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Q&A about LASIK with Intralase Technology

Patients are curious about what happens during LASIK surgery. Q&A

Dr. Moran knows that a well-informed patient makes the best medical decisions. Understanding what happens during LASIK can lead to a more calm and comfortable experience. We’ve highlighted the most commonly asked questions about all-laser LASIK with Intralase.  The best way to find out if you are a candidate for this vision correction procedure, is to come in for a free one-hour consult appointment.

LASIK vision correction is a 2-step process.

  1. First, we create the flap in the surface of the cornea.
  2.  Second, we lift the flap and apply laser treatment to reshape the corneal tissue.
What is Intralase?

Intralase flap creationA:   The IntraLase Method uses laser light to create a flap in the outer layer of your cornea.  The laser creates an even layer of microscopic bubbles under the corneal surface.  The flap is hinged, like the page of a book.  Dr. Moran then lifts the flap by gently separating the tissue where these bubbles have formed. After the flap is lifted, Dr. Moran moves to the second step of the procedure, applying the laser treatment to reshape the cornea.

What makes using Intralase technology unique?

A:  The IntraLase Method uses a laser to create the flap.  This laser-guided application creates a smooth even surface after your flap is lifted.

Are there benefits to using the Intralase Method?

A:  Although the risk of flap-related complications with LASIK is very low, with Intralase, the rate of flap complications are further reduced.  The flap created by the laser is determined and created by your surgeon, so it is tailored to the contours of your eye.

How long does LASIK surgery take?

A: The total time in the surgery suite takes about 20 minutes.  During step 1 of the procedure, creating the flap, the laser application takes about 15-20 seconds per eye.  Step 2 of the procedure, applying the laser treatment, depends on your prescription.  It can take from just a few seconds, to about one minute per eye.  Dr. Moran will  let you know the length of your specific treatment. During the laser application, he will count down the seconds, so you know how much time remains.  He keeps you informed about what you can expect, every step of the way.

What is the difference between LASIK and PRK (photorefractive keratectomy)?

A:  PRK vision correction is done without creating a flap.  Instead, PRK starts by removing a small area of tissue on the surface of the cornea.  A clear contact lens is placed on the eye after PRK surgery, to aid in comfort while healing.  Dr. Moran will remove the contact lens when the cornea is healed, usually about 3 days after surgery.  The recovery time for PRK is longer than LASIK. With LASIK you should be able to drive the day after surgery, while after PRK surgery, you may not see clearly enough to drive for a few days.  Why do patients choose PRK?  PRK is an option for patients who may not be able to have LASIK due to thinner corneas.  PRK is also preferred for patients who are at risk for eye injuries, including patients who do boxing, mixed martial arts, or who are joining certain levels of the military.

Ready for your  LASIK Consult?  Fill out the form, give us a call, or send a text, to get started on your way to better vision with LASIK.

 

 

 

 

Vision Requirements for PA Drivers

car key

What are the minimum vision requirements for driving?

So often we are asked “How well do you need to see to drive?”  The vision rules may vary from state to state, so it is important to check the specific requirements for the state where your license was issued.  The information below is an overview for Pennsylvania drivers.  For complete, up-to-date information, please visit Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

Visual Acuity 

A visual acuity test is an eye exam that checks how well you see the details of a letter or symbol from a specific distance.  The standard for normal vision is 20/20.   If your vision is measured at 20/40 or 20/60, it means that your vision is worse than 20/20.  With 20/40 vision, you need to be at a distance of 20 feet in order to see what someone with normal vision can see at 40 feet.

  • In order to drive without corrective lenses, like glasses or contacts, you must have 20/70 or better vision during the day. Nighttime driving requires 20/40 or better vision.
  • If you need corrective lenses to reach the vision requirements, you must wear them at all times while driving.

Restricted License

eye chart

  • If your vision can only be corrected to 20/60 you may be able to get a license that restricts you to drive during the day only.
  • If your best vision is between 20/70 and 20/100, you may be eligible for a restricted license that would prohibit driving on freeways and highways.
  • Restricted licensees may need to pass a vision test yearly.

Vision in One Eye Only

People who have only one eye, or have vision in only one eye have additional requirements.  These requirements include 20/40 vision in the good eye.  The vehicle must be equipped with mirrors or cameras that allow the driver to see 200 feet to the rear.

