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FAQs

Is LASIK surgery for me? Who can LASIK surgery benefit?

LASIK surgery can benefit a great number of people with myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism. LASIK surgery is available to individuals with a wide range of prescriptions. Candidates for LASIK surgery should be over 18 years of age and in good health. LASIK surgery candidates should have realistic expectations of the potential outcome for their prescription. Nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia) and astigmatism can all be corrected with laser vision correction surgery. To help patients determine whether they are LASIK surgery candidates at Visionary Eye Doctors , we provide complimentary screenings, which include diagnostic testing and discussion of other refractive alternatives.

If I’m not eligible for LASIK eye surgery, are there other options available to me?

LASIK is only one type of refractive surgery available to patients. Although you may not be eligible for LASIK surgery, you may be eligible for a different procedure. At Visionary Eye Doctors we will discuss with you at the time of your appointment the different options and alternatives most suitable for your vision needs.

What results can I expect from LASIK eye surgery?

LASIK surgery improves uncorrected vision – one’s vision without wearing corrective lenses – in most patients who have the procedure. Over 90% of patients with low to moderate myopia will achieve 20/40 vision. Over half of all patients can expect to achieve 20/20 vision or better. However, there are no guarantees that you will have perfect vision, and patients with high myopia and high hyperopia should have a different set of expectations. People who are most satisfied with the results of laser vision correction surgery have realistic expectations of what their vision will be like after surgery.

How long will it take before I can see well, and how long will it take before I have my best vision?

Fast visual recovery characterizes this operation. Most patients achieve good vision the day of surgery and find that their eyes feel fairly normal within a day. However, vision can continue to improve, and best vision can still take two to three months to occur. If necessary, adjustments to the surgery called enhancements can be done.

Will I need to wear eyeglasses or bifocals once my eyes have healed?

Most patients who have LASIK surgery do not need to wear eyeglasses for their daily activities. However, patients may need to wear reading eyeglasses if they are over the age of 40. This is caused by the normal aging of the eye known as presbyopia. This condition occurs with or without LASIK surgery. Some patients may need a minimal prescription for some activities. Those patients who currently have bifocals will still need reading eyeglasses after the surgery unless they opt for a treatment plan called monovision, wherein one eye is corrected for distance and the other for near vision. At the time of your appointment our eye doctor will discuss all these options and details with you.

Are the results achieved from LASIK eye surgery permanent?

LASIK is a surgical procedure that permanently removes corneal tissue to reshape the eye in order to improve refraction. The physical results are permanent. However, you should be aware that the eyes can still change with time, and LASIK surgery does not affect a number of visual conditions associated with age. For example, LASIK surgery does not prevent presbyopia or affect this condition once it does occur.

What is a LASIK enhancement?

Although the vast majority of LASIK patients enjoy 20/20 vision, occasionally LASIK retreatment is recommended to improve the vision. Fast recovery is typical for LASIK surgery patients, with each individual healing at different rates. Most patients achieve good vision quickly, with continuing improvements over the next month or two. Given the unique nature of healing patterns and rates, recovery times vary. Your vision will be checked at frequent intervals and, if necessary and desired, an enhancement will be recommended to give improved results.

What are the risks of LASIK eye surgery?

Patients should understand that LASIK surgery is a surgical procedure and like all surgical procedures, carries the potential for complications. Approximately 1 million laser vision correction surgery procedures are performed each year. LASIK is now one of the most commonly performed surgical procedure in the United States. To date, no long-term consequences have been attributed to LASIK surgery. Most complications resolve within several months and do not result in long-term interference with vision. The overall complication rate with LASIK surgery has been demonstrated to diminish with ophthalmologist surgeon experience. Numerous studies from around the world have carefully looked at the long-term effects of LASIK surgery. In the hands of experienced ophthalmologist surgeons, complications occur in less than 1 percent of patients.

Does the LASIK procedure hurt?

Prior to LASIK surgery, topical anesthetic eyedrops will be administered to numb your eye so that you will not experience pain during the procedure. You may experience a sensation of pressure on the eye when the surgeon applies the microkeratome (instrument the surgeon uses to create the flap. Neither the creation of the flap nor the laser causes pain.

Some patients report a scratching or burning sensation after their procedure. We recommend that you take a short nap after returning home. After several hours these feelings will subside.

Can I have both eyes done with LASIK surgery at the same time?

You can have bilateral simultaneous LASIK surgery (both eyes done at the same time). In fact, the practice is common. However, in some circumstances, surgeons or patients will determine that it is best to wait between eyes in order to evaluate the results. We will discuss all these options with you before making any decision.

How long will I be out of work after having LASIK eye surgery?

It depends on your occupation. Certain jobs that require intense clarity of vision (dentistry and surgery, for example) may be difficult to perform for one or two days. Most patients can return to work the next day, assuming their vision is adequate for their job. However, some people may feel fatigued for a day or so following vision correction surgery.

