Q + A: LASIK surgery

Monday, October 15, 2018

Dr. Allison Bardes

LASIK surgery is a blade-free procedure that uses laser energy to improve vision. The WVU Eye Institute is the first in the state to use the WaveLight® Refractive Suite for LASIK, which provides better patient outcomes than previous LASIK technology. WVU Medicine ophthalmologist Allison Bardes, MD, answers questions about LASIK surgery and its benefits.

What is LASIK surgery?
Laser Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK) surgery is an outpatient procedure used to treat refractive errors, like nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism, and reduce or eliminate the need for glasses or contacts.

Who is a good candidate?
To be considered a candidate, you must be at least 18 years old, and have healthy eyes and a stable eye prescription for the last 12 months.

What are the benefits of LASIK?
Laser vision correction has been shown to reduce dependence on glasses and contacts. More than 95 percent of WVU Eye Institute patients undergoing laser vision correction achieve 20/40 vision or better, which will enable you to pass a driver’s license exam.

Is LASIK painless?
For many patients, LASIK is painless. Anesthetic drops numb the eye prior to the procedure. Some patients may experience temporary symptoms, such as scratchy or watery eyes, after the procedure, but this usually disappears within 24 hours. Using medication drops as instructed can help minimize any discomfort.

Do the results last?
LASIK is considered to be a permanent procedure; however, refractive surgery will not prevent any age-related conditions, such as presbyopia (the need for reading glasses) or cataracts. In a small number of cases, eyes do change over time and develop a new prescription. If this happens, you may need to be re-treated.

How much work will I miss?
Most patients return to their normal activities the day after the procedure. Your WVU Eye Institute provider will give you more details on what you can expect when you are evaluated for LASIK surgery.

Does insurance cover it?
Most insurance companies consider LASIK to be an elective surgery, and it is not usually a covered benefit. However, it’s certainly worth checking with your insurance company. WVU Medicine also offers a convenient payment plan for LASIK surgery.

WVU Eye Institute patients who receive LASIK with our WaveLight® Refractive Suite may achieve:

  • 20/20 vision or better for nearsightedness
  • 20/40 vision or better for farsightedness
  • “Good” or “excellent” vision as described by more than 90 percent of patients
     

For questions or to make an appointment, call 855-WVU-CARE / Visit WVUMedicine.org for more about services.