All posts by Jonna Kieler

Is LASIK Covered by Insurance?

Smashed Piggy BankMany health insurance companies consider LASIK an elective procedure. Elective procedures are typically procedures that are optional, nice to have done, but not medically necessary.

While LASIK is often considered an elective procedure, there are times when it may be medically necessary. These include:

  • Surgery to correct vision problems caused by an injury.
  • LASIK for patients that can’t wear glasses or contacts.
  • LASIK to correct vision problems caused by surgery.
  • LASIK to correct very severe vision problems (the definition of very severe varies from insurance company to insurance company).

It’s important to talk with your doctor to determine if your LASIK surgery will be considered cosmetic or medically necessary.

Affordable Options for LASIK

There are many ways to afford LASIK. Many people finance their procedures, making monthly payments over time until the procedure is paid in full. In addition, some choose to put the balance on a rewards-bearing credit card for points, miles or other incentives.

Many U.S. employees have an FSA, HSA or HRA to cover health expenses with income-tax-free accounts. The cost of laser eye surgery is an eligible expense for all these accounts.  In addition, some people may deduct the cost of major medical expenses. Check with your tax preparer to see if you qualify. If you know you want LASIK but are concerned about up-front cost, assess your contributions during your employer’s open-enrollment window and consider increasing your savings so you can afford the procedure next year.

If you have any type of health insurance policy, contact your benefits coordinator to find out exactly what is and is not covered. You can ask your company questions regarding the amount of coverage offered, what procedures may be covered and how much you will have to pay whether you use an in-network or out-of-network healthcare provider.

The value or LASIK is life changing for some. The money saved on costs associated with reducing the need for glasses and contacts reflects only part of the surgery’s value though. Many find that after LASIK they can do many things that they could not have done before, improving their quality of life. It’s important to weigh not just the cost of LASIK, but the overall gains you may experience.

For more information about how to afford the LASIK procedure in Rapid City, contact Wright Vision Center at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com.

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Age for LASIK

Age for LASIKLASIK is a great option for many people who suffer from poor eyesight. But one question many people have before considering this procedure is when is the best time to get LASIK? There is a right and wrong age for LASIK.

The Right Age For LASIK

Generally, the perfect candidate for LASIK is someone between the ages of 20 and 40. This is because a major determining factor in LASIK candidacy is a stable eye prescription for at least two years. Just as your body grows and matures through adolescence, so do your eyes. Research shows that your eyes begin to stabilize and your prescription is more likely to remain steady after the age of 20.

LASIK for Teens

Although LASIK is a safe and effective way to improve vision, the FDA has not approved the procedure for people under the age of 18 because their eyes are not fully developed. In some cases, a person’s eyes may not fully develop until the age of 21. A teenager who undergoes LASIK surgery when their eyes are not fully developed will find the results to be temporary and may need corrective surgery in the future.

Older LASIK Patients

Older patients typically suffer from age-related conditions that cannot be treated with LASIK surgery, such as cataracts, and therefore may not be good candidates for the LASIK procedure. Cataracts occur when the natural lens in the eye becomes cloudy, resulting in blurred vision. It is one of the leading causes of vision loss among older people. Patients with cataracts should consider undergoing cataract surgery in which the eye’s natural lens is replaced by an artificial lens.

The benefits of LASIK have convinced millions of people to undergo this procedure. To determine whether you are a good candidate for LASIK surgery, schedule a consultation with Dr. Wright in Rapid City by contacting Wright Vision Center at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com.

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LASIK Pros and Cons

LASIK Pros and ConsLASIK is a refractive surgery that uses a laser on one or both eyes to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. LASIK corrects your vision by reshaping your cornea to improve how your eye focuses. As with any surgical procedure, it is important to consider the potential benefits and risks. Carefully weigh the LASIK pros and cons listed below.

