The Initial LASIK Eye Examination

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LASIK Eye Surgery Information

The Initial LASIK Eye Exam May Include the Following Tests

Before undergoing LASIK eye surgery, potential patients should expect to undergo a LASIK eye exam in order to determine if they are potential candidates for LASIK surgery.  During this exam the doctor will use drops to dilate the patient’s eye, which allows the doctor to examine the eye more thoroughly. The drops will cause bright and blurry vision for 4-6 hours requiring the patient to use sunglasses or have someone drive them home.  In addition, the LASIK doctor checks the corneal thickness, pupil size, tear production and stability of the refractive error. All of these factors are taken into consideration when determining if a patient is a candidate for LASIK eye surgery.

Once it is determined that a patient is a good candidate for LASIK, then they will undergo a pre-operative  LASIK eye examination to measure their refractive error and determine the best LASIK treatment. For this LASIK exam it is preferred patients not wear their contacts in the days or weeks leading up to the exam to ensure that the doctor gets the most accurate measurements prior to LASIK surgery.

Measurement of Refractive Error, Corneal Topography & Corneal Thickness

This portion of the initial pre-operative LASIK eye exam will accurately measure the patient’s prescription. In order for a patient to be considered a good candidate for LASIK eye surgery they must have a refractive error that has been stable for more than a year.  A device, known as a corneal topographer, is used to measure the curvature of the eye and to create a map of the eye prior to LASIK surgery. This helps the doctor determine specifications for surgery.  Thin corneas can cause complications and eliminate a patient’s eligibility for LASIK eye surgery therefore many LASIK eye surgeons will recommend other methods of vision correction for these patients.

Measurement of Pupil, Analysis of Tear Duct Function & Wavefront Analysis

Pupil size is measured and taken into consideration when determining a patient’s eligibility for LASIK eye surgery. Some patients with larger pupils may be at risk for possible side effect such as glare or halos after LASIK.  Also, during a pre-operative LASIK exam the doctor checks for tear production. Patients with naturally dry eyes can potentially be at risk for having complications related to dry eyes after surgery. It is also possible that the doctor will conduct a Custom Wavefront Analysis during a pre-LASIK visit.

This analysis creates a “blueprint” that can be used to custom design the vision correction. A conventional eye exam is subjective due to it being based on the patient’s answers and how they think feel they see. Wavefront technology is used as a more objective eye exam because instead of relying on the patient’s discretion, it identifies vision errors based on the way light travels through the eye.

Discussion of Medical History and Lifestyle

This is the patient’s opportunity to make their doctor aware of any pre-existing medical conditions and to ask questions. During this portion of the pre-operative LASIK exam the doctor should also discuss any lifestyle changes that need to be made during the recovery period after the LASIK eye surgery.