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Can LASIK Correct Astigmatism?

Astigmatism is an extremely common condition. Thankfully, patients with this condition have several reliable treatment options, including LASIK laser vision correction. Here’s what you need to know about how LASIK surgery can correct astigmatism.

What is Astigmatism?

Astigmatism is caused by an imperfection in the curvature of the cornea or lens of the eye. The cornea is the clear, round dome covering the eye’s iris and pupil. The lens of the eye is a transparent structure behind the cornea. In eyes without astigmatism, the cornea is evenly rounded across all areas, helping to focus light rays sharply onto the retina at the back of your eye. In eyes with astigmatism, the corneas are curved unevenly in a shape similar to a football. This unevenness prevents light from bending properly as it passes through the eye, resulting in blurred vision.

While astigmatism is typically present at birth, it can also appear later in life. Certain vision factors can indicate an increased risk of astigmatism development, including:

  • Scarred or thinning corneas
  • Excessive nearsightedness or farsightedness
  • Previous eye surgeries (cataract surgery)

The following are common signs and symptoms of astigmatism:

  • Blurred or distorted vision at all distances
  • Headaches
  • Excessive squinting
  • Eye strain, especially when the eye must focus for long periods such as using a computer monitor
  • Difficulty driving at night

Astigmatism can be easily detected during a routine eye exam.

How LASIK Corrects Astigmatism

LASIK surgery with Dr. Boozalis in Victoria may provide permanent relief from astigmatism and its accompanying blurry, strained vision.

During LASIK eye surgery, an ultra-precise laser is used to cut and reshape key parts of the eye, restoring and enabling normal function and clearer vision. In the case of astigmatism, LASIK reshapes your uneven corneas, rounding them out so that light passes through properly.

If you’ve recently been diagnosed with astigmatism and are ready to correct your vision permanently, contact Victoria Eye Center at 800-833-0234 or victoriaeyecenter.com today to discover a treatment plant that’s perfect for you!

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Alternatives to LASIK

LASIK eye surgery is the most popular type of vision correction because it can effectively treat a wide range of refractive disorders. However, it is not the right treatment for every patient. Approximately 25% of people who want LASIK are not good candidates for the procedure. For some, their corneas are too flat or too thin. For others, their vision problems are too extreme to be corrected by LASIK. Fortunately, there are other laser-eye surgery options for those who do not qualify for LASIK and still wish to ditch their glasses or contacts.

Alternatives to LASIK include:

Photorefractive keratectomy – PRK is similar to LASIK in that a laser is used to reshape the cornea and change its focus. Instead of being performed under a flap like LASIK, it’s done on the surface of the cornea.

Clear Lens Extraction – CLE involves removing the natural lens from the eye and implanting a lens that permanently corrects any optical errors, offering a full range of near and far vision without the need for glasses.

LASEK – For people with very flat and/or thin corneas, LASEK is a suitable alternative to LASIK. Rather than using a blade or a laser, this procedure uses an alcohol solution to soften the outer layer, allowing it to be peeled back and exposing the tissue underneath. As with LASIK, a laser is then used to reshape the inner corneal tissue.

EpiLasik – Like LASEK, Epi-LASIK is a less invasive alternative to LASIK. A special microkeratome, the Epi-keratome, is used to precisely separate a very thin sheet of epithelial tissue from the cornea. This thin sheet is lifted to the side and the cornea is treated as with PRK. Then the thin sheet is moved back into place to re-adhere to the cornea. A “bandage” soft contact lens is applied and used for about four days to help the epithelial layer heal.

To learn more about LASIK or alternative vision correction options in Victoria, contact Victoria Eye Center at 800-833-0234 or victoriaeyecenter.com to schedule a consultation with Dr. Boozalis.

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LASIK for Lazy Eye

Amblyopia, also known as lazy eye, is a vision development disorder in which an eye fails to achieve normal visual acuity, even with prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses. Amblyopia causes reduced vision in an eye because the eye and the brain aren’t working together properly. The affected eye often looks normal, but it’s not being used normally because the brain is favoring the other eye. The lazy eye or amblyopic eye is the weaker or unused eye.

Both muscles of the eyes should work together to focus. This is normally the case for those with healthy vision. There is a muscle imbalance in lazy eye that causes the brain to reject the image from the weaker eye that eventually leads to vision loss in that weaker eye.

Amblyopia begins during infancy and early childhood. In most cases, only one eye is affected, but in some cases, reduced visual acuity can occur in both eyes. It is estimated that about

2-3% of the U.S. population has some degree of amblyopia.

