur with or without LASIK. All tissues in the body change slightly over time.  Commonly, when people say, “My LASIK wore off,” they are referring to gradual stiffening of the natural lens inside the eye.  This process, called presbyopia, happens to everyone whether we have had LASIK or not.  This results in the need to wear reading glasses, typically starting in the early to mid 40s.

What Are LASIK Risks?

Even though LASIK has been formed 20-25 million times, and is one of the most well-studied procedures in medicine, there are still risks with any procedure.  In general, there are risks to the vision and sensation or comfort of the eye.  Thankfully, the likelihood of significant complications is low.

If you have more questions, please just call or contact us here.  Bennett Walton Vision offers free LASIK screenings.  Call or text us now at 713-893-2020 to make your appointment, or you can contact us here.

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