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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Home | Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

LASIK Questions

Refractions Questions

How can I reduce or eliminate my need for eyeglasses after cataract surgery?

In the past, this was close to impossible without serious compromises. Today, we are fortunate to have many options available, including multifocal implant lenses to correct both near and distance vision without glasses and toric implant lenses to correct astigmatism. These lenses work exceedingly well and require no changes to the basic cataract surgery procedure. Doctors Weiss and Chen have extensive experience implanting these lenses. Be sure to ask about the options available to you if you need cataract surgery.

I just turned 42 years old and suddenly I can not read small print. What is happening to my eyesight?

This is a normal aging condition called presbyopia. The lenses inside of your eyes grow throughout your life. As they grow, they become stiffer and less flexible. Flexibility is necessary for the lens to change shape in order to focus at near distances. Typically, when people reach their early to mid-forties, they can no longer focus at normal reading distances. At first, one can push the reading material further away from their eyes to see it, but eventually their arms are not long enough and reading glasses, bi-focals, or progressive eyeglasses must be used when reading. Alternatively, monovision or multifocal contact lenses may also be an option for some people.

Must a cataract by "ripe" before I can have cataract surgery?

"Ripe" is an old term that was used when cataract surgery was not as safe and precise as it is today. Because of these advances, patients may have cataracts removed as soon as they begin to have symptoms that are the result of the cataracts and adversely affect their lifestyle.

What are the symptoms of glaucoma?

Unfortunately, most glaucoma patients do not experience any symptoms at all, and their disease is identified during an eye exam performed for some other reason. Often the glaucoma is quite advanced when it is first diagnosed and any damage that has occurred is irreversible. This is why it is crucial to have regular eye exams, even if you are not having any problems. While glaucoma cannot be cured, the earlier it is diagnosed, the better the treatment outcome will be.

When should my child have their first eye exam?

Assuming there is nothing suspicious noted any earlier, their first office eye exam should occur between ages three and three and a half when they are first able to identify simple characters on the vision chart. They should be evaluated again between ages five and six when they are starting to use the blackboard at school.

Which children should definitely see a pediatric ophthalmologist?

Children who have the following condition(s)*: 1. Premature birth. 2. Family history of strabismus or amblyopia. 3. Physical or cognitive developmental delay. 4. Eyes that are not straight, or don't seem to be tracking together. 5. Winking, blinking or squinting. 6. Odd head posture such as tilting, or turning. 7. Chronic tearing. 8. Has a medical problem that can affect the eyes such as diabetes, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, or neurofibromatosis. *representative list

Why a pediatric ophthalmologist?

Children and adults are susceptible to different eye problems. Whereas adults commonly suffer from such issues as cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration, these conditions are rare in children. On the other hand, children commonly suffer from blocked tear ducts, amblyopia and strabismus and these conditions are much less common in adults. Furthermore, the visual system of young children is still in its developmental phase, whereas in adults the system is fully mature. What this means is that young children can suffer permanent vision loss from certain eye problems if they are not detected early. Pediatric ophthalmologists are specially trained to deal with the problems that are unique to children.

How is a pediatric ophthalmologist different from a general ophthalmologist.

Just like general ophthalmologists, a pediatric ophthalmologist's training consists of four years of medical school, one year of medical/surgical internship, and three years of residency. However, a pediatric ophthalmologist goes on to complete one or two additional years of training (fellowship) specifically tailored to diagnose and treat those conditions that afflict children. Training during this fellowship period includes performing literally thousands of eye exams and surgical procedures on children under the guidance of an experienced preceptor. These fellowships are regulated and certified by the American Academy of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus to assure thorough, quality training.

Can LASIK or PRK help me get rid of reading glasses?

LASIK and PRK can only correct distance vision defects due to nearsightness, farsightedness, and/or astigmatism. They do not correct reading vision problems due to age (presbyopia). As a result, almost every LASIK/PRK patients over the age of 45-50 years old will need to wear reading glasses due to age.

My eyeglasses prescription is bad. How much can LASIK or PRK correct my high prescription safely?

For individuals who are nearsighted, a safe range for correction is generally under -8.50 diopters on your glasses prescription. For individuals who are farsighted, a safe range is generally under +3.00 diopters on your glasses. For individuals with astigmatism, approximately up to 3.5 diopters can be corrected under certain conditions.

Are there certain conditions when LASIK or PRK should not be performed?

