All posts by Jonna Kieler

Preparing for LASIK Surgery

LASIK surgery requires considerable preparation. Prior to LASIK in Rapid City, you’ll need a complete eye examination by your refractive surgeon including the following tests and evaluation:

  • Dr. Wright will dilate your pupils to fine-tune your prescription.
  • Examination of your eyes to make sure they’re healthy, including testing for glaucoma, performing a retinal exam and assessing for dry eye.
  • Measurement of the curvature of your cornea and your pupils.
  • Evaluation of the topography of your eyes to make sure you don’t have an irregular astigmatism or a cone-shaped cornea — a condition called keratoconus.
  • Measurement of the thickness of your cornea. You need to have enough tissue left after your corneas have been reshaped.
  • You will be asked to sign an informed consent form after a thorough discussion of the risks, benefits, options and possible complications of LASIK surgery. Review the form carefully and don’t sign until you understand it completely.

If you are approved for LASIK surgery, you will be asked to stop wearing your contact lenses for a while before the surgery. Contacts can temporarily change the shape of the cornea. Your cornea should be in its natural shape the day of surgery. Preparing for LASIK surgery also requires you to stop wearing makeup, lotions or perfume for a few days before surgery. These products can interfere with the laser treatment or increase the risk of infection after surgery.

On the day of your LASIK surgery, you’ll need to arrange for someone to drive you home.

If you’re interested in LASIK surgery in Rapid City, contact Wright Vision Center at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com to schedule a consultation with Dr. Wright.

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Wearing Contacts Before a LASIK Consultation

If you are a contact lens wearer who is interested in LASIK eye surgery for vision correction and to reduce your dependency on contacts, it’s important to be aware of the restrictions surrounding wearing contact lenses before your LASIK consultation. Prior to a LASIK consultation and surgery, it is vital that contact lenses not be worn for a certain period of time. This is because contact lenses can alter the shape of the cornea.

During your LASIK consultation in Rapid City, Dr. Wright will take measurements of your eye and will evaluate the curvature of your cornea to assess your candidacy and develop a treatment plan that fits the dimensions of your eye. If the corneal measurements during the LASIK consultation are not precise, this could compromise the accuracy of your LASIK surgery.

Prior to getting LASIK, many patients are dependent on their contacts for day-to-day vision correction. Though it might seem like an inconvenience, it’s important to follow Dr. Wright’s instruction to stop wearing your lenses before your initial evaluation. How long you must go without your contacts prior to your LASIK appointment will depend on what type of contact lenses you wear. Typically, if you wear soft contact lenses you will need to discontinue wearing them about two weeks prior. For toric or rigid soft lenses, the timeframe is around three weeks. For hard contact lenses, you will need to stop wearing them approximately four weeks before.

A surgical plan that is based on the most accurate measurements of your eyes will significantly increase the likelihood that you’ll be satisfied with the results of your LASIK surgery. By following all the preoperative instructions Dr. Wright provides, your LASIK procedure has a greater likelihood of resulting in the long-term correction you want.

If you’re ready to ditch the contacts and pursue LASIK surgery, contact Wright Vision Center at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com today to schedule your LASIK consultation.

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How Effective is Laser Eye Surgery?

Thousands of people across the globe have experienced the lasting benefits of laser eye surgery. Laser eye surgery has proven highly effective in most people with common vision problems like nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. In fact, as many as 70% of patients will experience better than 20/20 vision once they’ve had the procedure. So, what makes laser eye surgery such an effective option for vision correction?

The most effective form of laser eye surgery utilizes the latest technology available to LASIK surgeons.  In the early years of LASIK surgery, the procedure required the use of a mechanical cutting tool to create a flap in the eye’s cornea. Bladeless LASIK technology has advanced to the point where no actual blade is used, and surgeons are able to reach optimal levels of vision correction. Advancements in custom wavefront technology make it possible for a LASIK surgeon to use a computer-guided laser to reshape the cornea to the patient’s exact prescription.

This allows for the highest level of precision possible for vision correction. Unlike glasses or contact lenses, LASIK surgery actually reshapes your cornea to permanently correct your vision. Along with the incredible effectiveness of laser eye surgery is the knowledge that the process is relatively pain-free, with only minor discomfort and a very quick recovery. Plus, once you make the investment in LASIK surgery, you will soon discover the cost savings in no longer having to pay for new contact lenses or glasses. All of this makes LASIK eye surgery a preferred method of vision correction for many qualified candidates.

