Contact Information


507-345-6151
Fax: 507-625-1096
Monday - Friday 8am to 5pm

Ophthalmology Associates
1630 Adams Street
Mankato, MN 56001

Lasik Surgery

Am I a Candidate for Refractive Surgery?

Refractive surgery is intended for people who want to minimize their reliance on glasses or contact lenses. Refractive surgery does not improve the vision beyond what is already obtainable by glasses or contacts. People wanting perfect vision without corrective lenses run the risk of being disappointed.

A good candidate for PRK or LASIK must be free of eye disease. While there is no upper age limit for having refractive surgery, people under 21 are not good candidates as their vision may still be changing. Pregnant or nursing women, people with keratoconus, ocular herpetic disease, autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, and diabetics should probably not have PRK or LASIK. If you are taking the medications Accutane (isotretinoin), Cordarone (amiodarone), or Imitrex (sumatriptan) you should not have laser refractive surgery.

To find out if you are a good candidate for refractive surgery, schedule a free evaluation. At this visit, a knowledgeable technician will determine your visual acuity, current vision prescription and best corrected vision. Measurements of your cornea including curvature, thickness, and topographic maps will be obtained. Your eyes will be dilated so your doctor will be able to perform a full screening exam to evaluate for corneal, cataract, and retinal disease. A pressure check for glaucoma screening will also be performed. Once all the measurements have been obtained, your doctor will meet with you to discuss refractive surgery options and answer any questions you may have. Plan on this free consultation lasting 90 minutes.

Contact lens wearers:In order to obtain the most accurate measurements of your eyes, please remove your contact lens at least 2 weeks prior to this examination. Rigid gas permeable (hard) contacts should be removed at least 4 weeks prior to the evaluation. Failure to do so may produce inaccurate results. Contacts must also be removed for at least 3 weeks prior to surgery.

LASIK (Laser-Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis)

What is LASIK?

LASIK is a safe, highly successful type of laser refractive surgery used to treat a variety of refractive disorders of the eye including nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. Normally, clear vision is achieved when your cornea (the front "window" of the eye) focuses light onto the retina (back part of the eye) to create an image. If the cornea is not perfectly shaped or if the eyeball is longer or shorter than normal, a distorted image is projected onto the retina resulting in blurry vision. For many years the only solution to this problem was corrective eyewear. LASIK involves using an eximer laser (a cool beam of light) to reshape the cornea in order to decrease or eliminate the need for glasses or contact lenses. LASIK works by removing tiny amounts of tissue from the cornea, slightly changing its shape and the angle at which light enters through it and is projected onto the retina.

Is LASIK safe?

Since the FDA's approval in 1996, LASIK has treated more than 16 million Americans. LASIK has a remarkable success rate, with greater than 97% of patients achieving vision better than 20/40 without the need of glasses or contacts. LASIK is also very safe. According to a study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology in 2006, LASIK surgery is safer than contact lens use. Sight threatening infections from contact lens use occur in 1 in 2,000 contact lens wearers, whereas only 1 in 10,000 patients risk significant vision loss due to complications from LASIK.

How is LASIK performed?

LASIK is performed in a refractive surgery suite using state of the art laser technology. Once in the suite, the patient will be comfortably positioned on a bed specifically designed for the laser. Eye drops will be put in the eyes to make them numb so no pain is felt during the procedure. An eyelid speculum is then placed to keep the eye safely open during the procedure. The first step in LASIK involves creating a partial thickness hinged flap through the cornea. By creating a flap in the cornea, the surgeon is able to perform the laser vision correction treatment on the inner layer of the cornea, which practically eliminates any patient discomfort and allows for a rapid visual recovery. The flap is then gently lifted and folded over. Once the flap is securely folded back, the eximer laser produces precise pulses of energy that remove a small amount of tissue to accurately reshape the cornea. During this portion of the procedure, the patient is asked to look straight ahead at a guide light. Due to sophisticated eye tracking systems with modern lasers, small movements of the eye can be tracked so the laser can deliver precise pulses despite small movements of the eye. The flap is then replaced and adheres naturally and securely to the underlying cornea. Eye drops will be placed in the eye and a shield will be placed over the eye for protection. The procedure is then repeated on the other eye.

What is the difference between Traditional LASIK and IntraLASIK?

