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101 LASIK Questions

101 LASIK Questions

Here are some of the most common questions about LASIK surgery that we receive at the San Diego LASIK Institute. Please visit our Bladeless LASIK, Custom LASIK, and LASIK FAQ's pages for more detailed information.

101 San Diego LASIK Surgery FACTS, Questions, and FAQ's

A Local LASIK Guide for San Diego

Preoperative Questions:

1. Who is a good LASIK candidate at the San Diego LASIK Surgery Institute?

Although it is impossible to determine if you are a good candidate without a FREE LASIK consultation, good candidates are usually in good medical and ocular health. They have no eye disease and have a desire to decrease their dependence on glasses or contact lenses.

2. What age is a good age to consider LASIK?

The age of a patient is one of the variables to consider for LASIK. Although 18 years of age is the minimum age limit, the stability of your glasses or contact lens prescription is important. The Visx CustomVue laser recommends a minimum age of 21 years. At the San Diego LASIK Institute, we would like you to maintain stability in your prescription prior to LASIK surgery.

3. I am nearsighted, does LASIK correct that?

Yes, the FDA has approved several different Laser systems to treat nearsightedness.

4. I am farsighted, does LASIK correct that?

Yes, the FDA has approved several laser systems including the VISX laser to treat farsightedness.

5. Can my astigmatism be treated by LASIK?

Yes, astigmatism can be treated by laser vision correction at the San Diego LASIK Institute.

6. Am I too old to have LASIK?

Although there is no definite age cut off for LASIK surgery, certain medical conditions should be ruled out in older patients. For example, Dr. Pham would need to rule out cataracts or other eye diseases in patients over 55. Generally, we do not recommend LASIK eye surgery for patients over 55 years of age because there is new advances in cataract surgery (multifocal lenses) that may be more beneficial for patients over 55.

Am I too young to have LASIK?

Most surgeons recommend that your eyes are stable before LASIK surgery. For CustomVue LASIK, the FDA recommends that you are at least 21 years of age.

7. Does pregnancy affect LASIK?

It is recommended that you do not have LASIK surgery in San Diego if you are currently nursing or pregnant. Hormonal changes can affect your eye. However, once you have delivered your baby and have stopped breastfeeding, we can evaluate to see if your prescription is stable.

8. I take Accutane, should I stop it before LASIK?

Accutane has been known to leave the eye dryer than normal after LASIK surgery. We recommend that you stop before your laser vision correction procedure.

6. I have a history of keloids, does that affect my LASIK surgery?

Keloid formation was originally thought to be a risk factor for PRK. However, recent studies have confirmed that both LASIK and PRK can be performed in patients with keloids.

7. How long do I have to be out of my contact lenses before I can have my LASIK surgery in San Diego?

It depends on the type of contact lens that you use. Patients who wear soft contact lenses should be out of their contacts from 5-7 days before surgery. People who wear rigid permeable contact lenses or hard contact lenses should be out of their contacts for a longer period of time.

8. Why do I have to stop my contact lens uses?

The contact lens changes the shape of your cornea temporarily. Since it sits on the cornea, we need your cornea to return to its normal shape before your LASIK surgery at the San Diego LASIK Institute.

9. Can I play sports after LASIK?

Yes. If you are involved in non contact sports there is less a chance of injury during sports. Professional athletes have LASIK regularly.

10. What about high risk sports like boxing or martial arts?

If you have a chance that your eye will be gouged or traumatized, LASIK is a possibility but we would also discuss PRK as an option.

11. I have a medical condition, can I have LASIK surgery at the San Diego LASIK Institute?

It depends on the medical condition. We would recommend you discussing your condition with your LASIK surgeon to see if it is a possibility.

12. What are some of the reasons why I would not be a good candidate for LASIK?

  • unrealistic expectations
  • thin corneas
  • abnormal corneas
  • medical or ocular pathology

13. Are most people good candidates for LASIK?

Yes, most people are good candidates for LASIK. However, the only way to tell is with an examination with your LASIK surgeon.