Laser eye surgery has many benefits, including:

  • Proven to correct vision in most cases
  • Minimal pain
  • Vision is typically immediately improved
  • Recovery is quick and usually no bandages or stitches are required
  • Adjustments can be made years after laser eye surgery to further correct vision
  • After having laser eye surgery, most patients no longer need corrective eyewear

Following laser eye surgery, it’s important to maintain regular eye exams to ensure optimal vision for the long term. Contact Wright Vision Center at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com to find out if laser eye surgery could be an effective vision correction method for you.

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Is LASIK Covered by Insurance?

Unfortunately, most insurance companies don’t cover LASIK because laser eye surgery is nearly always considered an elective procedure and not medically necessary.

Although insurance does not often cover the cost of LASIK, certain people can get their laser eye surgery covered due to special circumstances.

The first way LASIK may be covered by insurance is if a person’s profession requires optimal vision. People who serve in special forces—including those serving in the military—and who meet specific vision requirements can sometimes get LASIK covered. This usually requires a significant waiting period and surgery in a military facility, and not everyone qualifies.

People with certain safety requirements (police or firefighters) or medical conditions—such as contact lens intolerance, severe dry eyes or severe allergies—might qualify for insurance-covered LASIK. Either of these conditions can make wearing glasses and contacts dangerous or impossible, leading to a need for LASIK. The conditions must be documented, and there must be a good-faith effort to use contacts and glasses. Even then, an insurance company might not view LASIK as medically necessary.

If you have health insurance, you should talk with your benefits coordinator directly to find out if you have any coverage for LASIK. Many of today’s big insurance companies negotiate with LASIK providers to offer members a courtesy discount. Additionally, LASIK is now included in many patients’ Medical Spending Accounts (MSA), Flex Plans (FP) or Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA).

At Wright Vision Center in Rapid City, we understand the frustration with wearing glasses and contacts and the desire to have LASIK. That’s why we offer a variety of flexible payment plans and financing options to help make laser eye surgery more affordable for you. To learn more about LASIK and payment options, contact us at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com.

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How to Find the Best LASIK Surgeon

If you are considering LASIK surgery, one of the most important things to consider is how to find the best LASIK surgeon. LASIK surgery is an extremely popular vision correction method and while you may be excited to have clear vision, it is important to take your time and do your research before going through with surgery. LASIK surgery is a common procedure, but that doesn’t mean all LASIK surgeons are equal. Let’s look at some tips to help you find the right LASIK surgeon for you.

Credentials: Not all LASIK surgeons are board certified. Make sure the surgeon you choose has the appropriate licenses and training for this specialty.

Experience: Choose a surgeon who is comfortable and experienced with LASIK surgery. It’s appropriate to ask the surgeon how many surgeries they have performed and what their success rate is.

Technology: The best LASIK surgeons should utilize the latest laser technology so that you receive the best possible results. When it comes to your vision, you want what’s best.

Referrals: When it comes to healthcare, people tend to rely heavily on the recommendations of their friends. When it comes to LASIK, it can be helpful to ask your primary physician if they can refer you to a LASIK surgeon. Firsthand accounts are good, but you can be certain that your primary physician knows which LASIK surgeons are best qualified for the job.

Enhancements: Some LASIK patients require follow-up surgery to fine-tune or enhance the original correction. This could be because of a hormonal change or as a result of under correction during the initial surgery. Either way, touch-up surgeries are fairly common and may be necessary at some point. You should discuss these possibilities with your potential LASIK surgeon ahead of your surgery. Make sure you can count on this doctor should you need anything in the future.

Cost: It is important to have a clear price for your LASIK procedure before scheduling surgery. Make sure that you understand what the quoted price includes or excludes. If you are unable to pay for LASIK upfront, ask if there are financing options available.

If you are considering LASIK surgery in Rapid City, contact Wright Vision Center today at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com to schedule a LASIK consultation!

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Myopia Treatment

Myopia is the medical term for nearsightedness which is caused by a refractive error many people are born with or develop as they age. Myopia is the most common refractive error of the eye. If you are nearsighted, you typically will have difficulty reading road signs and seeing distant objects clearly, but will be able to see well for close-up tasks such as reading and computer use. Other signs and symptoms of myopia include squinting, eye strain and headaches. Feeling fatigued when driving or playing sports also can be a symptom of uncorrected nearsightedness. Myopia is not a disease, but rather a condition.

What Causes Myopia?

Unlike farsighted individuals, who have a shorter eyeball, myopic patients typically have a longer eyeball. This causes light rays to focus at a point in front of the retina, rather than directly on its surface.

Myopia also can be caused by the cornea and/or lens being too curved for the length of the eyeball. In some cases, myopia is due to a combination of these factors.

