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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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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