Individuals with certain corneal diseases (i.e. corneal scarring/herpetic corneal infections) or corneal dystrophies (i.e. Keratoconus/Fuchs Dystrophy) cannot have LASIK or PRK. In addition, patients with uncontrolled diabetes, signficant glaucoma, cataracts, certain types of retinal disease, migraine headaches on Imitrex, acne medications, and significant connective tissue/autoimmune disorders should not have the procedure. Women who are pregnant, who have stopped nursing for less than 6 months, or who are planning to become pregnant within 6 months should consider postponing their LASIK or PRK procedures during these times.

How successful is LASIK or PRK? How long do the results last?

On a national average, having a successful outcome from LASIK or PRK on the first attempt is around 85-90%. There is a 90% success rate for patients undergoing a "re-treatment" or "touch-up" procedure on the second attempt. Up to date, over 95% of all LASIK/PRK patients at Rockland Eye Physicians and Surgeons have achieved successful outcomes on their first attempt. In addition, all patients at Rockland Eye Physicians and Surgeons have had a 100% successful outcome on their re-treatment or touch-up procedure. These successful results from both procedures have lasted an average of over 8 years per individual.

What are the risks of LASIK or PRK? What can be done if I get a complication from my LASIK or PRK procedure?

Like any minor or major surgical procedure, there are always risks for bleeding, infection, scarring, visual imparement and low vision, blindness, and serious disabilty or death. However, the likelihood of these risks are quite rare. Furthermore, both LASIK and PRK have undergone an "evolutionary" change over the past decade in terms of better equipment, technology, and medications, resulting in better outcomes with fewer risks. Even in the unlikely event that a complication does occur, a large majority of these cases can still be corrected with the recent advancement in technology.

How long does the entire LASIK or PRK procedure take? Am I put "to sleep" during the procedure?

The entire surgical procedure takes 10-15 minutes per eye. Although no sedatives are used, patients are suprised how easy and comfortable their expriences are during the procedure.

Is there any pain or discomfort during the LASIK or PRK procedure? Are there any medications I need to take after the procedure?

There is no pain during the LASIK or PRK procedure due to anesthetic drops placed prior to the procedure. Most patients report no discomfort except for a mild pressure sensation lasting less than 30 seconds during LASIK. Post-operatively, most individuals are comfortable with a slight irritation similiar to having "an eyelash sensation in the eye." Tearing and light sensitivity are common only for a few hours after surgery. All symptoms resolve quickly with the use of both antibiotic and anti-inflammatory eye drops after surgery.

How soon can I function or work after my LASIK or PRK procedure? Are there any restrictions after my procedure?

Almost all LASIK patients are able to see well enough to drive without glasses the next day after surgery. Patients who have PRK may need 2 to 5 days recovery time to see well enough to drive without glasses depending on each individual. All patients are able to work approximately 2-5 days after surgery depending upon which refractive surgery procedure they received. The only restrictions after having your LASIK/PRK are no swimming for 2 weeks and no scuba diving or mountain climbing for 1 month after surgery. Patients are able to wear eye makeup, travel, exercise, and have their hair colored as early as 2 days after the surgery.

Does insurance cover the cost for LASIK or PRK?

Almost all medical insurance companies do not cover the cost for LASIK or PRK. On rare exceptions, a few insurance companies may provide financial coverage for the procedure with the restriction of using only their own selected LASIK surgeon/center.

What is a refraction?

It is the test a physician performs to determine a patient's eyeglass prescription and best-corrected vision. When the physician places various lenses in front of your eyes and asks which looks the best, you are being refracted. Watch a general refractive errors video to learn more about refraction.

Why do I need to be refracted?

This is an essential part of an eye examination, particularly for children. Abnormal results may be due to: a. Myopia (nearsightedness) ? Hyperopia (farsightedness) ? Astigmatism (steepening of the corneal surface) b. Presbyopia (inability to focus on near objects with advancing age)

Why am I charged for a refraction, doesn't my insurance cover it?

The refraction is considered vision care, not medical care, so it is NOT a service covered by Medicare or most medical insurances. The fee for refractions is collected at the time of service (day of your exam) and is in addition to any co-payment or deductible required by your insurance company. The co-pay or deductible is for the medical portion of your exam and is separate from and not included in the refraction fee. Medicare does not cover refractions and most insurance companies follow Medicare's policies as a guideline.