Medical and Surgical Vision Care

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Frequently Asked Questions on Laser Vision Correction (LVC)

Do you have questions on LASIK or PRK? Below is a list of some frequently asked questions, but please feel free to call our office if you need additional information. We are always pleased to assist you.

What is Laser Vision Correction?

Laser vision correction can be done by PRK or LASIK, as described on our LASIK page, and it reshapes the front surface of the eye (cornea). These techniques can correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.

Is laser vision correction for everyone?

If glasses or contact lenses are a burden and reduce enjoyment of daily living, laser vision correction can help. From low to severe nearsighted and astigmatism and hyperopia can now be treated.

To determine whether laser vision correction is right for you, we perform a thorough history including general and ocular health, and a complete eye exam that will include visual acuity, dilated-exam refraction, and microscopic examination of the front part of the eye and the retina (light perceiving part of the eye). Certain health and eye problems are contraindication for laser treatment. We will discuss the benefits, and the possibility of side effects. Any surgery carries some risks. Laser vision correction has overall excellent results and you should make an informed consent before deciding to have refractive surgery.

What is the expected outcome of refractive surgery?

The goal of surgery is to reduce the dependence on glasses and contact lenses by improving uncorrected visual acuity. PRK and LASIK may allow patients to achieve their normal daily activities without having to use either glasses or contact lenses.

Can PRK or LASIK be done after previous refractive procedures such as RK?

Yes. However, this depends on each patient, and needs to be assessed individually. Please call our office to schedule a consultation with Dr. Jovkar.

What are the types of excimer lasers?

The lasers in the United States include VISX, Nidek, etc. The laser specifications are different. Dr. Jovkar who is also an electrical engineer will be glad to discuss with you the difference between these machines.

How is the PRK procedure performed?

The eye is anesthetized with eye drops. The very superficial layer of the cornea, referred to as epithelium, is removed either mechanically or using the laser. The laser is subsequently used to vaporize a precisely-calculated layer of the corneal tissue. Each laser pulse removes approximately 0.25 micron of corneal tissue. The procedure takes less than two minutes. Following the procedure, a special contact lens is placed to help healing and reduce pain, and is usually worn only for a few days after the surgery.

How is the LASIK procedure performed?

The eye is anesthetized with eye drops. A very thin layer of the cornea is reflected back (a flap) thereby exposing the inner part of the cornea. This "flap" is made using a specialized instrument named a microkeratome. The laser is subsequently used to vaporize a precisely-calculated layer of the corneal tissue. Each laser pulse removes approximately 0.25 micron of corneal tissue. The procedure takes a few minutes.

Is PRK & LASIK an outpatient procedure?

Yes. The actual time that you spend at the laser center is about one hour. The actual PRK procedure is less than 2 minutes. LASIK is a few more minutes longer.

How much time off do I need after the procedure?

With PRK, the doctor recommends to take a few days after the surgery. It may take several days for the vision to become adequate to drive. With LASIK, the vision is good the following day after the surgery and many patients may return to work almost immediately.

Is there pain during and after the procedure?

The pain with the surgery is usually almost non-existent. Your eye is numbed using eye drops and you are awake during the PRK or LASIK procedure. With PRK, there may be mild to moderate pain lasting one to three days and usually relieved with eye drops and oral medications. With LASIK, there is very little pain after the procedure.

How are my eyes kept open during the procedure?

An eyelid holder keeps your eye open during the procedure. The doctor can stop the procedure at any time during the laser treatment if you look away from the fixation light. After repositioning your eye, the doctor will continue the treatment where he left off.

Are both eyes done at the same time?

You need to discuss the decision to do both eyes at the same time or the treatment for the two eyes separated by days or weeks with Dr. Jovkar.

What is the minimum age for laser eye treatment?

The minimum age is preferably 19 years old with a stable refraction. There is generally no upper range for age.

What do I have to do before my eye exam for laser surgery?

If you are wearing gas permeable contacts, they must not be worn for at least three weeks before your comprehensive eye exam to assess if you are a good candidate for laser vision correction. If you are wearing soft contact lenses they must be removed at least 72 hours before your eye exam. You should bring in your glasses to your appointment.

For nearsightedness (myopia), what is the possible range of correction?

The excimer laser PRK is approved for the treatment of nearsightedness in the range of -1.00 to -13.00 diopters, and astigmatism in the range of 0.75 to 4.00 diopters. However, every human eye is unique and you need to have advice about your particular situation and the suitability of laser vision correction for you.

For farsightedness (hyperopia), what is the possible range of correction?

FDA has approved the use of Lasik for the treatment of hyperopia and hyperopic astigmatism with VISX STAR S2 and STAR S3 active trak excimer laser systems.

Can the excimer laser treat astigmatism?

Yes. We can treat astigmatism associated near-sightedness (myopia).

Is the excimer laser approved to treat farsightedness?

Yes. FDA has approved this treatment.

What procedure is preferable?

The decision is made after thorough discussion with the doctor. However, in general, both PRK and LASIK provide excellent results for low levels of near-sightedness but LASIK is generally superior for higher ranges of myopia.

Can there be a regression of my vision after the surgery?

In some patients, there is a regression of the surgical effect, usually in the first year which may require further touch-up or enhancement.

What are the side effects?

Over-correction, under-correction, regression, and haze are some possible side effects. These will be discussed in detail during your comprehensive eye examination.

What are the long term side effects of laser vision correction?

In numerous studies of excimer laser procedure since the late 1980's, there is no evidence of long-term negative effects on the eye.

Will my insurance plan or company cover laser surgery?

Only a few insurance companies do cover PRK and LASIK. The laser procedure achieves a functional change of vision, and it is therefore not "cosmetic" surgery. Insurance coverage is usually not under the vision plan but rather under the major medical plan. If there is no medical coverage, there are medical finance companies that we work with which will try to help you obtain financing should you need it. There are low monthly payments. We also accept cash, personal checks, Visa and MasterCard.

How can I contact you for a comprehensive eye exam?

To determine whether laser vision correction is right for you, we perform a thorough history including general and ocular health, and a comprehensive eye exam that will include visual acuity, dilated-exam refraction, and microscopic examination of the front part of the eye and the retina (light perceiving part of the eye). Certain health and eye problems are contraindication for laser treatment. We will discuss the benefits, and the possibility of side effects. Our office number is (408) 985-2020.

Who does my laser vision correction surgery?

The laser vision correction is done by Dr. Jovkar, who is a trained refractive surgeon. He is an American Board of Ophthalmology Certified Ophthalmologist, and a trained refractive surgeon. He has worked with international leaders in refractive surgery for many years. He has published many articles in the field of refractive surgery and has co-authored a book chapter on laser vision correction. Besides medical and surgical knowledge, Dr. Jovkar is an Electrical Engineer and has extensive knowledge of physics and technological aspects of lasers.

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Our Bay Area office, located at 15251 National Ave, Suite 100, Los Gatos, CA 95032, provides eyecare, eye exam, LASIK, laser vision correction, cataract and other eye surgeries for patients in the following areas: Bay Area Eye Doctor, Campbell, Cupertino, Fremont, Gilroy, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Los Gatos Eye Care, Milpitas, Morgan Hill, Monte Sereno, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Pleasanton, San Jose, San Martin, San Mateo, Santa Clara County, Santa Clara Valley, Saratoga, Scotts Valley, South Bay, Sunnyvale