Honest Answers from the LASIK Experts

If you are considering LASIK vision correction or another refractive surgery procedure at the Medical College of Wisconsin Eye Institute, we would like to answer all your questions and encourage you to become as informed as possible before making any decisions about refractive surgery. Please review the information provided below, read our Consumer Guide to Laser and Refractive Eye Surgery and contact the Eye Institute with any additional questions.

We can try to outline the qualities of an ideal LASIK patient; however, the only way to truly know if you are a good LASIK candidate is to visit us for a LASIK evaluation. With all that being said, here are some of the ideal characteristics of a LASIK candidate. Remember, just because you don’t fit each of these attributes does not mean that you shouldn’t visit us for a consultation. Every patient is different, and this list is only designed to give you a vague idea of who an ideal patient would be.

  • At least 21 years old
  • Stable glasses prescription for at least one year
  • Farsighted up to +3 diopters or nearsighted up to –10 diopters (with up to 5 diopters of astigmatism)
  • No history of trauma to the eyes
  • No history of crossed or lazy eye
  • No infections of the eyes
  • Has not used the following medications: accutane, imitrex, amiodarone
  • No uncontrolled diabetes or significant diabetic eye changes
  • Not currently pregnant or breastfeeding
  • No history of unstable glasses prescription
  • No eye diseases that cause unstable corneas
  • No underlying eye diseases (e.g. significant cataracts, glaucoma or retina problems)

While LASIK is a very safe procedure, it still is surgery, and as such, there are always risks and complications. Here are some of the most common possible risks and complications with LASIK. Please feel free to further discuss these with your surgeon during your consultation.

Vision Undercorrections

One of the most common complications of LASIK surgery is an undercorrection of vision. This amounts to the laser removing too little tissue from the eye. Many surgeons would rather remove too little tissue than too much, which is why undercorrections are so common. In this case, the patient may still need glasses or contacts to correct their vision, though their eyesight will certainly be better than prior to the surgery. In many cases, additional retreatment or enhancement LASIK can be performed to fully correct the patient’s vision.

Vision Overcorrections

The opposite of an undercorrection is an overcorrection. This is when the laser takes too much tissue from the eye, resulting in imperfect vision for the patient. In some cases, the treatment will regress spontaneously so that the over-treatment self-corrects. In other cases, it may be necessary to do additional LASIK surgery to reach the desired visual outcome.

Dry Eyes Following Surgery

Immediately following LASIK surgery, it is possible for patients to deal with very dry eyes. The procedure will interfere with tear production in the eye, which creates significant dryness for as long as six months after the surgery. Most patients can handle this dryness through the use of eye drops designed specifically for this purpose.

Difficulty Seeing at Night

Another issue that can arise after LASIK surgery is poor vision at night. Some patients find that they can no longer drive at night or see clearly in low light. This is a result of halos or even double vision that are often only a problem at night. Poor night vision is something that patients must weigh the risks of prior to undergoing LASIK.

Deteriorating Vision Over Time

Finally, prospective patients should be aware that LASIK surgery is not always permanent. In some cases, vision will deteriorate over time to some degree. As the eye ages, the lens loses its flexibility and becomes unable to focus on near objects. Most people between the ages of 40 and 50 begin to need reading glasses. If you have LASIK, this can still happen as you are sacrificing some of your near vision to gain better distance vision.

At the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Eye Institute, our experts are here to guide you through the process of what vision correction procedure may best fit your needs. We do that through our free consultation with one of our highly trained refractive surgeons. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation!

Typically, LASIK recovery is swift for the majority, with patients returning to their routine activities within a day or two. While the initial adjustment is quick, the complete healing process spans approximately 3-6 months. During this period, anticipate a gradual improvement in your vision as your eyes fully adapt to the transformative effects of the procedure.

PRK typically has a longer recovery time than LASIK, lasting approximately 48 to 72 hours after surgery on average. In contrast, the average LASIK recovery time is about 24 hours.

The LASIK procedure is generally painless for most patients. While creating the flap, a brief 30-second application of a suction cup may cause mild pressure, but it’s well-tolerated. We administer drops to keep the eye numb and hydrated, resulting in a cool sensation. After the procedure, some patients may experience stinging or irritation as the anesthesia wears off, but a nap with closed eyes helps alleviate this discomfort. By the end of the day, patients feel much better, and any residual discomfort usually disappears entirely by the next day, leaving them pain-free and with improved vision.

The PRK procedure can have some discomfort in the first few days, which is due to the need for the epithelial cells to regenerate over the surface of the eye. As part of your PRK procedure, your surgeon will apply a protective, temporary contact lens to the eye. This special contact lens functions as a type of bandage for the eye, keeping the surface safe and comfortable in the first days after PRK eye surgery.

Normally, your surgeon will give you a mild dose of Valium right before the procedure. Therefore, you are not suitable to drive afterward. It is best to have a relative, friend, or any responsible person to bring you to the laser suite and drive you back home after the procedure.
Most patients will be seen at least three times: 1 day, 1 week, and 1-3 months after the procedure. Additional visits may be required depending on the type of procedure you had.

There are no restrictions regarding flying after LASIK, PRK or ICL surgery

For safety and compliance reasons, only the surgeon and the laser suite staff are
allowed in the laser room during the procedure.

While pregnant, you may notice your vision changing. Hormones can change how several parts of your body work, including your eyes and your vision. Therefore, you need to wait a certain amount of time before getting LASIK if you’re pregnant. You cannot get LASIK while you are pregnant. Also, if you’re planning on breastfeeding, it’s recommended you wait several months before LASIK. This gives your eyes enough time to stabilize.

Contact Us

Need to find us or get in touch?

Our surgeons see patients at the Medical College of Wisconsin Eye Institute, located on the Milwaukee Regional Medical Campus near the Zoo Interchange.

To schedule your consultation,
call 414-955-7812