LASIK is actually an abbreviation for “Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis.” It is a laser eye surgery pioneered in the 1970s to treat nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism in patients. This outpatient medical procedure is a vision corrective surgery done with lasers to reshape the cornea to better focus light onto the retina.

Eyeglasses or contact lenses are most often used to correct this refraction error, bending the light so it focuses on the retina for improved vision. LASIK provides a surgical alternative to wearing glasses and contact lenses.

Optometrist Consultation for LASIK

Our licensed optometrists at Custom Eyes can provide an eye examination as a preliminary evaluation of whether or not our patients might qualify for this laser vision correction. Before a patient can have the refractive surgery.

An optometry evaluation for a laser refractive surgery will consist of:

  • Medical history of patient health
  • Cornea evaluation for healthy tear film
  • Eye refraction test
  • Optic nerve and macula examination with pupil dilation
  • Optical scanning for precise imaging of the cornea’s shape, thickness, and curvature

While we can evaluate the health of our patients’ eyes, we cannot perform the LASIK surgery since that is performed by an ophthalmologist.

Difference Between Ophthalmologist and Optometrist

Optometrists are certified as “Doctors of Optometry,” serving as a primary care provider for eye and vision care needs. As trained eye doctors, we can examine, diagnose, treat and manage diseases and disorders of the eye. Additionally, optometrists provide prescriptions for glasses and contacts to correct any shortcomings in a patient’s vision.

Alternatively, Ophthalmologists are medical doctors who are trained and certified to perform medical and surgical interventions for various eye conditions. This “surgery” component is why optometrists can’t perform your LASIK procedure.

Qualifying for LASIK Surgery

Despite being a safe procedure with a 40-year history, LASIK surgery is still not for everyone. The American Academy of Ophthalmology has set some minimum standards for good candidate for LASIK:

  • Refraction error must be able to be corrected with LASIK
  • Candidate needs to be 18 years or older
  • Candidate’s eyes should be in good health, with thick and healthy corneas
  • Candidate’s eye prescription over the past year must have remained stable and unchanged for the past 12 month
  • Candidate must understand what LASIK can and cannot do.

Since having eyes that are “in good health” can depend on a lot of factors, it’s important to have a thorough look at the total health of a potential surgery candidate.

Optometry Tests Done before LASIK

Since healthy eyes are necessary for successful LASIK outcomes, most of the optometry exams are similar to our Comprehensive Eye Exam, which we perform to evaluate your eyes’ health.

  • Vision acuity test
  • Cover test
  • Internal eye pressure
  • Ocular motility for eye muscle capabilities
  • Color blindness
  • Eye coordination
  • Depth perception
  • Peripheral vision
  • Color vision
  • Internal eye pressure
  • Ocular refraction
  • Responsiveness to light
  • Corneal topography mapping

For those suffering from chronic health problems like diabetes, glaucoma, heart disease, or hypertension, the laser cuts that reshape the cornea will need healthy blood circulation and hydration  to avoid corneal complications, like infection, inflammation,  or irregular flaps.

LASIK Post-Op Co-Management

Postoperative care is important for long-term eye care. While the ophthalmologist knows the surgical procedure, the optometrist knows the patient. This is where “co-management” comes into focus in a patient’s post op care. The term may be new in the medical field but the approach is not. In the transfer of care of a patient. What’s critical in post-op co-management for optometrists is good communication.
The optometrist needs to monitor the patient and assist the ophthalmologist in ensuring the long-term success of a patient’s LASIK surgery. We provide various options for patients who need to come in for an evaluation.