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LASIK Bladeless WaveLight® Customized Vision Correction

Frequently asked questions:

Discount Shopping for Surgery?

While discount shopping for shoes and clothing is often a good idea, is it really a good idea to go bargain hunting for SURGERY on your eyes? Many LASIK providers attempt to lure patients in by offering ‘special’ pricing for laser vision surgery. Yet, once a patient goes in, they find themselves confronted by many ‘add ons’ to the pricing that was advertised. They are told, “You need more correction than the discount price offers,” or “You are not a candidate for the discounted surgery, you need ‘special’ surgery which costs more.”

There is also a gimmick in marketing laser vision correction that shouts, Dr. So-and-So has done some high number of LASIK procedures. But volume is not the answer to successful vision correction! Care, concern, and surgical skill ARE the important things in considering not only who your surgeon is to be, but how are you going to be treated before, during, and after the surgery. In many of these LASIK practices, the patients do not even meet their surgeon until the day of surgery!

At Palmetto Eye & Laser Center, we pledge to give you clear pricing from the beginning. We also promise that your care, from the first consultation through the important follow-up care you need, will be provided by your surgeon! We are committed to providing you a comfortable and caring process in which you have all the time and attention you need to have all your questions answered and to have the best possible outcome.

Financing options are also available for your convenience.  

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What to First Consider When Exploring LASIK Surgery

The health of your eye is the most important consideration when you are thinking of having laser vision correction. An important first step is to schedule an appointment with us for a LASIK consultation. This screening appointment is done at no charge to you, and can help answer many questions for you including whether or not you are a candidate for LASIK. If your dependence on your glasses or contact lenses interferes with the way you work and play, then you may want to consider laser vision correction. These procedures can be used to treat myopia (near-sightedness), hyperopia (far-sightedness), and astigmatism.

To be considered for LASIK surgery you must be at least 21 years old with a stable refraction for at least one year. A stable refraction means that your prescription for correction of your vision has not changed more than 0.5 diopters in the last year. You must also be free of any eye disease or corneal abnormalities. It is also important to note that LASIK cannot treat more than 15 diopters of myopia (near-sightedness), or more than 4.0 diopters of astigmatism, or more than 4.0 diopters of hyperopia (far-sightedness).

You may not be a candidate for LASIK if:

To make an informed decision to have any refractive surgery it is important to have realistic expectations, and that you base your decision on what you and your doctor realistically believe can be achieved with surgery. The goal must always be to reduce your dependence on corrective lenses. Having LASIK does not guarantee that you will have 20/20 or even 20/40 vision, and you may find that you still need corrective lenses for certain tasks.  

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How Does LASIK Work?

LASIK surgery is a two part procedure. The first part is the creation of a flap of corneal tissue.  This flap is created with a computer guided laser so it is BLADELESS! The WaveLight® Femtosecond Laser carefully, securely, and accurately creates the flap in the best place for the rest of the treatment. Once created, the flap is gently lifted so that the WaveLight® Excimer Laser can be applied to the underlying tissue.

The second part of the procedure is the use of the WaveLight® Excimer Laser to correct myopia, myopia with astigmatism, or hyperopia by reshaping the surface of the cornea. The laser removes small layers of the cornea in an automated (by computer) program to flatten, or to make the cornea steeper in the specified amount to correct the refractive error of the patient. It works with a powerful beam of ultraviolet light which is controlled by the surgeon. This ultraviolet light does not enter the eye so other structures of the eye (iris, lens, retina) remain unaffected by the treatment.

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Risks and Other Considerations of LASIK

LASIK is a surgical procedure, and like any other surgical intervention it is never completely free of risks. It isn't possible to list every complication that can occur, and there may be adverse reactions that are unknown at this time. There are other, safer ways of correcting myopia and/or astigmatism and hyperopia, so you need to consider thoroughly if the possible risks of having LASIK outweigh the possible benefits.

Under or over-correction: If the desired correction is not achieved, glasses may still be necessary to achieve good vision. In some instances, under-correction can be retreated.

Regression: In some patients, the effect of refractive surgery is gradually lost or reduced over several months. Such regression is more common in patients who are very near-sighted (>6.0 diopters). In some, but not all cases, significant regression can be retreated.

Halo and glare effect: Halo is an optical effect that is noticed in dim light. As the pupil enlarges, a second faded image is produced by the untreated peripheral cornea. Some patients who have undergone LASIK notice this effect while driving at night and this can interfere in night driving. Halo occurs less frequently with the larger treatment zones that are being used today.  The best news is that with the WaveLight® technologies, these side effects seem to be less bothersome to patients after LASIK.

