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LASIK Flap Complications

Despite its excellent record of success and safety, LASIK eye surgery, like all surgical procedures, has some associated risks. Most LASIK side effects are mild and temporary. While serious complications, such as those associated with the LASIK flap, are extremely rare, it’s important that patients be fully aware of all possible risks, no matter how remote, before deciding to undergo the procedure.

What Causes LASIK Flap Complications to Occur?

The creation of a flap in the outermost layer of the cornea is what distinguishes LASIK from other forms of laser refractive surgery such as PRK and LASEK. This means that flap complications are a potential risk of all forms of LASIK. However, these complications are slightly more common when LASIK is performed using a handheld microkeratome surgical tool. While this blade is extremely precise and safe, it is operated by hand; therefore, there is a greater chance of slight imperfections with the resulting corneal flap. In general, these imperfections, jagged edges, uneven depths and other possible issues do not interfere with LASIK results or lead to complications of any sort.

To minimize the risk of flap complications, Dr. Boozalis prefers replacing the traditional microkeratome with a more accurate, computer-guided laser. The all-laser approach using the latest laser technology removes the element of even slight human error, resulting in corneal flaps that have perfectly straight edges with strong hinges and uniform depths.

Reducing the Risk of LASIK Flap Complications

Regardless of the technique used to perform LASIK, patients play a significant role in preventing flap complications. After LASIK surgery, it is vitally important that you follow the post-operative instructions provided to you by Dr. Boozalis. These instructions may include advice tailored specifically to your case, but should include avoiding:

  • Rubbing your eyes
  • Wearing eye makeup
  • Lotion around your eyes
  • Getting water, especially streaming water, directly in your eyes
  • Contact sports
  • Dust and dirt

You will be given protective eye shields to wear during sleep for the first week after your surgery; this will prevent you from accidentally rubbing your eyes at night. Itchiness and irritation can be soothed with artificial tears. Following all post-operative instructions will help to ensure a safe, comfortable, speedy recovery free from LASIK flap complications.

To learn more about LASIK flap complications and how they can be avoided, contact Victoria Eye Center today at 800-833-0234 or victoriaeyecenter.com.

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Common Vision Problems that LASIK Treats

Your eye shape and cornea are keys to better vision. When light enters the eye it is bent, refracted, by a clear tissue on the front of the eye called the cornea. The cornea, in effect, acts like a lens to focus incoming light onto the retina on the back of the eye. If you wear glasses or contacts, these bend the light as needed to adjust for your eye prescription. LASIK vision correction surgery in Victoria can reduce and/or eliminate your dependence on glasses and contact lenses if you suffer from the following common vision problems:

Myopia

Myopia, called nearsightedness, happens when the eye is elongated or the cornea is too curved. Because of this, light entering your eyes does not focus on the retina as it should, but instead focuses on images at a point in front of the retina. The result of nearsightedness is that your distant objects appear blurry, while near objects appear clear.

Hyperopia

Hyperopia, called farsightedness, occurs when the eye shape is either too short or the cornea is excessively flat. Farsightedness happens in eyes that are incorrectly focusing images behind the retina rather than directly on it. The result of farsightedness is that near objects you are seeing appear blurry, while distant objects appear clear. In some cases, hyperopia may cause blurriness at both distance and near.

Astigmatism

If you have astigmatism it is because you have a cornea that is not spherical or basketball-shaped like a normal eye, but your cornea is typically shaped more like a football. The result of astigmatism is that the objects you are viewing are not focused into a single image and vision is distorted or blurry. Astigmatism can be present alone or in addition to nearsightedness or farsightedness.

Reshaping the Cornea

During LASIK in Victoria, Dr. Boozalis uses an excimer laser to reshape the cornea to properly refract light for corrected vision. The laser pulses cool, invisible ultraviolet light to painlessly reshape the cornea in a precisely controlled manner without damaging adjacent eye tissue. The cornea then properly refracts light so you can see without the need for corrective lenses.