There are two major types of LASIK, Traditional LASIK and IntraLASIK (All-Laser-LASIK, Bladeless LASIK, or iLASIK). Traditional LASIK uses an automated blade known as a microkeratome to cut the corneal flap. IntraLASIK uses IntraLase, a femtosecond laser, to create the corneal flap at a very precise depth so that no blade ever needs to touch your eye. Both methods of flap creation are very successful and safe. Most surgeons acknowledge that the main safety issues in laser vision correction are related to the creation of the flap and that precise flap thickness is critical to a successful LASIK outcome. The IntraLase laser provides a unique level of safety because of its micron level precision in flap depth and size. Because of the increased precision, thinner flaps are able to be created. Therefore, IntraLASIK can safely be performed on patients with thinner corneas who may not have been good candidates for traditional LASIK.

What is Custom LASIK?

Custom LASIK surgery uses a sophisticated Wavefront Analyzer to measure how light travels through your eye. Using this information, the Wavefront Analyzer is able to create a customized 3 dimensional map of your eye that looks at your entire optical system. This map provides information about the unique visual characteristics of your eye which can then be used to guide the laser during your LASIK procedure for optimal results. In the past, all vision was measured using a standard eye chart and success was determined by how many letters could be seen. There are two types of visual imperfections that exist within the eye and affect vision, lower-order aberrations and higher-order aberrations. With standard LASIK, only lower-order aberrations (such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism) can be measured and treated. Higher-order aberrations, which can be detected by Wavefront technology, may also have a significant impact on vision and have been linked to glare and halos. Custom LASIK is able to provide a customized treatment of these higher-order aberrations which results in improved clarity of vision and reduction in post-operative glare and halos.

How do I know if I am a good candidate for refractive surgery?

Call Ophthalmology Associates for your free refractive surgery evaluation. Before you come in for your appointment, make sure you stay out of your contacts for at least 2 weeks if you wear soft contacts, and at least 4 weeks if you wear hard contacts. At your evaluation, our knowledgeable staff will take specific measurements regarding your glasses prescription, your corneal thickness, and the curvature of your corneal surface. Plan on this visit lasting at least 60 minutes. You will then get the opportunity to discuss your options with one of our refractive surgery specialists.

Please call our office at 507-345-6151 to schedule your free evaluation.

PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy)

What is PRK?

Photorefractive Keratotomy or PRK is a safe, highly successful type of laser refractive surgery used to treat a variety of refractive disorders of the eye including nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. Normally, clear vision is achieved when your cornea (the front "window" of the eye) focuses light onto the retina (back part of the eye) to create an image. If the cornea is not perfectly shaped or if the eyeball is longer or shorter than normal, a distorted image is projected onto the retina resulting in blurry vision. PRK involves using an eximer laser (a cool beam of light) to reshape the cornea in order to decrease or eliminate the need for glasses or contact lenses. PRK works by removing tiny amounts of tissue from the cornea, slightly changing its shape and the angle at which light enters through it and is projected onto the retina. PRK has been approved as a refractive surgery method since 1995.

What is the difference between PRK and LASIK?

PRK is similar to LASIK in that both procedures use an eximer laser to reshape the cornea to correct refractive errors. However, in PRK, the laser treatment is performed on the surface (once the epithelium has been removed) rather than in the deeper parts of the cornea under a flap as in LASIK (read LASIK handout for more details). PRK is often the laser vision correction procedure of choice for people with thinner corneas and for individuals who may have certain corneal dystrophies, corneal scars, or a condition called "recurrent corneal erosion". Some refractive surgeons prefer PRK over LASIK for all their patients because there is no risk of a flap complication with PRK as there is with LASIK.

PRK and LASIK both produce excellent and comparable visual results. Because of the greater amount of tissue healing that needs to take place after PRK compared to LASIK, it can take several weeks before vision is clear and stable after the procedure compared to LASIK where vision usually becomes clear within the first week. There is also significantly more post-operative discomfort and longer corneal healing time required for PRK compared to LASIK. The final visual outcomes of PRK are equal to those of LASIK.

Is PRK safe and effective?

Greater than 90% of PRK patients achieve 20/20 vision without using eyeglasses or contact lenses. Around 95-98% of all patients experienced 20/40 vision or better after surgery.

How is PRK performed?

