LASIK or Laser Eye Surgery

All laser vision correction surgeries, including LASIK, work by reshaping the cornea – clear front part of the eye – to improve how well a person sees. By reshaping the cornea, light traveling through the front part of the eye is properly focused onto the retina located in the back of the eye. There are several different laser eye surgery techniques used to reshape the cornea.

LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis)LASIK is the most commonly performed type of laser eye surgery and has helped millions of individuals improve their vision. During this procedure, a very thin flap is cut in the corneal tissue with a laser or a tool called a microkeratome. Next, the laser gently reshapes the underlying tissue. Once the eye has been reshaped, the corneal flap is replaced.

Wavefront-guided LASIK – This is a completely customizable and more accurate form of LASIK that involves using a three-dimensional computer-generated image of the cornea prior to the eye being reshaped.

PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) – In PRK, a flap of corneal tissue is not created. Instead, the outer layer of the cornea, called the epithelial, is removed and discarded to expose the area for the laser to reshape. The epithelial heals itself in around four days and the patient is provided with a soft contact lens to protect the cornea in the meantime. PRK is sometimes a better choice for patients whose eyes meet certain criteria, such as having thin corneas or chronically dry eyes.

LASEK (laser-assisted sub-epithelial keratomileusis) – This surgery is similar to PRK except that the epithelium is replaced on the eye after the laser treatment. This makes the healing process much quicker. LASEK is often preferred in cases when a person’s cornea may be too thin for LASIK or if the creation of a corneal flap should be avoided for other reasons.

How to Know if LASIK or Laser Eye Surgery is Right for You

Many people who choose laser eye surgery do so because they have experienced problems with their glasses or contact lenses or they want the convenience of not having to rely on them. Not every person is a suitable candidate for LASIK or laser eye surgery. There are certain criteria that must be met to make sure the procedure is appropriate. If you are interested in finding out if LASIK or laser eye surgery is right for you, contact Wright Vision Center at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Wright.

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Dry Eye Treatments

Dry eyes are no fun: They itch, sting and tear up. Many LASIK patients, approximately 50%, experience dry eye symptoms following their LASIK surgery. The reason so many people experience dry eye after LASIK is that the creation of the corneal flap affects the nerves that regulate the production of tears.

If you have developed dry eye after undergoing LASIK, you are not alone. The symptoms are usually mild, and they typically don’t last long. However, in some cases dry eye can persist for months or years. Thankfully, there are several dry eye treatments available.

Remedies to Treat Mild Dry Eyes:

  • Use over-the-counter preservative-free lubricating artificial tears at least 4 times per day or more if desired, especially following LASIK.
  • Avoid dehydration by drinking plenty of water. Staying hydrated helps produce natural tears more effectively.
  • Avoid excessive amounts of caffeine which has a drying/diuretic effect.
  • Add dietary omega-3 fatty acids such as 1000mg molecularly distilled fish oil oral soft gels to optimize the oily portion of the tear film and prevent tear evaporation.
  • Use emollient eye drops, such as Soothe or Endura, which contain lipid emollient lubricants to stabilize the lipid layer of the tears and promote overall tear stability.
  • Use a room humidifier to humidify environmental air. This can make a very significant difference. By putting a humidifier in your bedroom or office, moist air can help keep the eye surface hydrated, instead of dry air depleting moisture out of the eyes.

Prescription Treatments for Severe Dry Eyes:

  • Restasis eye drops improve natural tear production. By reducing ocular surface inflammation, the tear glands can produce natural tears more efficiently.
  • Steroid eye drops treating inflammation on the ocular surface has been shown to increase tear production to improve eye comfort.
  • Low dose oral doxycycline pills treat any underlying blepharitis and stabilize the tear film.
  • At a low dose, doxycycline has anti-inflammatory properties, rather than antibiotic properties, to treat rosacea and blepharitis.
  • Punctal plugs help tears stay in the eye longer. Eye drops and tears naturally drain through tiny openings located within the inner angle of the eyelids along the nasal passages. Placing tiny plugs in each opening, called a puncta, can reduce the drainage of tears away from the eye surface.
  • Autologous serum eye drops are manufactured by drawing the patient’s own blood and concentrating the serum by centrifugation. Serum eye drops contain natural growth factors and immunoglobulins that can heal and nurture the ocular surface.

To find out which dry eye treatments may be right for you, contact Wright Vision Center at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com to schedule an appointment with Dr. Wright.