To learn more about how LASIK can treat your vision problems, contact Victoria Eye Center at 800-833-0234 or victoriaeyecenter.com to schedule your LASIK evaluation.

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What is the Day of LASIK Surgery Like? – Part Two

Upon arrival at our office, your eyes will be numbed with anesthetic eye drops and an eyelid holder will be positioned to keep your eyelids open during surgery. You will remain awake and comfortable throughout the procedure.

A laser is used to gently create a corneal flap. Dr. Boozalis then folds this flap back to prepare the eye for the treatment. Based on preliminary measurements taken by Dr. Boozalis during the pre–operative examination, a sophisticated computer program controls the amount of laser pulses needed to reshape the cornea. This portion of the procedure only lasts a few minutes.

Following the correction of the refractive error, the corneal flap will be folded back to its normal position.

What to Expect After Surgery

Immediately after your procedure, your vision may be a little blurry. This is normal. You should notice a significant improvement in your vision the morning following your procedure.

You may have some mild discomfort for a few hours after your procedure as the numbing drops wear off. Patients usually compare this to a dirty contact lens feeling. The best thing to do is to keep your eyes gently closed for a few hours following your procedure to reduce any discomfort.

It’s possible that you will also experience more tearing than usual, or a heightened sensitivity to light, but don’t be alarmed because these are common, temporary side effects of LASIK. To maximize the chances that you will avoid these side effects, we recommend resting your eyes as much as possible for the remainder of the day following your procedure.

LASIK recovery times are much faster than most other medical procedures, with almost all patients returning to normal activities the day after having their surgery.

To find out if you are a good candidate for LASIK vision correction in Victoria, contact Victoria Eye Center at 800-833-0234 or victoriaeyecenter.com to schedule your LASIK consultation today.

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What is the Day of LASIK Surgery Like? – Part One

Many patients wonder what will happen on the day of their LASIK surgery. It’s natural to feel a bit anxious or nervous about having a procedure like LASIK and knowing what to expect can help ease a patient’s emotions.

Here is an overview of what happens on the day you have LASIK, including details about preparing for your procedure, as well as recovering from it:

Prior to Your Surgery

While preparation for LASIK surgery is significantly less intensive compared to other surgical procedures, there are a few things you’ll need to do to ensure that all goes well.

Here’s a simple checklist of things to remember while prepping for your LASIK procedure in Victoria:

  • Plan to spend 2 to 3 hours with us on the day of your scheduled procedure.
  • Arrange for transportation. You will be unable to drive immediately following LASIK surgery, so you will need to arrange for a ride home from your procedure.
  • Wear comfortable and casual clothing on the day of your procedure. It’s a little cool in the laser rooms, so remember to bring along a sweater.
  • Do not drink alcohol on the day of your procedure.
  • On the day before surgery, stop using makeup, lotions, perfumes or creams. These substances may cause debris to get into your eyes.
  • Take a few days off. Some LASIK patients go back to work the day after their procedure, but Dr. Boozalis recommends taking at least a couple of days to rest. Make sure you keep your expectations realistic. This is especially important if you work outdoors because you need to keep your eyes as clean as possible.
  • Stop wearing your contact lenses. If you wear contact lenses, you’ll need to switch to glasses full time for at least a few weeks before your surgery. Contact lenses can distort the shape of your cornea which could lead to inaccurate measurements and a poor surgical outcome. Dr. Boozalis will provide specific guidelines depending on your situation and how long you’ve been a contact lens wearer.

What is the Day of LASIK Surgery Like? Part Two to be continued…

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What Are the Risks of LASIK?

Most LASIK patients are highly satisfied with the results of their refractive surgery. However, like any other medical procedure, there are certain risks to be considered. Before undergoing a refractive procedure like LASIK, you should carefully weigh the risks and benefits. Potential LASIK risks include:

Loss of Visual Acuity: Visual acuity is the sharpness of your vision. Vision that is at least 20/20 is considered ideal visual acuity. But LASIK surgery does not guarantee perfectly sharp visual acuity – like some of the ads promise – and you might not be able to completely ditch your glasses and contacts after your procedure.