LASIK Pros

  • No more glasses or contacts. The idea of no longer needing to wear glasses or contacts may seem too good to be true. Although some LASIK patients will still need glasses for reading or up-close tasks, most patients can say goodbye to the hassle of corrective lenses.
  • Improved vision right away. Roughly 80% of the people who choose LASIK surgery will notice an immediate improvement in their vision.
  • Quick and easy procedure. LASIK is an outpatient procedure that can be done right in the doctor’s office as opposed to a more intensive/invasive surgery in a hospital. The treatment can take as little as 20 minutes to complete, and results might be noticed before you ever leave the office.

LASIK Cons

  • LASIK is permanent. Unfortunately, after electing to have laser eye surgery, there is no going back. Any improvement or damage to the eye is irreversible.
  • Although LASIK eye surgery has become a common procedure, it is still expensive. In addition, because it is generally an elective operation, medical insurance may not cover the expense.
  • Possible complications. Some LASIK patients experience negative vision challenges that interfere with their daily functions. These potential impairments include: light sensitivity, blurry vision, double vision, severe astigmatism, halo vision, starburst vision.
  • Reading glasses needed as you age. As people age their eyes change shape and corrective lenses are usually needed.

For many Rapid City patients, the benefits of LASIK eye surgery far outweigh the risks. To learn more about LASIK pros and cons, schedule a consultation with Dr. Wright by contacting Wright Vision Center at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com.

 

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Types of Laser Eye Surgery

Types of Laser Eye SurgeryLaser eye surgery, sometimes called vision correction surgery or refractive surgery, is any surgical procedure used to correct vision problems. In recent years, tremendous advancements have been made in this field. Many people have experienced better vision and a more enjoyable lifestyle after having laser eye surgery.

Most types of laser eye surgery work by reshaping the cornea, the clear front part of the eye, so that light traveling through it is properly focused onto the retina located in the back of the eye. Other types involve replacing the eye’s natural lens. There are several different types of laser eye surgery, including:

LASIK: Short for laser in-situ keratomileusis, this type of laser eye surgery is used to correct vision in people who are nearsighted, farsighted and/or have astigmatism. During LASIK surgery, vision is corrected by reshaping underlying corneal tissue so that it can properly focus light into the eye and onto the retina. LASIK eye surgery differs from others in that a flap is made in the outer layer of the cornea so that the underlying tissue can be accessed. LASIK may also be done with the addition of computer imaging called wavefront technology. This creates a detailed image of the cornea and serves as a guide for treatment.

PRK: Short for photorefractive keratectomy, this laser eye surgery is used to correct mild to moderate nearsightedness, farsightedness and/or astigmatism. During PRK surgery in Rapid City, Dr. Wright uses a laser to reshape the cornea. This laser, which delivers a cool pulsing beam of ultraviolet light, is used on the surface of the cornea, not underneath a flap of the cornea like in LASIK eye surgery. PRK may also be done with computer imaging of the cornea.

LASEK: Short for laser epithelial keratomileusis, this is a similar procedure to PRK. An epithelial flap is created and then epithelial cells are loosened using an alcohol solution. A laser is used to reshape the cornea, then the flap is replaced and secured with a soft contact lens while it heals. LASEK surgery is used to treat nearsightedness, farsightedness and/or astigmatism.

EpiLASIK: In this procedure, a very thin cell layer is separated from the cornea and then the internal cornea is reshaped with an excimer laser. Depending on the procedure chosen, the thin layer may be left off or replaced. The area is protected with a soft contact lens while it heals.

Not everyone is a candidate for laser eye surgery. Though it is considered safe, serious risks can be involved and it is important to meet with an experienced LASIK surgeon to see if you are a good candidate for the procedure. For more information about laser eye surgery, contact Wright Vision Center at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com.

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Cataracts Under 40

Cataracts Under 40A cataract is a clouding of the natural lens of the eye. As a lens becomes cloudy, vision is impaired. Although most cataracts develop from the natural aging process, cataracts can affect younger people, including those under the age of 40. Even children and young people can develop cataracts.

