All posts by Jonna Kieler

What Do You Feel During LASIK?

LASIK eye surgery is a very popular vision correction 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. 

A common question among LASIK patients is “What do I feel during LASIK?” In order to answer this question, 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 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 discomfort, 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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What Are the Three Types of Cataracts?

A cataract is a clouding of the lens of the eye that impairs vision. There are three main types of cataract: Nuclear Sclerotic, Cortical and Posterior Subcapsular. 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 and causes 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 or 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.

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 Location, Dr. Wright can determine if you are developing a cataract or if another issue is affecting your eyesight.

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Can I Have Coffee Before LASIK?

Before and after your LASIK procedure it is advised that you avoid caffeinated drinks, including coffee.  Caffeine can cause your eyes to feel dry, which can make it more difficult for you to fully relax during and after the procedure.  

Prior to your surgery, Dr. Wright recommends that you avoid caffeine for a few hours. It is a good idea to consume several glasses of water or other non-alcoholic, caffeine-free fluids per day as you prepare for LASIK, beginning several days before the procedure. Taking an omega-3 supplement and using lubricating eye drops may also be recommended a few days prior to surgery and for up to three months post-surgery.

To keep your eyes feeling comfortable and to help prevent dry eyes after the procedure consider the following tips:

  • Inform Dr. Wright in advance of any dry eye problems you may have, including allergy-related dryness
  • Take omega-3 fatty acids to promote healthy tear film
  • Drink plenty of water each day
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine and other substances that may cause dehydration
  • Follow all instructions given to you for before and after the surgery

For many people, a cup of coffee in the morning is a must-have. However, when it comes to LASIK, it is a good idea to minimize your coffee and caffeine consumption to ensure a comfortable and relaxing procedure. For more information about 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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How Should You Sleep After Cataract Surgery?

Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure completed in under an hour. Cataract surgery has a high success rate in improving your eyesight and should allow you to return to your normal activities, like driving, following a few simple weeks of recovery.

Your cataract surgery recovery begins immediately following your procedure. 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. Most patients are able to go home within a few hours of the procedure. You will be required to have a friend or family member drive you home following surgery.

In general, you should be able to watch TV, do some light computer work and shower or bathe within a few hours of returning home after your procedure. While 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. Full recovery from cataract surgery should be complete in about a month, although it can take up to three months for your eye to be completely healed.

Cataract surgery should not affect how you sleep, aside from wearing the protective eye shield to avoid rubbing the eye. Rubbing your eye can aggravate the chances of infection. You may also want to avoid sleeping on the side of the operated eye for the first 24 hours.

For more information about recovery following cataract surgery, contact Wright Vision Center by calling 605-718-5123 or visiting wrightvisioncenter.com.

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Paying for LASIK

LASIK is an investment in your vision. Based on patient experience, it’s also an experience that adds valued benefits and satisfaction to a person’s life. Having LASIK eye surgery is a better solution for many people that have nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism than other visual aids. If you are considering LASIK surgery to correct your vision issues, you are likely wondering how you will pay for such a surgery.

Most health insurance companies consider LASIK and other vision correction procedures to be not medically necessary, since vision can be corrected with eyeglasses and contact lenses. Therefore, the cost of LASIK typically is not included as a benefit of most major medical plans. Very occasionally, if it can be proven that superior eyesight without eyeglasses or contacts is needed for your occupation, insurance may pay for the procedure.

A flexible spending account is an employer-sponsored benefit that allows you to pay for eligible medical expenses on a pre-tax basis. If you have a flexible spending account with your employer, consider using that advantage to help pay for your eye surgery.

Monthly financing plans, including Care Credit, may help you pay for your LASIK procedure with a monthly payment for the length of time that fits your budget.

In reality, LASIK is less expensive over time than contacts or glasses. LASIK eye surgery is a fixed cost. Although LASIK surgery is a large one-time expense, it’s often cheaper than the long-term cost of contact lens wear or eyeglasses. Once you have the treatment, there are no more fees.

If you’re wondering if you can afford LASIK, contact Wright Vision Center at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com to schedule your LASIK consultation today!