Most experts agree that amblyopia must be treated in childhood for the treatment to be effective. If lazy eye is detected early in life and promptly treated, reduced vision can be avoided. But if left untreated, lazy eye can cause severe visual disability in the affected eye, including legal blindness. Once the critical period of vision development (thought to be before age 10) has passed, visual improvement from amblyopia treatment is limited.

LASIK can correct the refractive error of both your eyes, but if one of your eyes is amblyopic, it will remain blurred in comparison to your “good,” healthy eye. LASIK eye surgery can only improve vision but it cannot alter the brain’s incapacity to see. The LASIK procedure cannot do anything about the transmission of images to the brain from the retinal cells. The LASIK procedure can only ensure that the image in the eye is correctly positioned on the retina by reducing astigmatism, nearsightedness or farsightedness.

LASIK eye surgery in Victoria is a safe and effective procedure that Dr. Boozalis has used to help thousands of people see clearly without the help of contacts or glasses. For more information about LASIK for lazy eye, please contact Victoria Eye Center at 800-833-0234 or victoriaeyecenter.com.

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What is Myopia?

Myopia, also known as nearsightedness, is a very common vision problem, affecting nearly one-third of the population. As the name implies, people who are nearsighted can easily see objects that are near to them, but struggle with objects that are far away.

Myopia occurs when the eyeball is slightly longer than usual from front to back. This causes light rays to focus at a point in front of the retina, rather than directly on its surface. People who suffer from myopia often have headaches or eyestrain and might squint or feel fatigued when driving or playing sports.

Nearsightedness commonly runs in families and usually appears in childhood. This vision problem may stabilize at a certain point, although sometimes it worsens with age.

Nearsightedness may be corrected with glasses, contact lenses or refractive surgery. If you’re nearsighted, your prescription is a negative number. The higher the numeral, the stronger your lenses will be. Depending on the severity of your myopia, you may need to wear your glasses or contact lenses all the time or only when you need distance vision, like driving or watching a movie.

Refractive surgery can reduce or even eliminate your need for glasses or contacts. The most common procedures are performed with an excimer laser. In laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) — the most common refractive procedure — a flap is created in the cornea, then a laser reshapes the underlying corneal tissue, and then the flap is put back into place.

An alternative option to correcting myopia is orthokeratology, a non-surgical procedure that involves wearing special contact lenses that slowly reshape the cornea over time to reshape the eye, allowing light rays to focus closer or on the retina, creating clearer vision.

If you are experiencing symptoms of myopia or struggling with other vision problems, contact Victoria Eye Center today at 800-833-0234 or victoriaeyecenter.com to schedule an appointment with Dr. Boozalis.

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Do You Need Reading Glasses After Laser Eye Surgery?

Patients typically undergo laser eye surgery to reduce or completely eliminate their need for visual aids such as contact lenses and glasses. The truth is that most patients will eventually require reading glasses at some point in their future. Laser eye surgery effectively treats farsightedness, a refractive error that results in blurry near vision and the need for reading glasses. It also treats nearsightedness, a condition which causes distance vision to be blurry. Traditional laser eye surgery does not treat presbyopia, an age-related condition that also causes blurry near vision and the need for reading glasses.

Laser eye surgery makes changes to the cornea, located in the front of your eye. Presbyopia causes natural and normal changes in the lens, located in the back of your eye.

Farsightedness and Reading Glasses

Farsightedness is a condition that is caused by a misshapen cornea. In a patient with 20/20 vision, the cornea has a round shape that reflects light directly onto the retina. In a farsighted patient, the cornea is either too flat or too short, which causes light to reflect behind the retina. As a result, farsighted patients have difficulty seeing near objects.

When a skilled surgeon such as Dr. Boozalis performs laser eye surgery on a farsighted patient, clear vision at all distances can be achieved. For patients in their 20s and 30s, they can expect to see clearly without the need for reading glasses for many years to come.

Presbyopia and Reading Glasses

Presbyopia is an age-related condition that typically develops when patients are in their 40s. This condition will eventually affect all patients, including those who have undergone laser eye surgery. Presbyopia occurs when the interior lens thickens and loses flexibility, making it difficult for patients to focus on near objects. Because this condition is unrelated to the shape of the cornea, traditional laser eye surgery has no effect on it. To treat presbyopia, patients must wear reading glasses when viewing close objects or undergo a surgical procedure such as Refractive Lens Exchange, intraocular lens implant or Monovision LASIK.

