Thursday, January 19, 2012 by Tom Spetalnick
When patients call Woolfson Eye Institute with questions on LASIK, frequently the questions are very simple. Here are some of the tougher questions that we receive:
Q: How long does the dilation last after a LASIK consult, and how many days after the dilation can I have surgery?
A: The dilation usually lasts around 12 hours, but some patients are still partially dilated 2 days later. That’s why we try to give patients 72 hours to recover from dilation prior to surgery. For some patients, we can use milder dilation drops that don’t last as long.
Q: Do I have to be dilated during my consult?
A: We call it a “consult” when the LASIK exam includes the dilation, but we can do a “screening” (without the dilation) to determine if you’re a candidate. Once you’ve decided to move forward with surgery, you would then have the dilation done at a later date either at Woolfson Eye Institute or with your referring doctor.
Q: Would it be best if I have Custom LASIK, and how is that determined?
A: Custom LASIK is one of the technologies that we use to improve the chances of 20/20 or better vision, and to decrease the chances of glare symptoms at night. Not all patients qualify for Custom LASIK—we use a test called the Wavescan to obtain information that enables us to provide Custom LASIK. Sometimes other technologies are more appropriate for specific patients—the doctors here will make a recommendation based on the test results from your screening or consult.
Q: Is 18 years old a good age to have LASIK and, if not, what’s the best age to start? My son is 18; should I wait until he’s 21? A lot of doctors are telling me to wait…..
A: If a patient is 18, and we have good evidence that his vision is stable, it’s ok to have LASIK at that age. Not all 18 year-olds will be offered LASIK, but our doctors are glad to do the testing and compare previous prescriptions to determine if it’s sensible to proceed.
Q: How bad does my prescription have to be for me not to qualify for LASIK?
A: Most patients who wear contacts or glasses most of the time for their distance vision end up being candidates for LASIK. Some patients who just need glasses for reading end up opting for monovision. Most of our patients have vision before surgery that’s 20/30 or worse.
Q: If I want mono vision surgery, how long will I need to try the cls before coming in for a consult?
A: You don’t have to be successful in monovision prior to your consult. Our doctors are able to demonstrate to you in the exam room what monovision would look like, and can then tell you if it’s worth trying in contact lenses to be sure. Some patients know within a day that it’s what they want; some take 2 weeks to adapt. If you haven’t adapted in 2 weeks, you probably won’t.
Q: If a woman just gave birth, how soon can she come in for a LASIK consult?
A: We don’t offer LASIK to patients who are pregnant, but after the pregnancy we often can permit patients to proceed. We used to require patients to discontinue nursing and resume normal menstrual cycles prior to offering LASIK, but we no longer do that, as the research demonstrates that vision does not typically change during that time.