How Old Do You Have To Be To Have LASIK?

age-for-lasikIf you have considered vision correction surgery, you may have wondered how old you have to be to have LASIK. LASIK has been FDA approved for patients 18 or older. There is no ideal age to have the procedure, but it is important to have a stable prescription and, of course, healthy eyes.

One benefit of having LASIK done when you are younger is that there are more years to enjoy the benefit of improved vision, the eyes tend to heal quicker and stabilize faster and there are fewer side effects such as dry eyes. There are also fewer problems with reading vision than in older patients.

At first LASIK seemed to be most popular with an older demographic of an average age around late 30s or early 40s but now we are seeing many more patients in their 20s who have discovered the benefits of laser vision correction.

For patients in their 30s or 40s, LASIK is a wonderful procedure, but special consideration must be given to the management of presbyopia (need for reading glasses after age  40).

For patients in their 50s and 60s LASIK is still safe and effective, but other factors, such as possible cataracts, that start appearing at this age must be evaluated. If you suffer from a cataract, LASIK will not improve your vision and cataract surgery should be considered.

It is not uncommon for patients to undergo LASIK in their 70s and 80s as an enhancement as part of premium cataract surgery.

If you would like more information about LASIK, contact Wright Vision Center at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com. Dr. Wright has helped thousands of patients in Rapid City achieve optimal vision and freedom from glasses and contacts and would love to help you also.

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LASIK Risks

lasik-risksMillions of Americans have had LASIK eye surgery to correct their vision since it was introduced in the United States several decades ago. Although LASIK has an excellent safety profile and a very high success rate, there are potential risks to consider. Sight-threatening complications such as significant loss of vision from LASIK surgery are extremely rare, and many side effects and laser eye surgery complications can be resolved with additional surgery or medical treatment.

The first step is to determine if you are a good candidate for vision correction surgery. Dr. Wright in Rapid City will perform a thorough diagnostic eye exam to determine your suitability for LASIK surgery.

He will evaluate:

  • The shape and thickness of your cornea
  • Your refractive errors and pupil size
  • The moistness of your eyes (to check for dry eye syndrome)
  • Your general health and medical history
  • Any medications you are taking

Common LASIK risks and complications to be aware of:

Temporary discomfort and vision disturbances. Discomfort during the first few days following LASIK surgery, such as mild irritation and light sensitivity, is normal and to be expected. During the first few weeks or months you also may experience: halos; glare and starbursts in low-light environments, especially at night; dry eye symptoms; hazy vision; and reduced sharpness of vision. In most cases, these are temporary and disappear completely within3-6 months.

Flap complications. The LASIK procedure involves the creation of a thin, hinged flap on the front surface of the cornea. This is lifted during surgery for laser reshaping of the eye. The flap is then replaced to form a natural bandage. If the LASIK flap is not made correctly, it may fail to adhere properly to the eye’s surface or microscopic wrinkles called striae (STRIE-ee) could develop in the flap. These flap complications can cause optical aberrations and distorted vision.

Dry eyes after LASIK. Some people who have LASIK surgery experience a decrease in tear production that can cause eye discomfort and blurred vision. Dry eye syndrome after LASIK surgery is usually temporary and can be effectively treated with lubricating eye drops or other measures. Dry eye problems usually disappear when healing of the eye is complete, which can take up to 6 months. People who already have severe dry eye usually are eliminated as LASIK candidates.

Significant undercorrection, overcorrection or regression. Not everyone will achieve 20/20 vision after LASIK eye surgery, and contact lenses or eyeglasses for some or all activities may still be required in very rare cases. If the laser removes too much or too little corneal tissue, or your eye’s healing response is not typical, your visual outcome will be less than optimal. One possible cause of a less-than-perfect outcome is that your eyes did not respond to laser eye surgery in a predictable manner. Another possible cause is that your eyesight may have been optimal shortly after LASIK but regressed over time due to over-healing. In most cases, a significant undercorrection or regression can be successfully treated with additional laser vision correction after your surgeon confirms your residual refractive error is stable.