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Cataract Surgery

A cataract is simply a clouding of the natural lens inside the eye. The lens maintains a delicate balance between water and protein so that we can see clearly through it. When the proteins clump together, the resulting cataract blocks some of the light entering the eye, making vision blurry or hazy.

Cataracts typically occur more frequently in older adults, however, there are many other factors such as family history, diabetes, long-term UV exposure, eye injury or certain medications like steroids that can contribute to cataracts.

Cataract symptoms may include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Lights sensitivity
  • Halos
  • Double vision
  • Decreased night vision and sensitivity to headlight glare
  • Dull or fading colors

When a cataract first develops, vision aids like contacts or glasses may help improve your vision. Once the cataract begins to interfere with daily tasks such as reading and driving, cataract surgery is the only viable treatment option.

During cataract surgery in Rapid City, Dr. Wright removes the cloudy natural lens from the eye while the patient is under a topical anesthesia. Next, a replacement device called an intraocular lens (IOL) is inserted which remains permanently in the place of the removed natural lens. The IOL compensates for the magnification that the old lens provided. Modern IOLs are designed for various functions and made of various materials; Dr. Wright will know which is most appropriate for your individual needs. The total surgery time is typically less than 10 minutes.

Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure and requires little downtime. With proper rest and avoidance of any strenuous activities such as heavy lifting, recovery is usually just a matter of days and most patients experience only minor discomfort. You will be required to wear an eye shield following the procedure and will need to use eye drops as instructed by Dr. Wright. Several follow up appointments will be required to ensure the eye is healing properly and initial results are sustained.

An eye exam is the best way to determine if you have a cataract. If you are experiencing any symptoms of cataracts, contact Wright Vision Center today at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com to schedule a consultation.

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Custom LASIK

Custom LASIK is a laser vision correction procedure which uses the latest technology to measure the unique visual characteristics of your eye to customize your treatment. Custom Wavefront Guided LASIK in Rapid City provides an additional level of precision over what traditional LASIK offers and provides you with the best possible quality vision.

A device called a wavefront analyzer measures the way light travels through your eye and then creates a 3-D wavefront map which is unique in the same way that your fingerprint is unique to you. Your wavefront map provides a detailed diagram of the areas of distortion (called aberrations) that allows Dr. Wright to provide you with truly customized vision correction.

Custom LASIK is preferred by many since the wavefront measurement system is very precise and the outcome is an individualized vision correction, which is very different from traditional LASIK surgery or standard prescription glasses. Aside from being very unique and individualized, here are the other benefits of custom LASIK:

  • Helps to improve visual acuity (how much a person can see) and contrast sensitivity (how well a person can see fine details)
  • Less risk of post-LASIK issues such as halos and glare
  • Has been found to have fewer risks of night vision issues after surgery
  • Addresses both aberrations or visual distortions of both lower and higher order
  • Can treat even those who have lost best-corrected vision from prior surgeries such as LASIK, RK and PRK

As with traditional LASIK, a thorough vision exam and consultation is required to determine if a patient is qualified to undergo custom LASIK. If you are eligible for the procedure, Dr. Wright will ensure that you receive the best treatment possible. If you are interested in having custom LASIK vision correction in Rapid, contact Wright Vision Center at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com to schedule a consultation today.

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LASIK Consultation and Exam

A LASIK consultation and exam at Wright Vision Center includes several steps to determine if you are a suitable candidate for LASIK surgery. This appointment will last approximately 2-3 hours during which time you will have your vision, eyes and overall health thoroughly evaluated.

You might wonder why the LASIK consultation and evaluation is so long. During the visit in Rapid City, Dr. Wright is creating a thorough assessment including highly detailed measurements of your entire eye and its capabilities. This information determines three very important things:

  • The overall health of your eyes.
  • If LASIK is recommended (or not recommended) for your eyes, your vision and your lifestyle.
  • If LASIK is recommended, and you decide to move forward, the data from your consult will drive the vision correction treatment.

The goal is to collect as much information as possible for both your surgeon and you to help make the best choice for your vision.

This information is collected through a series of sophisticated diagnostic tools and tests that evaluate and measure every aspect of your eye. The good news is that, except for getting a few eye drops and a bit of gentle pressure on the surface of the eye, these tests are noninvasive and pain-free. Most of the tests are simply taking pictures with high powered imaging devices.

