Is laser surgery for me?
One of the most frequent questions I receive as an Optometrist is: “Can I get laser surgery?” Everyone wants to know how laser surgery can help improve their vision! Recently I had the most unique opportunity to work directly with Dr. David Lin at Pacific Laser Eye Centre, and I would love to share my experiences with you so you can make an educated decision concerning whether or not laser surgery is for you. Firstly, there are two major types of refractive (vision correction) surgeries – LASIK and PRK. PRK (photo-refractive keratectomy) uses an excimer laser to directly sculpt the surface of the cornea during the surgery. A soft contact lens is then placed on the eye as a bandage for a few days while the cornea heals. LASIK (laser assisted intrastromal keratoplasty) utilizes either a laser or a specialized blade to create a flap of corneal tissue.
The underlying corneal tissue is then sculpted by a laser and the flap is returned to its original position. Dr. David Lin and Dr. Simon Holland atPacific Laser pride themselves on being at the forefront of innovation and safety when it comes to refractive surgery. Most recently, they worked directly with engineers at Schwind Eye Tech Solutions to develop their newest Smart Surface PRK laser. This refractive procedure is completely touchless – no pain, no scraping, no cuts, no incisions, no alcohol. The laser operates with a seven-directional eye movement tracking system which provides precision even if you have difficulty holding still during surgery. Treatment time varies, but is approximately only 40 seconds per eye! PRK is suitable for you if you are active in sports. The efficiency of this advanced laser allows Dr. Lin and Dr. Holland to treat almost all levels of myopia and hyperopia in the safest manner possible.
After surgery, a bandage contact lens is placed on the cornea (much like a regular soft contact lens) and individuals go home the same day with antibiotic drops, anti-inflammatory drops, and pain medications if necessary. Patients are even advisedthat they can go to the gym the same day (while wearing a head band to prevent sweat from entering the eyes)!
The surgeons recommend one week off from school or work and to discontinue driving for 1-2 weeks while you are healing. Vision is usually good 1-2 days after surgery, but it gets worse on days 3-4 while the eye heals. After day 5, vision starts to improve again. The bandage contact lens is usually removed between 5-12 days after surgery. Patients tend to use non-preservative artificial tears if they experience a gritty, dry feeling. The medicated drops are used on a regular basis for approximately 2 months after the surgery, and patients are instructed to taper some of these drops off slowly.
Post-op visits with your optometrist help ensure a full recovery, with check-ups required at 1 week, 1 month, 2 months, 3 months, 6 months and finally 1 year after your surgery.If you’re interested in knowing more, I’m happy to answer questions at your next appointment.
Dr. Jenny Tsui
Doctor of Optometry