Each year, thousands of people come to Bascom Palmer for vision correction surgery. The questions below are some of the most common inquiries we receive. If your question is not answered below, please contact us. We're more than happy to answer your questions.
Laser vision correction surgeries treat common refractive errors, including nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and astigmatism (blurry vision). Laser vision correction surgery is an outpatient procedure. It requires local anesthesia and a mild sedative, taken orally. Most patients experience improved vision right after surgery, with little downtime and wake up with good vision the next day. Eyesight continues to improve within the next few weeks following surgery. We provide our patients with support and follow-up care during the recovery period.
Bascom Palmer’s ophthalmologists have successfully performed LASIK procedures since our refractive surgery center opened in 1995.
- Nearsightedness (myopia): Difficulty seeing objects at a distance, but can usually see up close
- Farsightedness (hyperopia): Difficulty seeing clearly up close
- Astigmatism (blurry vision): Distorted vision, similar to looking into a wavy mirror
- Presbyopia (age-related vision loss): Difficulty seeing up close due to age
We use the VISX S3, the Zeiss MEL 80, and the Allegretto EX 500 excimer lasers as well as the Zeiss VisuMax, the IntraLase IFS, and the Alcon FS200 femtosecond lasers. Excimer lasers use different computer-guided processes to deliver highly customized vision correction treatments. Femtosecond laser, a next-generation laser that reshapes the cornea with pulses of light lasting just 1 billionth of 1 millionth of a second, deliver very smooth treatments. Using the equipment’s computer-generated 3-D mapping system, your physician customizes your procedure with enhanced precision.
All of our lasers use eye-tracking technology to ensure precise positioning, even if your eye moves during your procedure.
Before scheduling your evaluation, ask yourself if you have the characteristics of a good candidate:
- 18+ years or older
- Ready to stop wearing glasses or contact lenses
- No prescription change in glasses or contact lenses in the last 1-2 years
- Not pregnant or nursing
- No corneal diseases or collagen vascular diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis
The procedure usually takes about about 5-7 minutes for both eyes. In most cases, you will be in the operating suite with the doctor for 15-20 minutes. Depending on the surgery schedule on the day of your procedure, you may anticipate being in the outpatient surgery center between two and four hours.
Because this is outpatient surgery, you can go home the same day. We advise you to go home and sleep for 4-5 hours and relax the rest of the day.
Typically both eyes are done at the same time. Your Doctor will discuss what is best for you.
To ensure a comfortable, pain-free experience, we provide you with oral and topical medicine before your procedure. After surgery, most people feel no discomfort, though your eyes may feel watery, scratchy, or gritty temporarily. You will be given eye drops to relieve these symptoms.
Most people experience improved vision immediately after surgery and your eyesight should improve with each passing day.
Each person is different, but most people resume normal activities the day after surgery. Your doctor will discuss this with you during your consultation.
While laser vision correction is permanent, it does not prevent presbyopia or cataracts, conditions that occur naturally with age. Age-related visual issues require treatment, even in those who have had refractive surgery.
Our vision correction specialists are here to answer questions about the risks, side effects, and advantages of refractive surgery. Visit FDA.gov for more information about risks associated with refractive surgery.
Most insurance companies do not cover vision correction procedures, because they are considered elective. However, you may check with your and vision insurance to see if you are eligible for any discounts or reimbursements.