Presbyopia and reading glasses: Even if LASIK is successful in correcting myopia, reading glasses may still be required sooner than they would have been otherwise. As a person grows older, the lens of the eye is less able to focus, and near vision becomes more difficult. This normal part of the aging process is called presbyopia and can be alleviated with reading glasses or bifocal lenses.  One advantage of being myopic or near-sighted is that it generally takes longer to be affected by presbyopia. Therefore if you do not have LASIK surgery and remain myopic, you may not need reading glasses until age 50 or older. If you have LASIK you may need reading glasses in your early 40s, as most individuals, with normal eyesight.

Loss of best corrected acuity: In some patients there is a very small chance that the best possible corrected vision is lost.

Raised eye pressure: Transient elevation of intraocular pressure occurred in 2% of patients who were on topical steroids following LASIK surgery. Most often the pressure will return to normal with no ill effects following the discontinuation of steroids. The patient may not be aware of such an increase in pressure. Monitoring this is an important but routine part of the follow-up care by our doctors.

Flap abnormalities: This can include wrinkles, dislocation or loss of the flap. This occurs rarely in patients.

Remote risks: As with any eye surgery there is a remote possibility of severe infection, corneal perforation, drug reaction, or other rare complications which could cause chronic pain, an unsightly eye, or partial or complete loss of vision.  

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Before LASIK Surgery

Before LASIK can be scheduled, each patient must have a complete and thorough eye exam to assure that their eye(s) are healthy and suitable for LASIK. This eye exam includes a complete health history including history of eye health. It will also include a comprehensive eye examination which will include visual acuity, intraocular pressures, analysis of all components of the eye (lids, iris, pupil, lens, cornea, retina), and especially a computerized mapping of the cornea.

If you wear contact lenses, it is essential that you discontinue wear of soft lenses for three days prior to your examination, and if you wear hard (gas permeable) lenses you must stop wearing them for at least three weeks prior to your exam. Without this precaution, poor surgical results could occur.

It is very important to tell your doctor of any medications you are taking, and also to be sure to specify any medical or medication allergies that you have.

During this consultation, your doctor will make treatment recommendations based on the type and severity of your refractive error and the health of your eye.  LASIK and Advanced Surface Ablation (ASA or PRK) are the most common recommendations.

You will need to arrange to have driver who can take you home postoperatively as you will not be allowed to drive the day of your LASIK surgery.

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The LASIK Procedure

During the day of your procedure you will probably be given some medication to help you to relax. Easing your preoperative apprehension will make the procedure much easier for you and will allow you to fully concentrate on your important task of lying still and focusing on the target light. You will be given several drops to help resist infection, reduce inflammation, and to numb your eyes.

You will be positioned on a comfortable procedure bed for the surgery. Your head will be stabilized with a sandbag type pillow around your head. There will be a surgical cap placed on your head to keep your hair out of the way. The nurses with you will place cotton pads over your ears to help catch some of the drops that are used during the procedure. During these steps the laser operator will allow you to hear the sounds of the laser so that they will not surprise you. The nurse with you will then use a cold and somewhat sticky solution to prep the areas around your eyes and lids. Finally, once the non-operative eye is covered with a shield, you will be ready for your LASIK.

Once the surgical area (your eye) is prepared, it will be very important for you to focus on the target light as your doctor tells you to do. That is your BIG and important job! The results of your LASIK are highly dependent on focusing on the target light! The nurse will be right beside you to talk you through the entire procedure, and you will find that you are given step by step instructions about what to expect.

Actually, the procedure only takes about 10 minutes from start to finish! After the LASIK treatment is complete, more eye drops will be instilled in your eye, and if you are having both eyes treated, the shield will be moved to cover the other eye.

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What to Expect After the LASIK Procedure

As the numbing drops wear off, you may have some discomfort in your eyes, especially a very dry, scratchy, irritated feeling. It is very important during the first days after your LASIK that you do NOT rub your eyes! We will give you plenty of artificial tears to use which will greatly help relieve those feelings. You will probably find that you are especially sensitive to light in the first days. We will give you a pair of very dark sunglasses to use to help this. We also will give you a pair of goggles to wear while you are sleeping to protect your eyes and to remind you not to rub them.

It is very important that you comply with all the instructions given to you following your LASIK procedure. It is especially important that you use all the eye drops that will be given to you. The best results come from following those instructions!

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The surgeons of Palmetto Eye & Laser Center were the first to offer LASIK procedures to patients in Spartanburg! When other doctors and practices were content with sending patients to Greenville, Charlotte, and even Atlanta for LASIK procedures, we brought the technology to Spartanburg so that our patients could have the procedure done close to home for a more comfortable and convenient laser vision correction experience. We are proud to be able to conveniently offer our patients LASIK surgery in our office, and we are now especially excited to offer Bladeless WaveLight® LASIK to our community!

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Bladeless WaveLight®