Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) give quick and easy answers to the questions we are asked most often by patients and their families. Although FAQs appear throughout our web site, you may sort them by topic using the convenient prompts below.
The name “LASIK” is short for Laser Insitu Keratomileusis. LASIK reshapes the cornea with excimer laser technology. The shape of the cornea is what determines whether you are nearsighted, farsighted, have astigmatism or have normal vision. The Excimer Laser emits a “cool” laser light that can remove microscopic amounts of tissue with extreme precision. Physicians can program the laser to sculpt the cornea.
Even though LASIK is a relatively safe procedure with a history of very few complications, these risk factors should be considered:
- Corneal flap problems
- Irregular healing
- Corneal surface irregularities
- Contact lens intolerance
Certain temporary side effects can be expected as part of the recovery process:
- Light sensitivity
- Halo effect
- Fluctuating vision
- Watery or dry eyes
As people approach their mid-forties, it is natural for them to begin losing their ability to focus on both near and distant objects. This age-related change is called presbyopia. It is the result of the lens in the eye becoming less elastic and losing its ability to change its focus.
Age-related focusing problems are usually relieved by reading glasses or bifocal lenses. People with low amounts of nearsightedness can simply remove their glasses and read. Contact lens wearers can use reading glasses over their contacts. Another contact lens option is to wear one lens for near vision in one eye and another corrected for distance vision in the other eye. This is known as monovision.
Monovision may also be an option for those considering refractive surgery. The advantage of monovision is the ability to both read and see in the distance without corrective lenses. This option might be particularly helpful for people who frequently shift their vision between near and far distances. If you feel monovision may be an option for you, it is important to approach it with care. We recommend trying it with contacts before proceeding with surgical correction. Wearing these specially prescribed contacts for several days will give you the opportunity to try monovision to help determine whether it is right for you.
Prior to your procedure, you will need to have a comprehensive evaluation by your surgeon at Wheaton Eye Clinic. A comprehensive exam includes:
- A fully dilated medical evaluation of your eyes
- Vision check and refraction before and after dilation of your pupils
- Corneal topography (this measures the curvature of your cornea)
- Corneal pachymetry (this measures the thickness of your cornea)
- WaveScan analysis (this measures the fingerprint vision of each eye)
- Pupilometry (this measures the size of your pupils under different lighting)
After your exam, the doctor will review the risks, benefits and goals of laser vision correction to make sure your expectations are achievable. Please keep the following in mind: for a full comprehensive evaluation, you must be out of your contact lenses for the following time periods:
Soft contact lenses – one week
Extended wear contact lenses – two weeks
Gas permeable contact lenses – three weeks
Yes. Being out of contacts allows the cornea to return to its natural shape for accurate corneal curvature measurements prior to the procedure. This also allows for a more accurate measurement of your myopia, astigmatism or hyperopia.
Even with the highly technical instruments used for LASIK, the surgeon’s skill and judgment are the most critical factors in achieving excellent visual outcomes. His expertise becomes even more crucial during the procedure. We have learned that the accuracy and impeccable precision of the surgical team are key to achieving good outcomes. The Wheaton Eye Clinic combines all of this with the latest technology and highest surgical skills.
Before your procedure, your eyes will be numbed with eye drops. You will feel minimal, if any, discomfort.
Our goal is to get you as close to 20/20 as possible. However, as with any medical procedure, there are no guarantees. Instead of hoping to forever eliminate your need for corrective lenses, a more realistic goal would be to reduce your dependence on glasses and contact lenses. However, most of our patients achieve 20/20 or better vision.
Anyone over the age of 21 who is nearsighted and/or astigmatic is potentially a candidate for CustomVue LASIK. Candidacy is determined after a thorough evaluation of your vision and by specialized testing during your LASIK evaluation at Wheaton Eye Clinic.
Laser vision correction at Wheaton Eye Clinic can be tailored to the unique characteristics of your eyes with VISX CustomVue LASIK. At the heart of the CustomVue procedure is the WaveScan system. This system allows our experienced LASIK surgeons to measure and correct visual imperfections that were previously undetectable with the common technology used to prescribe glasses and contact lenses. By specifically addressing the unique imperfections of your vision, we can help you safely and effectively achieve your “personal best vision” without glasses and contact lenses.
Glasses and contacts are limited in their ability to correct unique imperfections and thousands of people have the same prescription. With the CustomVue LASIK procedure, no two “prescriptions” are identical. In fact, clinical studies have demonstrated that qualified nearsightedness and astigmatic individuals can potentially achieve better vision than is possible with contact lenses or glasses.
Patients who do not have all of their nearsightedness, farsightedness and/or astigmatism corrected by LASIK can elect to wear glasses or contact lenses or have additional ‘enhancement’ surgery. Regression, in which the eye initially improves but returns to a level of nearsightedness within six months, can happen in 10% of patients. Generally, follow up surgery is not performed for at least three months following the original procedure.
