Roses LASIK Evaluation Day
Alright so after I had my contact lenses out for two entirely long weeks, it was time to have my LASIK evaluation to find out if I am an eligible candidate for LASIK or any other type of refractive surgery. WARNING: this post is going to be lengthy, but I ensure you it is well worth the read since I have included in it all of the details of my LASIK evaluation. I am so tremendously excited! I can’t believe that in just 2 days I’ll be under the laser with an entire room full of people watching my surgery!! 😀 The evaluation is an extremely thorough eye exam prior to having any corrective eye surgery. It takes quite some time because many measurements and tests are performed to determine which type of corrective surgery you are a candidate for as well as the calculations necessary to proceed with it. I advise those of you planning on coming in for an evaluation to expect the duration of your visit to be at least an hour and a half to two hours in the office.
Kathleen, one of the technicians here at Northeastern Eye Institute, performed these diagnostic tests on my eyes as well as other parts of the evaluation. She was very friendly and I felt very comfortable as we moved through each part of the evaluation. She explained what to expect for each part of the exam and provided me with knowledgeable explanations to my many questions. It was pretty neat to be on the patient side of an evaluation. It is not nearly as frightening as some may think. Sometimes when I call patients back from the waiting room, they look up at me with a terrified pale face, staring as if I were calling them back to compete in the Hunger Games or something equally frightening! LOL! I think this is due to a misunderstanding where patients think the LASIK evaluation itself uses lasers, and that all sorts of gadgets will be probing around in their eye, and this is completely not the case! LASERS ARE NOT USED IN THE EVALUATION. The red “laser beams” patients think they see are just lights, and aside from eye drops and light, the only other things put into your eyes are two tiny paper strips which record the amount of tear production.
My evaluation started with having high resolution topographic pictures taken of my corneas, followed by Wavefront imaging analysis. The topographic mapping is important in measuring the curvature of a patient’s cornea, astigmatism, keratokonus, and abnormalities on the corneal surface. The Wavefront imaging goes a step further, measuring the high order aberrations or imperfections from other parts of the visual system, not just the cornea. These high order aberrations are important for those patients who choose the option of Custom LASIK because they are incorporated into making a custom shaped corneal flap that is as unique to each eye as a fingerprint. That’s some pretty amazing technology if you ask me! Both of these machines use light rays to scan and take measurements. I was asked to look at a red light in the machine, which although it may look like a laser, it is just a red light. It doesn’t hurt; you can’t even feel it! Then, when the eye is scanned, you are asked not to blink. Holding your eye open when there is a bright light going off in front of you seems like an eternity! I ensure you though that it only lasts a few seconds! Kathleen showed me my images which confirmed that I do have an astigmatism. This means my cornea is more steeply curved in one meridian verses the other. For example, a normal eye is shaped like a basketball with the same curvature throughout the ball; while an astigmatic eye is more shaped like a football with a steeper vertical curve as opposed to the horizontal curve.
There are measurements taken with the imaging machines that are also manually performed during the evaluation to ensure they are precise and accurate. One of these is pupillometry, which is a measurement of your pupil in bright and dark like. This measurement is important in LASIK evaluations so that the optimal surface area of the corneal flap can be obtained. This improves night vision by reducing the prevalence of halos, after the eyes have healed. My technician, Kathleen put a small device with a green light inside up to each of my eyes while the room was completely dark. All I had to do once again was look straight at the light and allow her to take the measurements! Easy as cake! Well unless you are heliophobic and have a phobia to light! LOL!
Earlier I mentioned a test to measure the amount of tear production, checking for dry eyes. .Two tiny strips of very thin paper are held by your lower eyelids for 5 minutes. I found that these strips tickled my eyelashes, and sitting for 5 minutes with the urge to rub my itchy eyes was honestly the worst part of my LASIK evaluation. Your tears moisten the strips. The greater the amount of tear production, the greater the portion of moistened strip. Comparing my results, my right eye produced 50% less than my left eye. Dr. Jordan advised me that I will have to use an eye drop called Restasis for a period of time after surgery to assist in keeping my eyes lubricated. He assured me that this was nothing to be concerned over, as it is not uncommon among patients after refractive surgery.
The other parts of the evaluation are typical of a yearly visit to your eye doctor. Your eye pressure is checked, eyes are dilated, and your eyes are refracted, (remember better one, or better two? haha) to determine the exact prescription that provides you the clearest and most optimum vision. Dr. Jordan goes over the surgery options that he concludes you are a candidate for, and explains what has determined you a candidate for certain options as opposed to others. He is an extremely personable doctor; he goes over what to expect from the procedure and your vision outcome. He will also ask if you have any questions or concerns about your evaluation and hopefully upcoming surgery. I suggest addressing anything you have on your mind regarding the surgery at this time because the next time you see him you just might be under the laser; on your way to clear vision free from glasses and contacts!!!
I hope you enjoyed my post. Having a LASIK evaluation is really not frightening at all, and I am not looking through “rose colored glasses” when I tell you that you that it is about as scary as a yearly eye exam. I also want to mention that you can learn more about the different options available for refractive surgery correction, as well as other information by visiting our home page and clicking on the LASIK tab.
***Be sure to check out the photos from my LASIK evaluation in the attachments below! -Rose : )