Eye infection. Infections rarely occur after LASIK because the corneal flap acts as a natural bandage. Still, it is very important to use medicated eye drops as directed after your LASIK procedure to avoid infection and control inflammation as your eyes heal.

Choosing a skilled and experienced LASIK eye surgeon can help reduce these risks and enable you to achieve the best possible results from laser eye surgery. If you would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Wright to discuss if LASIK is right for you, contact Wright Vision Center at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com today.

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LASIK Financing

lasik-financingWith the average cost of LASIK being more than $2,000 per eye in the U.S. and the procedure not being covered by most insurance plans, you might feel that laser vision correction is beyond your financial means. Thankfully, there are a number of LASIK financing options available to make LASIK affordable for people who cannot pay the full price of the procedure up front. Monthly payments for LASIK surgery using a financing plan can be less than $200 per month.

Paying for LASIK Through Finance Companies

Today it’s commonplace to arrange monthly payments for a variety of health-related procedures, including LASIK!

First, you should make sure the LASIK surgeon you plan to use approves of the financing company. This is because not all LASIK surgeons will work with all financing companies, so confirm with your surgeon before you apply for a loan.

Companies that provide LASIK financing usually offer a range of plans in which you can complete payments within three months, or extend monthly payments for as long as five years. Some companies allow you to spread out payments over time without incurring any extra cost.

Some short-term payment plans charge no interest at all. For longer term payments, interest rates can vary greatly and range as high as 22.99 percent. A deposit also may be required. Interest rates and deposits depend on personal credit ratings and the LASIK financing company used.

How to Apply for LASIK Financing

Applying for credit from a LASIK financing company usually is quick, easy and similar to obtaining other traditional loans. Many LASIK surgeons offer LASIK financing directly through major companies, making the process simple for you.

How much does LASIK cost?

We want to help all our patients experience a life free from the hassle of glasses and contacts. During your free LASIK consultation in Rapid City, Dr. Wright will perform a series of vision tests and ask you questions about your vision and lifestyle in order to provide you with a customized treatment plan and price to best correct your unique vision correction needs. To learn more about LASIK financing or schedule your consultation, contact Wright Vision Center at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com.

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Should I Have LASIK?

should-i-have-lasikAny elective surgery is an important and often difficult decision. LASIK eye surgery is considered safe and effective by medical standards, but does that mean that it is right for you?

Convenience vs. Risk

LASIK and other refractive surgery procedures may offer the convenience of a reduced need for corrective lenses, but to achieve that convenience you will be required to accept some risk. You have absolutely no guarantee that you will get the exact result you want; however, a comprehensive examination from a competent eye care physician can help determine if you have an elevated risk for a poor outcome.

Not Just LASIK

It is important to meet your eye care professional with an open mind. LASIK is currently the most popular refractive surgical technique, but that does not mean that it is best for everyone’s situation. It may be that an alternative is more appropriate. Be open to LASIK alternatives.

Reasonable Expectations

It is important to have reasonable expectations of your vision following LASIK surgery. It is possible that your vision after the procedure will be better than your current corrected vision, but it is normally unreasonable to expect that result. The goal is usually to have your new vision without glasses the same as your old vision with glasses.

The probability of eliminating the need for glasses and contacts entirely and forever is small. Although LASIK can reduce your refractive error, possibly eliminating it, your eyes will continue to change after surgery at the same rate they changed before refractive surgery.

At some point, virtually all of us will need reading glasses for presbyopia. This may be reduced or delayed with monovision or other techniques, but presbyopia is a natural part of aging.

Eventually virtually everyone will develop cataracts and need to have them removed, again adding to the probability of needing glasses.

Is LASIK Risk Worth It?

Literally millions of people are happy with their vision after refractive surgery and delighted with the reduced need for corrective lenses. There are also thousands who are very unhappy. As a percentage, refractive surgery recipients dissatisfied with their results is a small minority, but should be considered.

Looking for the Best LASIK Surgeon?

If you are ready to choose a doctor to be evaluated for the LASIK procedure, we recommend you consider Dr. Wright, who has years of experience and expertise in Rapid City. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Wright, contact Wright Vision Center at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com.

