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Refractive Surgery FAQs

Can I have both eyes treated at the same time?

Yes. Many patients prefer to minimize the time off work and reduce the amount of healing time they experience after surgery, so they have both eyes done during the same visit.

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Can I drive myself home after surgery?

No. Your vision may be blurry in the first few hours after the procedure. In addition, you will be given a mild oral sedative prior to surgery and, thus, will need someone to drive you home. Many people are able to drive the next day.

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Will I have to limit my activities after surgery?

You will be told to avoid strenuous activity or visually demanding tasks for at least one to two days after LASIK and three days after LASEK/PRK. Make sure to ask about specific activities that are important to you.

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Can I play sports right after the procedure?

No. Certain strenuous activities, contact sports and swimming should be postponed for several weeks.

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How soon can I use eye makeup?

It is recommended that you avoid using eye makeup for the first week after surgery to reduce the risk of infection.

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Can I get water in my eyes?

No. You should avoid getting water in your eyes for about one week after surgery, so be careful to close your eyes when washing your face and hair.

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Is refractive surgery covered by insurance?

Refractive surgery is considered an elective procedure and, therefore, usually is not covered by insurance companies. Some plans will cover a portion of the screening examination. However, to be sure, check with your insurance company at the time of your evaluation.

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What are the most common complications?

The most common is either over-correction or under-correction, both of which can be treated. Individual variation is part of any refractive surgical procedure. While everyone hopes for perfect vision, perfection is not always the result. Your expectation should be reduced dependence on glasses and contact lenses, realizing that they may still be needed for some activities. Dry eyes are also common in the early postoperative period.

What about severe complications? Sight-threatening complications are very rare. There is always a small risk of infection, scarring, abnormal healing patterns, or cell growth underneath the corneal flap. This may cause partial loss of vision and require further medical or surgical treatment.

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Will my vision be stable?

Although vision may fluctuate slightly during the first few days and also shift slowly for six to 12 months, most of the healing is complete within three to six months. With more than 28 years of experience with PRK, we know that the procedure is stable, with no evidence of late-onset complications. LASIK has been available for more than 18 years and, from the data collected over this period, also appears stable.

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Is it possible that my vision could be worse than before? Could my vision gradually decline?

There is a very slight chance that your vision could be worse. Results thus far, however, have shown excellent stability after PRK and LASIK.

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How does PRK compare to LASIK?

In many situations PRK surgery and LASIK surgery can have comparable results, although your doctor can discuss which is most appropriate for your condition during your free evaluation. PRK is a predecessor to LASIK so many doctors have lots of experience with both procedures using the latest excimer lasers.

A major difference is that in LASIK surgery,the doctor creates a hinged flap on the cornea; in PRK, rather than creating a flap, the doctor polishes the surface of the cornea.

In general, custom LASIK patients report minimal irritation, and their vision stabilizes more quickly than with PRK. PRK recovery can take a few days with hazy vision and some discomfort. PRK is often recommended when the patient's cornea is too thin for LASIK.

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Will I be able to wear contact lenses if I still need them after PRK or LASIK?

Yes. In most cases, PRK and LASIK do not interfere with the use of soft contact lenses. Rigid contact lenses can sometimes be used, but the fit may be more difficult. Some patients cannot wear rigid contact lenses after refractive surgery.

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How is PRK or LASIK likely to affect my need to use glasses or contacts when I get older?

By middle age, all people need help reading. If your nearsightedness is permanently eliminated by PRK or LASIK, you may need to start using reading glasses in your 40s.

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What kind of financial arrangements can I make?

You can pay your bill with cash, check or credit card. We  also offer financing options through CareCredit. There is a discount for Rush Employees. We recommend using employer-sponsored flex-spending accounts to take advantage of pre-tax dollars.

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