Patient education is one of the core principles of Precision LASIK™ by Updegraff. These are all questions we regularly hear in our clinic, and we want to ensure that our patients are able to become fully knowledgeable about each of them.
What are the benefits of getting LASIK?
Is LASIK safe?
Having practiced LASIK longer than most surgeons in the U.S., Dr. Updegraff has seen and treated every complication imaginable – in fact, he has developed a reputation for helping patients from all over the world who have had difficulties after receiving LASIK from another surgeon. Sadly, the majority of these could have been prevented by early diagnosis and intervention that was not provided. It is important to realize that doctors can take a weekend course and then begin doing LASIK – they hardly have the training to diagnose and manage complications. With Dr. Updegraff, you know you’re in capable hands.
LASIK technology has also dramatically improved over the last decade, with advancements that have made the procedure safer and more accurate. Comparing the LASIK results of someone who had it done 10 years ago to the patient who has it done today is like comparing dial-up internet to high-speed wireless. With advent of blade-free, all-laser LASIK, Wavefront-Guided Treatments, and Iris Recognition, many of the side effects and complications of the past are drastically reduced or eliminated.
That said, it is important to be informed of every eventuality and possible side effect of any surgery. Even though LASIK is performed with a machine, its results will only be as good as the surgeon operating it, and so it’s crucial that you choose your LASIK surgeon carefully.
I’m really interested in getting out of my contacts and glasses, but the idea of someone working on my eyes is pretty scary. Is it painful?
To make your surgery as comfortable and safe as possible, Dr. Updegraff has developed a system of patient care that he generated both from his own experience as a LASIK patient and from the tens of thousands of patients he has treated. Nothing is rushed, sedation is given, and there is even a staff member dedicated solely to holding your hand and attending to all of your concerns. The result is an unparalleled experience that many have tried to duplicate, but few have achieved. And because Dr. Updegraff is extremely comfortable performing LASIK and he enjoys his work, patients often say his calm demeanor and voice are very comforting to them. In fact, many patients who were so “eye sensitive” that they couldn’t even wear contacts – much less ever believed they’d be able to receive LASIK – have said it was easier than having a dental cleaning!
I get excited about the possibility of getting out of these contacts, but when I go on the Internet, all the risks scare me! Is it really that bad?
Just remember – “don’t believe everything you read” and “consider the source” of your information. If sites do not identify themselves and don’t provide scientific references, they are most likely not to be trusted. Local attorneys, judges, and even individuals in the intelligence community have placed their trust in Dr. Updegraff, and they all have one thing in common: a trusted source of information about Dr. Updegraff.
The good news is that this promotes honest discussion about the topic, which Dr. Updegraff has been candid about with patients and peers since the beginning of his practice and before, when he was a researcher. Interestingly, a recent peer-reviewed study demonstrated that extended-wear contacts have a higher risk than LASIK of causing sight-threatening outcomes – and this study looked at the older, “blade-flap” LASIK rather than all-laser LASIK.i After several years of performing both forms of LASIK, Dr. Updegraff has witnessed safer outcomes with blade-free LASIK. Ultimately, he believes bladeless LASIK will deliver a better safety profile than extended-wear contacts.
Dr. Updegraff has never minimized the risk of surgery, but it is only fair to put risks in perspective and to base them on scientific evidence. To shed light on Dr. Updegraff as a person, early in his career, he was asked to be the medical director of a corporate LASIK center. When he was asked to stop calling LASIK a “surgery” and instead tell patients it was a “procedure,” he refused, promptly left, and went on to build one of the most respected LASIK practices in the world – which he based on frank discussion, honesty, and trust. Dr. Updegraff is a patient advocate and readily helps patients throughout the world who may have had a complication from LASIK. He has also been dedicated to developing a unique safety system so that the more common complications can be avoided.
But even though Dr. Updegraff has performed LASIK on snipers, Navy SEALs, federal agents, and pilots, LASIK is not for everyone. Because of this, 20 percent of patients examined in our complimentary screening are counseled not to have LASIK. Instead, half of them are better suited to different procedures, such as implantable contact lenses, and the other half are told to stay with their contacts and glasses. Some of our nicest word-of-mouth referrals come from patients we have “turned away.” Other eye surgeons refer patients to Dr. Updegraff knowing that not everyone will be recommended to have surgery.
Does Precision LASIK™ come with a ‘lifetime guarantee’?
1) It sends the message that LASIK is not stable and needs to be redone. However, with appropriate care, this is untrue.
