PRK Healing Times

prk-healing-timesPhotorefractive keratectomy (PRK) is a type of laser eye surgery procedure intended to correct a person’s vision, reducing their dependency on glasses or contact lenses. PRK was the first type of laser eye surgery for vision correction and is the predecessor of LASIK. PRK healing times are longer than recovery from LASIK surgery. It may be days or a couple of weeks before your eyesight improves, and even longer for your vision to stabilize. Most PRK patients in Rapid City can usually resume activities such as driving a car one to three weeks after surgery, but it can take three to six months before vision is completely clear and stable.

In PRK, the thin outer layer of the cornea (epithelium) is removed and discarded. Next, Dr. Wright uses an excimer laser to precisely reshape the curvature of the corneal surface. This computer-controlled, highly specialized excimer laser delivers pulses of cool ultraviolet light that remove microscopic amounts of tissue in a precise pattern. A soft contact lens “bandage” is then placed on the cornea to help protect the eye. New epithelial cells grow back in about four or five days, after which the bandage contact lens is removed by Dr. Wright.

Though PRK recovery takes a bit longer than the healing time from LASIK eye surgery, PRK is still commonly performed and offers advantages over LASIK for some patients.

If you would like more information about PRK as well as other laser eye surgery procedures, be sure to contact Wright Vision Center at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com.

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Vision Correction

vision-correctionIf you’ve thought about vision correction surgery, also called refractive eye surgery, you should know that there are many options available which are different types of laser surgery. There’s the popular and well-known LASIK (laser in situ keratomileusis), but also wavefront-guided LASIK and Epi-Lasik, PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) and LASEK (laser epithelial keratomileusis).

The scope of vision problems that can be corrected with refractive eye surgery has expanded greatly in the past few decades. Refractive problems that can be corrected include nearsightedness (myopia), astigmatism (unevenly curved cornea), and farsightedness (hyperopia).

LASIK works by changing the shape of the cornea – the clear portion of the front of the eye – so that light rays focus on the retina and improve vision. A thin flap is created in the cornea. The exposed corneal surface is then reshaped using an excimer laser and the flap is replaced.

Epi-LASIK is an alternative to traditional LASIK, in which an instrument called an epi-keratome is used to separate a very thin sheet of the very top (epithelial) layer of the cornea, which is then moved aside so that the cornea can be sculpted for vision correction.

Wavefront-guided LASIK uses the most advanced technology to address the finer imperfections in the eye. This type of LASIK involves measuring the eye from front to back with a special laser, using what’s called wavefront technology, to create a three-dimensional (3-D) image of the eye. The information contained in the wavefront map guides the laser in customizing the treatment to your individual visual system.

PRK was the first form of laser vision correction surgery. PRK differs from LASIK in that the surgeon does not create a flap. PRK is a good option for patients with thin corneas.

LASEK combines many of the benefits of other vision correction surgeries, notably LASIK and PRK. LASEK can be a good option for patients with thin or unusually shaped corneas.

If you’re a candidate for refractive eye surgery, the surgery should be tailored not only to your vision problems, but also to factors such as age, occupation and lifestyle. There’s no one-size-fits-all surgery. To find out more about vision correction in Rapid City, contact Wright Vision Center at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com to schedule your consultation with Dr. Wright.

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Can LASIK Fix Astigmatism?

lasik-astigmatismIn a perfect world, all eyes would have a nice spherical shape and be perfect optical lenses. In the real world, the eye is usually not perfectly shaped and visual clarity is compromised. When astigmatism is present, the eye has a shape like a football set on one end. This asymmetrical shape of the eye causes the light rays traveling through it to scatter and not be clear. Astigmatism is a very common vision problem. Despite its big, somewhat scary-sounding name, astigmatism is simply a refractive error like nearsightedness and farsightedness and it can be corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses and LASIK surgery.

The ultra-precise lasers used for LASIK surgery can be programmed to reshape the cornea so the front surface of the eye is more symmetrical, thereby eliminating vision problems caused by astigmatism.

Most of the time astigmatism can be fully corrected with a single LASIK procedure. High amounts of astigmatism can be corrected with LASIK, though this increases the likelihood a follow-up LASIK enhancement may be needed to fine-tune the correction.

LASIK for astigmatism is an excellent option when compared to other alternatives like eyeglasses or contact lenses. Eyeglasses and contacts compensate for the abnormal curvature of the astigmatism with a lens that is curved in the opposite way from the cornea, effectively cancelling out the distortion. Unlike LASIK, these are short-term corrections to the symptoms associated with astigmatism – blurry vision, eyestrain and headaches. They can also be disorienting since, by definition, these lenses are non-uniform in shape.  Astigmatism contacts can also rotate out of alignment causing blurring to occur.  And all contact lenses carry the risk of infection, inflammation or corneal damage.

LASIK for astigmatism in Rapid City involves Dr. Wright making a thin, small circular hinge cut into your cornea. Dr. Wright folds back the hinged flap and then reshapes the cornea using a cool excimer laser. Many people choose to have LASIK for astigmatism over other refractive surgeries because it is very safe and the recovery time is very short.

If you are considering LASIK to correct your astigmatism, it’s important to discuss your options with a surgeon or eye care professional. Contact Wright Vision Center at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com to schedule your consultation today and see if LASIK is the right choice for you.

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Does LASIK Hurt?

does-lasik-hurtLASIK eye surgery is a very popular procedure in part because it is patient-friendly in many ways. The procedure only takes about 15 minutes for both eyes, and the healing process begins immediately with little to no discomfort. Another perk is that it doesn’t take long to start seeing positive results, and getting back to most of your favorite activities. Although the results of LASIK surgery are very consistent, there are still questions to be answered.

One of the most common questions is: does LASIK hurt? The short answer is no, for most people, it doesn’t. In order to explain the long answer, let us look at why LASIK eye surgery is able to deliver results with very minimal pain or discomfort.

In order to understand why LASIK causes little or no pain, it helps to understand a bit about how the procedure works. The goal of LASIK is to gently reshape the cornea, treating only very small portions of tissue, by using a precise laser. Throughout the procedure in Rapid City, Dr. Wright will also take every step to ensure that you are comfortable.

Local Anesthetic – Before your LASIK eye surgery begins, Dr. Wright will use eye drops to numb the surface of your eyes. These eye drops feel just like the type that you’d normally use to lubricate dry eyes, but they also contain a numbing agent so that you shouldn’t feel anything, except some pressure, during your LASIK procedure.

During LASIK Surgery – During surgery, the first step is creating the flap. This may cause you to feel a pressure sensation, but it is more of an odd or uncomfortable feeling than a painful one. Your eyelids will be held open with a special tool during the procedure, and while this may feel a little strange it is unlikely to cause any pain.

Excimer Laser – The cool beam of the excimer laser used to perform LASIK eye surgery is incredibly precise and guided by a computer which maps the structure of your eyes down to a microscopic level. During the portion of LASIK when your cornea is being reshaped, you actually shouldn’t feel any discomfort at all.

After your LASIK eye surgery is complete, you may notice slight pain, itching or discomfort as your eyes start to heal and your vision stabilizes. These symptoms are common and typically clear up quickly as your eyes go through the healing process. So while no surgery can truly claim to be completely pain-free, LASIK eye surgery is about as close as it gets – both during and after your procedure.

To learn more about LASIK or to schedule your LASIK consultation in Rapid City, contact Wright Vision Center at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com.

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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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