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LASIK and Diabetes

lasik-and-diabetesMillions of people have chosen LASIK surgery to improve their eyesight. But is LASIK a safe choice for someone with diabetes?

Medical research has identified a clear link between diabetes and eye-related complications. Those who have diabetes are at a higher risk of facing eye complications in the future. Some effects of diabetes, like slow healing and increased risk of infections, make eye-related procedures, including LASIK, a potentially risky affair for patients with these health issues.

People with diabetes can opt for LASIK; they are simply advised to move ahead after a thorough and detailed analysis of the potential risks and consequent benefits. While studies have shown a clear link between diabetes and eye-related problems, research focusing on LASIK has yielded mixed results.

People with diabetes can opt for LASIK without an enhanced risk of postoperative complications provided their blood sugar levels are under control. Merely having the right readings on the day of the LASIK surgery will not be enough though; the patient will need to have stabilized blood sugar levels for a period of two to three months prior to surgery.

If an individual who has uncontrolled diabetes is interested in pursuing LASIK, then primary efforts should focus on bringing blood sugar levels under control first. Again, merely bringing the daily blood sugar count under control will not suffice. The risks involved in undergoing a procedure like LASIK will come down only when blood sugar levels are kept under control for a period of two to three months.

Apart from diabetes medications, patients can benefit by switching to a healthier lifestyle to ensure their diabetes remains under control at all times. Smaller and more frequent meals, intake of complex carbohydrates and following a regular and disciplined exercise regimen will ensure faster control over diabetes.

The eyes will need some time to heal after LASIK surgery. A surge in blood sugar levels after the procedure can increase the chances of complications. Therefore, a person with diabetes should ensure they follow a healthy lifestyle before and after their procedure.

While uncontrolled diabetes can lead to problems, keeping your blood sugar levels under control through sustained and disciplined efforts will increase chances of a safe and complication-free LASIK surgery. If you have diabetes and are interested in LASIK eye surgery, contact Victoria Eye Center at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com to schedule an appointment and discuss your options for vision enhancement. Dr. Wright has helped many patients with diabetes in Rapid City to achieve healthy vision.

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LASIK Flap

lasik-flapLASIK, which stands for laser in-situ keratomileusis, is a popular surgery used to correct vision in people who are nearsighted, farsighted or have astigmatism.  One aspect of LASIK surgery that has made it such an innovative and effective procedure is the LASIK flap.

Creating the LASIK Flap

The first step of LASIK eye surgery is to partially detach a very thin layer of tissue from the cornea. This layer of tissue remains attached to the cornea on one side, creating a flap. Dr. Wright then uses a cool laser to alter the shape of the cornea beneath the flap. Changing the shape of the cornea corrects the vision problem that is being treated.

After the shape of the corneal tissue beneath the flap has been properly altered, the flap of tissue is set back into place. This flap serves as a protective covering for the area of the eye that has been operated on, and thus facilitates rapid healing. In fact, with the use of a LASIK flap, the corneal tissue can be as much as 90% healed within 24 hours!

Advantages of the LASIK Flap

Before LASIK surgery techniques were developed, doctors used photorefractive keratectomy, PRK, to correct vision. Known as an ablative procedure, PRK removes small pieces of tissue from the surface of the cornea. Though this procedure provides effective vision correction, and is still used in some cases when the cornea is too thin or misshapen to work well with a LASIK procedure, it takes longer to heal. The LASIK flap offers a faster, less painful recovery than the earlier methods of refractive surgery.

In order to determine if LASIK will work well to correct your vision, you should consult with a LASIK surgeon. Dr. Wright, who specializes in LASIK surgery in Rapid City, will evaluate your vision, the shape of your cornea, your overall health and other factors. Dr. Wright will then provide a suggested course of treatment and help you decide if LASIK is right for you.

If you suffer from nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism, LASIK might be an excellent option to improve your eyesight. For more information about how LASIK can help you, please contact Wright Vision Center at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com to schedule a LASIK consultation.