PRK is performed in a refractive surgery suite using state of the art laser technology. Once in the suite, the patient will be comfortably positioned on a bed specifically designed for the laser. Eye drops will be put in the eyes to make them numb so no pain is felt during the procedure. An eyelid speculum is then placed to keep the eye safely open during the procedure. The first step in PRK involves completely removing the thin outer layer of the cornea (called the epithelium) over the treatment area. This can be done mechanically with a spatula (usually after a dilute alcohol solution is applied to soften the epithelium) or with an excimer laser. This step of the procedure is painless. Once the epithelium has been removed, the eximer laser produces precise pulses of energy that remove a small amount of tissue to accurately reshape the cornea. During this portion of the procedure, the patient is asked to look straight ahead at a guide light. Due to sophisticated eye tracking systems with modern lasers, small movements of the eye can be tracked so the laser can deliver precise pulses despite small movements of the eye. Once the laser treatment is complete, a soft contact lens is placed over the eye to serve as a bandage while the corneal epithelium grows back in place, which usually takes about 3 to 5 days. Eye drops will be placed in the eye and a shield will be placed over the eye for protection. The procedure is then repeated on the other eye.

What is Custom PRK?

Custom PRK surgery uses a sophisticated Wavefront Analyzer to measure how light travels through your eye. Using this information, the Wavefront Analyzer is able to create a customized 3 dimensional map of your eye that looks at your entire optical system. This map provides information about the unique visual characteristics of your eye which can then be used to guide the laser during your PRK procedure for optimal results. In the past, all vision was measured using a standard eye chart and success was determined by how many letters could be seen. There are two types of visual imperfections that exist within the eye and affect vision, lower-order aberrations and higher-order aberrations. With standard PRK, only lower-order aberrations (such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism) can be measured and treated. Higher-order aberrations, which can be detected by Wavefront technology, may also have a significant impact on vision and have been linked to glare and halos. Custom PRK is able to provide a customized treatment of these higher-order aberrations which results in improved clarity of vision and reduction in post-operative glare and halos.

How do I know if I am a good candidate for refractive surgery?

Call Ophthalmology Associates for your free refractive surgery evaluation. Before you come in for your appointment, make sure you stay out of your contacts for at least 2 weeks if you wear soft contacts, and at least 4 weeks if you wear hard contacts. At your evaluation, our knowledgeable staff will take specific measurements regarding your glasses prescription, your corneal thickness, and the curvature of your corneal surface. Plan on this visit lasting at least 60 minutes. You will then get the opportunity to discuss your options with one of our refractive surgery specialists.

What is PRK?

(Photorefractive Keratectomy) PRK is laser surgery to correct nearsightedness (myopia). An excimer laser beam is used to flatten the front of the cornea, removing small amounts of tissue.

What is Lasik?

(Laser In-situ Keratomileusis) With the LASIK procedure, a thin layer of the cornea is lifted to create a "flap" that stays connected on one side. The FDA approved excimer laser that sculpts the cornea with a "cool" laser light. The flap is then returned to its original position for a natural recovery.

What is nearsightedness?

Nearsightedness (myopia) occurs when an eye is to long for the Cornea's curvature. Light rays entering the eye focus in front of the retina, resulting in blurred vision of distant objects.

What is farsightedness?

Farsightedness (hyperopia) occurs when an eye is too short for the cornea's curvature. Light rays entering the eye focus behind the retina resulting in blurred vision of near objects.

What is astigmatism?

Astigmatism exists alone or in combination with nearsightedness or farsightedness. The eye becomes oval shaped like a football instead of round, causing distortion when the eye tries to focus.

Is it covered by insurance?

Generally, LASIK and PRK are not covered by insurance, but you need to check with your individual insurance.

Does it hurt?

No, the excimer laser does not hurt. Before surgery, you are given a topical anesthetic. Some patients may experience discomfort during the first 12-24 hours.

What are the side effects?

Like any treatment or operation, complications can occur. Many can be easily treated. The most common side effects include temporary haziness, halos, dry eyes, sensitivity to bright lights and fluctuating vision.

How long will I be off work?

Depending on your occupation, you may need to take one to Several days off. You should discuss this with your doctor when scheduling surgery. However most people return to work within 48 hours.

Please call our office at 507-345-6151 to schedule your free evaluation.