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The purpose of this blog is to inform, update, and at times to entertain you about your eyesight and the happenings around Pacific Eye Specialists.

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Is LASIK Surgery Safe?

Posted by administration on August 16, 2016

Is_LASIK_Safe.jpgAlthough LASIK eye surgery results have continued to improve since the early days of the procedure, some potential LASIK candidates still wonder if LASIK surgery is safe.

LASIK eye surgery is one of the most popular elective procedures performed today, and it offers many benefits that can improve your overall quality of life. Due to the latest technology and the skills of experienced LASIK surgeons such as our doctors at Pacific Eye Specialists, millions of Americans are less dependent on their contact lenses and glasses.

The surgery has an excellent safety record, but as with any surgery post-operative complications can occur. A very small percentage of patients may require an enhancement or touch up procedure to improve their vision to the desired level. Additionally, due to presbyopia, some LASIK eye surgery patients may still need reading glasses once they reach middle-age (40 to 50) due to a normal age related loss of near vision.  Overall, LASIK eye surgery is safe and has a significantly high success rate, but it is important to discuss and consider all the risks with your surgeon prior to undergoing the LASIK procedure.

LASIK involves using an excimer laser to reshape the cornea in order to decrease or eliminate the need for glasses or contact lenses. Normally, your cornea (front part of the eye) focuses light onto the retina (back part of the eye) to create an image. If the cornea is imperfectly shaped or if the eyeball is longer or shorter than normal, a distorted image is projected onto the retina resulting in blurry vision.

During LASIK surgery in San Francisco, your LASIK surgeon creates a tiny flap on the surface of the eye and uses the excimer laser to gently reshape the exposed cornea. The laser allows your surgeon to achieve remarkable accuracy while maintaining excellent control throughout the LASIK procedure. The flap is then replaced, adhering naturally and securely to the eye, and you are on your way to better vision.

For decades, the only solution to nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism was corrective eyewear; however, now LASIK eye surgery offers an alternative option for those who wish to reduce or eliminate their dependence on glasses or contacts.

To schedule your LASIK consultation, contact Pacific Eye Specialists at (415) 921-7555 or pacificeyespecialists.com today.

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Cataracts After LASIK

Posted by administration on August 09, 2016

Cataracts_After_LASIK.pngCataracts will eventually develop in most people, including those who have had LASIK. Patients with signs of cataracts before LASIK should consider not having LASIK because vision may be better corrected with the intraocular lens used for cataract surgery.

How are Cataracts Developed?

Cataracts are a natural clouding of the crystalline lens of the eye. Since the eye works much like a camera, a cataract, much like a clouded lens, causes blurring or dimming of vision. The development of cataracts in the eye is a very common occurrence in patients who are 60+ years of age.

Most often cataracts are an inevitable consequence of aging and cannot be prevented. Less common causes of cataracts are trauma, medications, extensive exposure to sunlight and other eye diseases as well as heredity.

Many cataract patients complain of poor distance vision, especially while driving. Glare can be especially troublesome while driving at night. Cataracts can also be responsible for double vision or altered color vision. Cataracts do not cause pain, tearing, redness or floaters.

Understanding How it Works

To understand why cataract surgery is possible after you have had LASIK surgery, it is helpful to know some basics about the eye. LASIK surgery is performed on the cornea — the dome-shaped transparent tissue at the front of the eye. Think of the cornea as your eye's front window. During LASIK surgery in San Francisco, Dr. Kutzscher uses a laser to reshape the cornea so it will bend, or refract, light rays to focus more precisely on your retina — the light-sensitive membrane on the back inside wall of your eyeball — rather than at some point beyond or in front of your retina. The result is clearer vision.

Cataract surgery, on the other hand, is performed on the natural lens inside your eye. The lens, where a cataract forms, is positioned just behind the colored part of your eye, called the iris. The lens focuses light that passes into your eye, producing clear, sharp images on the retina. Normally, the eye's lens is transparent and clear. When the lens becomes cloudy, it is called a cataract. Cataract surgery involves removing the clouded lens and replacing it with a plastic lens implant. The replacement lens sits in the same place as your natural lens and becomes part of your eye.

