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BCM - Baylor College of Medicine

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Baylor Vision

Other Frequently Asked Questions

Is laser surgery painful?

During the LASIK procedure, patients might experience a sensation of pressure during certain steps, but patients rarely describe it as painful. Typically, there is little or no discomfort following LASIK.

The PRK procedure is usually painless. Following PRK, patients can have mild to moderate eye pain for a day or two.

How do I decide which procedure is best for me?

We will discuss with you the options that are available to you and our recommendation for the best procedure (or, in some instances, no procedure at all). At Baylor Vision, we offer the full range of FDA-approved refractive procedures. This enables us to customize the choice of procedures for each person's individual needs.

What if I move my eye during the laser treatment?

While the treatment is performed, it is important that you look at the flashing light on the inside of the laser, since this keeps the eye centered for the laser. Fortunately, the VISX laser has tracking devices to assist with centration of the eye. Therefore, if you temporarily look away or lose the ability to look at the fixation light, do not be concerned. The laser procedure will be interrupted and then resumed once you and the physician are comfortable that the laser is once again well centered.

How soon can I have my second eye treated or can I have both eyes treated the same day?

Depending on individual circumstances, both eyes can be treated on the same day, or we may recommend that you wait for a few days or longer until the results of the first eye are known. We will discuss this during your appointment.

When can I resume my normal activities following laser eye surgery?

Following LASIK, you can usually drive and return to work in 1-2 days and return to almost all activities by 2-3 days. Following PRK, you may need to delay driving for 3-7 days, depending on your particular circumstances. We will discuss this with you following your surgery. Patients are asked not to go swimming for at least 1-2 weeks following any of these procedures.

When does my vision recover following laser vision correction?

Following LASIK, vision is often acceptable 1-2 days after the procedure. Vision then improves further over the next week (although in some cases, vision may further increase over the next few months), assuming that no additional correction is needed. Following PRK, vision is often acceptable 1-2 days after surgery; however, recovery of vision adequate for driving or work may take 4 to 7 days. Vision then continues to improve over the next several days but can fluctuate for the first few weeks until it stabilizes.

Will I be able to wear contact lenses following laser eye surgery?

In almost all instances the answer is yes, although fitting contact lenses following either of these procedures is sometimes slightly more difficult. Fortunately, it is very unusual for Baylor Vision patients to require contact lenses after their laser vision correction surgery.

Will laser vision surgery eliminate my need for reading glasses?

Laser vision correction surgery does not change the gradual loss of focusing range that occurs as we get older. If your nearsightedness in both eyes is nearly or fully corrected with LASIK or PRK, then reading glasses will be required at around age 43-47.

One option that is extremely successful in some patients is called monovision. In this approach, one eye is deliberately left with a modest amount of nearsightedness, permitting this eye to serve as the reading eye. In many patients, this can reduce or eliminate the need for reading glasses until the mid-50s. The compromise, of course, is that the eye that is left with some nearsightedness does not see as well at distance. This could slightly decrease depth perception and is not recommended for individuals with special needs, such as pilots.

The ability to adapt to monovision varies from one individual to another. If you are interested in monovision, this can sometimes be tested before surgery with the use of soft contact lenses. We find that patients can almost always determine within a day or two if monovision will work for them.