2) Many times, the “lifetime guarantee” of corporate centers is an extra charge. As a matter of fact, one corporate center was fined by the government for not recording these “up charges” as a possible future liability to their shareholders. When patients showed up years later for care, many were turned away, and they often learned that their doctors were no longer with the practice.
3) A guarantee like this tends to give a “hall pass” to not keep regularly scheduled post-operative appointments and general eye exams to patients who are initially thrilled with their LASIK results. Because they have been told their LASIK comes with a lifetime guarantee, they don’t show up until something bothers them. Unfortunately, many of the problems they ultimately develop could have been avoided simply by attending their regular checkups.
The bottom line is that Dr. Updegraff is “old school” with this. He wants you to be completely happy with your results, and he has found that routine follow-ups during the first year are essential to achieving this. More importantly, cornea flaps created with a blade can be lifted years later. Laser flaps, on the other hand, typically solidly bond within the first year. This is great for a long-term safety profile, but it also means that now, more than ever, any necessary retreatments should be performed within the first year.
As a private practitioner, Dr. Updegraff is always available for any of his past LASIK patients. We believe that there are no guarantees in life, but that you will be hard-pressed to find a better doctor when it comes to genuine caring and concern for your vision and eye health.
How long does LASIK last? Will I need to get it ‘tweaked’ after a few years?
We believe the perception that LASIK doesn’t last stems from three specific types of patients:
- Patients who have chronic dry eye or who use ceiling fans: Chronic dryness causes the skin cells on the surface of the cornea to thicken, like a callous, to protect the eye. This thickening reverses the flattening from LASIK, which was what improved vision after surgery. In order to prevent this, LASIK patients should be educated about how to maintain their post-LASIK vision, as well as encouraged to attend their routine eye exams to diagnose an issue before it becomes a problem.
- Hyperopic (farsighted) LASIK patients: We rarely recommend hyperopic LASIK because it steepens the cornea rather than flattening it. Instead of having a large, flat optical zone, like with nearsightedness, farsighted LASIK creates a circular groove on the outside of the cornea. Although initial results were good, over time patients “healed” in the trough with the surface epithelium (skin cells), and their vision regressed. Most of these patients require multiple retreatments, and Dr. Updegraff believes this is one of the key reasons for the perception that “LASIK doesn’t last.” Comparing farsighted LASIK to nearsighted LASIK is like comparing apples to oranges.
- Patients with cataracts: If the lens inside your eye changes shape as you age, it will change your prescription. These patients are best suited for lens implant surgery.
Does having LASIK make you see glare, starbursts, and haloes?
Think about it this way: If Dr. Updegraff performed LASIK on a piece of plastic identical to an eye, the results would be aberration-free – better than with glasses or contacts – every time. The only variable is how your eye responds to and heals after the reshaping. LASIK has drastically changed since its inception, so comparing the contemporary LASIK procedure to what was done 10 years ago is like comparing dial-up modems to today’s wireless internet.
There are other reasons for patients to experience glare, starbursts, and haloes, such as an imperfect tear film (dry eye) or the development of imperfections in the natural lens inside your eye (cataract). Also, hyperopic LASIK, which steepens rather than flattens the cornea, is much more likely to result in these low-light aberrations. Because of this, Dr. Updegraff primarily performs LASIK to correct myopia and astigmatism; he often recommends alternative procedures, such as intraocular lenses, for hyperopic patients.
The only way to know your unique risk profile is to have a consultation with Dr. Updegraff.
Does LASIK cause dry eye?
Dr. Updegraff believes the perception that LASIK causes dry eye was generated from a lack of detailed care for this group of patients, who may have actually had dry eye prior to receiving LASIK. Because they were never told or educated about their condition beforehand, they’ve forever made a direct association of their dry eye symptoms with their LASIK surgery.
Sometimes, patients with dry eye are not good LASIK candidates. However, with appropriate dry eye management before and after surgery, many can have a successful LASIK procedure. A consultation with Dr. Updegraff is essential to determine this.
I heard LASIK will make me need reading glasses. True or false?
IS LASIK RIGHT FOR ME?
Who is the ideal LASIK candidate?
In addition, an ideal patient is one who is well-informed, who has expectations that have been thoroughly discussed, and who follows all pre-operative and post-operative instructions.
How will I know if LASIK is right for me?