Several factors can cause or contribute to cataracts in people under 40:

Disease: Diabetes is a known risk factor for early cataracts. There are many other metabolic conditions that can cause cataracts.

Medications: Steroids among other drugs can cause early cataracts.

Environment: Excessive UV exposure can lead to cataracts.

Trauma: Trauma to the eye can cause cataracts. Trauma may break the lens capsule making the  lens suffer from a protein leak and causing clouding.

Lifestyle: Smokers and those who heavily use alcohol are at an increased risk of developing cataracts.

Cataracts may also be caused by defects in the eye, detachment of the retina or high dosages of radiation.

If you are young, it’s important to protect your eyes from the sun and injuries and maintain regular vision exams. Cataracts are typically easy to treat with cataract surgery. For more information about cataracts under 40, contact Wright Vision Center at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com.

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LASIK Recovery Tips

LASIK RecoveryLASIK is one of the most popular forms of vision correction in the world today. The ability to experience the world around you without the daily dependence on glasses or contacts to perform functions such as driving and working leads to a deeper enjoyment of your day. One of the many benefits of LASIK is a fast healing and recovery time. Most LASIK patients have clear vision within days of surgery, without the assistance of glasses. Here are several tips that can speed up the recovery process even further and help you avoid any complications:

  • Take Adequate Time to Heal: Immediately following your LASIK procedure, you won’t be able to operate a vehicle, so a means of transportation to and from the doctor is a must. Give you and your eyes time to rest before you go about your daily activities normally. Ease your way back into the flow of things and make sure you take a couple of days off school or work to allow for proper healing and recovery.
  • Consider Taking Baths Instead of Showers: A bath may enable you to protect your eyes better than you would in a shower. Shampoo and soap can contaminate or irritate your eyes, so any contact with these products should be avoided. Water from the shower that hits you directly in the face can also cause complications when the droplets hit your eyes. When drying yourself, make sure you avoid rubbing your eyes at all costs.
  • Follow Through with Scheduled Doctor Visits: There will be several scheduled appointments with your LASIK surgeon in the days, weeks and months following your procedure. It is important that you go to each of these appointments so that your doctor can monitor your recovery progress.
  • Use all Prescribed Medication as Directed: You will be prescribed medicated and lubricated eye drops to assist with the LASIK recovery process. These eye drops are essential for proper healing and can help prevent dryness and discomfort.
  • Avoid Playing Sports: You’ll want to avoid any sports, whether they are contact sports or not, for up to a month. Although it may be possible for you to participate in non-contact sports much sooner, your vision and depth perception may not have fully adjusted. This puts you at risk of having a person or object inadvertently hit you in the eyes which can create complications for your LASIK recovery. Watersports or any other water activities should be avoided until one month after treatment.
  • Use Eye Protection: After your LASIK surgery in Rapid City, Dr. Wright will provide you with an eye shield to protect your eyes. You’ll want to wear some type of eye protection for up to two weeks after your procedure to prevent damage that may occur while you sleep or an inadvertent blow to the eye from a person or object.
  • Avoid Facial Applications: Creams, lotions and makeup should be avoided to prevent infection. Eye liner, eye shadow and mascara are especially dangerous because small particles from the makeup can enter or irritate your eye.
  • Protect Your Eyes from The Sun: You’ll find that your eyes are extra sensitive to bright light, especially sunlight, post-surgery. Wearing sunglasses with full UV protection is important for helping your cornea heal.
  • Do Not Touch Your Eyes: No matter how bad they burn or itch, do not touch your eyes after LASIK surgery. Rubbing or scratching your eyes is a natural tendency that everyone is born with, and refraining from doing this will be the most challenging thing you face during the recovery process. No matter how irritated they feel, don’t rub your eyes. It can damage the corneal flap, and may require your doctor to readjust it.

