LASIK stands for Laser In Situ Keratomileusis. PRK stands for Photo Refractive Keratectomy. LASIK (with a flap) and PRK (without a flap) are both Laser Vision Correction (LVC) or refractive surgery procedures used to correct farsightedness, nearsightedness, and astigmatism. These procedures use excimer laser technology introduced in the 1980s. LASIK eye surgery uses a second laser called a Femtosecond laser to create the flap in the cornea. A thin flap of cornea is lifted back and the laser beam is used to reshape the inner corneal tissue. The flap is then replaced and heals in its normal position. The cornea’s new shape allows light images to focus properly on the retina without the aid of contact lenses or eyeglasses. The procedure does not eliminate the need for reading glasses; however, patients over age 40 that wear monovision contact lenses can enjoy monovision LASIK (one eye corrected for distance, the other for near). The goal for nearsighted people is a flatter cornea; for farsighted people a steeper cornea.
Candidacy is determined through an evaluation performed by an experienced CEENTA ophthalmologist and our laser center. Good candidates must be at least 18 years of age and have good eye and general health with a stable prescription that fits the range for LASIK surgery. Patients with amblyopia (lazy eye), strabismus (muscle imbalance), dry eye or other eye problems should alert their doctor. Women should be finished with breastfeeding for three months before pursuing an evaluation.
Charlotte Eye Ear Nose & Throat Associates, P.A. has three LASIK surgeons: William Hammonds, MD, Scott Jaben, MD, and Casey Mathys, MD. You can call 704-295-3000 and the call center can connect you with these doctors. Please do not make an appointment. You need to be screened by phone before coming into the clinic. Your evaluation for LASIK will occur at the SouthPark office of Charlotte Eye Ear Nose & Throat Associates, P.A. on Fairview Rd in Charlotte, NC. The screening evaluation includes specialized testing and imaging, a complete eye exam with and without dilation, and an in-depth discussion and review with your doctor regarding your personal findings, best options, intended outcomes, and risks.
Once you are determined a good candidate, a surgery date will be selected. When you arrive for LASIK eye surgery at the SouthPark office, you will be offered copious topical anesthesia (eye drops only). The laser eye surgeon and staff go over detailed instructions with you. Once in the laser room, the surgeon will create a thin, circular “flap” in the cornea with a femtosecond laser and then the excimer laser begins the job of removing tissue to reshape the cornea. The “cool” ultraviolet laser works quickly. The surgeon then smooths the flap back into position and the same is done for the other eye. No bandages or stitches are required. For patient’s having PRK surgery, the surface layer of the cornea is gently removed, without creating a flap, and a clear contact lens bandage is placed on the eye for comfort after surgery and will remain there for one week. After the procedure, you will spend some time at the laser center before being released and you will need a driver to take you home. Upon discharge, we expect you to travel directly home to sleep. Your next visit is usually the following day at the surgery center with your laser eye surgeon. Further postoperative followup visits are arranged for the following 12 months. Vision returns rapidly with both procedures and normal activities are expected within a few days, although PRK does have a longer recovery time than LASIK. These will be discussed at the time of your evaluation.
While your vision will be improved immediately after LASIK surgery, patients should expect some blurry vision with a small amount of haze. You are encouraged to go home and sleep to let the healing begin. Patients return the next day to see the laser eye surgeon to make sure the flap is smooth and visual acuity is acceptable. At this time, most patients are released to drive and to resume normal daily activities. There are a few restrictions such as no swimming, sweaty exercise, or makeup for the first week. Your surgeon will remind you of these things. PRK patients will have some additional restrictions. Post-operative appointments occur at one week, one, three, and six months, and for some patients at one year.
The cost of LASIK is determined by what type of insurance or vision plan you have, as many of these offer discounts through our laser center. Currently, financing is offered through Wells Fargo, and is also available through CareCredit.
More than 99% of patients are 20/40 or better after surgery. Fewer than 2% of people may require a LASIK enhancement, or "touch up" procedure, within the first 12 months, and fewer than 1% experience a complication either during or following the procedure. Your doctor will discuss all of your pertinent statistics and possible complications in depth with you as they relate to your personal situation during your evaluation process.