What Happens At A LASIK Consultation?
Before choosing to have elective LASIK vision correction surgery, it is essential that you have a comprehensive eye exam and LASIK consultation.
The eye exam may be performed separately by your family eye doctor, and your LASIK surgeon will repeat measurements that are important for the surgical decision making. Or your LASIK surgeon can perform your entire LASIK exam and consultation. It's also possible to get both the exam and consultation done on surgery day by your LASIK surgeon or an eye doctor employed by the surgeon or laser center.
During the comprehensive eye exam, your doctor will determine your eyeglass prescription and evaluate of the health of your eyes to make sure you are a good candidate for LASIK. Your pupils will be dilated during this exam — both to thoroughly examine the interior of your eyes and to relax the focusing mechanism of the eye to get the most accurate measurement of your refractive error.
If you have your LASIK consultation on the same day as your surgery, it's important to realize your eyes will not be dilated on that day because the pupil dilation could affect the positioning of the laser beam over the center of your cornea. If your surgeon feels a dilated eye exam is necessary, it will be performed on a day other than your surgery day.
If it is determined that you are not a good candidate for LASIK, your eye doctor might recommend another procedure, such as PRK or refractive lens exchange.
During the pre-op consultation, additional measurements of your eyes will be taken to confirm you are a good candidate for the procedure.
In particular, because LASIK reshapes the clear front surface of the eye (cornea), detailed corneal topography measurements of the shape and thickness of your corneas will be performed to confirm it is safe for you to have LASIK surgery.
An analysis of your tear film will be performed to detect any possible dry eye problems and treat them prior to LASIK surgery to avoid dryness-related complications.
Also, a close inspection of your eyelids will be performed to detect and treat any blepharitis that could increase your risk of LASIK complications.
A simple test to determine your dominant eye also will be performed. This is especially important if you have presbyopia and are considering monovision LASIK so you have less need for reading glasses after surgery.
During your LASIK consultation, the cost of LASIK will be explained, which depends on the type of LASIK technology used or recommended. Custom LASIK, for example, generally will cost more than a standard LASIK procedure. Many LASIK surgeons and laser surgery centers offer special financing to make all types of LASIK more affordable.
If it is determined during your eye exam or pre-op consultation that you are not a good candidate for LASIK, your eye doctor might recommend an alternative vision correction procedure, such as PRK, refractive lens exchange or phakic IOL implantation.
About the Author: Vance Thompson, MD, FACS, is the director of refractive surgery at Vance Thompson Vision in Sioux Falls, S.D. He also is professor of ophthalmology at the Sanford USD School of Medicine, a leading researcher in technologies for laser and implant vision correction and a member of All About Vision's editorial advisory board.
Page updated May 2018