Frequently Asked Questions - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

 

The Basics

What is LASIK?
Now the refractive surgery procedure of choice for ophthalmologists worldwide, LASIK (Laser in-situ Keratomileusis) corrects nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. During the brief procedure, a thin layer of the cornea is lifted, creating a "flap" that stays connected on one side. The excimer laser then reshapes the cornea with a cool, ultraviolet light. The "flap" is returned to its original position for a quick, natural recovery.

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What is PRK?
PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy) is also laser surgery to correct nearsightedness and astigmatism. An excimer laser beam is used to reshape the front of the cornea. The laser beam removes small amounts of tissue from the front of the cornea. This differs from RK, which uses a knife to make deep cuts around the center of the cornea. The recovery time after PRK is a little bit longer than LASIK, although for a few individuals this procedure is indicated.

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What is nearsightedness?
In nearsightedness (myopia), the curvature of the cornea is too steep, causing light rays to focus short of the retina. The result is a blurry view of distance objects.

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What is astigmatism?
Astigmatism can exist alone or in combination with nearsightedness or farsightedness.  With this condition your cornea is oval-shaped like a football, instead of round, causing distortion when the eye tries to focus.

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What is farsightedness?
Farsightedness (hyperopia) occurs when the curvature of the cornea is too flat and light rays entering the eye focus behind the retina, resulting in a blurred image of near objects. 

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How much does Laser Vision Correction cost?
You can have LASIK for approximately $88 per month (no money down) if you choose to take advantage of the Vision Fee Plan, a creative payment plan that has enabled many patients to have laser vision correction who would not have otherwise been able to. Our charge is $2,000 per eye for the surgery, which includes all of your post-operative follow-up and any enhancements needed for up to one year. Your pre-operative examination fee of $100 is NOT included in that price. Our office accepts Master Card, VISA, Discover, American Express, checks and money orders. When patients think about the total cost of glasses, contact lenses, solutions, etc., the advantages of these procedures are numerous. See our savings calculator to find out just what your savings over time can be!

Vision Fee Plan

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Is Laser Vision Correction covered by insurance?
Generally, it is not covered by insurance, but we recommend that patients check with their individual insurance company. The fee may be used as a tax deduction and also qualifies for corporate flexible spending plans for out-of-pocket medical expenses.

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Does it hurt?
No, the actual excimer laser procedure does not hurt. With LASIK, some patients do experience discomfort for several hours after the procedure, which gradually dissipates and virtually disappears by the next day.

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What are the side effects?
As with any treatment or procedure, there are risks, even though they are rare. The risks and benefits will be thoroughly explained to the patient by a professional staff member during the pre-operative evaluation and again by Dr. Swan prior to the procedure.

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How long will I be off work?
You can have the procedure and be back to your normal day-to-day activities very quickly. Most patients return to work the day after the procedure. During the screening appointment we will discuss this with you so that you know your options.

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Does it really work?
YES! Over 2 million laser vision correction procedures have been performed around the world. The majority of our patients who have had LASIK or PRK are able to function comfortably without glasses or contact lenses, except for reading glasses in those over 40.

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Questions to ask your Laser Vision Correction provider when considering Laser Vision Correction

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How many procedures has the surgeon performed and how extensive is his training?
Our answer:
You want a very experienced surgeon performing surgery on your eyes. So do we. Dr. John Swan, our fellowship-trained corneal surgeon, has been a refractive surgeon for 12 years, performing exclusively laser surgery the last four, and has performed more than 2,000 LASIK/PRK procedures. In addition, Dr. Swan has performed thousands of cataracts and corneal transplants. 

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Will I be able to meet the surgeon, and will he be involved in the pre-surgical planning?
Our answer:
At some centers you may not meet the surgeon until the day of the surgery. We know this is a very important decision for you; we want you to feel comfortable and be well informed. During your surgical conference you will meet Dr. Swan, who will explain the procedure and answer any questions you may have. Dr. Swan and Dr. Fred Setzer, our Director of Refractive Services, work together in the pre-operative treatment planning.