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Recent Advances in LASIK

LASIK surgery is the most popular laser vision correction procedure performed today, and for good reason. Ongoing advancements in laser technology and ophthalmology have made way for successful surgeries and better visual outcomes. At Wright Vision Center in Rapid City, Dr. Wright utilizes the latest advancements in LASIK surgery to offer patients the best possible vision correction experience. The most advanced LASIK techniques include:

Bladeless – LASIK involves reshaping the cornea to correct any refractive error. To access the cornea, a flap must be made. In previous vision correction techniques, the flap was created using a hand-held bladed tool. Modern LASIK techniques utilize a femtosecond laser to create the flap, eliminating the risks associated with the use of a manual blade. Studies have shown that the femtosecond laser allows for more precise corneal flap thickness, improving accuracy and predictability. This also offers a decreased risk of corneal abrasions during the procedure, and a decreased risk of induced astigmatism after LASIK. It also gives more options in terms of flap size, shape and orientation, yielding a more customized procedure as well as a faster healing time thanks to the smoother edges of the flap.

Eye Tracking – Modern LASIK utilizes advanced eye-tracking systems that keep track of the eye’s continual movements during the procedure. Advanced eye tracking systems have an active infrared eye tracker that tracks the center of the pupil to detect and compensate for any involuntary eye movements. The active eye tracker can move 10 times faster than the human eye as well as faster than the laser itself. Eye tracking has markedly increased the accuracy of LASIK and makes patients feel confident that any micro eye movements they make won’t affect the visual outcome of their procedure.

Custom Wavefront Mapping – Wavefront mapping is a highly sophisticated technology that allows Dr. Wright to create a 3D image of your eye. The information gathered by the wavefront map system helps detect the eye’s unique imperfections and it allows the laser to create a smoother and more precise corneal shaping. Wavefront technology increases the accuracy of visual outcomes and reduces the likelihood of side effects such as glare and halos.

Recent advancements have made LASIK more effective and more accessible to potential candidates. Essentially, these LASIK advancements allow each procedure to be tailored to the unique shape of each patient’s eye. As you might expect, this results in excellent outcomes and high patient satisfaction.

Learn more about the advanced technology used at Wright Vision Center by calling 605-718-5123 or visiting wrightvisioncenter.com to schedule a consultation with Dr. Wright.

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Cataract Lens Options

A cataract is a clouding of the natural lens of the eye that typically occurs with age. During cataract surgery, the natural lens of the eye is replaced with an artificial lens, known as an intraocular lens (IOL).

These artificial lenses are made of clear plastic, silicone or acrylic materials, and are coated with UV blocking substances. At Wright Vision Center in Rapid City, we offer several cataract lens options to suit the different needs of our patients. These options can do more than just treat cataracts. They can drastically improve vision, making you less dependent on glasses or contacts.

Monofocal Intraocular Lens – Monofocal lenses are the most basic type of replacement lens. They are used to restore vision for one area of focus, usually used to restore distance vision. After having a monofocal lens implanted into your eye, you may still need glasses or bifocals after surgery. They won’t correct astigmatism and will necessitate various pairs of glasses for any daily task.

Multifocal Intraocular Lens – Multifocal lenses provide high-quality vision at multiple distances, acting in the same way that bifocal or progressive lenses on glasses work, in that they allow you to see things at different distances through various areas on the surface of the lens. This lens can correct your vision for distance, up close and everything in between.

Toric Intraocular Lens – Toric lenses are premium monofocal lenses that help restore crisp, clear distance vision for cataract patients who also have astigmatism. A disadvantage to these types of lenses is that they only correct vision for one distance, meaning that most patients will still require reading glasses or bifocals.

During a consultation and exam in Rapid City, Dr. Wright will work with you to determine the best lens for your specific cataract needs. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, contact us today at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com.

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How Does LASIK Work?

LASIK is a popular form of laser vision correction surgery that can correct a range of vision issues with a goal of reducing or eliminating the need for glasses or contact lenses.

LASIK, which stands for laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis, improves vision by reshaping the cornea. Your cornea is the clear front surface of your eye. Many vision imperfections, including nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism, occur because the shape of the cornea does not allow light to properly focus on the back of the eye. LASIK utilizes laser technology to precisely reshape the cornea to allow light to enter the eye at the proper angle for improved vision. 

During the LASIK procedure a flap of corneal tissue is created. This flap is then peeled back so that the laser can reshape the corneal tissue underneath. Once the reshaping is complete, the corneal flap is replaced. The cornea will naturally hold the flap in place so no stitches are required.

