Due to age-related changes of the eye, you must be at least 21 years old (there is no upper limit on age). You must also have a prescription that falls within the recommended range of correction and has been stable for at least one year. You must have healthy eyes with no signs of corneal defects, keratoconus (steepening of the cornea), glaucoma, diabetic eye disease, cataracts, or other vision-related concerns. And, you should not have any systemic diseases, such as lupus, HIV/AIDS, diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis. (The possibility of any exceptions to the above should be discussed with our Laser Surgery Coordinator.) In addition to meeting physical criteria, the best candidates for laser vision correction must also have realistic expectations for reducing (and not totally eliminating) their dependence on glasses or contact lenses.
Often, people will say, "My vision is 20/100, am I a candidate for surgery?" What they don't realize, however, is that the number they are giving us is their "visual acuity," and we need to know their prescription or "refractive error." Visual acuity is the measurement of the eye's ability to distinguish objects in the direct line of vision. This is written as a fraction (20/20, 20/40, etc.) for each eye. "20/20 vision" means that you can see an object or letter of a designated size as well as a person with normal vision from 20 feet away. Poorer vision like 20/40 means that at 20 feet you can see what a normally sighted person can see from 40 feet. Likewise, 20/200 means that you can only distinguish from 20 feet or less what someone with normal vision can see from 200 feet away.
To determine if you are a LASIK candidate, we need to know if your refractive error falls within the treatable range. Refractive error is measured in "diopters," a metric unit used to denote the strength of the eye or lens. For LASIK/PRK, your prescription should be between -1.00 and -9.00 diopters of nearsightedness with or without astigmatism; or between +1.00 to +3.50 diopters of farsightedness. For Verisyse lens implantation, your prescription can be as high as -9.00 to -20.00 diopters of nearsightedness.
Don't worry if you don't know your prescription. We can call your doctor, examine your glasses, or quick check your eyes to do a free candidacy evaluation. If you qualify and decide to proceed with surgery, we will then do much more extensive testing.
With or without laser vision correction, almost everyone needs reading glasses around age 40 as a result of "presbyopia," a natural age-related decrease in the ability to focus on near objects. If you are in this age range, note that, after LASIK, you will probably need reading glasses—because your distance vision will be corrected and you won't be able to remove your glasses to see better up close. If this is a concern, please ask us about the possibility of having mono-vision (one eye set for near vision, the other for far).
The accuracy of surgery is dependent upon many factors, including individual healing responses and prescription level. Eye Care Specialists' results show that, six months after surgery, 98% of patients with moderate nearsightedness attain 20/40 or better vision (the level needed to legally drive without glasses or contacts). Keep in mind, however, that LASIK may not result in the same crispness of vision as that achieved with glasses or contact lenses. As a result, some patients choose to have a light pair of glasses to occasionally fine-tune their distance and/or night vision. The best measure of results is the improvement in day-to-day functioning that each patient experiences individually.
Many people feel more comfortable asking questions of a fellow patient. As such, we'll be happy to provide you with a list of Wisconsinites who have generously agreed to share their experience.
As with any surgical procedure, you should inform your doctor of any medications you take (steroids, birth control, immunosuppressive, etc.) in order to determine if surgery is still a viable option.
Because hormonal changes can affect vision, it is recommended that you wait at least 3 months after pregnancy and breastfeeding before having LASIK and 3 months after surgery before getting pregnant. Your surgeon can give you more definite guidelines.
You must not wear your lenses for the appropriate length of time prior to both the Pre-Operative Assessment and surgery (NO exceptions for special events). This allows your cornea to return to its natural shape for accurate measurements and results. The time frame is as follows:
Type of Contact Lens
Minimum Removal Period
Depending upon the procedure and surgeon's preference, a mild sedative will be available to relieve anxiety. We will adjust the medication in proportion to your body size and weight. This option can be discussed with the surgeon prior to the procedure.
Procedures are done at our own outpatient Eye Surgery & Laser Center of WI located in the Milwaukee County Research Park (located just off of Watertown Plank and Mayfair Roads near the Milwaukee County Zoo and Mayfair Mall).
The actual laser time is approximately 20 to 120 seconds; the entire procedure itself takes just minutes to perform.
Your eye is gently held open with a special instrument so your lids cannot close.
No. You will be focused on a bright target light.
A topical (eyedrop) anesthetic is used to prevent any pain during the actual procedure. No injections are used. Later, mild discomfort and a sense of scratchiness may be experienced. Oral medications, eyedrops and rest should help to relieve these problems.
Yes, unless the patient or surgeon prefer otherwise.
This depends on you, your occupation, and your surgeon's preference. Most patients return to work the next day.
Since LASIK only involves the cornea (the front part of the eye), it should not interfere with any other eye procedures you may need later, such as cataract or glaucoma surgery.
After fully healing, the eyes are not more susceptible to problems. Protective goggles are recommended during contact sports̵as suggested for anyone. With common sense and everyday precautions, a fully active lifestyle is not a problem at all. In fact, it is actually enhanced following LASIK.
There may be some regression, but rarely will vision ever return to its original level of nearsightedness.
As soon as your vision stabilizes—usually within one to two months after surgery for glasses and about three months for contact lenses.
Since 1985, Eye Care Specialists has provided comprehensive medical, surgical and laser care for virtually every eye condition to more than 121,000 people in Milwaukee and southeastern Wisconsin. If you would like a detailed informational packet and/or to schedule a free consultation/screening for laser vision correction, please contact our Laser Vision Correction Hotline at 414-321-EYES (3937).