Visual Distortions: Even patients who do achieve 20/20 visual acuity following LASIK can have other problems. Some visual distortions that may be experienced include halos, double vision and issues with glare.

Under or Over Correction: Though relatively rare, undercorrection or overcorrection are both possible complications of LASIK surgery. Those with severe myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism are at increased risk for undercorrection or overcorrection.

Dry Eye: Damage to nerves sustained during the LASIK procedure can lead to dry eye. Symptoms include discomfort, blurred vision and sensitivity to light; some patients also feel like they have something in their eye. If you already have dry eye, you may not be a suitable candidate for LASIK until you undergo treatment for it because LASIK may worsen your existing condition.

Inflammation: Inflammation is a normal response to injury, including the cell damage caused by LASIK. If not controlled, or if caused by wound contamination, inflammation may slow the healing process, leading to corneal haze or even permanent loss of vision. Symptoms of inflammation include pain, a burning sensation and/or redness.

Regression: Studies have repeatedly demonstrated that LASIK outcomes are stable in most patients. Nonetheless, a small percentage of patients will see their vision slip over time. This is called regression.

Epithelial Ingrowth: Epithelial ingrowth occurs when cells in the epithelium (the outer layer of the cornea) move under the flap and begin to grow following surgery. Although epithelial ingrowth may not cause any problems, it can lead to blurriness, discomfort and other symptoms. Older patients are more likely to experience epithelial ingrowth.

Although laser vision correction has a very high patient satisfaction rate, negative LASIK side effects can be experienced in some patients. While serious complications are extremely rare, and most side effects are mild and temporary, patients should be fully aware of all possible risks, no matter how minor, before deciding to undergo such a procedure.

If you’re considering vision correction surgery in Victoria, contact Victoria Eye Center at 800-833-0234 or victoriaeyecenter.com to schedule a LASIK consultation with Dr. Boozalis.

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How to Choose a LASIK Surgeon

Choosing a LASIK surgeon is one of the most important decisions to make once you have decided to have LASIK surgery. But how do you know who the best person is for such a task? When choosing a LASIK surgeon, consider the following key factors:

  • Surgeon’s experience and qualifications
  • Technology
  • Patient reviews
  • Number of surgeries performed

Credentials – One should make sure that their LASIK surgeon is board certified, meaning that an entity recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties has certified the surgeon to practice their specialty. Also, make sure that the surgeon is licensed in the state they are performing the procedure.

Technology – Understanding the type of technology that a surgeon uses is another important factor to consider. There are several different technologies that LASIK surgeons may use and there are many differences that contribute to precision and results achieved. For example, some surgeons may still use a microkeratome blade to create the corneal flap during LASIK surgery whereas many surgeons now use an all laser approach to laser vision correction. Other surgeons may offer more advanced technology such as customized wavefront LASIK which provides a more individualized correction and more accurate result.

Patient Reviews – Reviews from patients who have previously had LASIK performed by the surgeon you are researching can give great insight as to what you can expect. Knowing that the majority of the surgeon’s patients are satisfied with their experience and would recommend the surgeon can be helpful toward feeling more comfortable.

Number of Surgeries Performed – Making sure that the surgeon you choose to perform your laser eye surgery has adequate experience is very important. The more surgeries a LASIK doctor has performed, the more time they have had to perfect their skills.

Choosing the right LASIK surgeon is very important and should be researched carefully. During a LASIK consultation at Victoria Eye Center in Victoria, you will be able to openly discuss these topics with Dr. Boozalis who can answer all your LASIK questions and concerns. Call 800-833-0234 or visit victoriaeyecenter.com to schedule your appointment today.

