The Laser Eye Surgery Team

lasikgroupAt the WVU Eye Institute, our team approach to laser eye surgery allows us to deliver personalized care with the best outcomes. The physician and technicians who perform your initial evaluation are also involved with your treatment and follow up care.

Consistency of care is important for patient confidence and satisfaction. Physician and staff involvement at every step of the refractive surgical process is our most important quality control measure.

The WVU Eye Institute’s laser eye surgery service uses the latest in technology, resulting in a detailed evaluation of the optics of your eyes and a more precise laser treatment. Our testing devices help doctors choose the safest procedure to correct your vision and our precision treatment enables us to customize your laser treatments with a level of accuracy that is unprecedented.

To Learn more about Lasik, read our Fact Sheet.

pic-lasikLASIK is the most popular laser eye surgery procedure for vision correction. LASIK surgery involves reshaping the inner cornea by creating a thin flap on the cornea, lifting it back and reshaping the surface underneath.

Traditionally, a blade is used in the first step in order to make a flap. Our center offers Z-LASIK which is a total laser, blade-free option.

The Z-LASIK Procedure

  1. Your eyes will be tested to make sure they are healthy and suitable for laser vision correction. If so, your eye will be electronically measured in detail.
  2. The physician will use anesthetic eye drops to numb your eyes and the laser will create the corneal flap necessary for vision correction.
  3. The laser will precisely reshape your corneal tissue and correct your vision. The entire procedure takes a couple of minutes. You will be able to open and close your eyes normally immediately after treatment.
  4. We will give you special eye drops to promote healing. Don’t rub your eyes for the first few hours after the procedure and avoid contact sports and swimming pools for a few days.

Benefits of all-laser LASIK
The all-laser procedure only takes a few minutes. During the treatment, the patient’s head is not fixed so it’s a more comfortable procedure. Z-LASIK can help patients who previously were not candidates for laser eye surgery, including patients with extreme myopia or thin corneas. The laser energy used is also 100 times lower and therefore gentler to the corneal tissue.

Below are some commonly asked questions regarding the LASIK procedure. If your question is not listed here, please do not hesitate to contact Krista Felton at 304-598-4494.

What are the benefits of LASIK?

Laser vision correction has been shown to reduce dependence on glasses and contacts. Over 95% of our patients undergoing laser vision correction achieve 20/40 vision or better. This will enable you to pass a driver’s license exam without glasses.

How do I know if I am a candidate for laser vision correction?

LASIK is used to correct many vision problems including nearsightedness, astigmatism and farsightedness. While it is a very safe and effective procedure, not everyone is a candidate. Certain eye and medical conditions can make a patient unsuitable for LASIK surgery. If you have questions, call our patient counselor at 304-598-4494.

How long is the procedure?

You will be at the Eye Institute approximately 1 ½ hours. The time in the surgery suite with the surgeon is 15-20 minutes. The actual laser treatment time is approximately one minute per eye.

Is LASIK really painless?

For many patients, LASIK is indeed painless. Anesthetic drops numb the eye prior to the procedure. Some patients may experience temporary symptoms such as scratchy or watery eyes after the procedure, but this usually disappears within 24 hours. Keeping the eyes closed and using the medication drops as instructed can help minimize any discomfort.

What if I blink during the procedure?

Your eye will be held open with a holder supporting your lid so that you cannot blink. The holder is placed on your eye right before the treatment and removed right after.

Why must I stop wearing my contacts before my preoperative exam?

Contact lenses can change the shape of the cornea similar to how a watchband can make a skin imprint on your wrist. If you have your eyes examined too soon after taking out your contact lenses, some of the eye tests could give inaccurate results. You should discontinue wearing soft contact lenses two weeks prior to the pre-operative measurements and surgery. Rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lens wearers should discontinue wearing lenses four weeks prior to pre-operative measurements. Our doctors will advise you if they suspect your corneas have not returned to their natural shape after removing your contact lenses.

Do the results last?

LASIK is considered to be a permanent procedure; however, refractive surgery will not prevent any age-related conditions such as presbyopia (the need for reading glasses) or cataracts. In a small number of cases, eyes do change over time and develop a new prescription. If this happens, you may be able to be re-treated.

Does insurance cover laser eye surgery?

Most insurance companies consider laser eye surgery an elective surgery and it is not usually a covered benefit. However, it is certainly worth checking with your insurance company and we encourage you to call them.

How much work will I miss?

Most patients return to their normal activities the day after the procedure. The doctor can give your more details on what you can expect when you come in for an evaluation.

What are the risks of LASIK?

Your safety is our highest priority. While LASIK has a very high success rate, like any surgery there is risk associated with it. Some patients experience dryness in the eyes, which is usually relieved with eye drops and can disappear over time. In a very small number of people, vision can worsen rather than improve. Your surgeon will go over the potential risks with refractive surgery and measures taken to avoid them. Be sure to have all your questions are answered before having surgery.

Can both eyes be done at the same time?

Because of the advanced technology associated with LASIK both eyes are most often done at the same time.

pic-servicesPRK is a type of laser eye treatment that corrects nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism and can offer advantages over LASIK for some patients.

Both LASIK and PRK use a laser to reshape the inner cornea for vision correction. However, in LASIK surgery, a thin flap is created and lifted back before the laser reshapes the cornea. With PRK, a laser removes the outer layer of the cornea before the inner cornea is reshaped for vision correction.

The difference in procedure can make PRK laser treatment a better option for those with thin corneas who cannot spare tissue for flap creation. PRK may also be a better option for those whose occupations may involve trauma to the eye such as law enforcement officers, military personnel, martial artists, etc.

The disadvantage to PRK is that the recovery time takes longer than LASIK, because it takes some time for new cells to regenerate and cover the surface of the eye.

There is a variation of PRK, called LASEK, which uses a solution of alcohol to loosen the outer layer (surface cells). The eye surgeon can remove the outer layer and then replace it once the reshaping of the cornea is complete.

In both PRK and LASEK, a bandage contact lens is applied after surgery to speed healing.