Can I play sports after LASIK eye surgery?

You can resume most normal activities immediately after vision correction surgery. However, for at least two weeks you will need to avoid activities that would cause perspiration to run into the eyes. You should wear safety eyeglasses while playing contact sports whether or not you have had surgery. But if you do not routinely wear safety eyeglasses, your surgeon may recommend wearing them for at least one month after LASIK surgery. You will also need to avoid such activities as contact sports and swimming for several weeks.

Can I drive immediately after having LASIK eye surgery?

Patients may experience some discomfort and/or blurred vision for a few hours after vision correction surgery. And most patients receive a sedative prior to surgery. Therefore, you cannot drive home after undergoing the procedure, and you should plan not to drive for at least twenty-four hours.

Cataract Eye Surgery

What are cataracts?

In the eye, the natural crystalline lens focuses light rays on the retina to produce an image. At birth, the lens is clear. With time, the lens starts to get cloudy and obstruct light. This cloudy lens is known as a cataract and can diminish vision. The prevalence of cataracts increases with age; more than 50 percent of people over age 55 have these lens opacities and over 70 percent of those over age 75 have this condition.

Visionary Eye Doctors is the right place for your cataract treatment and surgery. Our ophthalmologist surgeons have being performing cataract surgery for more than 20 years.

What are the symptoms of cataracts?

There are a number of symptoms that may lead you to suspect a cataract is developing: blurred, cloudy, foggy or filmy vision with reduction of visual acuity. Problems with glare or light sensitivity. Double vision. Poor night vision.

How is a cataract diagnosed?

All that is needed to find a cataract is a regular eye exam. An eye care professional at Visionary Eye Doctors can detect the presence and extent of your lens opacity as well as any other condition that may be causing blurred vision or discomfort.

What does treatment for cataracts consist of?

Treatment for cataracts normally consists of cataract surgery. During cataract surgery, the lens of the eye is removed and replaced by a new, artificial lens. In most cataract surgeries, an intraocular lens (IOL) is used.

How effective is cataract surgery?

The American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS) states that 98 percent of all cataract surgeries have positive results. Most patients report improved vision and few complications after treatment for cataracts.

What are the risks of cataract eye surgery?

Cataract surgery risks are few but should be considered by any patient considering treatment for cataracts. Although rare, the possible risks of surgery include bleeding, retinal detachment, severe corneal edema, permanent dilation of the pupil and even loss of vision. Other complications include the development of astigmatism and drooping of the upper eyelid, both of which are treatable. At Visionary Eye Doctors , we have more than 20 years of experience in cataract surgery, and we will make every effort to minimize the chance for any problems during or after cataract surgery.

Will I need eyeglasses after cataract eye surgery?

Some patients may need eyeglasses after undergoing cataract surgery, but many experience clear vision at distance and near ranges with intraocular lens implants such as ReSTOR® and ReZoom™. Our ophthalmologist doctors at Visionary Eye Doctors will be able to determine which of these options is best for you based on your current vision and goals.

What is advanced technology intraocular lens (IOL)?

The advanced technology IOL is a new, state-of-the-art type of intraocular lens that can provide a full range of vision, from near to distance, in most patients. The procedure for removing the natural lens and implanting the IOL is the same one that’s been used for years in cataract surgery, but the result is a full range of vision, significantly reducing or eliminating the need for eyeglasses or contact lenses.

What makes advanced technology IOLs different from ordinary intraocular lenses?

Unlike an ordinary IOL, the advanced technology IOL can focus on objects near and far.

ReSTOR® and ReZoom™ lenses have a special surface design that brings near and distant objects into focus without muscle assistance. All the lenses are intended to provide patients a fuller range of vision, reducing the need for corrective lenses. With ordinary IOLs, most people must rely on eyeglasses or contact lenses for middle and near vision.

Do advanced technology IOLs provide 20/20 vision for both reading and distance?

Advanced technology IOLs were created to provide a fuller range of vision, near to distance. Nearly everyone will find their uncorrected vision significantly better after cataract surgery, but some will not see 20/20 through the full range of vision.

Preexisting ocular and physiological factors may prevent full-range 20/20 vision. At Visionary Eye Doctors , we will advise you of any conditions that may affect the outcome of your individual cataract surgery.

Am I a good candidate for advanced technology IOL vision enhancement?

Most people in good general health are good candidates for advanced technology IOLs. Some patients may require an enhancement procedure by laser vision correction surgery or other technology to achieve the best result. Those with uncontrolled diabetes, chronic infections and certain other health problems should not have lens replacement surgery until these conditions are under control.

How long does the procedure last? Is it painful?

The actual implanting of the advanced technology IOL takes about 20 minutes; the whole visit to the surgical center usually takes less than two hours. The patient arrives about an hour before the procedure and is given medication to induce relaxation and eyedrops to anesthetize the eye and dilate the pupil. During the procedure, the old lens is removed and the new lens implant is inserted through a tiny incision. There is a sensation of pressure on the eye, but little or no pain.