Dr. Updegraff will look at several factors to determine if LASIK is the best option for you. The first primary factor is whether or not you have a level of vision correction that’s within the broad range where LASIK is safe and effective. Second, the shape of your eyes and your vision should be stable; that is, you should not have had frequent changes in your prescription. Third, you must not have any underlying medical condition that would rule out performing LASIK.
Other important considerations are the thickness of your corneas and whether or not you have ever experienced dry eye. Dr. Updegraff will take all of these factors into consideration to determine whether LASIK could offer you the highest probability of the best possible outcome. He will only recommend that you have LASIK if he believes it is the best option for you.
I have astigmatism. Can I still get LASIK?
A very small group of patients with astigmatism may also have underlying corneal diseases, but during their consultations we determine that they are not LASIK candidates. Dr. Updegraff’s screening guidelines are stringent and include tests that are not routinely performed in other eye care centers, because he wants to ensure that each of his LASIK candidates will benefit from the procedure as well as have a stable, long-lasting result.
I’m farsighted (hyperopic). Can I get LASIK?
Am I too old to have LASIK?
I’m pregnant. Can I have LASIK now? What about while I’m nursing?
How many people who want LASIK end up being good candidates?
What if I’m not a candidate for LASIK?
Does Dr. Updegraff offer the latest technology?
Dr. Updegraff is now the only surgeon on Florida’s West Coast to acquire and use the new iFS laser, which is currently the fastest and most efficient femtosecond laser to create the flap. This technology, combined with individualized Wavefront-Guided Treatments – which have been tested and accepted by NASA and the military – provide one of the safest, most advanced forms of LASIK available.
I’ve heard Precision LASIK™ by Updegraff is the best, but I hear that Dr. Updegraff is more expensive.
Second, the good news is, in most cases, all LASIK fees are similar. Corporate providers often create a perception that they are less expensive and offer the same service as Dr. Updegraff. However, aninvestigative report by Channel 10 from several years ago revealed that by the time the corporate-center patient “upgraded” to options that Dr. Updegraff provides as standard, the overall cost was comparable – not to mention, they were getting a surgeon who flew into town once a month just for LASIK and was not available for any post-LASIK care.
There is also a misconception that the price for LASIK will drop over time. If anything, the cost of providing the most advanced technology has increased dramatically over the last several years. For instance, around the time Dr. Updegraff opened his practice, surgeons only needed one half-million-dollar laser with a $50,000 yearly service agreement and a per-use fee. Now, that expense is doubled by having another half-million dollar laser to make laser flaps with associated user fees.
Dr. Updegraff is committed to providing the highest-quality care at every step of your LASIK experience. We own only the best and most advanced equipment available, including Wavefront technology, Iris Recognition, and a Pentacam. Our surgical suite is climate-controlled with HEPA filters, and all procedures are performed with “sterile” techniques that are often abandoned due to cost at other facilities.
Additionally, our price covers the LASIK procedure itself and your complete post-operative care, as well as an enhancement, if necessary, within a year of your surgery. In other words, we spare no expense in making sure that you have the highest-quality surgeon, staff, and equipment available to you at all times. You only have one set of eyes, and we would never cut corners and provide sub-standard LASIK in order to offer it for a lower price. To learn more, read Why Choose Dr. Updegraff?.
To make LASIK even more affordable, we offer financing options. Also, patients often use their Flex Spending Account (FSA) dollars for LASIK. To learn more, read about Financing Precision LASIK™.
Will I have to pay extra to ‘upgrade’ to all-laser LASIK?
Even though my regular eye doctor doesn’t offer LASIK, can he or she still be involved?
What will happen during my consultation for Precision LASIK™ by Updegraff? What is the difference between a ‘consultation’ and ‘screening’?
At your consultation, a certified ophthalmic technician who has been trained with Dr. Updegraff will obtain a Wavefront image of your optical system, as well as perform corneal mapping with a Pentacam. The thickness of your corneas will be measured and analyzed in three different ways. Your corneas are then compared to thousands of matched normal and abnormal corneas to screen for subtle corneal disease that would prevent you from having LASIK. After the testing, Dr. Updegraff will review all the findings, evaluate your eyes at the microscope, and answer any questions you have. If all is well, we will perform a cycloplegic dilation (see question below) as one last safety check and to look and make sure the back of the eye is healthy. Plan on taking two hours for the entire consultation.
For those who don’t have two hours and want to know if they are preliminarily a “LASIK candidate,” a quick 30-minute screening is available with our optometrist. While this doesn’t replace a complete consultation, it can help some people formulate a plan to have LASIK in the future, now they know they are likely a candidate.