Other Considerations

In order to drive, you must also meet field of vision requirements.  Your horizontal visual field must be 120 degrees wide in order to qualify for a drivers license. Your visual field is measured by how well you see in your peripheral vision, while your eyes are focused forward.

If you drive professionally – like a school bus driver –  the requirements are more stringent.  The field of vision must be 160 degrees, and you must be able to identify colors used in traffic signals and signs: red, green and amber; and you must see 20/40 or better.

Surfer’s Eye

There is an eye condition called “Surfer’s Eye”.  Can you guess how it got its name?

surfing large

 

It’s not about the water…but If you thought it had to do with too much sun exposure, you would be right!

Long-term exposure to UV rays from the sun, as well as wind and dust, may result in growths on the surface of the eye.  Surfers are particularly vulnerable, since they spend their time in the sun without sunglasses or other eye protection.

The technical term for growths on the eye caused by sun exposure are called Pinguecula and Pterygium.  The condition appears on the eye’s conjuctiva (the clear covering over the white part of the eye.

pinguecula surfers eyePinguecula is a yellowish, raised growth on the conjunctiva. It’s usually on the side of the eye near your nose, but can happen on the other side too. A pinguecula is an abnormality formed by protein deposits, calcium or fat. It’s like a callus on your finger or toe.

 

Pterygium surfers eye

Pterygium (Surfer’s Eye) is a growth of fleshy tissue (has blood vessels). It usually has a triangular shape.  It can remain small or grow large enough to cover part of the cornea.  When it grows into the cornea, it can interfere with your vision.

Symptoms

The symptoms of pinguecula and pterygium can range from mild to severe. They include:

  • redness and swelling of the conjunctiva
  • a yellow spot or bump that builds on the white of your eye
  • dryness, itching and burning in the eye.
  • sensation of something in the eye

    Treatment

  • The best treatment is prevention…keep your eyes lubricated with artificial tears and wear sunglasses with UV protection.
  • If you have the condition, lubricating eye drops will help to reduce discomfort.
  • Your doctor can prescribe steroid eye drops which may reduce inflammation, redness and swelling in the eye.
  • Surgical Removal:  If eye drops alone don’t alleviate the symptoms, or if the growth is large enough to interfere with your vision, the growth can be removed surgically.

Protect your eyes, protect your vision.  If you have any questions about caring for your sight, email, call or text our office.  We are here to help!

 

 

What is an Astigmatism?

Do you have an astigmatism?

The word might sound scary, but an astigmatism is nothing to be afraid of!  It is a common vision condition which most commonly occurs when the cornea (the clear front cover of the eye) is irregularly shaped.

If you have an astigmatism, the curve of your cornea is shaped more like a football, instead of round like a basketball.  This irregular curvature causes vision to be blurry, because your eye cannot focus light to a single sharp point on the retina.  Instead, light hits the retina in multiple places, so images are blurred.

You may have been born with astigmatism.  You could have inherited it from your parents.   It can decrease or increase over time. Astigmatism often occurs along with with nearsightedness, or farsightedness.

How is astigmatism measured?

Astigmatism refraction

Testing for astigmatism may may include:

  • Visual acuity-When you read letters on a distance chart, you are measuring your visual acuity. The result is given in two numbers, like 20/40.  The first number is the number of feet from the eye chart. The bottom number shows the smallest size line you can read.  If you have 20/40 vision, you would have to be within 20 feet of the chart to see what someone with normal vision could see at 40 feet.
  • Topography– This device measures the topography of the surface of the cornea.  As you might guess, this measurement is important for a good fit for contact lenses.
  • Refraction– You might know this as the “Better 1 or Better 2 test”.  While you look through an instrument called a phoropter, we rotate through a series of lenses.  Based on your answers, the power is then refined to determine the lenses for the clearest vision. This power can be determined with machines but patient input remains integral in determining vision needs.

How is Astigmatism Corrected?

A comprehensive eye exam will measure the correction or power needed for your vision, which may include a prescription to correct your astigmatism.  Eyeglasses or contact lenses will help you to focus and to see more clearly.

  • Eyeglasses. Astigmatism can be treated with a pair of prescription eyeglasses.  The lens will have a prescription that compensates for the astigmatism. This prescription provides additional power in specific parts of the lens.  The correction power lies along a specific axis.
  • Contact lenses.  Contact lenses may provide clearer vision and a wider field of view.  A special toric soft contact lens offers astigmatism correction for many patients. This contact lens is weighted so that it maintains the correct axis when worn. Another contact lens option is a rigid gas-permeable (RGP or “hard”) contact lenses to help reshape the cornea decreasing the astigmatism.
  • Laser and other refractive surgery procedures. LASIK or PRK surgery can correct astigmatism by reshaping the cornea.  With LASIK using Custom-Vue Wavescan, your  treatment is tailored to your eyes.  Dr. Moran has great success treating patients with astigmatism.