What to bring to your LASIK consultation and exam:

  • All Prescription glasses
  • DON’T wear your soft contacts for 4 days prior to the exam
  • DON’T wear your Toric soft contact lenses for 2 weeks prior to your exam
  • DON’T wear hard or gas-permeable lenses for 4 weeks prior to the exam
  • List of all medications and supplements
  • List of medical and general allergies
  • Records from your previous eye doctors (old prescriptions)
  • Insurance information

Go to the appointment prepared with questions about the LASIK procedure and expect to discuss the following with Dr. Wright:

  • Your full health history. There are medical conditions, such as diabetes, that may make LASIK and other laser vision correction options not an appropriate choice. Also certain medications, such as corticosteroids, can affect the healing process.
  • The outcome you can expect given your specific vision and circumstances. Dr. Wright will answer all your questions and help you understand the risks and benefits of LASIK.

If you are ready to schedule your LASIK consultation and exam in Rapid City, contact Wright Vision Center at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com today!

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What is a Cataract?

A cataract is the clouding of the eye’s natural lens. As this normally clear lens gets cloudy, it decreases your ability to see well. A cataract can make objects appear blurry. It can also make colors seem less bright.

Your eye’s natural lens is located directly behind the pupil and is made up of mostly water and protein. As you get older, the protein parts of the lens can begin to clump together. These clumps start small but grow larger over time. The bigger they get, the more they can compromise your vision.

Cataracts are a common condition, especially for older people. Cataracts typically begin developing in people age 40 years and older but don’t usually begin to impair vision until after age 60. However, younger people can develop cataracts, too. These juvenile cataracts (in children) can be caused by a genetic mutation that affects proteins, by metabolic disorders or by trauma (eye injury).

The symptoms of cataracts are similar to those for myopia (near-sightedness). These symptoms may begin as minor annoyances and progress over time to impair vision. You may feel symptoms in both eyes or only one eye. They include:

  • Blurry or cloudy vision
  • Faded colors
  • Poor night vision, with halos around streetlights and car headlights
  • Light sensitivity in daylight or to bright lights at night
  • Double vision
  • Frequent changes to your prescription for glasses or contacts

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should make an appointment with your eye doctor. If your symptoms include a sudden change in vision, sudden eye pain or a sudden headache, you should contact your doctor immediately.

Once a cataract has developed, there is no cure except to have it surgically removed. With a routine, outpatient surgical procedure in Denver, Dr. Wright can remove the cataract using a small incision. A synthetic intraocular lens (IOL) is usually inserted at the time of cataract extraction to replace the focusing power of the natural lens. The time to have cataract surgery is when the cataract is affecting your vision enough to interfere with your normal lifestyle.

Contact Wright Vision Center at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com to learn more about cataracts or cataract surgery.

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Is LASIK Safe?

People who struggle with vision issues often wonder if a laser vision correction procedure such as LASIK might be a better option for them than glasses or contact lenses. For those who take the next step to consider LASIK eye surgery, frequently the first question that comes to mind is: Is LASIK safe?

By every scientific and clinical standard, LASIK is among the safest elective procedures available today. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t any risks and it isn’t necessarily right for every person. A few basic facts that many patients find comforting include:

  • LASIK has been around for nearly 20 years.
  • The procedure was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1999
  • LASIK’s longevity and sustained popularity is due largely to its impressive record for both safety and effectiveness.
  • Millions of LASIK procedures have been performed in the U.S. with very high patient satisfaction in visual outcomes.
  • The rate of complications from LASIK eye surgery is estimated to be less than 1 percent, which makes it one of the safest elective surgical procedures available today.

LASIK is a safe and effective option for vision correction. Having concerns about the safety of the surgery and your eyesight is normal. You owe it to yourself and your vision to research the procedure thoroughly, so you fully understand the risks and benefits.

In addition to independently researching the procedure using credible sources for information, having a thorough evaluation and a thoughtful conversation with Dr. Wright in Rapid City is the best way to find out if LASIK is right for you.

Contact Wright Vision Center at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com to schedule a LASIK consultation today.

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Types of Cataracts

A cataract is a clouding of the lens of the eye that impairs vision. There are four types of cataracts: Nuclear Sclerotic, Cortical, Posterior Subcapsular and Congenital. The types of cataracts are classified based on where and how they develop in the eye.

Nuclear Sclerotic Cataract: A nuclear sclerotic cataract refers to the hardening of the nucleus, the center, of the lens of the eye. In the early stages of this condition, the lens becomes cloudy and yellow before eventually hardening (sclerosis is the medical term for hardening). As this type of cataract progresses, it changes the eye’s ability to focus and see clearly.

Cortical Cataract: A cortical cataract is a condition in which areas of white cloudiness will develop in the outer edges of the lens called the cortex spreading inward and having the appearance of a spoke wheel or a star pattern. This condition scatters the light entering the eye therefore causing blurred vision and glare as well as difficulties in judging contrast and depth perception.

