Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have questions about the surgical procedures, treatments or services that we offer? Below is a list of some frequently asked questions, but please feel free to call our office if you need additional information. We are always pleased to assist you.

How do I know if I am a candidate for refractive surgery?

If you suffer from nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism, you are probably a candidate for one of the refractive surgery procedures offered by Atlantic Eye. Because we offer a “menu” of refractive surgery techniques, nearly every one of our patients who wear glasses or contacts is a potential candidate. If you are considering refractive surgery, you will have the opportunity to meet with your surgeon during your free screening. He will discuss your options with you, and if you decide to have a corrective procedure, a complete eye examination utilizing sophisticated diagnostic equipment will be performed in our office.

What is laser assisted in-situ keratomileusis, or LASIK?

LASIK combines the precision of the excimer laser delivery system with the rapid recovery associated with lamellar keratoplasty. First, a thin layer of the superficial cornea (known as the flap or cap) is lifted up as the microkeratome glides across the cornea. After the thin corneal flap is folded back, the same excimer laser is used to reshape the deeper tissue of the cornea. The LASIK procedure is currently used to treat nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. After the underlying corneal tissue has been reshaped, the flap is placed back into the original position. Because of the cornea’s extraordinary bonding qualities, healing is rapid and does not require stitches. The entire procedure takes about 15 minutes. Our surgeon uses only the most advanced Visx Star CustomVue Wavefront-guided Laser with all recent hardware and software updates, to provide patients with the best possible results. This laser, as well as the LASIK procedure, is FDA approved.

What is Advanced Surface Ablation, or ASA?

Laser photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) was approved by the FDA in October 1995, and PRK is also performed using an excimer laser. This laser produces cool light energy that precisely removes microscopic amounts of corneal tissue. With PRK, laser energy is delivered to the surface of the cornea without the creation of a flap, as in LASIK. The laser “sculpts” the cornea to produce a new curvature; for nearsightedness and astigmatism, the laser is used to flatten the central corneal curvature. To treat farsightedness (hyperopia), the laser can be used to cause central corneal steepening. ASA is the previous PRK procedure but reflects recent advancements such as mitomycin application to improve the healing response. It is particularly well suited for patients with thinner corneas. ASA and LASIK patients may both undergo simultaneous (bilateral) procedures. LASIK is usually a better choice when considering simultaneous surgery. Our practice performs over 95% LASIK due to its quicker healing and minimal to no discomfort.

What is Refractive Lensectomy or Clear Lens Extraction (CLE)?

For certain patients with very high degrees of farsightedness or nearsightedness, Excimer laser treatment might not be the best option. Clear Lens Extraction is a surgical procedure similar to cataract surgery, where the natural lens is removed from the eye and replaced with a more appropriate-powered biocompatible lens implant. This 15-minute procedure is also performed with just numbing eye drops, and no stitches are required. Recovery is quite rapid. In addition, patients who have this procedure will never develop a cataract.

What is a Multifocal IOL (IntraOcular Lens)?

In 2005 the FDA approved of two new-technology IOL’s (ReZoom and Restor) that allow patients to see clearly not only far away, but also at intermediate and close distances. Atlantic Eye can offer you these exciting new lens options with cataract surgery or refractive lensectomy. Many patients find that they no longer rely on corrective lenses following this procedure.

What is Astigmatic Keratotomy (“AK”)?

Astigmatism is a “warpage” or irregular shape to the cornea, which causes light that enters your eye to not come to a clear focus onto the retina as it should. Astigmatic keratotomy (AK) is a procedure that uses a precision diamond instrument to create “relaxing incisions” on the cornea, which allows it to become more spherical in shape. It can be used in patients with pure astigmatism as a refractive procedure, and can also be combined with cataract surgery in patients that have both cataracts and corneal astigmatism, to allow a better or clearer result.

Can I have both my eyes done at the same time?

Patients undergoing Clear Lens Extraction or phakic IOL’s usually wait 1 to 3 weeks or so between eyes, as it may take that long for your vision to clear up. However, most patients who have either LASIK, ASA or AK, do have simultaneous (bilateral) procedures.

Can you actually feel or see the procedure while it is being performed?

With these procedures, the patient’s eye is numbed with topical anesthetic drops so no pain or sensation is felt. A device called a lid speculum is inserted to prevent blinking. Patients undergoing LASIK will have their vision become dark for approximately 30 seconds during the microkeratome step of the procedure. Patients are asked to look at a blinking red light during the actual laser application. Fixating on the blinking light assists the physician with maintaining centration of the laser beam. The laser itself is not visible while the procedure is being performed. It does produce a ticking noise but is painless. Recovery after is painless in nearly all cases. Many patients have discomfort in the first 48 hours following ASA, which is controlled with eye drops or pain-relievers, but no pain relievers are needed for the other refractive surgery options.

Why shouldn’t I go to a “discount” Laser center?

Not all LASIK procedures are the same! LASIK is a very sophisticated procedure that requires a great deal of surgical skill and knowledge. There are ways to “cut corners” with the procedure – methods that we will never take. Many different lasers are available at different costs (we use the best and most expensive model that is updated continuously with the most recent hardware and software available today). We do not reuse single-use only supplies, such as the blade which creates the LASIK flap. Being the first in Myrtle Beach to perform the LASIK procedure, Atlantic Eye has a great deal of experience that helps you achieve the best possible results for your eyes. We do not take any short cuts with your treatment, and we don’t think you should settle for less. Can I drive myself home following refractive surgery?

No. It is mandatory to have a designated driver on the day that you are treated. However, many patients are able to drive by the next day.

What types of medications will I be on postoperatively?

Typically patients use antibiotic and anti-inflammatory eye drops following treatment. The drops help to prevent infection and assist in comfort. Patients are typically required to use medications four times a day for one week after LASIK and Intacs, and for one to three months following PRK. These are provided by our office.

Do I have to discontinue wearing contact lenses prior to the procedure?

Soft contact lens wearers should discontinue wearing lenses 14 days prior to their initial exam and surgery. Gas permeable contact lens wearers or hard lens wearers must discontinue lenses for 4 weeks prior to their initial exam and/or surgery. This allows your eye to return to its natural shape so that the measurements that are taken are as accurate as possible.

How often am I seen postoperatively?

Patients are seen one day, 1-2 weeks, three months, and six months to one year postoperatively. The cost of these visits is included in the surgical fee, as is an extensive pre-operative examination.

What can I expect after refractive surgery?

Most patients experience minimal to no discomfort following refractive surgery. After LASIK, most patients are able to resume normal activities by the next day. In order to ensure optimal healing, a few simple restrictions are recommended: No eye rubbing for 1 week No eye makeup 48 hours before the operation, or for 1 week after the procedure No underwater swimming for one week. In addition, it is advisable that appropriate eye protection be worn if you participate in contact sports; this usually involves the use of polycarbonate glasses or goggles.

I am interested in refractive surgery. What do I do next?

If you are interested in refractive surgery, your next step should be to contact Atlantic Eye at (843) 651-8200. We offer free Laser Vision Consultations to patients interested in these procedures, which includes an opportunity for you to ask questions and talk with your surgeon. We look forward to helping you to see your world clearly without the hassle of corrective lenses!