Dr. Wright is committed to helping all patients achieve clear vision through LASIK. To schedule a LASIK consultation in Rapid City, contact Wright Vision Center at 615-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com.

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How Long Does Cataract Surgery Take?

How Long Does Cataract Surgery TakeCataract surgery is a procedure used to treat cataracts where changes in the lens of the eye cause cloudy, blurry or misty vision. The lens is the crystalline structure that sits just behind your pupil, which is the black circle in the center of your eye. Cataracts occur when changes in the lens of the eye cause it to become less transparent, making it difficult to see clearly.

Cataracts sometimes start to develop in a person’s eye lens as they get older (age-related cataracts), stopping some of the light from reaching the retina. Although cataracts are often associated with age, in rare cases babies are born with cataracts or young children can develop them (childhood cataracts).

Once cataracts have developed and vision is compromised, surgery to remove the clouded lens and replace it with an intraocular lens is the only way to restore vision.

Cataract surgery is a relatively straightforward outpatient procedure performed under local anesthetic, which means you’ll be awake during the procedure and can go home on the same day. During cataract surgery in Rapid City, Dr. Wright will make a tiny incision in your eye so that the cloudy lens can be removed. After it’s been removed, it is replaced with a small plastic lens called an intraocular lens (IOL).

If you have cataracts in both eyes, you will need two separate surgeries performed a few weeks apart. This gives the first eye time to heal and time for your vision to be restored.

There are two main types of cataract surgery and the timeframe of the procedure depends on which surgery you have.

Phaco Surgery: With phacoemulsification, the most common type of cataract surgery performed in the U.S., the procedure can take as little as 10 minutes.

ECCE Surgery: The extracapsular cataract extraction (ECCE) can take longer than phacoemulsification; ECCE usually takes 30 to 45 minutes to complete.

Recovery Time: If there were no complications with the surgery, the patient will remain in recovery for a short amount of time, often 20 to 30 minutes, and then are able to go home.

Cataract surgery is one of the safest and most commonly performed procedures and has helped restore clear vision to thousands of patients. If you would like to discuss cataract surgery with Dr. Wright, contact Wright Vision Center at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com to schedule an appointment.

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Laser Vision Correction Options

Laser Vision CorrectionRefractive laser surgery for vision correction has made tremendous advances over the last several decades.

Today, many different options exist to help the majority of people who wear glasses or contact lenses reduce or eliminate their dependence on their corrective lenses. In almost all cases, refractive laser surgery is considered elective and cosmetic.

Here are some facts about laser vision correction:

  • Vision correction surgery can benefit people with myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism.
  • Myopia occurs when near objects appear clear but distant objects are blurry. The eye is too long and/or the cornea is too steep for its focusing ability, thus, objects are blurry.
  • Hyperopia occurs when near objects are blurry and far objects are clear. In this case, the eye is too short and/or the cornea is too flat for its focusing ability, which causes the blurriness.
  • Astigmatism is best described as distorted or warped vision due to the surface of the eye being somewhat irregular in shape. With this condition, the eye has various focal points causing images to be distorted.
  • Vision correction surgery modifies the cornea and/or the lens in order to focus light on the back of the eye without the need for corrective lenses.
  • Vision correction surgery will usually not benefit people with presbyopia (the inability to see objects up close). Presbyopia describes the condition in which the eye exhibits a progressively diminished ability to focus on near objects with age. This condition affects all people older than 40-45 years of age and is corrected by bifocal glasses or bifocal contact lenses. In presbyopia, the lens loses its ability to change shape and thus focus the eye on objects up close. Presbyopia is not a problem of the eye being too long or too short. Research is ongoing to develop corrective surgical procedures for presbyopia, but the technique has not yet been established.