Posterior Subcapsular Cataract: Posterior subcapsular cataracts begin as a small, cloudy or opaque area on the back (posterior) of the lens. It is called subcapsular because it develops on the underside, beneath the lens capsule. The lens capsule is a sac-like membrane that encapsulates the lens and holds it in place. If this condition begins to develop it usually does so rapidly and symptoms may be noticed within just a few months of it first beginning. When developing a posterior subcapsular cataract, a person may begin to notice a glare or halo effect around lights and may also notice difficulty when reading.

Congenital Cataract: Unlike most cataracts, a congenital cataract is a clouding of the eye’s lens that occurs in a developing baby at some point during pregnancy and is present at birth. Congenital cataracts are rare and are typically associated with certain birth defects.

If you are experiencing vision troubles, contact Wright Vision Center at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com to schedule an appointment and discuss treatment options. During an examination in Rapid City, Dr. Wright can determine if you are developing a cataract or if another issue is affecting your eyesight.

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LASIK for Presbyopia

Presbyopia is a normal and expected consequence of the aging process. Presbyopia occurs when the natural lens inside the eye gradually loses its flexibility. The crystalline lens within your eyes is composed of proteins. When you are young, these proteins are soft and flexible. As you begin to approach your 40s, presbyopia occurs as the protein composition of the crystalline lens changes, making it harder and less flexible. When the crystalline lens loses its ability to flex, it is no longer able to change its shape and effectively bend light rays as sharply so the ability to focus on near objects is diminished. When presbyopia sets in, people who already wear glasses may need bifocals or trifocals, and those who have never worn glasses may require reading glasses.

As mentioned above, people will start to notice symptoms of presbyopia around age 45. Most people first notice that they have to hold books, magazines and other materials further away in order to be able to focus their eyes to read. The condition will progressively worsen.

If you are age 40 or over and considering LASIK, presbyopia is an important concept to understand. LASIK has absolutely no effect on your eye’s focusing muscles or on the crystalline lens, so it does not correct ordinary presbyopia. So, if you only need eyeglasses for reading, LASIK is not a good vision correction option for you. However, if you need to have your distance vision corrected because you are nearsighted, farsighted or have astigmatism and need some help with close vision because you are beginning to experience presbyopia, LASIK may be an option if performed as a specialized monovision LASIK.

Monovision LASIK works by correcting one eye for distance and the other eye for near vision. LASIK for presbyopia through monovision removes the need for bifocals or reading glasses, but it can also have an effect on depth perception. If LASIK is not an appropriate option for a patient, an alternative may be bifocal contact lenses that can correct for both far and near vision in both eyes.

Presbyopia is an issue that requires correction and if not properly treated will cause vision to get worse and interfere with daily life. To find out if LASIK for presbyopia may be right for you, contact Wright Vision Center at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com to schedule a consultation.

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Laser In-Situ Keratomileusis

Laser in Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK) is a popular refractive surgery technique used to correct vision in people who have myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism (a condition in which the front surface of the cornea of the eye is not spherical).

During LASIK surgery in Rapid City, Dr. Wright uses a laser to create a thin flap in the cornea. The flap is then lifted and a process called photoablation, which uses an excimer laser, removes microscopic amounts of the internal corneal tissue that changes the curvature of the cornea. After the cornea is reshaped so that it can properly focus light into the eye and onto the retina, the corneal flap is put back in place and the surgery is complete.

The surgery is generally performed while the patient is under a local anesthesia and usually takes about 15 minutes to complete.

Benefits of LASIK

LASIK has many benefits, including:

  • It has a high success rate. About 95% of patients are satisfied with the outcome of LASIK.
  • LASIK surgery is associated with very little pain.
  • Vision is corrected nearly immediately or by the next day after LASIK.
  • Recovery is quick. LASIK requires no bandages or stitches.
  • Adjustments can be made years after LASIK to correct vision even further.
  • After having LASIK, most patients no longer need corrective eyewear (glasses, contacts, etc.).

LASIK Disadvantages

  • Changes that are made to the cornea cannot be reversed after LASIK.
  • LASIK is generally not covered by insurance plans so is paid for by the patient.
  • Rarely, complications related to LASIK can cause a reduction in the best vision achievable with or without glasses. Potential side effects include dry eyes, halos and glare.

To learn more about Laser in-Situ Keratomileusis or to schedule a LASIK consultation with Dr. Wright, contact Wright Vision Center at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com.

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