Answering your questions on LASIK surgery | Southernminnbiz

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COVID-19 numbers are down, the vaccine is here, and spring is right around the corner — let’s talk about something other than the pandemic, shall we?

How about LASIK? I know …”LASIK isn’t new,” you’re thinking, “What could you possibly tell us that we don’t already know?”

Good thought, so let’s go through some of the usual stuff rapid fire:

  • LASIK reshapes your cornea to reduce/eliminate your need for glasses or contacts.
  • LASIK works.
  • LASIK doesn’t wear off.
  • LASIK corrects distance vision.
  • Only 1-3% need a second treatment.
  • Most prescriptions can be treated.
  • You must have a normal, healthy cornea to qualify for LASIK.
  • LASIK will temporarily damage the nerves in the cornea.
  • As a result, everyone will have dry eye and glare at night for the first two-four weeks.
  • The damaged nerves may take three-six months to heal. Be patient.

OK, now for some not so usual stuff, but common enough that we can still go rapid fire:

  • If you have a corneal issue, don’t have LASIK. Just isn’t worth it.
  • If you see clearly at distance but have trouble reading, you are probably over 40 and have lost “accommodation,” the eye’s ability to adjust its focus from distance to near.
  • LASIK cannot fix loss of accommodation.
  • A cataract is the normal clear lens in the eye turned yellow. This can blur vision.
  • We can achieve a “LASIK-like” result with cataract surgery.
  • If you have a cataract, have cataract surgery, not LASIK. It’s a twofer.

That wasn’t too bad, right? But rumor has it a new LASIK center is opening soon in Faribault, so let’s dive into some of the more advanced stuff to assure you ask all the right questions.

Original laser technology from back in the 1990’s was impressive, cutting-edge science. But, just like your cellphone and laptop, things advance quickly. “Wavefront” soon became the norm and, in one fashion or another, is what you should demand if you are shopping for LASIK.

With standard laser technology we treat your glasses prescription, not your eye. Anyone with glasses similar to yours will get the same treatment as you. “So what,” you say. Well, that’s what we thought 25 years ago, too. Until we looked further.

Wavefront technology is individualized to your eye with more advanced measurements and even a topographical map of your cornea. Greater precision means less glare, better night vision and enhanced contrast sensitivity.

Some analogies can be helpful:

  • You hire a cabinet maker to build you a dresser. The corners all fit nicely, everything is level and the drawers work beautifully … but she didn’t sand the wood before painting. Wavefront leaves the surface of the eye as smooth as possible.
  • You must replace your car windshield. The new glass fits snug all around with no leaks but the glass has some imperfections, smudges, and irregularities. Driving into the sun, the glare is terrible and headlights at night sparkle. Wavefront is like choosing the highest quality glass for your windshield.
  • Best Buy is having a sale you can’t resist. You opt for the 65-incher that fits perfectly in your family room. Do you get standard or HD?

There you have it in a nutshell. Standard LASIK works but has notable limitations that could negatively impact your vision. Do you need wavefront? Well, do you need the furniture smooth, the windshield pristine and HD in four rooms in the house? Be wary of bargain basement deals.

Still have questions? Stop in to Richie Eye Clinic and LASIK Center. We have answers, and LASIK evaluations are on us.

Richie is a comprehensive ophthalmologist at Richie Eye Clinic with a special interest in laser vision correction. 

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Elena Johaness

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