The artificial lens placed during cataract surgery is designed to provide vision correction to replace eyeglasses as well as the removed cataract. For people who have not had LASIK or other types of corneal refractive surgery, vision correction with cataract surgery is usually straightforward, and the outcome is quite predictable. In San Francisco, Dr. Kutzscher takes measurements of the eye before surgery to help determine the correct lens power to implant. After cataract surgery, many people have clear distance vision without glasses, although most still need glasses for close-up work or reading.

For people who have had LASIK surgery, providing the appropriate lens implant for cataract surgery takes additional calculations to determine the correct lens power. In addition to taking measurements of the eye, Dr. Kutzscher also needs an accurate record of your prescription before and after LASIK surgery, as well as an accurate measurement of the curvature of your cornea before LASIK. The records from your LASIK surgery should contain this information.

To schedule an eye examination, contact Pacific Eye Specialists at (415) 921-7555 or pacificeyespecialists.com, and discuss your options for optimal vision. 

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Types of Cataract Surgery

Posted by administration on August 01, 2016

Types_of_Cataract_Surgery.pngAs people age, cataracts often develop.  Cataract surgery is the only treatment suited for resolving cataracts. 

During cataract surgery, your surgeon will make a small incision in the surface of the eye, in or near the cornea.  An ultrasound breaks up the lens.  A laser may be used to help with the procedure.  The clouded lens pieces are removed and an artificial lens is placed into the thin capsular bag the cataract occupied.  This lens is what helps your eye focus after surgery.

The three primary techniques for cataract surgery are:

  • Phacoemulsification.  This is the procedure described above.  The procedure usually lasts less than 30 minutes and requires only numbing eye drops with no stitches needed.  Most procedures involve this technique.
  • Extracapsular cataract surgery is used for advanced cataracts where the lens cannot be dissolved.  It requires a larger incision with stitches and recovery is usually slower.  An injection of numbing medication is required around the eye area.
  • Intracapsular cataract surgery requires an even larger incision.  Here the surgeon removes the entire lens and the surrounding capsule.  A new intraocular lens is placed in front of the iris instead.  This technique is rarely used.

For more information about cataract surgery, please call Pacific Eye Specialists in San Francisco to schedule a consultation.

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LASIK Recovery

Posted by administration on July 26, 2016

LASIK_Recovery.pngLASIK surgery is one of the most popular forms of vision correction. Recovery from LASIK can vary from person to person, however most people see 20/20 the next morning after their LASIK procedure. Although the patient’s vision is usually very good, that does not mean that healing is complete. It is common for healing to go on for weeks to months after the procedure. During this healing period, most patients can go about their usual work and recreational activities. After a LASIK procedure there is customarily 3-4 follow-up visits over the first year. Immediately after LASIK surgery, patients should expect to experience discomfort, tearing and blurry vision. Additionally, there will be some restrictions on the patient's activities for a period of time after the procedure. Understanding the recovery process will help a patient avoid making mistakes which can be detrimental to the recovery process or otherwise put the patient and their vision at risk.

Post-Operative Care

After surgery, you should lie down, relax and close your eyes. Watching television, reading or operating a computer should be avoided for the first 24 hours. The surgery recovery process requires your eyes to remain relaxed. To help with any pain or discomfort, medications may be prescribed following treatment; alternatively, you may be able to use over-the-counter pain medications to help alleviate irritation.

Do not rub your eyes. Some patients report a mild burning sensation two to four hours into recovery as the anesthetic wears off. The sensation resembles wearing an itchy or dirty contact lens.

To Ensure a Quick Healing Process:

  • Wear sunglasses after surgery, rain or shine.
  • Take baths instead of showers for the first 24 hours after surgery and be careful not to allow the shower to spray directly into your face for the first week.
  • Use a face cloth and be careful not to rub your eyes.
  • Avoid eye makeup and smoky or dusty environments for a week.
  • Avoid alcohol consumption for 48 hours after surgery.

