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FAQs | Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the costs of the various refractive procedures?

The cost varies depending upon the type of treatment. Financing options are available that make refractive surgery quite affordable.

2. What are the potential benefits of refractive surgery?

There are numerous potential benefits for patients who undergo either LASIK, LASEK or PRK. Almost all of these advantages are associated with reduced dependence on eyeglasses and/or contact lenses. While the use of eyeglasses and/or contact lenses can be an effective method of correcting refractive error, it is also a method than can place restrictions on normal, everyday activities.

Reduced dependence on corrective lenses can result in considerably more freedom for patients with active lifestyles. Many recreational activities, such as water sports or contact sports, tend to be much more enjoyable when the necessity of wearing glasses or contacts is removed. In some cases, patients choose laser eye surgery for professional purposes, rather than recreational ones. Corrective lenses are not permitted in all fields of employment.

For contact lens wearers, laser eye surgery can also eliminate the time and effort involved in cleaning, removing and replacing lenses. In addition, over time, the costs associated with maintaining and replacing corrective lenses can be prohibitive. Some eyeglass wearers also cite cosmetic or aesthetic reasons for wanting to undergo the procedure.

The reasons for contemplating laser vision correction will be different for every individual. For those who have required corrective lenses throughout most of their lives, the simple prospect of being able to drive without wearing glasses or contacts, or of being able to wake up and see without putting on glasses or contacts, may be sufficient reason in itself. The potential benefits, like the potential complications, can vary, and should be considered carefully. The patient is the only person who can decide whether the benefits of laser eye surgery outweigh the risks.

3. Why is refractive surgery so expensive?

The treatment and measurement devices used at the Emmetropia Mediterranean Eye Clinic incorporate the very latest technology. The Emmetropia Mediterranean Eye Clinic places the utmost importance on maintaining its diagnostic and surgical equipment on the cutting edge of technology. In addition, surgeons utilize a separate sterile set of disposable equipment for every eye having surgery. This includes two separate sets of sterile surgical instruments, blades, and ancillary equipment for every patient having surgery on both eyes. This double sterile technique affords the very highest level of patient safety available, a critical issue in the refractive surgical setting.

4. What should I look for in choosing my surgeon?

A qualified surgeon should meet the following criteria: advanced training in cornea and refractive surgery; skills and experience with a prominent ophthalmology practice or eye institute; and the ability to help patients understand potential outcomes and complications. While the proliferation of LASIK ad campaigns may tempt price-conscious consumers, remember this: LASIK is a lifetime investment. Taking the time to research the credentials of the surgeon and the quality of the institute is important in achieving the best results.

5. Am I suitable for refractive surgery?

In order to be suitable for refractive surgery there are certain requirements: You must be at least 18 years old and the degree of your refractive error must be steady for at least a year. There should be no chronic disorders of the retina or cornea or other ophthalmological illnesses or inflammation. If you are a woman, refractive surgery is to be avoided during pregnancy or nursing. The pre-operative check will determine whether you can be subjected to laser treatment in the event that you fulfill all anatomical and optical conditions.

6. Why are Wavefront Optimized Ablation Profiles important?

Laser surgery executed without a wavefront optimized ablation profile may result in altering the corneal asphericity in the peripheral correction area. These so-called induced spherical aberrations in the wavefront image may result in the patient experiencing problems with night vision or under mesopic conditions. Utilizing a wavefront optimized ablation profile is designed to prevent such spherical aberrations of the patient´s cornea, thereby minimizing the risk of refractive surgery-related vision problems.

7. How is LASIK different from previous refractive eye surgery techniques?

Current FDA-approved laser vision correction methods, such as LASIK, have a higher predictability of the final result with a lower incidence of complications. Additionally, older non-laser techniques typically involved manually performed incisions rather than automated lasers for correction.

8. How long must people wait to resume normal activities after LASIK treatment?

In most cases, people can return to work within 1-3 days following LASIK surgery. Excluding the day of surgery itself, people may begin driving as soon as they see well enough. Women can start wearing makeup within seven days of treatment, however, they are advised to wear only new cosmetics in order to decrease risk of infection.

9. Will a person´s vision remain stable long after the procedure?

The vision correction is permanent. However, a person’s vision may change naturally with time and LASIK does not affect visual conditions that may develop with age. Also, LASIK does not prevent presbyopia and the eventual need for reading glasses. Depending on the cause, retreatment may be a viable solution to later vision changes, and other treatment options also exist.

