Investing in LASIK

LASIK is an investment in your vision. Based on patient experience, it’s also an experience that adds valued benefits and satisfaction to a person’s life. Having LASIK eye surgery is a great solution for many people that have nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism than other visual aids. Using a prescription product in close contact with the eye is a perfectly acceptable solution, but LASIK surgery offers many benefits compared to contacts and eyeglasses.

LASIK surgery benefits you may experience include:

  • No worry of infection from prolonged contact lens use
  • Fewer infections in general
  • No lens cleaning solution fees
  • No contact refills every year
  • Less damaging to the eye over time
  • Fewer trips to the optometrist
  • More freedom
  • Ability to be spontaneous
  • Improved night vision
  • Reduced allergy symptoms
  • Fewer headaches
  • Less eye strain compared to using optical aids

In reality, LASIK is less expensive over time than contacts or glasses. LASIK eye surgery is a fixed, once-and-done cost. Although LASIK surgery is a large one-time expense, it’s often cheaper than the long-term cost of contact lens wear or eyeglasses. Once you have the treatment, there are no more fees. Care Credit monthly financing plans, Health Spending Accounts and other options may help you pay with a monthly payment for the length of time that fits your budget.

If you’re wondering if you can afford LASIK, we offer a full range of monthly payment options; from no interest and extended options to low monthly plans that fit any budget.

If you’re ready to invest in LASIK, contact Wright Vision Center at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com to schedule your LASIK consultation today!

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How to Research LASIK Surgeons

If you are interested in having a vision correction procedure such as LASIK, it’s important to do your homework and properly research potential LASIK surgeons. When researching LASIK surgeons, consider the following:

Experience and Versatility. It’s important to select the most experienced LASIK surgeon you can find, who uses the most up-to-date, advanced technology. Consider the surgeon’s versatility and competency in a variety of refractive procedures. LASIK isn’t the only game in town, and it isn’t the best procedure for every person. Choose a surgeon who is comfortable and experienced with several procedures — such as LASIK, PRK, LASEK and clear lens replacement (refractive lens exchange) — and the latest technology. If your doctor displays a thorough understanding of these different procedures, then they can confidently choose the one that will be best to correct your unique vision problems.

Advertisements. Many refractive surgery centers advertise in newspapers and on radio, television and the Internet. Some ads are more informative than others. Some tout extremely good pricing. But while this can be a starting point, an ad or a procedure price should not be your primary criterion when choosing a doctor. Be cautious about slick advertising and/or deals that sound too good to be true. Remember, they usually are. There is a lot of competition resulting in a great deal of advertising and bidding for your business. Be wary of eye centers that advertise, 20/20 vision or your money back or package deals. There are never any guarantees in medicine. You should expect to pay more for a highly-skilled surgeon who is experienced in performing LASIK and uses the latest technologies. Remember, getting a great deal should not be the deciding factor for any surgical procedure. It’s much more important that you select a surgeon who you trust and have a good rapport with.

Referrals. Ask for a referral from your regular eye care practitioner, whether an optometrist or an ophthalmologist. Tell your doctor that you want the LASIK surgeon in your area with the best reputation in the profession. Also, the best LASIK surgeons themselves can be great sources of referrals. If you know of a refractive surgeon who is well respected in another state, call their office and ask for recommendations regarding good surgeons in your area.

Being an informed patient is a good way to set yourself up for success with LASIK or any medical procedure. Don’t base your decision simply on cost and don’t settle for the first eye center, doctor or procedure you investigate. Remember that the decisions you make about your eyes and refractive surgery will affect you for the rest of your life.

Taking time to choose the best surgeon for your LASIK procedure is a crucial step in increasing the likelihood of attaining a satisfying visual outcome. Contact Wright Vision Center at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com to schedule a LASIK consultation with Dr. Wright.

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Eye Surgery Types

From LASIK to PRK, there are several types of eye surgery available today to correct less than perfect vision. While each one has the same goal of improved eyesight, every eye surgery procedure is unique. To help you understand which type of eye surgery is right for you, here’s an overview of some of the most popular types of eye surgery offered at Wright Vision Center in Rapid City.

Standard LASIK

LASIK, Laser-Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis, is an FDA-approved refractive eye surgery that corrects nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia) and astigmatism by permanently changing the shape of the cornea. LASIK surgery is one of the most popular vision correction procedures. It is designed to reduce your dependency on glasses and contact lenses.

Custom LASIK

Custom, wavefront LASIK provides a more personalized vision correction than regular LASIK. Wavefront technology captures unique imperfections in each patient’s vision. This custom technology produces a detailed map of the eye much like a fingerprint; no two are alike. This information is then transferred to the laser providing advanced precision and accuracy.