To find out if you will likely need reading glasses after laser eye surgery, contact Victoria Eye Center to schedule a consultation with Dr. Boozalis. Call 800-833-0234 or visit victoriaeyecenter.com today.

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What Will Happen if Cataracts are Left Untreated?

Cataracts cause more vision problems than any other eye condition or disease. A cataract causes a part of the lens to become opaque or cloudy. This cloudiness obstructs light from passing through easily, causing vision to become blurry, like looking through a fogged-up window. The cloudier the lens, the worse the vision will be. Cataracts usually develop slowly and sufferers will experience blurred vision that gradually worsens over time.

The Dangers of Untreated Cataracts

Given that cataracts are fairly common, it is likely that there are a significant number of individuals that have begun to develop cataracts and are not yet aware of it. Early stages of cataract development may lead some patients to believe that their worsening vision is simply the result of aging and not realize the severity of their condition until cataracts begin to have a detrimental effect on their vision.

If cataracts are left untreated, they will eventually cause significant disruption in everyday life and interfere with normal activities like driving a car or watching television. Ultimately, complete vision loss will result.

Who is at Risk of Developing Cataracts?

The likelihood of developing cataracts increases as a person ages, with as many as 50% of individuals over the age of 65 developing cataracts that will impact their ability to lead a normal life. Symptoms to watch for include:

  • Blurred or cloudy vision
  • Increased difficulty seeing at night
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • The appearance of halos around lights
  • Faded or diminished perception of color
  • Double vision in one eye

Regular visits to the eye doctor will increase the chances that cataracts are discovered early. Fortunately, modern surgical procedures developed to treat this condition make it possible for ophthalmologists to address this issue using a procedure that is both quick and painless. At Victoria Eye Center in Victoria, Dr. Boozalis uses a laser to painlessly remove cataracts and restore normal vision.

If you are experiencing vision problems, don’t leave your condition untreated. Contact us today at 800-833-0234 or victoriaeyecenter.com to schedule an examination.

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Finding the Right LASIK Surgeon

If you are thinking about correcting your vision with LASIK eye surgery, perhaps the most important decision you will make is your choice of surgeon. The experience and skill of your surgeon directly influence the success of your procedure. Here are some recommendations to help you find the right LASIK surgeon:

Get Referrals from Former LASIK Patients – Ask friends and family members that have had good experiences with LASIK for the names of their surgeons. You can also ask your primary care physician or regular eye doctor to refer you to a respected LASIK surgeon.

Do Your Research – Once you have some names, spend time on the surgeons’ websites to learn more about their background and credentials. Double-check that they are board-certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology which indicates that they have received the proper education and training and passed rigorous testing of their knowledge.

What to Look for In a Surgeon – When selecting a surgeon to perform your LASIK surgery, it’s important that they have a number of qualities, including the following:

  • Experience: Ideally, your LASIK surgeon should have performed at least several thousand successful procedures. This type of experience signifies that they have acquired the techniques and knowledge necessary for safe, effective treatment.
  • Technology: Leading edge technology improves the safety, predictability and precision of LASIK surgery. Don’t settle for someone that offers outdated technology.
  • Trustworthiness: Truthfully, LASIK is not right for everyone, and the best surgeons are not hesitant to screen out people that are not good candidates. A surgeon with a reputation for performing LASIK on everyone is not meeting industry standards and should be avoided.
  • Low Pressure: Sought-after LASIK surgeons never pressure patients into treatment. If you meet with a surgeon that puts the pressure on you to have LASIK, you should find someone else.
  • Honesty: Great LASIK surgeons are honest and upfront about the possible risks and limitations of LASIK. Beware of the surgeon that overpromises and guarantees you perfection.
  • Comfort: Your LASIK surgeon should make you feel completely comfortable. They should never rush you or ignore your concerns. They should want to answer your questions and educate you about your options so you can decide what’s best for your needs.

If you would like to meet the qualified, experienced LASIK surgeon at Victoria Eye Center in Victoria, contact us today by calling 800-833-0234 or visiting victoriaeyecenter.com.

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What is the Best Age to Get Laser Eye Surgery?

For many glasses or contact lens wearers, there comes a time when they say enough is enough and decide to have laser eye surgery. So, what is the best age to get laser eye surgery? Generally, the perfect candidate is someone between the ages of 20 and 40. This is because a major determining factor in laser eye surgery candidacy is a stable eye prescription for at least two years. Just as your body grows and matures through adolescence, so do your eyes. Research shows that your eyes begin to stabilize and your prescription is more likely to remain steady after the age of 20.