After surgery, more eyedrops are applied to prevent infection and decrease inflammation. A protective patch is usually placed over the eye. Once home, the patient should rest and avoid any strenuous activities. The eye doctor will examine the eye the next day and advise the patient on the appropriate course of recovery, which will include continuing eyedrops for a few weeks and avoiding strain on the eye until it is thoroughly healed.

What is the likelihood of complications, and what might they be?

Advanced technology IOLs are revolutionary because, unlike ordinary IOLs, they provide multifocal vision. The standard cataract surgery procedure is performed on more than 1 million eyes each year and has proven extremely safe. However, there is always a chance of complication with even the most routine surgery.

Most complications, such as minor infections, inflammation and irritation, are temporary and easily treated. Serious sight-threatening complications, such as serious infection, hemorrhaging or retinal detachment, are extremely rare. Complications are more likely in patients with diabetes and high blood pressure and those who suffer from chronic inflammation and infections.

How soon after lens implant surgery will I be able to resume normal activity?

Most patients require only a few days to resume normal activities, with some limitations and adjustments. Some sensitivity to touch and bright lights should not deter most patients from driving and returning to work.

Patients are given medications to prevent infection and control inflammation. A protective shield is advisable while sleeping; sunglasses can provide protection during the day.

For several days after surgery, patients should avoid any heavy lifting or straining, which can increase pressure in the eye. Rubbing or pushing of the eye, and any situation that could result in being hit in the eye, are also to be avoided. Careful showering and shampooing are permitted, as long as no soap or shampoo touches the eye. Any makeup around the eye should be avoided for several weeks. Public swimming pools, hot tubs and other potential sources of bacterial contamination should also be avoided.

Do multifocal lenses require an adjustment period?

Yes. For most people there is a period of weeks when your brain is learning to “see” up-close and at a distance with the new lens. This adjustment period is usually complete within 10 to 12 weeks. Also, like all multifocal lenses, some people report halos or glare around lights. Again, for most people this diminishes over time. For some, it becomes less troublesome but never completely goes away. Most people report that the ability to see near and far outweighs any visual side effects associated with the lens.

Is advanced technology IOL surgery cover by insurance?

Most private insurance covers the cataract surgery procedure and the anesthesia, but may cover only a portion of the cost of an advanced technology IOL, since it costs more and is considered non-standard.

Patients should consult with both the eye doctor and the insurance carrier to determine their best alternatives. At Visionary Ophthalmoloy, we have financial options.

Pterygium

What is a pterygium?

A pterygium is a fleshy growth that invades the cornea (the clear front dome of the eye). It is an abnormal process in which the conjunctiva (a membrane which covers the white of the eye) grows into the cornea. A pterygium may be small or grow large enough to interfere with vision and commonly occurs on the inner comer of the eye.

What causes a pterygium?

A pterygium occurs more often in people who spend a great deal of time outdoors, especially in sunny climates. Long-term exposure to sunlight, especially ultraviolet (UV) rays is the main cause.

How is a pterygium treated?

We specialize in pterygium surgery, but sometimes, when a pterygium becomes red and irritated, topical eyedrops or ointments may be used initially to reduce the inflammation. The indications for surgical removal of a pterygium are: 1) prolonged discomfort and redness not relieved by eyedrops; 2) growth onto the cornea causing poor vision or inability to wear contact lenses; and 3) cosmetically objectionable. Pterygium surgery is a very successful and effective method of treating pterygia. However, there is a chance that the pterygium may return. Protecting the eyes from UV light with proper sunglasses may help to prevent recurrences.

What is a pingueculum?

A pingueculum is a yellowish or pink patch or bump on the white of the eye. It is not a tumor but an alteration of normal tissue resulting in a deposit of abnormal protein and fat. Unlike a pterygium, a pingueculum does not actually grow onto the cornea. A pingueculum may grow to become a pterygium and also develops in response to chronic eye irritation and sunlight.

How is a pingueculum treated?

No treatment is necessary unless it becomes inflamed. A pingueculum does not threaten sight but may progress to a pterygium unless the eye is protected from irritation and sunlight. If particularly annoying, pinguecula removal surgery can be considered.

Why are regular medical eye exams important for everyone?

Eye disease can occur at any age. Many eye diseases do not cause symptoms until the disease has done damage. Since most blindness is preventable if diagnosed and treated early, regular medical exams by an ophthalmologist are very important. Why an ophthalmologist? Because an ophthalmologist provides total eye care: medical, surgical and optical.

Call Visionary Eye Doctors at (301) 896-0890 if you live in Silver Spring, Rockville, Gaithersburg, Potomac or Bethesda in Montgomery County, MD, or use our online Request an Appointment form to schedule your consultation.

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