LASIK

For most people who need glasses all the time it is the shape of their corneas, the front clear portion of the eye, that has caused their problem.  Laser vision correction refers to a number of different treatments which all use lasers to reshape the cornea with the goal of correcting vision which is  compromised by common cornea induced refractive errors.  These problems include nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. The results of these procedures are relatively fast and they are permanent.

LASIK has become the most popular of the available procedures because it is performed under a “flap” between the layers of the cornea.  This “flap” includes the outermost layer of the cornea which comprises the eye’s main optical surface, the source of most refractive problems, and it is also the layer most sensitive to discomfort.  Since this outer layer is not disrupted and remains intact during the LASIK visual improvement occurs quickly and there is little if any discomfort.  With LASIK when patients do experience discomfort it is typically described as a “sandy” feeling which may last for a day or so after surgery.

No two eyes are exactly alike and not everyone is a good candidate for LASIK.  It is for these two very important reasons that we provide for each individual considering LASIK a comprehensive eye examination coupled with diagnostic tests and measurements specifically designed for pre laser evaluation.  These same detailed measurements are later used to prepare a treatment plan from which the laser is precisely  programmed for each individual patient.

We are committed to utilizing only state-of-the-art technology in designing and delivering LASIK treatment specifically designed for each patient.  It is for this reason that we utilize the “ LADARVISION 4000” excimer laser.  This system combines the only patented laser radar eye tracking system with a unique small spot laser beam.  Guided by its "active eye tracker" the  LADARVISION's small spot laser beam reshapes the cornea removing tissue smaller than the width of a single human hair.

In addition we are pleased to offer new options to our LASIK patients.  LASIK has and continues to be performed in its original format in which a "flap", which provides the laser access to reshape the central cornea, is created mechanically with a surgical blade.  However, we are now one of only three LASIK centers in Chicago which also offers an alternative approach for creation of the "flap."   This option, INTRALASE,  is an extraordinary and exciting new type of laser which provides a non mechanical (no blade used) computer controlled approach to the important first step of "flap" creation.  In place of a mechanically operated surgical blade the INTRALASE laser provides micron level accuracy in creating a flap and makes every procedure more predictable.  The INTRALASE, which is programmed for each individual eye, also makes the risk of complication extraordinarily rare. Click Here to view the INTRALASE procedure.

We are also pleased to offer the CUSTOM CORNEA approach to LASIK which, for certain patients, is capable of providing an even better result than conventional LASIK.  This is accomplished through the use of LADARWAVE technology  which provides a precise computerized mapping of your eye's internal optical system.  In essence it generates a 3D or topographical map representing the various layers of your particular unique visual system including identification of certain types of distortions which have previously been undetectable.  This map (in computerized form) interacts directly with the LADARVISON laser to help guide the laser beam in an extraordinarily precise pattern designed exclusively for your eye.  

The overwhelming majority of LASIK patients are pleased with their results and have greatly reduced or eliminated their dependence on glasses or contact lenses.  However, we feel it is important to remind you that there are risks that go along with any surgery.  While such risks are very rare we will discuss them with you before you decide to be treated.

Questions for those considering LASIK

How will I know if this treatment is right for me ?

If you wish to be evaluated for treatment you will first receive an eye examination to determine the exact status of your vision and to be certain that you aren’t suffering from any pertinent eye conditions. Once complete the doctor will discuss the results with you and help you select the most effective solution for you.  Any final decision should be reached only after this consultation with the surgeon and the opportunity to have any and all questions answered

Your vision and the health of your eyes is the most important thing to consider and if the doctor does not recommend treatment for you it is because he is thinking of what is best for your eyes.  Please understand that no matter how much you would like to be corrected with this procedure it is not the right thing for everyone.  As an example, no one under the age of 18 should have the procedure since their eyes are still undergoing natural changes.

What can I Expect if I choose to have LASIK  ? 

To get you ready some drops will be put in your eye(s) so that you will be comfortable.  You’ve probably had the same drops before during a regular eye exam.  For the procedure you’ll be lying down in a special chair next to the doctor.  A flap, consisting of the outermost layer of the cornea is created using the INTRALASE.

The doctor will use a special device to partially lift up this very thin layer of your cornea.  This “flap” of cornea is like a little hinge that the doctor folds gently back, ready to be flipped back in place in just a few minutes.  Now the doctor will focus the laser on your eye and begin the reshaping of your cornea. LASIK refractive surgery utilizes the Excimer laser which uses “cool” light to reshape the superficial portion of the cornea to reduce or eliminate refractive problems.   The complete laser treatment usually takes only a minute or less.  You will see a bright light while the laser is working but you won’t feel anything.  The doctor will now fold the little flap of cornea back in place and the surgery is done. The entire procedure usually takes less than 15 minutes.

When you leave the office you’ll get some eye drops and a special shield to wear overnight.  The doctor will remove this when he sees you the next day.  Most patients are truly surprised at how well they are able to see the very first day after the treatment.

After LASIK most patients find that they no longer need to wear glasses or contact lenses for day to day living.  However, some patients will decide that they still want to wear glasses on a part time basis for certain tasks such as sewing or reading for long periods of time.  In all likelihood you can expect to depend on your glasses far less if at all.

Some patients will decide that they might like to have their vision “sharpened up” a bit after laser treatment.  After an appropriate adjustment period these patients will decide with the doctor if this is necessary.  If an enhancement is decided upon a second even quicker version of the laser procedure will be performed (at no additional cost) to “fine tune” things.

It is important to remember that as we all get older our vision may change.  You may find at some point in the future that wearing glasses for certain tasks such as reading may be best for you.  This is something you can decide with your doctor in the future.

These procedures are designed to decrease or possibly even eliminate dependence on eyeglasses and contact lenses

It is important to remember that the changes in vision resulting from laser eye surgery are not reversible.

The information  presented here is not intended to constitute informed consent nor is it intended to answer the specific questions any individual  might reasonably have regarding LASIK or any of the other procedures discussed.

It is also important that you are certain to have your questions answered to your satisfaction and that you have carefully read and understand the informed consent form you will be given prior to LASIK or any other type of laser eye surgery.

A Message from Dr Lopez

“Over the past 20 years I have carefully examined the many types of treatments that have been offered for the correction of vision problems such as near-sighted-ness.  As a surgeon with special training in caring for the cornea of the eye I made the choice not to perform any of these.  No matter how popular certain treatments became I felt that they lacked the predictability and level of long term safety I want for all of my patients.

Now I believe that advances in science and technology have allowed me to comfortably tell my patients that there is a procedure that I can recommend for them.  I’m certain some would say that my attitude has been too conservative in the past.  However, as a surgeon who has spent more than 30 years treating problems of the cornea I would never offer a cosmetic,  elective  treatment to my patients that I would not allow my own family members to have ….  I have indeed performed LASIK on members of my own family.”