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Questions to Ask a LASIK Surgeon

questions-to-ask-a-lasik-surgeonIf you are considering LASIK, it is important to discuss the benefits and risks that could result from correcting vision with surgery rather than eyeglasses or contact lenses.

Each LASIK candidate has a unique set of general and eye health circumstances and lifestyle goals that need to be carefully assessed with their surgeon before electing to go ahead with the surgery. Although LASIK benefits many people, for others it may not be the best choice.

Choosing to undergo LASIK surgery is an important, potentially life-changing decision. Prior to your LASIK surgery, you will get the chance to ask your surgeon all the questions you want to ask. To help you make an informed decision, Dr. Wright at Wright Vision Center in Rapid City recommends the following list of questions to ask during your consultation.

Get to Know Your LASIK Surgeon

  • What is your professional training?
  • How many years of experience do you have?
  • How many LASIK procedures have you performed?
  • Do you perform any other types of vision treatment?
  • How many of your patients achieve vision results of 20/20 or better?
  • How do you handle complications?
  • Do you have testimonials from previous patients I can read?

Familiarize Yourself with the Procedure

  • Am I a candidate for LASIK?
  • If I’m not eligible for LASIK, do you offer other laser vision correction surgeries?
  • How should I prepare for the procedure?
  • Do you use the latest LASIK technology?
  • Do you perform bladeless LASIK surgery?
  • What kind of laser will you be using to perform my procedure?
  • How long does the procedure take?
  • Is LASIK painful?
  • What results can I reasonably expect?
  • Is LASIK permanent?
  • Will I need laser vision correction again?
  • What are possible side effects and complications associated with LASIK?
  • What financing options do you offer?

Learn What to Expect During the Recovery

  • Will I be able to drive myself home after surgery?
  • Will I be given pain medication for discomfort?
  • How long is the recovery?
  • Should I take time off from work? If so, how much?
  • When can I exercise?
  • When will I see my final vision results?
  • What type of long-term follow-up care do you offer?
  • How can I maintain clear vision after LASIK?

Dr. Wright at Wright Vision Center has years of experience performing LASIK and other laser vision correction surgeries in Rapid City. To find out if you’re a candidate, schedule a FREE consultation with us. Contact us at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com today.

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Cataract Causes

cataract-causesA cataract occurs when the lens inside your eye becomes cloudy. Things linked to clouding include:

  • Aging (age-related cataracts)
  • Overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, such as from sunlight, tanning booths, or sunlamps
  • Diabetes: especially when the blood sugar levels are above the safe range, diabetes causes changes in the eye that can result in cataracts
  • Disease inside the eye such as glaucoma, retinitis pigmentosa, retinal detachment or long-term uveitis
  • Long-term use of steroid medicines
  • Frequent X-rays or radiation treatments to the head
  • Family history (genetics) may cause the tendency to inherit and develop cataracts
  • Vitrectomy: people who have had the vitreous gel removed from their eye (vitrectomy) have an increased risk of cataracts
  • Eye injury, though injury-related cataracts are rare, injury is a leading cause of cataracts in children
  • Being born with cataracts (congenital): some children are born with the condition

Possible cataract causes include:

  • A genetic fault inherited from the child’s parents that caused the lens to develop abnormally
  • Certain genetic conditions – including Down’s syndrome
  • Certain infections picked up by the mother during pregnancy – including rubella and chickenpox
  • An injury to the eye after birth

At first, the cloudiness in your vision caused by a cataract may affect only a small part of the eye’s lens and you may be unaware of any vision loss. As the cataract grows larger, it clouds more of your lens and distorts the light passing through the lens. This may lead to more noticeable symptoms. Cataracts generally develop in both eyes, but not evenly. The cataract in one eye may be more advanced than the other, causing a difference in vision between eyes.

When to see a doctor:

Make an appointment for an eye exam if you notice any changes in your vision. If you develop sudden vision changes, such as double vision or flashes of light, sudden eye pain, or sudden headache, see Dr. Wright in Rapid City right away. Contact Wright Vision Center at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com to schedule an eye exam.