PRK

PRK, photo refractive keratectomy, is a refractive eye surgery that is similar to LASIK. Both procedures are performed using an excimer laser and are used to treat myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) or astigmatism. PRK, however, does not involve creation of a corneal flap. Instead, Dr. Wright will gently remove the surface corneal cells (epithelium) and proceed with the laser aspect of the procedure.

Cataract Surgery

Cataracts are very common and affect over half of all adults over age 60. Cataract removal surgery is very safe and successful. There are three different approaches to cataract surgery: phacoemulsification, extracapsular cataract surgery and intracapsular cataract surgery.

Other eye surgery types include:

  • Radial keratotomy (RK)
  • Astigmatic keratotomy (AK)
  • Automated lamellar keratoplasty (ALK)
  • Laser thermal keratoplasty (LTK)
  • Conductive keratoplasty (CK)
  • Intracorneal ring (Intacs)

To determine the eye surgery type that may be suitable for your needs, contact Wright Vision Center at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com to schedule a consultation with Dr. Wright.

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LASIK Alternatives

Most patients who are over the age of 21 and in good health with no other eye conditions or diseases are generally considered good candidates for LASIK. LASIK is approved by the FDA to treat a broad range of vision problems, including nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. However, some people may not be good candidates for LASIK because of their unique visual imperfections or because of the results of a comprehensive eye examination. For those who do not qualify for LASIK, there are several LASIK alternatives available:

PRK – Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) uses an excimer laser just like LASIK and provides comparable results. The main difference between PRK and LASIK is that in PRK there is no flap — only the very top (epithelial) layer of the cornea is removed (or moved aside) before the excimer laser reshapes the corneal tissue. After reshaping, a “bandage” soft contact lens is used to promote epithelial healing which takes about four days.

LASEK – A microsurgical instrument called a trephine is used to create a flap of epithelial corneal tissue then an alcohol solution is used to loosen the epithelial cells. Once the epithelial flap is created and moved aside, the procedure is the same as PRK. After corneal sculpting, the epithelial flap is repositioned and smoothed with a small spatula, then secured with a “bandage” soft contact lens to promote epithelial healing which takes about four days.

EpiLasik – A special microkeratome, the Epi-keratome, is used to precisely separate a very thin sheet of epithelial tissue from the cornea. This thin sheet is lifted to the side and the cornea is treated as with PRK. Then the thin sheet may be moved back into place to re-adhere to the cornea. A “bandage” soft contact lens is applied and used for about four days to help the epithelial layer heal.

Intraocular Lenses (IOLs) – IOLs are designed for people with high degrees of refractive errors that cannot be safely corrected with corneal-based refractive surgery. The IOL, sometimes referred to as an implantable contact lens, or ICL, is surgically implanted inside the eye in front of the eye’s natural lens. The eye’s natural lens is not removed, so patients can retain their pre-existing ability to focus. Once the IOL is properly positioned inside the eye, it provides the necessary correction to redirect light rays precisely onto the retina.

To find out if LASIK or an alternative procedure can help you attain improved vision, contact Wright Vision Center at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com to schedule a consultation with Dr. Wright.

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LASIK Complications

LASIK eye surgery is one of the safest procedures of its kind, with an excellent success rate. Like any medical procedure, refractive surgery carries some risk. Major complications after LASIK are extremely rare, occurring in less than 1% of all patients. Most side effects are minor and can be easily resolved.

After LASIK, you may experience the following minor side effects and complications:

Dry Eyes – Your tear production may be limited while your eyes are healing, causing dry eye syndrome. Up to half of all LASIK patients will experience some degree of dry eye syndrome temporarily after LASIK.

Under or Overcorrection – In some rare cases, if your eyes do not heal in a typical manner, you may be left with less-than-perfect LASIK results. Most of the time, undercorrection/overcorrection is so minor that patients do not even notice it. However, if it is significant enough, it can be treated through LASIK revision surgery.

Visual Disturbances – For the first few weeks after LASIK you may notice glare, halos and/or starbursts at night or in low light, along with reduced sharpness. These issues are temporary and will gradually disappear over time.

Temporary Discomfort – The first few days of your recovery period may involve increased light sensitivity and mild irritation in the eyes. Wear dark glasses as often as possible to prevent your eyes from being strained.

Most LASIK complications can be avoided simply by making sure you are a good LASIK candidate and choosing a qualified LASIK surgeon. At Wright Vision Center in Rapid City, Dr. Wright will perform a complete diagnostic exam to determine if LASIK is right for you, examining factors such as:

  • Thickness of your cornea
  • Shape of your cornea
  • Pupil size
  • Moisture level in eyes
  • Eye disorders
  • Medical history
  • Health problems that may interfere with LASIK (e.g. autoimmune disorders, degenerative conditions)

If you are not a suitable candidate for LASIK, you may still be an excellent candidate for another type of refractive surgery. Contact Wright Vision Center at 605-715-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com to schedule a LASIK consultation today!

