Ask us about IntraLASIK, implantable contacts, and ReSTOR / ReZOOM surgery!


INTRALASIK Frequently Asked Questions

What is LASIK?
What is IntraLASIK? Is it different than LASIK?
Has anyone experienced blindness from laser vision correction?
What are the risks of IntraLASIK surgery?
What are the long term effects of IntraLASIK surgery?
Does the procedure take long and will I miss work?
Does the IntraLASIK procedure hurt?
How will I care for my eyes after surgery?
Can I expect to see 20/20 immediately after surgery?
Does the IntraLASIK correct Presbyopia (over 40 near vision)?
What is monovision?
Will I need to be retreated?
What is CUSTOM treatment?
What are the benefits of CUSTOM treatment?
What are the risks of CUSTOM treatment?
Is there more than one type of CUSTOM treatment?
How is the corneal flap made?
How can I find out more and/or make an appointment for an evaluation?
Where will I have my surgery?




What is LASIK?
LASIK stands for Laser In Situ Keratomileusis. This procedure uses the excimer laser technology introduced in the 1980s. Today it is used to surgically correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. A thin flap of cornea is lifted back and the laser beam is used to reshape the inner tissue. The flap is then replaced and heals in its normal position. The cornea's new shape allows light images to focus properly on the retina without the aid of contact lenses or eye glasses. The procedure does not eliminate the need for reading glasses in most cases.



What is IntraLASIK? Is it different than LASIK?
The term IntraLASIK was coined when we began to make the corneal flap with a laser called IntraLase rather than a microkeratome (see question below about making flaps). It simply combines the terminology of LASIK (using the excimer laser to reshape the cornea to eliminate corrective lenses) and IntraLase (using a laser to make the corneal flap). If one performs IntraLASIK, then one uses both lasers to complete the procedure.

back to top


Has anyone experienced blindness from laser vision correction?
Over 10 million eyes have undergone laser vision correction in the United States since the first procedure in 1987, and there is no reported incident of blindness in any of our over 50 TLC centers or anywhere on the North American continent.



What are the risks of IntraLASIK surgery?
Like any surgical procedure, you should be fully aware of the risks. Fortunately, complications are rare with the techniques which we use at our center and serious problems occur in less than 1% of procedures. Potential complications include pain, blurriness, infection, night glare and halos, haze or scarring in the cornea, overcorrection and undercorrection, flap complications and irregularities, ingrowth of surface cells, dry eye syndrome, keratoectasia (cornea thinning), and others. We will thoroughly educate you about and review with you the risks of the procedure.



What are the long term effects of IntraLASIK surgery?
So far there are no long term side effects which have been identified. The first patient treated with excimer laser in 1987 is still 20/20 today. Keratomileusis has been performed since the 1940's without long term consequence. Most of the problems with LASIK occur within the first six months after surgery and it is felt that the results you achieve by one year will remain.

back to top


Does the procedure take long and will I miss work?
The actual surgery takes 10 to 15 minutes per eye and usually both eyes are treated on the same day. Most patients are back to work within 2-3 days after the surgery day.



Does the IntraLASIK procedure hurt?
Numbing drops are used and, if desired, a sedative can be given before surgery. You may feel some pressure but there is no pain. After surgery, there is usually burning and stinging for several hours and then mild irritation like dust in your eye, light sensitivity, and tearing for a few days. Pain can occur but is unusual.



How will I care for my eyes after surgery?
Immediately after surgery and for several days you will be using eye drops to prevent infection and promote healing. You should try to close your eyes as much as possible for several hours following the surgery. You should keep the eyes covered at night with eye shields for the first week. Rubbing and squeezing the eyes should be avoided for the first week. Artificial tear eye drops are helpful for dryness and healing for the first several weeks after surgery.

back to top


Can I expect to see 20/20 immediately after surgery?
The vision will be better after surgery almost immediately in most cases, but still quite fuzzy. It will clear over the first day, but may take as long as 6 to 8 weeks for the final last bit to improve. However, most people are driving and reading the day after surgery and back to work in 2 to 3 days. No patient should expect exactly 20/20 in both eyes although many achieve this. It is not necessary to have exactly 20/20 vision in both eyes to be very happy with the results and independent of corrective lenses for distance vision activities.



Does IntraLASIK correct Presbyopia (over 40 near vision)?
At this time, excimer laser technology does not prevent or correct the near vision changes which occur after the age of 40 in humans. These physiologic changes are going to occur regardless of having laser surgery. Monovision (see below) is one technique used to deal with presbyopia. There is a procedure called NearVisionCK (see website) which can be performed for presbyopia. These techniques do not correct presbyopia but delay the need for reading glasses for many years and sometimes permanently.