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Do you offer free educational sessions?
Our answer:
Our Laser Vision Team's job is to educate you about all of your options based upon your prescription and personal needs. We offer a free screening to determine if you are a candidate, educate you on your options and answer any questions you may have. Click here to schedule a free screening.

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Will I be able to speak with someone who has had the surgery?
Our answer:
We feel it is important to reach a certain comfort level regarding the procedure. What better way than to meet or speak with someone who has actually had the procedure? Dr. Swan has performed LASIK on 12 of our employees, all of whom would be happy to speak with you. We can also provide you with a list of some of our patients who have expressed a willingness to talk to people like yourself who are considering laser vision correction. We can even match you with someone of similar pre-op prescription and age.

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What type of diagnostic testing do you perform to determine if I am a candidate?
Our answer:
A complete dilated examination is required prior to surgery to insure that you are a good candidate for this procedure. During this examination we also perform corneal topography, which "maps" your corneal surface, pachymetry, which measures the thickness of the cornea, and a measurement of your pupil size. We have a team of highly experienced professionals who work together to complete this process.

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Is this procedure performed in Montgomery or will I have to travel?
Our answer:
The procedure is performed in the Montgomery Eye Laser Center at Montgomery Eye Physicians Sturbridge at 8131 Seaton Place off of Vaughn Road. For a tour of our Laser Center, call 323-1889.

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How long has the center been in the area?
Our answer:
Many surgical centers are just opening up and may not be around for five years. We have been offering ophthalmic care in this area for over 55 years. Our practice utilizes the Montgomery Eye Surgery Center, a fully equipped and state-certified facility for intraocular surgery and the Montgomery Eye Laser Center, housing the only permanent laser in this area for our LASIK procedures. We will be happy to take care of you after you have had LASIK if you don't already have an eye doctor. 

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What kind of laser does the surgeon use and how long has he/she been using this type of laser?
Our answer:
In the U.S., it is illegal to use a laser other than one that is FDA-approved. We use the Visx S3 ActiveTrak excimer laser. Visx is a U.S.-based company that invented the excimer laser technology. The number one choice among U.S. ophthalmologists, VISX has the most extensive track record and clinical expertise in the U.S. The Montgomery Eye Laser Center is committed to maintaining the most up-to-date equipment available for our patients. Our laser technician is a Visx-certified technician who calibrates the laser after every four treatments to maintain excellent treatment quality. Dr. Swan has performed more than 2,000 procedures using a VISX laser.

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What is the surgeon's enhancement rate?
Our answer:

When you come in for a consultation, we can tell you what your chances are of needing an enhancement, what types of complications you may experience and what outcome you may expect. Overall we need to enhance or retreat less than five percent of our patients. 

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What are the complications?
Our answer:
Most complications related to LASIK do not result in significant loss of best-corrected visual acuity, which is the vision you currently have with your glasses or contacts. It is important for all of our patients to understand that LASIK is a surgical procedure and complications can occur. The Laser Vision Team will review all possible complications with you during your screening and pre-operative examination.

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Do you offer financing and what are the interest rates?
Our answer:
We accept all major credit cards, checks and money orders. Laser Vision Correction is considered a non-covered medical expense for those individuals with access to flexible spending plans. We also offer financing options through Vision Fee Plan. Vision Fee Plan offers a very attractive plan that does not require a down payment and payments as low as $88 a month. With enough of a down payment, your payments can be as low as $68 a month. The interest rate is between 9.99% and 12.99%.
Vision Fee Plan

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Does the surgeon offer other refractive surgery options to meet specific individual needs?
Our answer:
Dr. Swan offers a variety of refractive surgery options, clear lens extractions with the Array lens, in addition to PRK and LASIK.

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