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How is Laser Eye Surgery Performed?

LASIK laser eye surgery is a vision correction procedure that aims at permanently altering the focusing power of the eye by reshaping the cornea with a precise excimer laser.

Laser eye surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure while the patient is awake. Usually both eyes are operated on at the same time, but if you prefer, it can be done one eye at a time.

LASIK is performed in the following steps:

Eye Preparation – A few minutes prior to your LASIK procedure in Location, anesthetic eye drops will be placed in the eye to be treated. A special solution is used to clean around the eyes. A speculum (eyelid holder) is placed between your eyelids to keep your eyelids wide open and prevent you from blinking during the procedure.

Flap Creation – To create the corneal flap, Dr. Wright uses either a handheld device or a laser to cut the top layers of corneal tissue at a pre-determined depth. One edge of the flap is left uncut, forming a hinge. Using the hinge, Dr. Wright folds back the flap to access the underlying corneal tissue.

Excimer Laser Ablation – The creation of the corneal flap prepares your eye for the primary step of the LASIK procedure, where the excimer laser is used to correct your vision. The laser beam will be focused over your eye and you will be asked to stare at a blinking light. This light will help you to fixate your eyes on one spot once the laser is started. In a series of short pulses, the excimer laser will reshape your cornea by removing some tissue from the middle layer of the cornea called the stroma. A computer controls the amount of laser energy delivered to your eye according to amount of treatment required. A tracking device is used to find the center of your pupil, so if your eye moves, the laser will follow and stay with the center.

Flap Replacement – After reshaping the corneal tissue, Dr. Wright returns the flap to its original position, where it heals naturally. This step marks the completion of the LASIK procedure.

If you are interested in laser eye surgery in Location, contact Wright Vision Center at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com to schedule your free LASIK consultation.

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Cataract Surgery Recovery

Modern cataract surgery is very safe and effective. In fact, the overall success rate of cataract surgery is about 98%.

Typically, the procedure is performed on an outpatient basis under local anesthesia and the cataract surgery recovery time is minor. Most patients see clearly the day after surgery, with little or no discomfort.

To ensure the best possible outcome and to minimize your risk of complications after cataract surgery, it’s important to carefully follow the instructions regarding what to do and what not to do after your cataract procedure.

The checklist below will help you know what to expect and what to do during your cataract surgery recovery.

Immediately After Cataract Surgery:

  • At the completion of your cataract surgery, a lightweight protective shield will be placed over your eye, held in place with surgical tape. This shield will decrease the risk of injury from inadvertently rubbing or accidentally bumping your eye.
  • You will be given dark sunglasses to wear in order to reduce light sensitivity during your trip home.
  • You might feel a little groggy immediately after surgery, especially if you were given a medication to help you relax during the procedure.
  • You may spend some time in a recovery area, where Dr. Wright or an assistant will answer any questions and review post-surgical instructions. Your follow-up appointments may be scheduled at this time as well.
  • Typically, you will not be allowed to drive for 24 hours, so someone will need to drive you home.
  • If you have not already done so prior to surgery, you should fill the prescriptions for post-operative medications Dr. Wright gave you.
  • When arriving home, you may be allowed to remove your eye shield, but you should wear it when sleeping for at least a week to prevent eye injury.
  • Apply your eye drop medications as instructed to control inflammation and reduce the risk of infection.
  • Some burning, stinging and/or “gritty” feeling to the eye is normal.
  • Do not rub or put any pressure on your eye.
  • It usually is okay to engage in light activity — such as reading, watching television and walking — immediately after cataract surgery, but you may want to simply rest comfortably or nap in bed when you return home.

The First Few Weeks After Surgery:

  • You can bathe or shower, but avoid getting water in or near your eye.
  • Typically, you will have a follow-up visit with Dr. Wright the day after surgery. Have someone drive you to your follow-up visit. Avoid driving until the doctor has verified that it is safe for you to do so.
  • Wear dark, ultraviolet (UV) protective sunglasses when outdoors.
  • Your eye may still feel a little gritty and/or sensitive to the touch for a few days after surgery.
  • It is not unusual to experience glare and halos around lights during the first few weeks after surgery.
  • Continue to use your eye drop medications according to the schedule Dr. Wright gave you. He may recommend frequent use of artificial tears if your eyes are dry. Keeping your eye moist will help it heal faster.
  • You should be able to drive, return to work and resume your normal activities within a week.

