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Why Choose Dr. Hendricks for Lasik?

Because he cares about your eye as much as you do. Dr. Hendricks does his own preoperative and postoperative evaluations as well as the surgery. He will counsel you and give you an honest opinion about your candidacy for lasik surgery. If there is any kind of problem during the postoperation period, he will be there for you. You will find no evidence of an assembly line production here. And that's why his outcomes are so good and his patients are satisfied. In summary, you will experience the doctor/patient relationship the way it was meant to be with Dr. Hendricks and his superb Lasik Coordinators, Deanna Thorne, C.O.A. and Karen Cox.

Lasik is an acronym for "laser in situ keratomileusis" which is a corneal reshaping surgery to eliminate refractive errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. This form of surgery is actually a combination of lamellar corneal surgery and excimer laser surgery and is sometimes referred to as the "flap and zap" procedure. Actually that description is quite accurate because that is what takes place during the procedure. A thin corneal flap is made using the new Intralase femtosecond laser (see below) or a mechanical microkeratome. The eye is numbed using eye drops so the patient experiences no pain. The corneal flap that is made has a hinge on it that allows it to be folded back and expose the underlying corneal tissue. The excimer laser is then used to reshape the exposed corneal tissue afterwhich the flap of cornea is replaced. The flap seals down quite readily and no sutures are required.

There are a number of advantages of Lasik Surgery over PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) or the original excimer laser surgery. First of all, the patient's vision improves and stabilizes much quicker. This allows the correction of both eyes at the same time in most situations. Another advantage is that there is much less post-operative pain than with standard PRK. The reason for this is that the corneal flap requires much less healing than PRK. For these two reasons Lasik has become the procedure of choice for most patients.

Intralase Femtosecond Laser ("Bladeless" Lasik Surgery)

Dr. Hendricks and the associates of Laser Sight Centers are proud to offer "bladeless" Lasik surgery as well as the traditional mechanical microkeratome Lasik procedure. The bladeless technique employs the use of the most advanced femtosecond laser available called Intralase. At the time of this update, this is the only laser of its kind in the metro area. It creates the corneal flap by computer guidance of thousands of micro pulses of laser (light) energy to the cornea--remember, the eye is numb so it is painless. It is extremely precise and it can create flaps of practically any size, shape, or thickness. More importantly, this particular laser creates the corneal flap in about 10 seconds compared to older femtosecond lasers which can take 20-30 seconds. Corneal flaps made with Intralase give the patient the potential to have the very best visual correction with Lasik surgery. So if you are one of those patients who have been afraid to have Lasik surgery because the thought of "cutting" on the eye is just too scary, this new technology may be just the thing to put your mind at ease!

Refractive Errors

There are three basic types of refractive errors and all of them may be treated by the Lasik procedure. Myopia or nearsightedness exists when close objects are seen clearly but distant objects appear blurred. Myopia is caused by a steeply curved cornea or an elongated eye. Hyperopia or farsightedness exists when close objects are blurred and distant objects are clear. This is caused by a flat corneal curvature or a short eye. Astigmatism causes blurring of objects at any distance and is caused by an unevenly shaped cornea.

Is LASIK for Everyone?

To be eligible for LASIK the eye must be in good health and the vision stable. The minimum age to qualify for Lasik surgery is generally 21 years of age, although there are exceptions to this rule.  Some patients are better candidates than others and one of the most important steps leading to the Lasik procedure is the discussion with Dr. Hendricks to determine your candidacy based on your individual refraction, your occupation, your hobbies, and general lifestyle.

Lasik Surgery Experience

The Lasik procedure itself usually takes 5-10 minutes per eye.  Topical numbing drops are instilled and the eye is lightly prepped. A lid speculum is placed between the eyelids and a small suction ring is placed over the cornea. Pressure is applied and the vision blacks out for a few seconds while the corneal flap is made. The laser is then applied and the flap repositioned and allowed to dry for a minute or two. The procedure is painless.

After LASIK

Most patients notice immediate visual improvement when the leave the laser treatment room although objects appear hazy. The vision improves almost hour by hour the first day and by the next morning, most patients are able to drive themselves to the office for their checkup. The vision then gradually improves over the next few days and weeks. Medicated drops are used for three or four days and then artificial tears are used as necessary. Follow up visits are tailored to individual patients needs.

Enhancements

If an undercorrection or an overcorrection occurs, then it may be necessary to lift the flap after six to eight weeks and treat the residual refractive error. This procedure is actually easier than the original procedure since the use of the keratome is not necessary. The incidence of enhancements in Dr. Hendricks experience is about 5-10%.

Monovision

Monovision is a technique used for patients with presbyopia (those who use bifocals or readers) that corrects the vision in one eye for distance and the other eye for near.   Dr. Hendricks will discuss this with you if you are approaching 40 years old or older. Generally speaking he recommends it mainly for those patients who have successfully worn monovision contact lenses. If you have not worn monovision contacts, Dr. Hendricks may recommend a trial of monovision contact lens wear before you decide to have monovision Lasik performed to make sure this will work for you

Complications

Complications can vary from minor to severe, but rarely vision threatening. The most common complication is eye dryness, which usually improves with time.  Another common problem is night glare and halo formation, but again this is usually temporary and improves over time. Customized Lasik treatments may minimize this potential problem. More serious, but much less frequent complications include corneal infection or inflammation, or corneal flap problems such as wrinkling or tissue growth beneath the flap. The main thing to keep in mind about complications is that they are very infrequent, and even if they occur, they can usually be treated successfully and the patient can still achieve a good result. (You will receive a much more detailed informed consent at the time of your Lasik work up.)

   
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