14. I take Imitrex, can I have LASIK?

Imitrex is a migraine medication. It has been shown to cause some slower healing in animal studies. You should discuss this with your LASIK surgeon to see if it is a possibility for you to have LASIK.

15. I have strabismus, can I have LASIK?

It depends on your examination.

16. What is PRK?

PRK is a method of laser vision correction in which you do not have a flap made. There are both advantages and disadvantages to PRK. Please learn more about PRK here.

17. I have had a previous herpes simplex virus infection, what are my risks with LASIK?

LASIK can potentially cause recurrence if you have had a herpes simples EYE infection. Herpes genital infections are not necessarily the same as herpes eye infections.

18. I have had previous eye surgery, is LASIK an option for me?

It depends on the type of eye operation that you have had.

19. I have had RK (radial keratotomy), is laser vision correction an option for me?

Patients who have had RK may be LASIK or PRK candidates depending on the health of the eye.

20. What kinds of tests do I have at my initial free LASIK consultation at the San Diego LASIK Institute?

We check your visual acuity, refraction, keratometry, corneal topography, corneal thickness, tear film testing, Intraocular Pressure, slit lamp examination, and dilated retinal examination. These are just some of the tests that you may receive during your FREE LASIK examination at the San Diego LASIK Institute.

21. What is visual acuity?

Visual acuity is a measurement of your vision. It is typically in Snellen notation such as 20/20.

22. What is a refraction?

A refraction is a measurement of your eye’s prescription. This is one of the measurements to determine the amount of nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism you may have that needs to be corrected by your LASIK surgery in San Diego.

23. What is an Intraocular Pressure?

This is a measurement to rule out glaucoma. We do not use the “air puff” test to check your eye pressure, so you can rest assured.

24. What is a slit lamp examination?

A slit lamp is a special instrument Dr. Pham uses to examine your eyes.

25. What is corneal topography?

Corneal topography is a type of examination that evaluates your cornea for possible ocular conditions.

26. What is your cornea thickness?

Cornea thickness is measured by ultrasound. It is an important measurement to determine if you are a LASIK candidate. We check your cornea's thickness during your consultation at the San Diego LASIK Institute.

27. What is a Schirmer’s test?

A Schirmer’s test is used to measure how much tear production you have.

28. What is a dilated retinal examination?

We dilate your eyes to determine if you have any retinal disease prior to LASIK surgery.

29. What is a medical history?

We ask you questions to see if you have any medical disease.

30. What is an ocular history?

We ask to see if you have had any previous eye infections.

31. What is a family history?

We want to see if you have any eye diseases that run in your family.

32. What are pupils?

The pupil in your eye is formed by your iris. It is simple to the aperture of a camera. It controls the amount of light that is let into your eye.

33. Are pupils measured prior to LASIK surgery?

Yes, pupil size is very important. It is important to measure them in the dark. Patients with large pupils may have more glare and halo after LASIK surgery. However, with increased technology and larger treatment zones, the incidence of glare and halo may be decreased.

34. What is keratometery?

This is a measure of the steepness or flatness of your cornea. This is also an important measurement since the LASIK laser changes your cornea’s steepness.

35. What is ocular dominance?

Many patients have one eye that they are more dominant with. This can be tested during your LASIK surgery evaluation, especially if you are considering monovision.

36. What is presbyopia?

Presbyopia is a common condition. When people approach their forties, the lens in the eye is less able to focus light up close. Thus, pep[;e may have a more challenging time seeing near.

37. What is monovision?

Monovision is used to help compensate for presbyopia. With monovision, one eye is used to focus far and one eye is used to focus near.

38. I am interested in monovision LASIK surgery, what do I need to do?

Monovision should be tried first in contact lenses before considering a permanent change with LASIK.

39. What is an informed consent?

An informed consent is the process by which the patient understands the benefits, risks, alternatives of LASIK and wishes to proceed. It is more than the simple signing of a document. At the San Diego LASIK Institute, we strive to educate you on all of your options and spend the time addressing your questions and concerns so that you can make an informed consent.

