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LASIK (Laser Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis) is a laser vision correction procedure, or refractive surgery, that treats nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism by removing tissue within the cornea (clear front part of the eye). Reshaping the cornea allows light traveling through it to more accurately focus onto the retina in the back of the eye, resulting in clear vision. If both eyes are eligible for treatment, the majority of patients will have them done at the same time.

LASIK is one of the most frequently performed elective surgeries in the United States and has been proven to yield lasting results with a high degree of safety. Most LASIK patients achieve 20/20 vision or better!

The procedure takes less than 30 minutes and causes little or no discomfort. With fast recovery, fewer complications and side effects than other vision correction procedures, LASIK is the laser eye procedure of choice for most patients. Our most frequent comment from patients immediately following LASIK surgery is: “Why didn’t I do this sooner?”

LASIK Benefits

  • Reduces or eliminates the need for glasses or contact lenses.
  • Patients notice a significant improvement in their vision soon after surgery. More than 90 percent of people who have LASIK achieve somewhere between 20/20 and 20/40 vision without glasses or contact lenses.
  • Most patients return to their typical routine only one day after LASIK, with little disruption to daily life.
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How is LASIK surgery performed?

The entire LASIK surgery takes under 30 minutes. The surgeon first applies anesthetic drops to the eye, then uses a laser or surgical instrument to create a protective flap. This flap is gently lifted as the surgeon applies computer-controlled pulses of cool laser light to the inner layers of the cornea. The surgeon uses the laser to reshape the inner corneal layer according to the patient's unique vision needs and customized eye "map."

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Conditions that can be corrected with LASIK surgery
Condition LASIK Correction
Nearsightedness
(myopia)
Tissue is removed from the center of the cornea to flatten it. This moves the point of focus from in front of the retina to directly on the retina.
Farsightedness
(hyperopia)
Tissue is removed from outside of the central optical zone of the cornea to make the flat cornea steeper. This moves the point of focus from behind the retina to directly on the retina.
Astigmatism The cornea is made more spherical—like a basketball instead of a football. This creates one point of focus on the retina, eliminating multiple focusing points within the eye. Astigmatism can be treated at the same time as nearsightedness and farsightedness.

Some patients may feel slight irritation for a few hours following the procedure, but most are quite comfortable after a nap and rest. Most patients will experience a 50 percent improvement by the evening, a 70 percent improvement by the next day, and can return to regular daily activity within 24 hours.

Most patients should continue to see improvements as their eyes heal and adjust to their new shape, with fully restored vision in one to four days.

Who is a Candidate for LASIK?

Generally, LASIK is appropriate for patients who meet the following criteria: 

  • At least 18 years old
  • Not pregnant or nursing
  • Are in good general health
  • Have a stable prescription
  • Have no eye diseases

The best way to determine if LASIK is right for you is by shceduling a LASIK consultation with our team. It is fast and comprehensive. 

LASIK Technology

The team at Maryland Eye Associates leverages the latest technology to provide a customized approach to LASIK for our patients and allows us to meet the varying needs of our patients.

Our Laser Systems

  • Wavelight Allegretto EX500 Excimer Laser
  • Zeimer Z4 Femto
  • Wavelight FS200 Femtosecond
  • Moria Microkeratome

Our Diagnostic and Imaging Technology

  • Oculus Pentacam
  • Acutarget HD

LASIK Terminology

If you are considering LASIK, you may hear or read some terminology that is new to you. At Maryland Eye Associates, we believe patient information is a key to helping you to make the right decision about you vision and LASIK.

Ablation zone: This is the area of tissue that will be removed during the LASIK procedure.

Acuity: The clearness of your vision.

Astigmatism: This is a refractive error that results in the distortion of the image on the retina.

Cornea: This is the clear, front portion of your eye. This is the first part of the eye that bends light and provides most of the focusing power.

Diopter: This is the measurement of refractive error, and is something you may encounter when reading your prescription. A negative value will indicate nearsightedness, while a positive value will indicate farsightedness.

Dry Eye Syndrome: This is a common condition that will occur should your eyes not produce enough tears to keep your eyes moist.

Excimer laser: This is a cool beam, ultraviolet laser that is used to remove corneal tissue.

Glare: This describes the scatter from bright light that hinders your vision.

Halos: This describes rings surrounding light that is caused by imperfection in or in front of your eye.

High order aberrations: These are refractive errors other than nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. High order aberrations cannot be corrected with glasses or contacts.

Hyperopia: This is also called farsightedness. It is the inability to see near objects clearly.

Laser keratome: This is a laser device used in LASIK and other laser eye procedures to create a flap in the eye’s cornea.

LASIK: This may also be called Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis. “In Situ” is latin for in place, or not removed; this refers to the cornea’s position. Keratomileusis is the carving or reshaping of the cornea.

Microkeratome: This is a mechanical surgical device that is sometimes used to create a flap in the cornea.

Myopia: This is also called nearsightedness. This describes the inability to see distant objects clearly.