What is monovision?
Monovision is a technique using either contact lenses, intraocular lens implants, or laser vision correction to correct one eye (the dominant eye) for distance and the other non-dominant eye for near. If one is successful with this technique using contact lenses, then it is very likely that one will be successful with monovision created with laser vision correction. Glasses for near vision assistance may still be needed for very small print or later in life. With this technique, the near eye is blurry at distance but the brain is able to balance the disparity between the two eyes. A trial of monovision contact lenses is usually suggested for interested patients before proceeding with monovision laser vision correction.

back to top


Will I need to be retreated?
Less than 1.5% of our patients will need more treatment for full correction with what is called an enhancement procedure. When needed, this is usually performed 4 to 6 months after surgery. Either the flap is relifted or a PRK method is used to treat the cornea on the surface, and the laser is used to reshape a fraction more tissue.



What is CUSTOM treatment?
From 1996, when the excimer laser was first approved for use in the US by the FDA, until 2003, all treatment procedures were performed using what is now referred to as "conventional" or "traditional" treatment. Measurements of the so-called Lower Order Aberrations (LOAs) such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism were used to calculate the number of pulses of laser energy needed to reshape the cornea enough to make one independent of corrective lenses for distance vision. These pulses were applied to the entire surface in a mostly uniform fashion within the desired treatment zone to correct these LOAs. In 2003, the FDA approved the use in the US of "Custom" treatment for myopia and astigmatism in the low to moderate ranges only. "Custom" treatment as it is called is a newer way of both measuring and treating the human visual system to eliminate refractive error. It takes advantage of astrophysical technology used to produce telescopes designed for viewing distance stars and the spaces beyond. The system uses "wavefront" technology to measure and treat not only LOAs but also Higher Order Aberrations (HOAs) such as coma, spherical aberration, trefoil and others. HOAs are not taken into account when evaluating and treating the optical system with conventional LASIK treatment. The "waveprint" (or fingerprint of the eye as some have called it) measurement takes readings at almost 200 different points in the visual system and then calculates the number of pulses needed to treat the cornea at each of these 200 points to get an individualized treatment for the visual profile of each eye. These measurements are then used to design an individualized treatment program for each eye. The treatment program is transferred from the wavescan machine to the laser computer. The laser is directed by the surgeon to deliver the designed program to the specific cornea. Custom treatment can now be used for all distance vision corrections (myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism).

back to top


What are the benefits of CUSTOM treatment?
The bottom line results of the advanced technology as it affects the outcomes are proving to be the following:
(1) greater chance for a 20/20 outcome

(2) better quality of overall vision, presumably due to treating both the LOAs and HOAs

(3) better quality of nighttime vision

(4) less need for enhancements



What are the risks of CUSTOM treatment?
The procedure, the risks, and the complications of laser vision correction surgery are the same whether performed with conventional vs. custom methods. Both conventional and custom treatments can be used with either LASIK (flap) or PRK (surface) techniques.



Is there more than one type of CUSTOM treatment?
There are presently several platforms approved by the FDA in the US for delivering Custom treatment. These basically amount to several different companies offering their own version of the technology. All have slightly different methods and devices with slightly different applications of the technology. All had similar results and outcomes as well as risks in their own FDA trials. Therefore, all accomplish the same results by slightly different means. At TLC/Charlotte, we use exclusively for Custom treatment the CUSTOMVUE system by VISX, which happens to be the most commonly used system worldwide.

back to top


How is the corneal flap made?
Presently, two methods for flap creation dominate the technology. Since December 2003, our method of choice is the INTRALASE system, a bladeless technique using a femtosecond near-infrared laser. The IntraLase system is a less invasive, computer controlled approach with a unique level of precision which results in flaps which are more predictable and consistent in size, shape and depth; this technique further reduces the risk of complication. The procedure commonly causes a mild pressure sensation, but rarely if ever causes pain or discomfort. Time is showing us that we are getting better visual results with this system and it is approximately 10 times safer than blade technology.


How can I find out more and / or make an appointment for an evaluation?
Dr. Jaben will do your LASIK evaluation, help you decide if you are a candidate, determine the procedure that is right for you, and discuss your expectations. You may call 704-295-3777 and leave a voicemail message for Dr. Jaben's Refractive Surgery Coordinator, KARON PETTY, to assist you with your questions and concerns or you may contact her via her email address at kpetty@ceenta.com.



Where will I have my surgery?
Dr. Jaben performs all laser vision correction procedures at the TLC Laser Eye Center in Charlotte located in the Charlotte Eye Ear Nose and Throat Associates office building at 6035 Fairview Road in the SouthPasrk area.



back to top

        copyright Scott L. Jaben, M.D.