Frequently Asked Questions About Refractive Surgery
We get quite a few questions from patients considering refractive surgery to correct their vision. We have gathered the common frequently asked questions relating to refractive surgery. Peruse this information and contact us directly with any additional questions that may come up.
Q: Can both eyes have refractive surgery on them at the same time?
A: Yes and No. Both eyes are typically treated the same day for laser vision correction (LASIK and PRK) procedures. However, lens implants (ICL and RLE) are intraocular procedures which are safer to do separately, usually one week apart.
Q: What if I look away during laser vision correction?
A: Thanks to technological advances, this really isn’t an issue. The new technology “tracks” your eye to compensate for even the slightest eye movement.
Q: Can I drive myself home after refractive surgery?
A: No. Your vision may be blurry in the first few hours after the procedure. You will also be given a mild sedative prior to surgery and, therefore, will need someone to drive you home. You may resume driving once you are visually confident, often by the next day.
Q: Will I have to limit my activities after refractive surgery?
A: You will be told to avoid rubbing your eyes and swimming for two weeks. Feel free to ask about specific activities that are important to you.
Q: How much time from work will I have to miss after refractive surgery?
A: Most people are able to return to work the day after refractive surgery. With PRK, we usually recommend waiting two or three days.
Q: How soon can I use eye make-up after laser vision correction?
A: It is recommended that you avoid using eye make-up for the first week after surgery to reduce the risk of infection.
Q: What are enhancements?
A: Although uncommon, in order to deliver the best visual result possible, additional procedures or “enhancements” may be required or recommended.
For example, with laser vision correction, your eye may either over- or under-respond to the laser treatment. This can be addressed with an additional laser procedure to refine the result.
Laser procedures/enhancements can also be used to correct residual amounts of refractive error or astigmatism following lens implant surgery. There is no charge for enhancements performed within one year of surgery.
Q: Is refractive surgery covered by insurance?
A: Insurance companies consider refractive surgery to be an elective procedure because it is not medically necessary. Therefore, it is not covered by insurance.
Q: Will my vision be stable after laser vision correction?
A: Your vision may fluctuate slightly for a few weeks following laser vision correction, especially with PRK. This should not be a dramatic fluctuation in your vision, but may be noticeable.
Vision stabilizes more quickly after lens implant procedures, and should improve day by day. Double vision, loss of depth perception, and/or unbalanced vision is common during the period of time between the two eye surgeries.
Q: Will I feel the lens implant?
Q: Can others see the IOL (intraocular lens) or Implantable Collamer® Lens (ICL)?
A: Both the IOL and ICL implants are placed inside the eye (behind the iris) and are invisible to you, as well as others.
Q: How will refractive surgery affect my need to use reading glasses when I get older?
A: By middle age, everyone will need reading glasses. Typically, we aim to correct distance vision with refractive procedures, so nearsighted patients will lose their ability to remove their glasses to see clearly up close. The only refractive procedure that will reduce your dependence on reading glasses is a refractive lens exchange (RLE) using an expanded range of vision IOL.
Q: Will I need to use eye drops?
A: Yes. You will use eye drops to prevent any possible chance of infection and promote healing. The drop type(s) and schedule may vary depending on your specific procedure. Lubricating drops are also recommended.
Q: What kind of financial arrangements can I make?
A: We accept cash, check and credit card payments. We also offer financing through Care Credit with “deferred interest” for two years. You may want to consider using a flex-spending account if you have one available through your place of employment.