Let us help you achieve your best vision.  Schedule an appointment to correct your vision.  Click here for more information on LASIK

How Does LASIK Work?

How the laser works to improve your vision during LASIK surgery.

LASIK vision correction uses a laser to reshape your cornea to help you see better.  To apply the laser treatment, Dr. Moran uses an excimer laser which emits a cool beam of ultraviolet light to precisely remove corneal tissue.  The reshaped cornea allows for light rays to focus properly on the retina to give you clearer vision.  

open book Think of the cornea as a closed book with 500 pages.  We create the flap about 100 pages into the book. Once the flap is opened, we apply the laser treatment to correct your vision in the last 400 pages of the book.

After your flap is lifted, the excimer laser applies pulses of ultraviolet across the cornea in a custom pattern designed for your eyes.  These precise light rays are able to remove as little as 0.25 microns of tissue at a time. How small is a micron?  One micron is a thousandth of a millimeter.

How the cornea changeS DUring LASIK

The laser treats your cornea to give you better vision.  Your cornea may be too long, too flat, or irregularly shaped.

  • If you are nearsighted, the laser will make the cornea more flat;
  • if you are farsighted, the laser will make the center of the cornea steeper.  
  • If you have an astigmatism, the laser will smooth your corneal tissue into a more symmetrical shape. 
  • If you have a combination of issues, the laser can treat  nearsightedness with astigmatism, as well as farsightedness with astigmatism.
How the treatment is determinedCustom vue

In order to create your treatment plan, Dr. Moran does careful calculations using the data from your pre-operative testing. He takes into account your age and your visual needs. Then, the laser is programmed with your unique measurements.  Once programmed, the laser is controlled by computer settings programmed to correct your specific refractive error.  We use Custom-Vue Wavescan technology.  It is called “Custom-Vue” since the pattern of treatment is customized for each patient to give you the best possible vision. 

Dr. Moran will ask you to focus on a light while the laser is being applied.  While it is important to keep your eye focused during the treatment, the laser has an added safety feature. The laser uses an eye-tracking system that monitors any eye movements and keeps the laser beam on target during surgery. Studies have shown that eye trackers produce better outcomes and decrease complications.  If your eye moves during the surgery, the laser will stay centered.  It will track and follow your eye movements. 

What to expect After LASIK

Post Op LASIK patientWhen the laser treatment is done, you will notice clearer vision than when you entered the room.  However, your vision will still be a little blurry – similar to seeing under water. The blurriness is because you have a lot of drops in your eyes!  Dr. Moran will have you sit up and look across the room at a clock about 10 feet away.  You will be able to tell him what time it is, even if you weren’t able to see the clock when you walked into the room. Your surgery day instructions are to go home and keep your eyes closed for the rest of the day.  Your vision will fluctuate as your eyes are healing, however, the next day you can drive to the office for your 1-day PO LASIK appointment.

 

To see if LASIK is right for you, schedule your FREE Consult today.  Call, email or text our office for your appointment.  Learn more about, just click LASIK

 

 

 

 

 

What does this Test Do? Pinhole Test

Why do I see better when I look through the pinhole?

When we check your vision, we test each eye individually using an occluder.

The occluder is a simple device that covers one eye at a time.  If your vision isn’t clear, we move the pinholes into place and have you look at the eye chart again. If your vision improves with the pinholes, it means that your vision may be corrected with glasses or contacts.

The pinhole is a simple way to focus light.  When you look through this tiny hole, light enters through the center of the lens of the eye only. If you can read the 20/20 line when looking through the pinholes, you should be able to see 20/20 with the correct prescription.  Click to learn more about 20/20 vision

Ever wonder why squinting helps you to see better?  It’s the same principle as looking through the pinholes.  By squinting, you reduce the focusing area, which makes things appear sharper.

If your vision does not improve when you look through the pinhole, there may be other factors that affect your vision.  The other issues that could be affecting your vision may include cataracts or problems with your retina.  Lack of vision improvement with this simple test can be the first step in diagnosing, and correcting your vision problems.