Some benefits of LASIK include:

  • LASIK can reduce or eliminate dependence on glasses and contact lenses
  • LASIK is highly successful for most patients
  • LASIK surgery is a quick, outpatient procedure with minimal recovery time
  • LASIK may result in long-term savings when accounting for the potential of lifetime savings on contacts and glasses

Although LASIK has helped millions of people improve their vision and reduce their need for glasses or contacts, not everyone is a good candidate for the procedure. You must be at least 18 years old, have healthy eyes and a stable prescription that is within the range that LASIK can correct. It’s also important to consider the risks and rewards and make sure you have realistic expectations.

During a LASIK consultation at Wright Vision Center, Dr. Wright will take the time to educate you on your options and create a personalized treatment plan to ensure that your custom LASIK procedure fits your vision needs and meets your personal expectations.

Are you ready to experience the freedom that LASIK can provide? Learn more about LASIK surgery in Wright Vision Center by calling 605-718-5123 or visiting wrightvisioncenter.com to schedule a LASIK consultation today.

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What are Some Signs of Cataracts?

A cataract is a clouding of the natural lens of the eye. In most cases, cataracts develop slowly and may not significantly affect eyesight. However, if left untreated, they can quickly begin impacting vision and may even cause blindness. If cataracts are detected in the early stages, adequate measures can be taken to prevent worsening of the condition. For this reason, it is helpful to be aware of the signs and symptoms associated with cataracts. Some signs of cataracts include:

Blurred Vision – The cloudy film that develops over the lens causes a gradual blurring of one’s vision. This blurring of eyesight cannot be corrected by the using of eyeglasses or artificial lenses.

Difficulty Seeing at Night – Those with cataracts tend to have difficulty seeing things in low light, and especially during night time.

Sensitivity to Light – During the very early stages of cataract development, many patients notice their eyes become increasingly sensitive to light, particularly harsh, bright light.

Halos around Light – The presence of the cloudy film on the lens sometimes causes diffraction of light that enters the eye. This causes luminescent halos, often in different colors, to appear when viewing sources of light.

Change in Color Perception – As a cataract advances, the protein that forms the cloudy film on the lens may turn yellow or brown. This may cause light entering the eye to be perceived as an altered hue.

Double Vision in One Eye – A common symptom of the early stages of a cataract is double vision in one eye. Not every cataract patient experiences this symptom, only those suffering from a particular type of cataract. Also, several other eye conditions may cause double vision, but a cataract is amongst the few which causes it only in one eye.

Frequently Needing Stronger Glasses – If you find that you frequently need to increase your contact or glasses strength, this could be an indication that you have cataracts. Rapidly changing eyes could be signs of other conditions as well. Whether it is cataracts or something else, it is important to see a doctor if your prescription needs are frequently changing.

Ultimately, having cataracts may interfere with your ability to carry out simple everyday activities and without treatment, cataracts may lead to permanent blindness. If you experience any of these signs of cataracts or other visual changes, contact Wright Vision Center at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com to schedule an examination with one of our doctors.

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Will Insurance Pay for LASIK Surgery?

Unfortunately, most insurance companies don’t cover LASIK because laser eye surgery is nearly always considered an elective procedure. Elective procedures are typically procedures that are optional, nice to have done, but not medically necessary. 

Although insurance does not often cover the cost of LASIK, certain people may be able to get their laser eye surgery covered due to special circumstances.

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 any type of health insurance policy, contact your benefits coordinator to find out exactly what is and is not covered. You can ask your company questions regarding the amount of coverage offered, what procedures may be covered, and how much you will have to pay whether you use an in-network or out-of-network healthcare provider.

Other Ways to Pay for LASIK

Many U.S. employees have an FSA, HSA or HRA to cover health expenses with income-tax-free accounts. The cost of laser eye surgery is an eligible expense for all these accounts.  In addition, some people may deduct the cost of major medical expenses. Check with your tax preparer to see if you qualify. If you know you want LASIK but are concerned about up-front cost, assess your contributions during your employer’s open-enrollment window and consider increasing your savings so you can afford the procedure next year.

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 ways to pay, contact us at 605-718-5123 or wrightvisioncenter.com.

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