LASIK surgery itself is pain free but some LASIK patients experience a scratchy feeling in the eye for a day or two following the procedure. Because a major concern following LASIK is dislodging the flap created at the time of surgery, your doctor will warn you against vigorous eye rubbing or other injuries to the surface of the eye. To help prevent this, you will be given an eye shield to be worn over your eye(s) to protect the cornea for up to a week. You will also want to wear it when sleeping for the first few days after surgery.
Don’t plan on driving yourself home after LASIK because your vision will be blurry and your eyes very light sensitive. In some cases, patients feel uncomfortable driving for a day or two; other patients are driving again within 24 hour
You can expect your doctor to review the post-operative medication regimen with you, usually eye drops to minimize the risk of infection and post-operative discomfort. Usually they are needed for only a few weeks after LASIK although, in rare cases, medication may be required for up to several months. Plan to return to the doctor’s office for an examination one day after surgery, one week after surgery and one month following surgery. Additional visits may be scheduled if necessary.
You shouldn’t plan to return to work until your doctor says it’s OK, usually in a day or two. There may also be limitations on swimming, whirlpools or hot tubs, playing active sports and wearing eye makeup. You will also be cautioned to wear dark sunglasses in bright light outdoors so your eyes are more comfortable.
LASIK is performed as an outpatient procedure and you are fully awake the entire time. Eye drops are placed in your eye to numb it. In some cases, a mild sedative pill also is given to patients in order to reduce anxiety. You will be asked to lie face up on a reclining chair or table. Your eyelid will be carefully held open using a special instrument while the other eye is covered with a patch.
You doctor will ask you to look directly into a light in order to fixate your eye under the laser. Then a small suction device will be used to steady your eye while a small motor-powered blade gently separates surface layers of the cornea. With the underlying corneal tissue exposed the laser application begins. This usually takes 30-60 seconds, depending on the amount of nearsightedness, farsightedness and/or astigmatism that is being treated. During the LASIK procedure you will hear tapping sounds and may detect a slight odor but this is all perfectly normal.
After the laser treatment, the corneal flap is returned to its original position where it stays in place without the need for stitches. The doctor’s last step is to place antibiotic and anti-inflammatory eye drops in the treated eye. For patients having both eyes corrected, the second eye is uncovered and treated using the same process.
Although the vast majority of patients quickly experience marked vision improvement, some patients’ best vision may not be realized for several weeks or even months after surgery. All refractive surgery, including LASIK, is performed in order to help patients reduce their dependence on glasses and/or contact lenses. No LASIK surgeon can guarantee 20/20 vision. It is not possible for any doctor to accurately predict how your eyes will respond to the treatment. Therefore, patients should only undergo laser vision correction with the expectation of improved eyesight and not perfect eyesight.
Having made this disclaimer, statistics tell us that 94% of LASIK patients do achieve visual acuity of 20/40 or better without glasses. This is good enough to pass a drivers license exam. Even better news is that 58% of the time patients’ vision is 20/20 following LASIK surgery.
All too often LASIK evaluations are made by eye care professionals other than ophthalmologists. Many of these people have not been trained and certified in LASIK, nor do they have the expertise to safely evaluate a patient’s risk factors. It is always preferable to have the surgeon who will be performing the procedure determine whether or not LASIK is right for you. Qualified doctors use only competent surgical facilities and FDA approved excimer lasers for vision correction.
The ideal LASIK candidate is 18 years of age or older and has healthy eyes. Candidates must not have had a significant change in their prescription in the last 12 months. People with certain medical conditions, or women who are pregnant or nursing, may not be good candidates for LASIK. The best way to determine if LASIK is right for you is to schedule a free consultation so that we may do a thorough assessment of your candidacy.
Some people encounter situations where the condition or the shape of the eye makes them a poor candidate for LASIK correction. However, a new procedure, called LASEK, may often be applied to those situations with positive results. LASEK works without the need for cutting. Instead, a solution is applied to the exterior of the eye which allows the doctor to move the epithelium (outer layer) of the eye down, perform the laser correction and then slide the epithelium back into place. The procedure is quick and allows for faster healing.
During regular business hours, please contact the main office of the Wheaton Eye Clinic at 630. 668.8250. If you have an emergency, an “on-call” ophthalmologist can be reached by calling the same number. At the end of the recording, an operator will take your information and relay this to the on-call physician and directly to Dr. Pak.
If you experience any of the following, please call your doctor immediately:
- A deep aching pain
- Sudden increased redness or bloody discharge
- Sudden increased purulent (pus) discharge
- Bleeding that is excessive or does not stop
- Eye pain accompanied by nausea or decrease in vision
- Flashing lights or a dark curtain coming down over the vision of your eye
Most sutures are removed by Dr. Pak at 7–14 days and should not be cut or removed at home prematurely.
We prefer that all blood thinners be discontinued at least 7–10 days before the day of surgery; however, we strongly urge you to consult with your general doctor or cardiologist prior to stopping any blood thinners (anticoagulants) such as aspirin, plavix, coumadin and NSAIDS (ibuprofen).
If any lab results or imaging studies such as CT scans of the head or orbit have been completed, please bring them to your visit with Dr. Pak.
The surgery that reduces these issues is called a Lower Blepharoplasty and this procedure is purely cosmetic in nature and is not covered by insurance.