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LASIK Consultation

lasik-consultationThe first step in having LASIK in Rapid City is scheduling a consultation, during which Dr. Wright will evaluate your candidacy for laser eye surgery. After a thorough discussion and a non-invasive eye exam, Dr. Wright will be able to determine if LASIK is right for you. Your doctor can then recommend the best approach for the procedure based on your eye exam results.

Preparing for your LASIK consultation:

Dr. Wright will likely recommend that you stop wearing contact lenses in the days or weeks prior to your consultation. Contact lenses distort the shape of the cornea, and Dr. Wright will want your cornea to have returned to its natural shape by the day of your LASIK consultation.

What to expect at your LASIK consultation:

On the day of your consultation, you and the doctor will go to a private room to discuss your use of eye glasses and contacts, the reasons you want LASIK, and your expectations after the procedure is performed. Some patients hope laser eye surgery will leave them totally independent from eye glasses and contacts, but this isn’t realistic. Most adults will need reading glasses by a certain age, for instance.

Good laser eye surgery candidates have realistic goals for laser eye surgery, such as reducing the need for eye glasses and contact lenses or enjoying a more active lifestyle. Patients with unrealistic expectations are not good candidates.

Dr. Wright will also want to know about your health history. General health conditions, such as diabetes or an autoimmune disease, and ocular health conditions, such as dry eyes or ocular herpes, can affect whether or not you are a candidate for LASIK and how you will recover after the procedure.

Some medications can affect healing. This and other lifestyle factors—including playing contact sports or consuming alcohol and drugs—can also influence candidacy. You may be asked about any of these things to better understand your candidacy for the LASIK procedure.

A typical LASIK consultation continues with a very comprehensive eye exam. This exam will include tests you might recognize, such as pupil dilation and prescription measurement. But the doctor will also use some tests that are specific to the world of laser vision correction. Your cornea will be measured in detail, including its thickness, curvature and topography. A tear-film test may be performed to check for dry eyes. Each test will be explained before it is performed, and all of them are painless.

If you would like to schedule a LASIK consultation, contact Wright Vision Center at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com today.

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Cataracts Types

types-of-cataractsA cataract is a clouding of the eye’s natural lens, which can make it harder for you to see.

Cataracts are the most common cause of vision loss in people over age 40 and is the principal cause of blindness in the world. Cataracts develop when protein builds up in the lens of your eye, making it cloudy. This prevents light from passing clearly through the lens, causing some loss of vision. New lens cells form on the outside of the lens and the older cells are compacted into the center of the lens, forming the cataract.

Types of cataracts include:

  • Nuclear: A nuclear cataract forms deep in the central zone (nucleus) of the lens and is the most common type of cataract. Because opacity develops in the center of the lens, known as the central nucleus, nuclear cataracts interfere with a person’s ability to see objects in the distance. Usually the result of advancing age, nuclear cataracts can take years to develop and often give the nucleus a yellow tint.
  • Subcapsular: A subcapsular cataract occurs at the back of the lens. People with diabetes or those taking high doses of steroid medications have a greater risk of developing a subcapsular cataract. These cataracts progress the most rapidly. While nuclear cataracts take years to develop, subcapsular cataracts reach an advanced stage within a matter of months.
  • Cortical: A cortical cataract begins at the outer rim of the lens and gradually works toward the central core. This type of cataract resembles spokes on a wheel. This type of cataract occurs in the lens cortex, which is the part of the lens that surrounds the central nucleus. Patients with cortical cataracts often notice problems with glare or a “halo” effect around lights. They may also experience a disruption of both near and distance vision.

Currently, the only cure for cataracts is surgery. In Rapid City, Dr. Wright removes the cloudy lens and replaces it with an artificial lens (called an intraocular lens, or IOL). Fortunately, cataract surgery is a low-risk procedure with an excellent record of safety and success. The procedure typically is performed on an outpatient basis and does not require an overnight stay in a hospital or other care facility.

If you would like more information about cataracts or cataract surgery, please contact Wright Vision Center at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com.

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