Laser Eye Surgery for Teens

Although LASIK is a safe and effective way to improve vision, the FDA has not approved the procedure for people under the age of 18 because their eyes are not fully developed. In some cases, a person’s eyes may not fully develop until the age of 21. A teenager who undergoes laser eye surgery when their eyes are not fully developed will find the results to be temporary and may need corrective surgery in the future.

Older Patients

Older patients typically suffer from age-related conditions that cannot be treated with refractive surgery, such as cataracts, and therefore may not be good candidates for this type of procedure. Cataracts occur when the natural lens in the eye becomes cloudy, resulting in blurred vision. It is one of the leading causes of vision loss among older people. Patients with cataracts should consider undergoing cataract surgery, in which the eye’s natural lens is replaced by an artificial lens.

Of course, laser eye surgery is not right for every patient. If you’re ready to find out if it is right for you, the best thing you can do is to schedule a consultation with Dr. Boozalis in Victoria. Contact Victoria Eye Center at 800-833-0234 or victoriaeyecenter.com today.

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Cataract Surgery and Insurance

A cataract is a painless, cloudy area in the lens of the eye. The lens is enclosed in a lining called the lens capsule. During cataract surgery in Victoria, Dr. Boozalis separates the cataract from the lens capsule. In most cases, the lens is replaced with an intraocular lens implant (IOL). In most instances, with certain limitations, cataract surgery costs are covered under both private insurance plans and Medicare.

Private Insurance

Private insurance for cataract surgery is usually quite comprehensive but also quite variable. In most instances, private insurances cover a portion, if not all, of the Cataract Surgeon Fee, the Facility Fee, the cost of a Monofocal Lens Implant and the necessary follow up care after your Cataract Surgery. Private insurances vary in the deductible that they may require, the co-pay you might be responsible for and the percentage of each allowable expense that they might reimburse.

Medicare Insurance

Medicare for cataract surgery is also quite comprehensive. Medicare generally covers a portion of the Cataract Surgeon Fee, the Facility Fee, the cost of a Monofocal Lens Implant and the necessary follow up care after your cataract surgery. It is likely that you will be responsible for a co-pay or a deductible for the pre-surgery office examination, consultation and measurements for your cataract surgery. If you need a pre-surgery physical with your medical doctor, you may also be responsible for that physician’s co-pay as well. In addition, if you require anesthesia, while your insurance will cover the allowable anesthesia expense, you may be responsible for the anesthesia co-pay and/or deductible.

It is important to note that insurance may not cover the cost of advanced technology lens implants. The amount of coverage, deductibles and any co-pays are uniquely individual to each patient’s specific health insurance policy.

To find out if your insurance plan will cover the cost of cataract surgery in Victoria, contact Victoria Eye Center at 800-833-0234 or victoriaeyecenter.com.

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What Are the Three Types of Cataracts?

A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye due to protein buildup in the body which leads to reduced vision and loss of sight if left untreated. There are three primary types of cataracts: nuclear sclerotic, cortical and posterior subcapsular.

Nuclear Sclerotic Cataracts

A nuclear cataract is the most common type of cataract, beginning with a gradual hardening and yellowing of the central zone of the lens also known as the nucleus. Over time, this hardening and yellowing will expand to the other layers of the lens.

As this type of cataract progresses, it changes the eye’s ability to focus and close-up vision (for reading or other types of close work) may temporarily improve. This symptom is referred to as second sight, but the vision improvement it produces is not permanent.

A nuclear sclerotic cataract progresses slowly and may take several years of gradual development before it begins to affect vision.

Cortical Cataracts

A cortical cataract forms in the shell layer of the lens known as the cortex and gradually extends its “spokes” from the outside of the lens to the center. These fissures can cause the light that enters the eye to scatter, creating problems with blurred vision, glare, contrast and depth perception. People with diabetes are at risk for developing cortical cataracts.

Posterior Subcapsular Cataracts

Primarily affecting one’s reading and night vision, this type of cataract begins as a small opaque or cloudy area on the posterior (back surface) of the lens. It is called subcapsular because it forms beneath the lens capsule which is a small sac or membrane that encloses the lens and holds it in place.

Subcapsular cataracts can interfere with reading and create halo effects and glare around lights. People who use steroids or have diabetes, extreme nearsightedness, and/or retinitis pigmentosa may develop this type of cataract. Subcapsular cataracts can develop rapidly and symptoms can become noticeable within months.

If you are experiencing vision problems in Location and suspect that you may have a cataract, contact Victoria Eye Center at 800-833-0234 or victoriaeyecenter.com today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Boozalis.

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