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LASIK or Laser Eye Surgery

All laser vision correction surgeries, including LASIK, work by reshaping the cornea – clear front part of the eye – to improve how well a person sees. By reshaping the cornea, light traveling through the front part of the eye is properly focused onto the retina located in the back of the eye. There are several different laser eye surgery techniques used to reshape the cornea.

LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis)LASIK is the most commonly performed type of laser eye surgery and has helped millions of individuals improve their vision. During this procedure, a very thin flap is cut in the corneal tissue with a laser or a tool called a microkeratome. Next, the laser gently reshapes the underlying tissue. Once the eye has been reshaped, the corneal flap is replaced.

Wavefront-guided LASIK – This is a completely customizable and more accurate form of LASIK that involves using a three-dimensional computer-generated image of the cornea prior to the eye being reshaped.

PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) – In PRK, a flap of corneal tissue is not created. Instead, the outer layer of the cornea, called the epithelial, is removed and discarded to expose the area for the laser to reshape. The epithelial heals itself in around four days and the patient is provided with a soft contact lens to protect the cornea in the meantime. PRK is sometimes a better choice for patients whose eyes meet certain criteria, such as having thin corneas or chronically dry eyes.

LASEK (laser-assisted sub-epithelial keratomileusis) – This surgery is similar to PRK except that the epithelium is replaced on the eye after the laser treatment. This makes the healing process much quicker. LASEK is often preferred in cases when a person’s cornea may be too thin for LASIK or if the creation of a corneal flap should be avoided for other reasons

How to Know if LASIK or Laser Eye Surgery is Right for You

Many people who choose laser eye surgery do so because they have experienced problems with their glasses or contact lenses or they want the convenience of not having to rely on them. Not every person is a suitable candidate for LASIK or laser eye surgery. There are certain criteria that must be met to make sure the procedure is appropriate. If you are interested in finding out if LASIK or laser eye surgery is right for you, contact Victoria Eye Center at 800-833-0234 or victoriaeyecenter.com today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Boozalis.

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Dry Eye Treatments

Dry eyes are no fun: They itch, sting and tear up. Many LASIK patients, approximately 50%, experience dry eye symptoms following their LASIK surgery. The reason so many people experience dry eye after LASIK is that the creation of the corneal flap affects the nerves that regulate the production of tears.

If you have developed dry eye after undergoing LASIK, you are not alone. The symptoms are usually mild, and they typically don’t last long. However, in some cases dry eye can persist for months or years. Thankfully, there are several dry eye treatments available.

Remedies to Treat Mild Dry Eyes:

  • Use over-the-counter preservative-free lubricating artificial tears at least 4 times per day or more if desired, especially following LASIK.
  • Avoid dehydration by drinking plenty of water. Staying hydrated helps produce natural tears more effectively.
  • Avoid excessive amounts of caffeine which has a drying/diuretic effect.
  • Add dietary omega-3 fatty acids such as 1000mg molecularly distilled fish oil oral soft gels to optimize the oily portion of the tear film and prevent tear evaporation.
  • Use emollient eye drops, such as Soothe or Endura, which contain lipid emollient lubricants to stabilize the lipid layer of the tears and promote overall tear stability.
  • Use a room humidifier to humidify environmental air. This can make a very significant difference. By putting a humidifier in your bedroom or office, moist air can help keep the eye surface hydrated, instead of dry air depleting moisture out of the eyes.

Prescription Treatments for Severe Dry Eyes:

  • Restasis eye drops improve natural tear production. By reducing ocular surface inflammation, the tear glands can produce natural tears more efficiently.
  • Steroid eye drops treating inflammation on the ocular surface has been shown to increase tear production to improve eye comfort.
  • Low dose oral doxycycline pills treat any underlying blepharitis and stabilize the tear film.
  • At a low dose, doxycycline has anti-inflammatory properties, rather than antibiotic properties, to treat rosacea and blepharitis.
  • Punctal plugs help tears stay in the eye longer. Eye drops and tears naturally drain through tiny openings located within the inner angle of the eyelids along the nasal passages. Placing tiny plugs in each opening, called a puncta, can reduce the drainage of tears away from the eye surface.
  • Autologous serum eye drops are manufactured by drawing the patient’s own blood and concentrating the serum by centrifugation. Serum eye drops contain natural growth factors and immunoglobulins that can heal and nurture the ocular surface.

