Your LASIK Consultation
A consultation is mandatory prior to having a procedure. We feel that it is critical that you have both the correct testing and education prior to proceeding with laser vision correction.

The primary objective of the consultation is to determine whether you are a candidate for laser vision correction, and if so, which procedure is most appropriate for you. Equally as important, we educate you about laser vision correction and together we will determine whether or not laser vision correction is the right choice for you. Learning everything you can about your options is the key to making an informed decision. We will help you understand what results you can reasonably expect after the procedure given your particular prescription and circumstances, and will discuss the risks associated with this type of surgery. If you schedule a consultation, there is no obligation to move forward with the procedure.

Prior to your LASIK consultation you should have not worn contact lenses for at least 2 weeks. On the day of your consultation, you should be prepared to spend forty -five minutes to one hour in the office. At your consultation visit, we will review your ocular and general health history, and check your vision with and without your glasses or contacts. During the examination, we will measure the thickness of your cornea, take a topography of your eyes (map of the top surface of the eye), and check the overall health of your eyes. These tests along with an examination with Dr. Arffa will let you know if you are a candidate for refractive surgery. One of our staff will answer any questions you might have regarding the surgery. You will have the opportunity to meet with Dr. Arffa, who will let you know if you are a candidate for laser vision correction, and answer any additional questions you may have.

Assessment of Eye Health History

  • History of wearing glasses: It is important to determine if a candidate's vision has stabilized or is changing. If it is unstable, LASIK may not be appropriate at this time. The ideal candidate is at least 18 years of age with a stable glasses or contact lens prescription for at least 2 years.

  • History of contact lens wear: Contact lenses may change the shape of the cornea (the clear front surface of the eye) or act in such a way as to prevent the eye doctor from determining a candidate's correct prescription. Therefore Dr. Arffa requires that soft contact lenses be discontinued at least 2 weeks prior to the evaluation. If concern arises about contact lens-induced changes in the cornea, it may be necessary for a candidate to stop wearing contacts for as long as several months to allow the cornea to return to its natural contour, so that a surgical evaluation can be made.

  • History of ocular or systemic diseases and medications: Some eye diseases and medications can affect the suitability of a candidate for LASIK.

  • History of previous ocular problems such as lazy eyes, strabismus (eye misalignment caused by muscle imbalance), or the need for special glasses to prevent double vision.

  • History of previous eye injury.

  • Assessing vocational and lifestyle needs: The LASIK candidate's work or recreational activities and needs can influence vision correction strategies. For example, different strategies can affect depth perception and the ability to see near or far.

A Comprehensive Examination of the Eye

  • Determination of uncorrected vision and vision as corrected by glasses or contacts.

  • Determination of the magnitude of visual error in each eye to establish the amount of surgical correction that is needed and develop the appropriate surgical strategy.

  • Detection and measurement of presbyopia, to assess your need for reading glasses.

  • Assessment of the surface of the cornea by "mapping" its topography (corneal curvature or shape), to detect any disease states that may produce poor outcomes with LASIK.

  • Measurement of pupil size in dim and room light. Pupil size is an important factor in counseling a candidate about night vision and planning the appropriate laser vision correction strategy.

  • Determination of corneal thickness.

  • A complete general eye examination to look for conditions that could affect the health of the eye or the results of the laser surgery.

  • Follow-up should include review of examination results by an ophthalmologist, discussion with the candidate, additional testing as necessary, and adoption of a plan for managing the candidate's eye-care needs.

Assessment of your understanding about laser vision correction and your expectations about the results of surgery.

Each patient should be fully informed and feel comfortable that they are making an educated decision based upon facts. Candidates should be aware that:

  • LASIK cannot provide perfect vision every time for every patient. However, for the majority of LASIK candidates, the surgery improves vision and reduces the need for corrective eyewear. In fact, the vast majority of patients with low to moderate nearsightedness achieve 20/40 vision or better, and many can expect to achieve 20/20 vision or better.

  • Re-treatments (enhancements) may be required to achieve optimal outcomes.

  • There may be visual aberrations after LASIK—most commonly, glare and halos under dim lighting conditions. Usually, these are not significant, and resolve within several months of surgery. Occasionally, they are severe enough to interfere with normal activities.

  • LASIK will not cure presbyopia, the aging changes that prevent older people from seeing near objects through the same glasses that they use for viewing distant objects.

  • LASIK surgery, as all surgical procedures, has the risk of complications. Fortunately, the likelihood of visual loss with LASIK is very small. In the many millions of LASIK procedures done so far, less than one percent of patients have experienced serious, vision threatening problems. Most complications represent delays in full recovery and resolve within several months of surgery.

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Copyright © 2009 Robert C. Arffa, M.D., 1370 Washington Pike, Bridgeville, PA 15017