Most patients have questions about laser eye surgery. Here we will provide answers to our most commonly asked questions.

AM I A CANDIDATE FOR LASER EYE SURGERY?

Whether or not you are a candidate for laser eye surgery will be determined during your evaluation with your optometrist, as well as during the consultation appointment and preoperative testing that we, at the Horizon Laser Vision Center, administer. During these tests, your optometrist and surgeon will determine if laser eye surgery is the right choice for you. However, there are some basic requirements which include having a stable prescription, healthy corneas, and being at least 18 years old.

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Laser eye surgery is a surgical procedure that uses a laser beam to gently reshape the front surface of your eye. The laser may be used to either flatten your central cornea (to correct nearsightedness), steepen your cornea (to correct farsightedness), and/or smooth out corneal irregularities (to correct astigmatism). Your reshaped cornea will be able to focus images on your retina and give you sharper vision.

LASIK, SMILE, and PRK are three different types of laser eye surgery, offering freedom from glasses or contact lenses.

LASIK involves creating a thin flap in your corneal tissue with a laser. The flap is gently folded back and a second laser will reshape your cornea. The LASIK flap is smoothed back over the cornea and healing occurs underneath.

In PRK, your surgeon removes the outer epithelial layer of your cornea, then reshapes the front surface of the cornea with a laser. You will wear a contact lens to protect your eye as the epithelial layer of cornea regenerates.

During the SMILE procedure, the surgeon uses a laser to create a thin lenticule, shaped like a contact lens, in the deep tissue of the cornea. This lenticule is extracted out of the cornea through a small incision. Healing occurs inside the tissue of the cornea.

Almost everyone requires reading glasses by their mid-forties due to a condition known as presbyopia. Presbyopia causes the natural lens inside our eye to be less flexible and unable to focus on close work. You may be prescribed reading glasses to help you see small print.

However, presbyopia can be treated with a treatment called PRESBYOND. During this LASIK-type procedure, your eyes will be corrected to allow you to clearly see objects up close, mid-range and far away.

Presbyopia can also be treated using monovision LASIK. During this procedure, your dominant eye will be corrected for distance, while your non-dominant eye will be left slightly nearsighted so it can see up close. Some people may still require reading glasses even after getting monovision.

Some people may still need reading glasses for some tasks, after undergoing any of the above procedures.
HOW SAFE IS LASER EYE SURGERY?

All types of laser eye surgery are approved by Health Canada and considered effective and safe procedures. To find out if you may be a candidate for laser eye surgery, please request a consultation.

All types of laser eye surgery are approved by Health Canada and considered effective and safe procedures. To find out if you may be a candidate for laser eye surgery, please request a consultation.

Before your procedure begins, you will be given anesthetic eye drops to completely numb the front surface of your eye. During the procedure, you may feel a small amount of pressure around your eye. The surgeon will talk you through the procedure and tell you when you may feel some discomfort.

After your LASIK or SMILE procedure, your eyes may feel gritty for a few hours. You may feel discomfort for a few days for PRK. You will be supplied with pain medication to take after your procedure. Most people however, experience very little pain.

Most patients are nervous to have any type of surgery. The staff in the procedure room are very good at helping you stay calm. Your surgeon will also talk you through the procedure so there won’t be any surprises.

Immediately after the procedure is complete, your vision will be blurry – like looking through a fog. This blurriness should dissipate overnight. The vast majority of SMILE or LASIK patients are able to see well the next day. However, visual recovery rates vary. You should be able to resume normal activities within one or two days, but it may take as long as two months for your vision to fully stabilize. Your vision may not be crisp and clear right away and may fluctuate slightly. This is perfectly normal.

Most people who undergo SMILE or LASIK can return to work within days after their procedure. However, PRK patients recover more slowly and need to take approximately one week off work following this procedure.

Depending on the procedure performed, you may be able to wear eye makeup within days. However, you should throw away your current mascara, and purchase a new one, to decrease your risk of developing an infection.

Some people experience dry eye, which disappears over time and can typically be relieved using eye drops. Other patients may experience starbursts or halos around lights, especially at night. This effect usually lessens or dissipates over time. Some people experience more severe reactions to the procedure; your surgeon, your optometrist and the Horizon team will work to minimize any side effects. You will also have the opportunity to discuss side-effects with the Horizon optometrists during your pre-surgery assessment.

Laser eye surgery is incredibly safe. The lasers used during your procedure are computer controlled, pre-programmed with your treatment data, and activated by your surgeon.

There is a very remote possibility that you may experience vision loss due to infection or inflammation. To minimize your risk of infection, we only use sterile techniques in the surgery suite. We will show you how to use antibiotic and anti-inflammatory eye drops after your procedure to help minimize the risks.

Laser eye surgery does carry risks, which will be further explained in the informed consent document that you will review with our staff and sign prior to your procedure. Possible risks include:

  • Over or under correction
  • Corneal flap-related healing problems
  • Nerve pain or discomfort
  • Dry eyes
  • Hazy vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Glare at night
  • Loss of best corrected visual acuity
  • Double-vision
  • Infection

The majority of patients have a trouble-free experience with laser eye surgery. Your surgeon will be happy to discuss any concerns you may have about the procedure.

Horizon staff will book your first few appointments for you and give you this information on the day of your procedure.
You will be seen one day after your procedure by either your surgeon or the Horizon Laser Vision Clinic optometrist.

For the best results, you need to be seen by your optometrist for regular follow-up visits, up to 6 months after your procedure. You should also be seen yearly thereafter by your optometrist to ensure ongoing health of your eyes.

Horizon Laser Vision Center is pleased to work directly with Medicard.com, a Canadian company that offers options to help you finance this investment. For more information please contact Medicard.ca directly.

Cross-linking (CXL) is a medical procedure used for certain conditions to increase the cornea’s biomechanical strength. CXL uses UV light combined with non-toxic riboflavin eye drops.

Xtra is a cross-linking procedure that is performed in conjunction with LASIK or PRK to add more strength to thinner corneas. Your team at the Horizon Laser Vision Center will determine if your eyes require Xtra.

If Xtra is recommended, it is performed at the end of your refractive procedure. A few drops of riboflavin will be applied on your cornea and allowed to soak in for a short time. Then your eye will be exposed to UVA light, which activates the riboflavin, and strengthens your cornea.

Undergoing Xtra will not require you to adhere to any additional limitations beyond those recommended by your surgeon and your optometrist following laser eye surgery. Eyes that have been treated with Xtra will not look any different than eyes that have been treated with LASIK or PRK only.