Should I wait until a certain age for vision correction surgery?

The nice thing about having a lot of options for vision correction is that it creates more opportunity for you to be a candidate to get out of glasses and contacts. It isn’t ever a good strategy to try for a permanent fix on a moving target, so getting vision correction while the eye’s prescription is unstable is a non-starter of an idea. However, we find that the majority of patients that have a changing glasses prescription after the age of 18 do not have an eye that is changing. How? Because of the eye’s ability to focus, prescriptions will often change (usually getting stronger) over the years because the focusing muscle is working harder, not because the eye is structurally changing. Once testing is done with some 3-dimensional imaging and some drops that give us a true reading of the eye’s prescription with the “extra” focusing work neutralized, it often turns out that prescriptions have been changing for an eye that has been the same all along. This is especially true of the under 35 crowd.

Does the procedure hurt?

No matter what procedure is best for your eyes, there are drops that make the eye feel comfortable. The nerves in your eye are able to be completely numbed with a drop. Later in the day, people will say the eye feels fine, or that it feels like there is an eyelash in the eye. People’s reactions during surgery vary a lot, as you’d expect, but as a general rule the patients that are the most nervous about pain are the ones that are most surprised by how painless and easy it was.

What’s recovery like?

For all of the procedures we do, you can normally return to your routine within a day or two. The two extremes of recovery are LASIK, which usually allows people to continue with life as normal later the same day, and ASA (Advanced Surface Ablation), which gives moderately blurry vision and an “eyelash in the eye” discomfort over a three day period before the vision starts to improve dramatically. Lens procedures (ICL and IOL) are between these extremes with normally a one or two day period of active recovery.

What are the risks of vision correction surgery?

The big risks of losing vision or worsening vision are thankfully the most rare. The main reason someone would lose vision or have decreased vision after a procedure would be infection, and Dr. Hunter has never had this occur in a patient. It is that rare. The risks we spend more time worrying about are the need to have an enhancement to improve the vision to its maximum potential. Depending on the procedure, that risk can be as low as 1% (for some LASIK patients) or as high as 15% (for some IOL patients). A detailed discussion of your risks can be discussed in your consultation so the conversation can be customized to you. There are some risks that are only associated with certain procedures, so it’s best to focus on what matters to you.

Will vision correction last forever?

Forever means different things to different folks. However, unless we discuss otherwise at the time of your consultation, the procedure that we recommend to correct your vision is expected to last until your eyes undergo a significant change. The two major changes are a loss of near vision sometime around your forties, and a cataract sometime much later in life. Usually, these are foreseen in the diagnostics we perform at your consultation and they are discussed specifically for your eyes. Basically, we don’t do surgery to get “a couple good years” out of it. We do it to help your eyes for the rest of your life.

Can I get eye surgery to fix my reading vision?

Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. Laser and lens surgery both have amazingly complete ways of fixing the vision so that you can see near and distance both without glasses. While we have the ability to do “monovision” as people know it, for the majority of patients, this approach isn’t necessary or recommended.

Can you fix astigmatism with vision correction?

Some of our happiest patients are those who had significant astigmatism and then had vision correction with us. It was true that laser and lens surgery couldn’t correct astigmatism at one point, but it is also true that you couldn’t carry a phone around in your pocket at one point. Technology has made what was once impossible now seem so easy that it is hard to imagine a time when it couldn’t be done. Here at Hunter Vision, that’s how we feel about astigmatism. It is hard to believe that there was a time that patients were told you can’t fix it, because it is one of our easiest and favorite treatments these days.

Will I be asleep for my vision correction procedure?

Our primary concern is safety, after that, it’s your comfort. Very, very few patients need to have anything beyond a valium (and only about 1 in 10 end up needing even a valium), because the procedures we do are truly anti-climactic and underwhelming as we do them. By far the most common comment we hear is it was much easier than our patients expected. For any specific concerns about level of anesthesia, we recommend you ask the doctor. He’ll be happy to answer it because it’s a chance to explain more about how much detail we cover to make sure you are comfortable throughout.

How long will my procedure take?

The number of minutes is a little different for each procedure, but a good estimate — give or take two minutes — is ten minutes. Almost every procedure we do takes about ten minutes. Interestingly, for laser procedures, the laser only takes about ten seconds of that time for most patients.
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