To find out which dry eye treatments may be right for you, contact Victoria Eye Center at 800-833-0234 or victoriaeyecenter.com to schedule an appointment with Dr. Boozalis.

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Cataract Surgery

A cataract is simply a clouding of the natural lens inside the eye. The lens maintains a delicate balance between water and protein so that we can see clearly through it. When the proteins clump together, the resulting cataract blocks some of the light entering the eye, making vision blurry or hazy.

Cataracts typically occur more frequently in older adults, however, there are many other factors such as family history, diabetes, long-term UV exposure, eye injury or certain medications like steroids that can contribute to cataracts.

Cataract symptoms may include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Lights sensitivity
  • Halos
  • Double vision
  • Decreased night vision and sensitivity to headlight glare
  • Dull or fading colors

When a cataract first develops, vision aids like contacts or glasses may help improve your vision. Once the cataract begins to interfere with daily tasks such as reading and driving, cataract surgery is the only viable treatment option.

During cataract surgery in Victoria, Dr. Boozalis removes the cloudy natural lens from the eye while the patient is under a topical anesthesia. Next, a replacement device called an intraocular lens (IOL) is inserted which remains permanently in the place of the removed natural lens. The IOL compensates for the magnification that the old lens provided. Modern IOLs are designed for various functions and made of various materials; Dr. Boozalis will know which is most appropriate for your individual needs. The total surgery time is typically less than 10 minutes.

Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure and requires little downtime. With proper rest and avoidance of any strenuous activities such as heavy lifting, recovery is usually just a matter of days and most patients experience only minor discomfort. You will be required to wear an eye shield following the procedure and will need to use eye drops as instructed by Dr. Boozalis. Several follow up appointments will be required to ensure the eye is healing properly and initial results are sustained.

An eye exam is the best way to determine if you have a cataract. If you are experiencing any symptoms of cataracts, contact Victoria Eye Center today at 800-833-0234 or victoriaeyecenter.com to schedule a consultation.

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Custom LASIK

Custom LASIK is a laser vision correction procedure which uses the latest technology to measure the unique visual characteristics of your eye to customize your treatment. Custom Wavefront Guided LASIK in Victoria provides an additional level of precision over what traditional LASIK offers and provides you with the best possible quality vision.

A device called a wavefront analyzer measures the way light travels through your eye and then creates a 3-D wavefront map which is unique in the same way that your fingerprint is unique to you. Your wavefront map provides a detailed diagram of the areas of distortion (called aberrations) that allows Dr. Boozalis to provide you with truly customized vision correction.

Custom LASIK is preferred by many since the wavefront measurement system is very precise and the outcome is an individualized vision correction, which is very different from traditional LASIK surgery or standard prescription glasses. Aside from being very unique and individualized, here are the other benefits of custom LASIK:

  • Helps to improve visual acuity (how much a person can see) and contrast sensitivity (how well a person can see fine details)
  • Less risk of post-LASIK issues such as halos and glare
  • Has been found to have fewer risks of night vision issues after surgery
  • Addresses both aberrations or visual distortions of both lower and higher order
  • Can treat even those who have lost best-corrected vision from prior surgeries such as LASIK, RK and PRK

As with traditional LASIK, a thorough vision exam and consultation is required to determine if a patient is qualified to undergo custom LASIK. If you are eligible for the procedure, Dr. Boozalis will ensure that you receive the best treatment possible. If you are interested in having custom LASIK vision correction in Victoria, contact Victoria Eye Center at 800-833-0234 or victoriaeyecenter.com to schedule a consultation today.

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