Myopia typically begins in childhood and you may have a higher risk if your parents are nearsighted. In most cases, nearsightedness stabilizes in early adulthood but sometimes it continues to progress with age.

If you’re nearsighted, the first number (sphere) on your eyeglasses prescription or contact lens prescription will be preceded by a minus sign (–). The higher the number, the more nearsighted you are.

Myopia Treatment Options

Myopia can be corrected with glasses, contact lenses or refractive surgeries: PRK or LASIK. Depending on the degree of your myopia, you may need to wear your glasses or contact lenses all the time or only when you need very clear distance vision, like when driving or watching a movie. Refractive surgery can reduce or even eliminate your need for glasses or contacts. These procedures are performed with an excimer laser.

In PRK the laser removes a layer of corneal tissue which flattens the cornea and allows light rays to focus more accurately on the retina.

In LASIK — the most common refractive procedure — a thin flap is created on the surface of the cornea, a laser removes some corneal tissue, and then the flap is returned to its original position.

There are many options for patients with myopia. Dr. Wright can help choose the right treatment for your unique vision needs. Contact Wright Vision Center today at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com to learn more about myopia treatment in Rapid City.

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LASIK and LASEK

Today there are several refractive surgery options to correct myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism. LASIK and LASEK are popular forms of refractive laser eye surgery. Although these procedures are similar and have the same goal of correcting refractive errors to achieve clear vision, they do have some differences and are suited for certain patients depending on individual factors.

LASIK remains the most popular laser eye surgery, but for people who are not suitable LASIK candidates for various reasons, LASEK may be a better option. Like other types of laser refractive surgery, LASEK works by reshaping the cornea using an excimer laser, allowing light entering the eye to be properly focused onto the retina for clearer vision without eyeglasses or contact lenses. The fundamental difference in how LASIK and LASEK are performed concerns how the eye is prepared for the laser treatment:

During LASIK (Laser-Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis), a circular “flap” is created on the eye’s surface using a microkeratome or a femtosecond laser surgical tool. This hinged flap is folded back to access the stroma and reshape the corneal tissue using an excimer laser. The flap is then returned to its original position and serves as a natural bandage, keeping the eye comfortable as it heals. The flap adheres securely without stitches, and healing occurs relatively quickly.

In LASEK (Laser-Assisted Subepithelial Keratomileusis), a much thinner flap is created and consists only of the corneal epithelium. After the laser treatment is finished, the epithelial tissue is repositioned on the surface of the eye to cover the lasered stroma, and a bandage contact lens is placed on the eye to keep the epithelium in place as it heals.

Generally, visual recovery after LASEK is significantly slower than after LASIK. Initial visual recovery can take up to a week with LASEK (as opposed to 24 hours in typical LASIK cases) and final outcomes can be seen anywhere from a few weeks to several months.

Both procedures carry similar risks of complications. Side effects can include vision disturbances such as:

  • Blurry vision, halos and glare
  • Significant overcorrection, under correction or regression which may require further surgery or reliance on eyeglasses or contact lenses for some or all activities
  • Dry eyes
  • Eye infection and irritation

Both LASIK and LASEK have high success rates and similar vision outcomes. Most people achieve 20/20 vision after laser eye surgery, and nearly all achieve 20/40 visual acuity or better.

After a thorough eye exam in Rapid City, Dr. Wright can advise you on the best type of laser eye surgery for your individual needs and requirements. To schedule a consultation, contact Wright Vision Center at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com.

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LASIK Versus PRK

If you are considering laser eye surgery, there are several options to examine. Two of the most well-known laser vision correction procedures are LASIK (Laser Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis) and PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy). Both procedures have their pros and cons, and a visit to Dr. Wright in Rapid City can help you determine if either type of surgery is best for you based on your specific vision needs.

When it comes to comparing LASIK versus PRK, the procedures have both similarities and differences. LASIK and PRK are both refractive eye surgeries that can be used to correct the following vision issues:

  • Myopia (nearsightedness)
  • Hyperopia (farsightedness)
  • Astigmatism (distorted or blurry vision)

Both procedures use an excimer laser to reshape the cornea so that when light enters the eye it is focusing properly on the retina, resulting in clear vision. Dr. Wright sculpts what is known as the stromal layer of the cornea to achieve the desired corneal shape for vision correction.

PRK was the first laser eye surgery approved for vision correction, and LASIK came on the scene later.

In LASIK, Dr. Wright creates a flap in the corneal tissue. The flap of tissue is lifted so the laser can be applied to reshape the inner layers of the cornea. The computer-controlled surgical laser carefully reshapes the layers of the cornea to repair imperfections in curvature that lead to distorted vision. The corneal flap is then put back in place and heals over the reshaped part of the cornea in a few days.