40. What are unrealistic expectations?

LASIK surgery has helped millions of Americans decrease their dependence on glasses and contacts. However, it cannot give you “Superman” vision. Having a good understanding of the potential benefits with realistic expectations is important prior to LASIK surgery.

41. Do you do both eyes for LASIK at the same time?


42. What is a microkeratome?

A microkeratome is a surgical blade that is used to make the flap.

43. Does Dr. Pham use the microkeratome?


44. What is Intralase or blade free LASIK?

The Intralase LASIK method is the method Dr. Pham uses to make the flap. It is an all laser method of creating the flap.

45. What is Custom or CustomVue LASIK?

Custom lasik is LASIK that is tailored to your eyes individual refractive errors. A wavefront is used to map out your cornea. In several studies, it has shown to have higher patients with better qualitative and quantitative vision.

46. What is standard or Non Custom LASIK?

Standard LASIK may be a good option for many patients. It treats your eye based on your prescription only.

47. How can I afford LASIK?

Financing has made LASIK surgery in San Diego more affordable. We offer 0% financing to make your payments even lower.

48. Are there different types of lasers that a LASIK surgeon can use?

Yes, there are several different lasers that can be used. Dr. Pham continually evaluates the lasers to see which ones produce the most accurate results.

49. What is iris registration or Advanced CustomVue Lasik Surgery?

Advanced CustomVue Lasik Surgery is marketed by the VISX laser. It incorporates iris registration. Iris registration is a method of aligning your treatment at the time of surgery. Should your eye rotate, the registration of your eye’s rotation would be done and compensated for with the iris registration method.

50. What if my eyes move during the surgery?

Your eyes are actively tracked by the laser and Dr. Pham. The Visx LASIK excimer laser tracks your eyes in an "X", "Y", and "Z" axis so that your LASIK surgery at the San Diego LASIK Institute is accurate.



Questions about your LASIK surgery day at the San Diego LASIK Institute.

51. Should I start drops before surgery?

Yes, Dr. Pham recommends you start an antibiotic drop and a steroid the day prior to surgery.

52. Can I wear makeup the day of surgery?


53. Can I wear perfume or aftershave?


54. Should I take my regular medications?


55. How should I dress?

You should dress warmly and comfortably for your LASIK surgery.

56. Should I bring money or valuables?

Please leave your money and valuables at home.

57. Am I given medications to relax at the time of my lasik surgery with the San Diego LASIK Surgery Institute?

Yes, we generally give you a 5 mg Valium dose to help you to relax.

58. Am I awake during the surgery?

Yes, we need you to stay awake and follow instructions during the surgery.

59. How do you numb my eyes?

We give you a numbing eye drop prior to your LASIK surgery.

60. Are my eyes cleaned prior to surgery?

Yes, your eyes are cleaned prior to surgery. Sterile drapes are also applied.

61. What are the steps to surgery?

First, we make a flap. Next, we lift the flap and do the treatment.

62. Is something used to keep my eyes open?

Yes, an eyelid retractor is used to keep your eyes open during the LASIK surgery.

63. How should I dress during the LASIK procedure at the San Diego LASIK Institute?

You should dress warmly and comfortably. The temperature and humidity are well controlled and we do not want you to be cold.

64. What will I feel during the flap making process with the All Laser Intralase LASIK?

You may feel a little bit of pressure on your eye when the flap is being made. It may take between 15-18 seconds to make the flap for most people.

65. What else may I feel?

After the flap is made, we will lift the flap. You may feel some mild rocking of your eye.

66. What happens once the LASIK flap is lifted?

You will be asked to look at a blinking red light.

67. How long is the treatment?

It depends on the degree of your treatment. It can range from just a few seconds to over a minute. Most people have their treatment time under thirty seconds.

68. What happens after the treatment is done?

Dr. Pham puts your LASIK flap down and then irrigates the flap. The flap is then gently positioned and allowed to dry.

69. Do I wear goggles?

Yes. You will wear goggles right after your LASIK surgery. We pick the most stylish and protective ones that we can find. You wear them until the next morning and then can take them off.

70. How many nights do I have to wear the goggles?

We recommend you wearing them at bedtime for the first 4 nights after your LASIK surgery in San Diego.