Further Recovery:

Within 2 to 3 months after cataract surgery, your eye should be comfortable and your vision should be clear. If you have residual nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism, you may need prescription eyeglasses. To reduce your need for glasses, a laser vision correction procedure such as LASIK or PRK often can be performed to sharpen your eyesight.

Be aware that a common complication of cataract surgery — called a secondary cataract — can develop 2 to 4 months (or longer) after surgery.

It’s important to be patient and not expect perfect vision immediately after cataract surgery. It takes some time for your eye to heal completely, and it is not unusual to experience fluctuations in your vision for several days or even a few weeks after surgery.

During your follow-up visits, Dr. Wright will advise you about how your eye is healing and when your vision has stabilized.

To schedule a consultation with Dr. Wright in Rapid City or to find out more information about cataract surgery recovery, contact Wright Vision Center at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com.

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Is LASIK Right for You?

LASIK has successfully improved the vision of millions of people, but it isn’t for everyone. Before you sign up for LASIK surgery, here are a few things to help you determine if LASIK is right for you:

  • LASIK is surgery to a very delicate part of your eye, and cannot be reversed.
  • You must be at least 18 years old to receive LASIK.
  • LASIK is not for those who are pregnant or nursing.
  • You shouldn’t be taking certain prescription drugs, like Accutane or oral prednisone.
  • Your eyes must be healthy and your prescription stable.
  • Your general health should be good. LASIK may not be recommended for patients with diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, glaucoma, herpes infections of the eye, cataracts, disorders of the cornea and retinal disease.
  • As with any surgery, there are risks and possible complications. Potential problems include dryness, glare, halos, flap problems, vision changes and vision loss among others.
  • It’s important that you have realistic expectations for the surgery.
  • LASIK may not give you perfect vision. The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) reports that 9 out of 10 patients achieve somewhere between 20/20 and 20/40 vision, but 20/40 vision may not be sharp enough for certain work or leisure activities. Even 20/20 does not always mean perfect vision. Detailed, precise vision may be slightly diminished.
  • Even with LASIK to correct your distance vision, you are likely to need reading glasses around middle-age. LASIK surgery cannot correct or prevent presbyopia, the age-related loss of focusing power for seeing near objects.
  • The benefits of the LASIK procedure may diminish over time. A small percentage of LASIK patients in the U.S. require a second surgery, called an enhancement, to restore the desired vision correction.

To learn more about whether LASIK is right for you, contact Wright Vision Center at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com. During your LASIK consultation in Rapid City, Dr. Wright will evaluate your candidacy for laser eye surgery. After a thorough discussion and a non-invasive eye exam, Dr. Wright will help you determine if LASIK is right for you.

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Understanding Refractive Errors

To see clearly, the cornea and the lens of the eye must bend (refract) light rays so they focus on the retina. The retina, a layer of light-sensing cells that line the back of the eye, converts the light rays into impulses that are sent to the brain where they are recognized as images. If the light rays don’t focus on the retina, the image you see will be blurry. This is called a refractive error. Glasses, contact lenses and refractive surgery such as LASIK try to reduce these errors by making light rays focus on the retina.

Any part of the eye that is not perfectly shaped, such as the cornea, lens or eyeball, can cause refractive errors and make your vision blurry. The result is a difference between the curvature of the cornea and the length of an eye. This may occur in only one eye, while the other eye might have near-perfect vision, or it can happen in both eyes in different manners. The basic types of refractive errors are:

Myopia is another word for nearsightedness and affects the ability to clearly see objects far away. Individuals with myopia have abnormally long eyeballs which cause light entering the eye to focus in front of the retina instead of on its surface. Because of this abnormality, objects up close may appear clearly and in fine detail, but distant objects may appear to be blurry or distorted. This makes tasks such as driving and reading signs difficult. Other symptoms can include squinting, eyestrain, headaches and fatigue when driving or playing sports.

Hyperopia is another word for farsightedness, this condition is where distant objects may appear clear, but objects that are nearby look blurry or distorted. Hyperopia occurs when the eyeball is shorter than normal and light entering the eye is focused behind the retina.

Astigmatism is typically caused by an irregularly shaped cornea and causes blurred vision, regardless of distance. A healthy cornea is symmetrical and round (think of a basketball) but a cornea with astigmatism has an oblong shape (like a football). The abnormal shape causes light to focus on the retina in multiple points instead of a single focus. Astigmatism can occur alone or in combination with myopia and hyperopia.

Presbyopia is a condition that typically develops between ages 40 and 50 and makes it more difficult to see very close. It can be corrected with bifocals or reading glasses, but usually can’t be corrected by LASIK or some other refractive surgery.

If you are experiencing blurry vision, please contact Wright Vision Center to schedule an appointment with Dr. Wright. We can help diagnose your refractive error and explore treatment options.

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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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