In PRK, Dr. Wright does not create a flap of corneal tissue. Instead, the outer (epithelial) layer of the cornea is removed to expose the area for the laser to reshape. This makes PRK a better choice for people whose eyes meet certain criteria, such as having thin corneas or chronically dry eyes.

A significant difference between LASIK and PRK is the initial discomfort and the speed of visual recovery. Recovery from PRK takes a little longer than from LASIK because the outer layer of the cornea needs time to heal. PRK patients can expect it to take one to three days for the discomfort, blurring and other post-surgical effects to subside, and it will take up to six months for vision to reach absolute peak acuity and clarity. LASIK recovery is much faster. The discomfort following LASIK surgery is usually mild and short term. While most patients report seeing normally within several hours after the procedure, their vision continues to improve gradually for several months before reaching peak quality.

Both surgeries are safe and effective and carry a very high rate of patient satisfaction. Because every patient’s eyes are unique, it’s important to have a thorough examination with an experienced eye surgeon such as Dr. Wright in Rapid City. Dr. Wright has performed thousands of corrective vision surgeries and can recommend the type of surgery and treatment which is best for your individual situation. If you would like to learn more about LASIK or PRK surgery options, contact Wright Vision Center at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com to schedule a free consultation.

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LASIK After 40

When a person’s near vision begins to diminish, sometime after age 40, many incorrectly assume that readers, bifocal/progressive glasses are the only options to see up close. Fortunately, this is far from the truth. Today, with the latest LASIK technology, there are several options for LASIK after 40.

Everyone over 40 will eventually suffer from presbyopia  – the inability to see close-up. As your body ages, the natural lens of the eye loses its flexibility. Since this is a natural condition of the lens of the eye and not the cornea, it affects everyone; from normal glasses and contact wearers, to people with perfect vision, and even people who received previous laser vision correction.

Until recently, the only solutions to the loss of reading vision were reading glasses or bifocals and progressive lenses. Thankfully, custom LASIK offers multiple solutions that can help you ditch the readers and even leave you completely glasses and contacts free!

Monovision

Most patients who receive traditional LASIK vision correction will be free from glasses until they hit their mid-forties, when presbyopia sets in. But there exists a custom LASIK procedure that can help correct both distance and reading vision. Called monovision, this procedure adjusts one eye to see things close-up, while the other eye sees things at a distance. Your brain then balances out the images for a full field of clear vision. While this may seem weird or uncomfortable, it’s actually the way our normal sight functions.

Before committing to monovision LASIK, Dr. Wright will have you try the concept using contact lenses to simulate the experience of monovision sight. Many people love it, but for some it may not feel quite right. For patients who decide that monovision is not the right fit for them, they can still get LASIK for their distance vision and just use cheap readers for the times when they need to see up-close.

LASIK has helped millions of patients achieve better vision. For those 40 and over, LASIK may be a great option to improve or even correct vision. If you’re considering LASIK after 40, contact Wright Vision Center at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com to schedule a consultation.

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Vision Correction Methods

Correcting refractive vision problems such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), astigmatism and presbyopia has advanced beyond simple eyeglasses and contacts. Today, there are several vision correction methods for patients to consider. In Rapid City, Dr. Wright can help you to understand your options and help to select the best vision correction solution based on your individual needs. The following are common vision correction methods:

Eyeglasses: Wearing eyeglasses is an easy way to correct refractive errors. Improving your vision with eyeglasses offers the opportunity to select from different types of lens options, frame designs and even lens coatings for various lifestyles, occupations and activities.

Contact Lenses: Contact lenses are a popular alternative to eyeglasses. Soft contact lenses offer many convenient options including colored versions, bifocals and daily disposable lenses. Extended wear contact lenses can be worn for up to 30 consecutive days and nights without care.

LASIK: LASIK is the most popular form of refractive surgery, but there are now several other alternatives such as PRK, LASEK and Epi-LASIK. Wright Vision Center uses the latest laser technology and expertise to customize your procedure to your unique vision needs.

Natural Lens Replacement: Also known as refractive lens exchange or clear lens extraction, this procedure involves the removal of the natural lens within your eye and replaces it with an artificial lens, also called an intraocular lens (IOL). This allows Dr. Wright to provide you with a new lens that has improved focusing power, decreasing the need for glasses or contact lenses.

Phakic Lens Implant: In this procedure, the implanted lens is situated on top of the natural lens. It works by adding focusing power to your natural lens without replacing it. This procedure may be beneficial to patients who are extremely nearsighted.

To learn more about the vision correction methods we’ve discussed as well as other options, contact Wright Vision Center at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com.

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