Common Post LASIK Surgery Questions

71. What should I do right after the surgery?

You should sleep.

72. What kinds of sensations will I have after surgery?

You may have some light sensitivity and mild discomfort.

73. Do I have to take drops after the LASIK surgery?

Yes, you have to take antibiotic and anti-inflammatory medications. We will give you a detailed description of the process.

74. When can I shower?

You can shower the day after your LASIK surgery. Just keep your eyes away from dirty water and be careful.

75. When can I swim?

Two weeks.

76. What kind of things should I avoid?

Please do not rub your eyes. Please avoid dusty and dirty environments after your LASIK surgery for 2 weeks.

77. When can I have strenuous exercise?

Two weeks.

78. When can I return to work?

If your work environment is clean and you avoid strenuous exercise, you can return to work in 1-2 days.

79. Can I drive myself in the next day after LASIK in San Diego?

Yes. However, use your best judgment.

80. Can I drive myself home the day of the LASIK surgery?

No, you should have a driver. You will be given a valium and should not operate machinery will on valium.

81. When am I seen again?

We will see you the next day after your LASIK surgery at the San Diego LASIK Institute.

82. What is the normal postoperative follow-up?

We see you one day, one week, one month, three months, six months, and a year after your LASIK surgery.

83. What are common LASIK side effects?

Dryness and glare and halo at night are common side effects.

84. How do you treat or prevent dryness?

You can treat dryness with tear drops. Occasionally, you may need plugs to help you improve your tear flow. We do these FREE at the San Diego LASIK Institute.

85. What is an enhancement?

Sometimes after LASIK, your eye may regress or grow back towards your previous prescription. We may recommend an enhancement if your eye is healthy to correct this. Our enhancement rates are well below 2% while the national average is 10%.

86. What kind of post-operative medications do I take?

You are generally given an antibiotic and a anti-inflammatory medication.

87. What is Restasis?

Restasis is a medication that Dr. Pham may give you to prevent or treat dry eyes after LASIK.

88. Which types of patients tend to have dry eyes more.

From Dr. Pham’s experience, patients with a prior history of dry eye, patients in their 40 and 50’s, women, and farsighted patients may have slightly more dry eyes after LASIK surgery.

89. What is an under correction?

A treatment that does not fully treat the patient’s correction.

90. How do you treat an under correction?

With an enhancement. Dr. Pham’s enhancement rate is much less than 2%. Her personally checks and refracts your eyes multiple times before surgery.

91. What is an overcorrection?

You received more of a treatment than you needed. In patients under thirty, this may be advantageous. However, for patients over forty, they may not tolerate it. It is generally advised to wait several months before considering a treatment. Overcorrection can resolve over time.

92. Will I have to use reading glasses after LASIK?

If you are over forty, you may have to use reading glasses after LASIK. However, for most of your distance activities like driving or watching TV you will likely do very well. An option to have both near and far vision after LASIK in your forties would be mono vision.

93. Can I wear makeup right after LASIK?

Please abstain from mascara use for at least 5 days.

94. Can I eat or drink anything I would like?

Please resume your normal diet. However, please abstain from alcohol use for the first few days after surgery.

95. Are there alternatives to LASIK?

Yes, they include glasses or contacts.

96. What are the surgical alternatives to LASIK?

PRK, lensectomy, the Implantable Contact Lens, and Multifocal Lenses are alternatives that we offer at the San Diego LASIK Surgery Institute.

97. Is LASIK the main surgical option for most patients at the San Diego LASIK Institute?

Yes, all laser and blade free LASIK is the primary method for most patients.

98. When will Dr. Pham recommend the other technologies?

When you are not a candidate for LASIK.

99. Does this website have all the information about LASIK surgery in San Diego?

Unfortunately, no. There is no website that can address all the questions that you may have about LASIK. This website is not a substitute for an examination with a LASIK surgeon.

100. What is the best way to learn if I am a candidate for LASIK?

Please schedule a free consultation with us.

101. How can I learn more about LASIK Surgery in San Diego?

Please call us to schedule your FREE LASIK consultation.


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