PRK (photorefractive keratectomy): PRK is an alternative to standard LASIK. This type of laser vision correction surgery is used for the correction of astigmatism, myopia and hyperopia.

Refractive Errors: This term describes imperfections affecting the eye’s focusing power. Refractive errors include nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia.

Wavefront: Wavefront technology measures your eye’s total refractive errors, producing a map of your eye’s imperfections. This technology allows the LASIK procedure to be customized to your unique needs.

Affordability

At Maryland Eye Associates, our pricing is always competitive when compared to other providers in the region, especially considering our advanced technology and unmatched experience.

LASIK is considered an elective procedure and is not covered by insurance; however, it may be tax deductible depending on your filing status. In addition, many patients choose to pay for their procedure using their tax refund. We offer several payment options to suit your needs:

  • Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA): You can save up to 30% by using tax-free dollars to pay for your cataract surgery. Many employers and banks offer an FSA or Health Savings Account.
  • Financing: Maryland Eye Associates is pleased to offer up to 24 months’ special financing for LASIK and reading vision correction procedures, as well as premium cataract lenses, with approved credit.
  • Credit Cards: Many patients opt to pay for their procedure using a personal credit card. This may be a good option, especially if you have a card that carries a low interest rate or offers points and other rewards.

Our financing partners offer an array of monthly payment options, allowing you to move forward today without delay.

Talk with our staff about the best financing options for you.

I’m Scheduled for LASIK! What Can I Expect?

It’s normal to feel both excited and nervous as you prepare for your procedure. Ask questions. Read about the procedure. Talk to former patients. Rest assured; your eyes are in good hands with Maryland Eye Associates.

Before Your Procedure

Before your LASIK procedure you will have a thorough consultation and vision evaluation. During the consultation, we will:

  • Answer all of your questions.
  • Review your vision history and perform several diagnostic tests to measure your prescription, corneal thickness and pupil size.
  • Create a map of your specific vision imperfections.
  • Develop a personalized treatment plan to help us tailor your laser eye surgery for optimal results.

Your Procedure Day

The procedure itself will last less than 30 minutes. During this time we will:

  • Take final measurements of your eyes.
  • Clean your eyelids and lashes.
  • Administer a mild sedative, if you choose. However, most patients experience little to no discomfort.
  • Apply anesthetic drops to the eye, to completely numb the eye for comfort.
  • Place a lid and lid holder to keep your eyelids open.
  • Your surgeon will create a small flap in the outer protective tissue of the cornea and gently fold it back. This protective flap helps to minimize discomfort following the LASIK procedure.
  • Using a computer controlled excimer laser, pre-programmed with information from your extensive testing, your surgeon will direct cool pulses of light to the inner layers of your cornea, reshaping it to match your contact lens or eye glasses prescription.
  • The flap will be returned to its original position to start the healing process.

POST-PROCEDURE CARE

Patients generally return to their daily routine the day after surgery with no complications…and no glasses or contacts! You will receive very specific instructions for your post-procedure care.

  • You should experience immediate improvement in your vision after laser eye surgery. Your vision will continue to improve over the next few weeks as your eyes heal.
  • Though you will be able to see immediately, you should plan to have someone drive you home for safety reasons.
  • Your eyes may feel irritated and may tear or water for a few hours. Most patients are quite comfortable after taking a short nap while wearing protective eye shields to prevent you from rubbing your eyes.
  • Drops are prescribed to prevent infection and assist with any dryness.

You will have several follow-up visits with our team or your local eye doctor in the weeks or months after your procedure. These are short appointments to ensure your eyes continue healing. And, of course, don’t forget your annual eye health exam with your local eye doctor.

Quick LASIK FAQs

HOW LONG DOES LASIK TAKE?

The procedure itself is very quick! The actual laser time for each eye is only about 15 seconds, and your time at the laser center will generally be under 15-30 minutes. Our staff spends the most time up front analyzing your vision testing results and planning the best treatment for your customized LASIK.

DOES LASIK HURT?

Prior to your LASIK procedure, we’ll administer anesthetic drops to numb the eye. Most patients say there is no pain during the procedure, but some report feeling mild pressure or vibration. You may feel a slight irritation for a few hours after LASIK. We recommend that you take a short nap and rest your eyes. The majority of patients are back to their normal activities the following day.

AT WHAT AGE CAN SOMEONE HAVE LASIK?

A good candidate for LASIK is at least 18 years old with a stable prescription for at least one year. Many parents, having already experienced their own life changing vision surgery, are giving the procedure as a gift to their children for birthdays, graduations and holidays. Patients under 30 years old are the fastest growing group of LASIK patients.

HOW LONG DOES LASIK LAST?

A recent survey of patients who had LASIK beginning in 1995 showed that the majority believed that LASIK improved their overall quality of life and would recommend the procedure to others. The overall results of your procedure can last a lifetime!

WHAT IF I AM NOT A CANDIDATE FOR LASIK?

At Maryland Eye Associates, we have a refractive option for every patient that wants to get out of glasses or contacts. If you have been told you were not a candidate for LASIK, come see what our team can do for you.

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