What is the purpose of the dilated exam? Will I be able to drive home afterwards?
Cycloplegic dilation can last up to 48 hours. Most nearsighted patients are able to drive home or go to work after the dilated exam. However, far-sighted patients will most likely need someone to drive them home. If you are concerned about driving after the dilation, it’s best to bring someone with you who can drive you home. We will also provide you with a pair of disposable sunglasses to cut down on glare.
How long will my Precision LASIK™ by Updegraff consultation last?
Can I come in for a consultation and then get LASIK later that day?
How long do I need to go without wearing my contacts before I can get LASIK?
It isn’t necessary to keep out your contact lenses prior to your LASIK consultation. Many places will request you do so, but it can save you time if you know you are a suitable candidate for LASIK prior to enduring the hassle of being out of your contacts. However, if you plan to schedule your surgery immediately, you might want to get a head start by removing your contacts as per the above general guidelines.
DAY OF SURGERY
What do I have to do to prepare for my LASIK surgery?
How long will I be here on the day of my LASIK surgery? How long does LASIK take?
Will Dr. Updegraff perform my LASIK surgery?
Where will my LASIK surgery be performed?
Will Dr. Updegraff perform LASIK on both my eyes on the same day?
Will it hurt to get LASIK?
Dr. Updegraff will talk you through each step, and one of our team members will hold your hand during your procedure as an extra level of comfort. Because Dr. Updegraff is extremely comfortable performing LASIK and he enjoys his work, patients often say his calm demeanor and voice are very comforting to them. In fact, many patients who were so “eye sensitive” that they couldn’t even wear contacts have said it was easier than having a dental cleaning!
Will I be conscious during my LASIK surgery?
What will my recovery be like?
How soon can I go back to work after my LASIK surgery?
After having LASIK, how long do I need to wait before I can work out?
Is there anything I should avoid doing after I’ve had LASIK?
This causes patients to think their “LASIK isn’t working,” even years after the surgery. But if they turn the fans off and use an over-the-counter gel at night, the majority of these patients are able to return to their previous post-LASIK vision.
This can even affect those who haven’t had LASIK – these patients are largely overlooked, and instead are given a “new” glasses prescription at an optical outlet, never realizing what is actually going on.
After I have LASIK, will I ever need glasses again?
In our 20s and 30s to 40s, our natural lens changes its shape – it thickens like a magnifying glass – to help us see up close. So, when you are young and using contacts for distance, your natural lens is helping you see up close. This is no different for LASIK. As we age and the lens loses its ability to flex, we may all eventually need reading glasses to see up close.
Can I still develop cataracts after having LASIK? If so, will I be able to treat them?
What about LASIK retreatments? I hear lots of different percentages from place to place… what does it all mean? Who’s to say it will work a second time?
Second, if a surgeon or center ever says they have a 100% rate of anything and no retreatments – run. This makes no sense and is currently not possible. Quoted percentages vary because the philosophy of some places is simply getting the patient to “20/happy” rather than to their best possible vision. With Precision LASIK™ by Updegraff, on the other hand, we encourage patients to address any leftover prescription within three to six months of the initial surgery, rather than to ignore it and have it become a problem years later.
Again, retreatments should not be looked at negatively, because they are an important part of making LASIK patients satisfied with their vision. Retreatments can be expensive and time-consuming for a facility. Precision LASIK™ by Updegraff takes the approach of addressing this head-on rather than avoiding it and having to address it years later. In the long run, it is not only the “right” thing to do, it has proven to increase our patient satisfaction and word-of-mouth for our practice. The cost and time associated with performing retreatments are actually an investment in patient satisfaction.
Third, reducing or eliminating the need for retreatments has always been a goal with Precision LASIK™. Dr. Updegraff has a strong belief in developing safety systems and repetition. Anyone who has played a sport competitively knows that, whether it’s a golf swing or a tennis stroke, practice is the key to becoming proficient. This philosophy transfers to LASIK in that the laser technology is incredibly accurate, but there are other variables that can be controlled by the surgeon. From the environment in which the lasers are kept and how they are maintained, to how the surgeon manipulates the tissue, the details can matter.
Precision LASIK™ by Updegraff has focused on these variables for over a decade, minimizing their impact on your outcome. This is evident in the facility and technologies Dr. Updegraff continues to invest back into, as well as in the professional staff – most of whom have been with him for over a decade – who are continuously refining and improving their delivery of your LASIK surgery and care.