No bending, straining or heavy lifting for two weeks.
Typically 2–3 weeks after surgery.
While bruising and swelling varies among patients, one may return to work engaging in non-physical activities by 4–5 days after surgery. This question is based on the degree of surgery necessary for your condition and will be discussed with Dr. Pak.
Generally, the insurance companies only cover medically necessary procedures. There are strict guidelines that Dr. Pak will abide by to be able to determine the answer to this question after the initial consultation.
There are a number of recommendations your doctor may suggest in administering your care. View the following documents to learn more …
Clinical trials are research studies performed with human subjects to test and evaluate the effectiveness and safety of new medications, medical devices or specific procedures and treatments.
These trials are used for comparison to standard treatments or to no treatment. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires clinical trials before it approves a new medication for physicians to prescribe to patients. Learn more…
All clinical trials have guidelines about who can participate. Research studies at the Clinical Research Center of Wheaton Eye Clinic (CRC-WEC) are open to the public. Not all people diagnosed with a particular condition, who apply to a Wheaton Eye Clinic study, will qualify. Learn more…
Participants in clinical trials can play a more active role in their own health care, gain access to new research treatments before they are widely available, and help others by contributing to medical research. Learn more…
Clinical trials are conducted in four phases. Each phase has a different purpose and helps scientists answer different questions. Learn more…
The Clinical Research Manager and the participating physician explain the details of the study such as the purpose, duration, required procedures and key contacts. Risks and potential benefits are explained and the participant may withdraw from the trial at any time. Learn more…
The clinical trial process depends on the kind of trial being conducted. The clinical trial team includes doctors and ophthalmic technicians or technicians who check the health of the participant at the beginning of the trial, give instructions for continued participation in the trial and carefully monitor the participant during the trial. Learn more…
As a participant you will be able to play a more active role in your own health care and gain access to new research treatments before they are widely available. You also will help others by contributing to medical research.
Some clinical trials also may provide diagnostic testing, close monitoring by a specialist physician, study medication and compensation for time and travel expenses. Learn more…
Clinical trials follow a carefully controlled protocol, a study plan which details what researchers will do in the study. As a clinical trial progresses, researchers report the results of the trial at scientific meetings, to medical journals and to various government agencies. Individual participants’ names remain secret and are never mentioned in any reports or presentations. Learn more…
Although steroid medication has been, and continues to be, the mainstay treatment for a wide spectrum of unveitis, many new medication and treatment options exist to aid the ophthalmologist in treating stubborn conditions. These include newer immune modulating medications and non-steroidal medications. Newer drug delivery methods and advanced diagnostic tools also help tailor treatment in a growing number of patients.
Since unveitis specialists deal with a wide variety of types and causes, it is difficult to make sweeping statements.
Most patients, even with chronic unveitis, have a favorable outcome. Prompt treatment and accurate diagnosis are important in effectively managing both the symptoms and the outcome of uveitis. Some patients can have a uveitis which is resistant to treatment and potentially lose vision permanently.
If left untreated, uveitis can lead to permanent scarring and loss of vision. Uveitis is the fourth leading cause of permanent vision loss in this country. Fortunately, however, prompt diagnosis and tailored treatment lead to successful outcomes in the majority of patients.
Acute iritis is quite commonly seen in the ophthalmologist’s office. A patient who has an episode of iritis may frequently have recurrences, which typically decrease in frequency and intensity as one ages. Because frequent recurrences can be common, it is important for the patient to be aware of the onset of these unique symptoms and seek care promptly.
Vitreous floaters are common and most typically do not mean you have uveitis. Vitreous floaters are commonly noticed against a bright blue sky or a bright background. Patients with intermediate or posterior uveitis will commonly have many dark, dot-like floaters or a wall of vitreous inflammatory strands, which can obstruct vision. These are typically much more significant and dense than common floaters.
Acute iritis is the most commonly diagnosed form of uveitis. When the iris, which is the colored part of the eye, becomes inflamed, it typically causes the classical combination of pain, light sensitivity and redness. It is commonly seen in young, otherwise healthy individuals. The patient’s clinical treatment can run up to 6–8 weeks depending on the severity of the inflammation and promptness of treatment.
Uveitis can be broadly categorized into infectious versus non-infectious causes. The largest number of uveitis patients fall into the non-infectious category. Because of the broad number of underlying inflammatory systemic conditions associated with uveitis, which can affect other parts of the body, your ophthalmologist may do lab testing, consisting of blood tests, skin test and x-rays, to look for underlying causes of the inflammation. Often, despite a thorough evaluation, laboratory results are normal and patients are otherwise healthy which means the inflammation can be treated symptomatically.
Patients who have uveitis because they have an infection in other parts of their body, receive clinical evaluation and precise treatment with appropriate medications for the infection.
The uvea is defined anatomically by the iris, choroid and ciliary body. Each of these structures is highly vascularized and can be the site of abnormal inflammation. These vascular structures play an important role in providing oxygen and nourishment to the eye. The term uvea comes from the Latin term uva, which means grape.