Today, various options in vision correction surgery include the following:

  • Radial Keratotomy (RK)
  • Photorefractive keratotomy (PRK)
  • Laser in situ Keratomileusis (LASIK)
  • Femtosecond laser-assisted LASIK (iLASIK)
  • Laser thermal Keratoplasty (LTK)
  • Conductive Keratoplasty (CK)
  • Intracorneal ring segments (ICR)
  • Phakic intraocular lens implants

With so many laser vision correction options available, it is important to select the appropriate method for your specific needs. In Rapid City, Dr. Wright can meet with you to evaluate your vision and help choose the surgery method best suited for you. If you are interested in scheduling an appointment, please contact Wright Vision Center at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com.

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Laser Eye Surgery: Procedure Time

laser-eye-surgery-procedure-timeLASIK is the most commonly performed laser eye surgery used to correct myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism. Like other types of refractive surgery such as PRK and LASEK, the LASIK procedure reshapes the cornea to enable light entering the eye to be properly focused onto the retina for clearer vision.

In most cases, laser eye surgery is pain free and completed within 30 minutes for both eyes. The results, improved vision without eyeglasses or contact lenses, can usually be seen in as little as 24 hours.

In the 30-minute LASIK laser eye surgery procedure time, the following steps are performed:

Creating a Corneal Flap – For LASIK to work, the laser beams must reach the inner region of the cornea. Wright Vision Center in Rapid City offers the safest technology and utilizes the all-laser approach when creating this first step of flap creation.

Reshaping the Cornea – Once the flap is folded back, Dr. Wright uses the laser to correct corneal imperfections in just a few seconds. This highly specialized laser uses a cool, ultraviolet light beam to remove microscopic amounts of tissue from the cornea to reshape it so it more accurately focuses light on the retina for improved vision.

Replacing the Flap – After the cornea has been reshaped, Dr. Wright puts the flap back into place and it immediately begins to re-bond with the surrounding tissue. Because of the natural bonding qualities of the corneal tissue, effective healing begins immediately without stitches.

To find out if laser eye surgery is right for you, contact Wright Vision Center at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com to schedule a consultation.

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Vision Conditions LASIK Corrects

LASIK laser vision correction in Rapid City with Dr. Wright could be the path to better vision for you. LASIK not only improves your vision; it improves your quality of life. There are four general vision conditions that LASIK corrects.

Myopia: Myopia is also called nearsightedness and is a condition where you can see objects close-up much clearer than objects at a distance. If you have myopia, it is because your eye shape is longer than normal and/or you have an excessively steep cornea. Because of this, light entering your eyes does not focus on the retina as it should, but instead focuses on images at a point in front of the retina.

Hyperopia: Hyperopia is also known as farsightedness and is the opposite of myopia. Objects that are at a distance are clearer than objects that are up close. If you have hyperopia, it is because either your eye shape is too short or you have an excessively flat cornea. This is because light entering your eye focuses on images at a point behind the retina. In some cases, hyperopia may cause blurriness at both distance and near vision.

Astigmatism: Astigmatism is a common condition which results in blurry vision due to an unusually shaped eyeball. If you have astigmatism it is because you have an eye that is not spherical or basketball-shaped like a normal eye is, but is shaped more like a football and this causes the light rays to focus on two points instead of one. In addition, those with the condition of astigmatism often have myopia or hyperopia as well.

Presbyopia: Presbyopia is a common eye condition that normally occurs with aging and strikes people in between the ages of forty to fifty. It is the result of the eye lens losing its elasticity. This causes objects to become blurry the closer they become. This condition is usually corrected with reading glasses. LASIK cannot correct presbyopia alone but can compensate for the condition through a procedure known as monovision. One eye is corrected to see far away and the other is corrected to see up close so the brain is tricked into seeing clearly.

During LASIK in Rapid City, Dr. Wright uses an excimer laser to remodel the cornea to properly refract light for corrected vision based on your unique eye condition and vision needs. Contact Wright Vision Center at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com to schedule your free LASIK consultation today.

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