10. Is LASIK safe?

The FDA recognizes LASIK as proven, safe and effective. According to guidelines recently released by the Eye Surgery Education Council (ESEC), fewer than 1% of patients who have received LASIK to date have experienced serious, vision-threatening problems. Most LASIK complications can be treated and usually resolve within several months of surgery. There are no known cases of blindness resulting from LASIK.

11. What are the risks associated with LASIK?

Although no one knows the exact number of complications, studies suggest that the incidence of minor difficulties such as dry eyes and nighttime glare is around 3% to 5% from combined LASIK and PRK procedures. These minor complications include: Halos - Some patients will notice glare, halos or starburst around objects in low-light conditions.

For the vast majority, these symptoms are temporary. However, others will continue to experience them for several months or longer. During pre-operative evaluation, the refractive surgeon can determine whether or not a person is at high risk for seeing long-term halos. Dry eyes - There is increased dryness of the eyes typically for several months following LASIK, though some patients may experience dryness for a longer period of time.

It is important to use lubricating drops frequently. If the eyes remain dry for prolonged period, there are other drops or techniques that can help. Pre-operative evaluation will help determine whether or not a person is a likely candidate for experiencing dry eyes. Infection - This is an extremely rare occurrence, with a 1 in 2000-3000 chance (similar to any eye surgery).

Fortunately, as the LASIK technique has developed over the years and proven to be of great benefit to millions of patients nationwide, firmly established protocols now exist which minimize the risk of infection.

12. How long does the procedure take?

The laser treatment itself usually takes less than a minute, while the entire procedure takes around 15 minutes per eye.

13. Is LASIK painful?

The procedure is painless, however, most people experience 4-6 hours of mild irritation after their LASIK procedure.

14. Is LASIK right for everyone?

Only an eye care professional can determine whether or not an individual is eligible for LASIK treatment. In general, a good LASIK candidate is at least 18 years old, has healthy corneas, and has maintained a stable eye prescription for the last 12 months. Because hormonal levels can affect the shape of the eye, women who are pregnant or nursing should not undergo LASIK treatment.

The procedure should also not be performed on patients who: Have glaucoma, cataracts or dry eyes. With collagen vascular, autoimmune or immunodeficiency diseases. Show signs of keratoconus (an eye disorder in which there is thinning of the cornea that results in blurred or distorted images).

15. How does the laser work?

The excimer laser uses a cold light beam to sculpt the cornea's surface to the desired shape by removing a microscopic amount of tissue, correcting nearsightedness, farsightedness and/or astigmatism.

16. What about recovery?

Recovery is fast. The first couple of hours after surgery, the eye feels somewhat irritated, with a burning sensation and some tearing. Vision is typically blurry during this time. A 3 to 4 hour nap is recommended immediately after the procedure to rest the eyes and aid in the healing process. After several hours, the irritation goes away and vision begins to clear. The day after surgery, most irritating sensations are completely gone and vision is remarkably clear.

17. What if I am really nervous?

A mild sedative is available prior to surgery to encourage relaxation during the procedure and sleep afterwards. The surgeons and operating room technicians talk throughout the procedure to put patients at ease.

18. Are both eyes done at the same time?

Some patients may prefer to have each eye done on different days. In most cases, however, both eyes are done on the same day. This avoids the period of imbalance that occurs if one eye still needs correction while the other one doesn´t.

19. What if I move my eye or blink during the procedure?

You will be lying back in a comfortable chair, gazing up into a flashing fixation light. During the procedure, an eyelid opener is used so you don´t have to worry about blinking. The surgeon has complete control of the laser at all times and, if the need should arise, can stop the procedure until the patient can focus on the fixation light. In addition, the laser uses a highspeed eye tracking system, which matches the laser pulses with the position of the eye during the treatment.

20. Will LASIK interfere with my lifestyle?

Active sports should be postponed for two weeks or until the eye is fully healed, unless protective eyewear is approved by the surgeon. Swimming, hot tubs and saunas should be avoided for three weeks. After full recovery, normal activity can resume, and the ability to play sports without glasses makes them more enjoyable for many patients.

21. Is it true that it takes six months to improve vision after LASIK?

Fluctuation can occur, but visual improvement is almost immediate following the procedure. Most patients feel that major fluctuations have stopped after two weeks. It may take additional time for minor visual aberrations to subside (e.g. glare, halos around night-time lights).

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Plateia Eleytherias 44
Heraklion, Crete, Greece
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