Your surgeon or ophthalmologist will schedule follow-up appointments to monitor your results and potential problems such as epithelial growth. Contact your physician immediately if you experience any complications.

It’s important that you follow your doctor’s advice and instructions on protecting your eyes after LASIK – even though your eyes may feel fine the first couple days after surgery.

Long-Term Healing

If a patient experiences any side effects from LASIK (such as dry eyes or halos at night) for several weeks after surgery as the eyes are healing, those symptoms usually go away once healing is complete. During this time period, patients will have several check-ups with their LASIK surgeon to ensure that the recovery is proceeding smoothly.

If you are considering LASIK in San Francisco, contact your local LASIK experts at Pacific Eye Specialists. They offer a free LASIK Consultation to help you learn more about this amazing procedure and learn about your own unique vision. LASIK might just be the right procedure for you. 

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LASIK History

Posted by administration on July 17, 2016

LASIK_History.pngLASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis), commonly referred to as laser eye surgery or laser vision correction, is a type of refractive surgery for the correction of myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism.

While LASIK is now a household term and a common form of surgery, just a couple of decades ago it was a brand new procedure that intrigued many people who were inconvenienced daily by their contacts and eyeglasses. Further back, researchers experimented with rudimentary techniques of surgical vision correction that involved freezing the cornea before removing connective tissue – a far cry from today’s advanced and precise methods.

The Early Years of LASIK

In 1978, doctors in the United States began performing a procedure called radial keratotomy or RK. This technique entailed several corneal incisions to shape and correct refractive errors. It helped individuals with conditions like nearsightedness and astigmatism to become less dependent on their glasses.

As time progressed, surgeons eventually stopped using sutures to re-attach the cornea and in the late 1980s began using the hinged corneal flap technique that is still practiced today. With this method, the cornea isn’t completely detached from the eye but left on as a flap, which carries a lower risk of complications and less healing time. The development of an automated microkeratome was instrumental in furthering the procedure, as it allowed for even more precise incisions.

Additionally, the 1980s saw the development of the excimer laser, which was originally intended for use in making computer chips but was found to be especially helpful in precisely removing tissue as part of refractive surgery techniques. This method was found to be considerably safer and more effective than RK.

In 1995, the Food and Drug Administration approved a procedure called photorefractive keratectomy, known commonly as PRK, after a successful three-year trial on 1,600 eyes. This flattened the cornea with a laser to treat nearsightedness and has been used in the U.S. and Canada since 1987.

Modern-day LASIK

The LASIK we know today consists of a combination of excimer laser technology and surgical incisions using a microkeratome (hand-held blade). During this process, a surgeon uses the microkeratome to cut a corneal flap, and then corrects the shape of the tissue underneath with the laser. The flap is then put back in place and acts as a natural bandage while the eye heals. This method has become a popular method of refractive surgery, as it provides effective results and a short healing time.

Blade-free LASIK

Blade-free LASIK has also grown in popularity. This method replaces the microkeratome with a laser to create the corneal flap. Practices like Pacific Eye Specialists offer advanced blade-free LASIK in San Francisco.

Custom LASIK

LASIK doctors are also able to customize treatment for each patient, taking into account the patient’s degree and type of vision impairment as well as the topography of their eyes.

While LASIK surgery has become relatively common and a popular option for vision correction, not all people who wear glasses or contacts should have the procedure. The success of this form of vision correction relies heavily on whether a patient is a good candidate. Continued education on the doctor’s part is key to determining eye health and vision characteristics.

As LASIK technologies develop further, it is important for both healthcare providers and prospective patients to stay informed on the benefits of laser vision correction.

If you are considering LASIK in San Francisco, make sure you choose an experienced LASIK doctor who has an excellent success rate for patients. You can learn more about the advances in LASIK technology by scheduling a free LASIK Consultation at Pacific Eye Specialists today. You’ll also learn if your eyes are right for the procedure. 

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