2440 Ravine Way, Suites 500-600
Glenview, IL 60025

Phone: 847.724.9400

LASIK

WHAT IS LASIK?

Over 3 million people have undergone LASIK, the vision correcting surgical procedure that is designed to eliminate the need for glasses and contact lenses. During LASIK, which stands for laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis, an excimer laser reshapes the corneal surface to treat near-sightedness (myopia), far-sightedness (hyperopia), and astigmatism. Dr. Cunningham uses the latest technology and performs LASIK at Glenbrook Hospital’s Eye and Vision Center. 

WHAT WOULD I EXPECT DURING SURGERY?

Patients are awake during LASIK, and eye-drops are used to anesthetize the eye. Dr. Cunningham often uses a mild anti-anxiety medication to help her patients relax. She then creates a thin flap of corneal tissue with an instrument called a microkeratome. This flap is reflected back and the laser ablates a pre-set amount of corneal tissue based on computer-controlled software. Patients fixate on a light during the laser application, which takes less than a minute in most cases. The corneal flap is then repositioned into its original place without the need for stitches or an eye patch. We do not co-manage our LASIK patients with other doctors so you can expect that all of your care will be done by Dr. Cunningham

HOW DOES THE EXCIMER LASER WORK?

The excimer laser uses ultraviolet light to remove microscopic amounts of tissue from the cornea. The near-sighted person will achieve a flatter cornea, the far-sighted person will achieve a steeper cornea, and astigmatic patients will achieve a more spherical cornea. The laser is controlled by a computer, and the desired change in refractive error is influenced by highly accurate software and corneal topography. 

IS LASIK PAINFUL?

The surgery itself is not painful. Most people report no discomfort, but a few will have a scratchy or dry sensation following the procedure for a couple of days. Most patients can return to routine activity and work the following day.

WHAT IF I CAN’T RELAX DURING THE TREATMENT?

As the patient, you must fixate on a light during the laser application. Dr. Cunningham often prescribes a mild anti-anxiety medication to be taken on arrival to the Eye and Vision Center. This seems to take the edge off for many people. Dr. Cunningham also monitors your fixation carefully, and the laser stops firing if eye movement is detected by the laser’s computer. Most people have no difficulty holding still and fixating for the short duration of laser time, in most cases less than 60 seconds. 

IS LASER VISION CORRECTION PERMANENT?

The change in corneal shape and refractive error is permanent. You should expect that over time your refractive error may change only slightly, as it would even if you did not have LASIK, but large changes would not be expected. It is important to discuss the possible need for reading glasses in your early 40’s, and to discuss options for being truly “glasses-free” such as mono-vision. 

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF LASIK?

The most obvious benefit of LASIK is reducing or eliminating the need for glasses and contact lenses. Because the laser treatment is done under a protective corneal flap, there is only a small amount of tissue to heal. Most people have both eyes done at the same time with little to no discomfort and a quick recovery. 

IS LASER VISION CORRECTION SAFE?

The FDA has found laser vision correction to be safe in carefully selected patients with proper follow up. As with any surgical procedure there are always risks involved. The risks of a bad outcome are minimal, and Dr. Cunningham will do a thorough evaluation and highlight these risks for you, as well as answer any questions you may have. 

AM I A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR LASIK?

Good candidates for LASIK must be 18 years old, and have a stable eyeglass or contact lens prescription for at least two years. There are certain systemic diseases that must be discussed and could pose problems if LASIK is performed. There are several eye conditions that must be ruled out with a comprehensive exam prior to proceeding with LASIK. There are a few medications that should be stopped prior to LASIK. The decision to undergo LASIK requires a detailed visit with attention to many of the possible risks as well as the obvious benefits.