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Posted by administration on October 11, 2016

LASIK_Risks.jpgMillions of Americans have had LASIK eye surgery to correct their vision since it was introduced in the United States several decades ago. Although LASIK has an excellent safety profile and a very high success rate, there are potential risks to consider. Sight-threatening complications such as significant loss of vision from LASIK surgery are extremely rare, and many side effects and laser eye surgery complications can be resolved with additional surgery or medical treatment.

The first step is to determine if you are a good candidate for vision correction surgery. Your LASIK surgeon in San Francisco will perform a thorough diagnostic eye exam to determine your suitability for LASIK surgery.

He or she will evaluate:

  • The shape and thickness of your cornea
  • Your refractive errors and pupil size
  • The moistness of your eyes (to check for dry eye syndrome)
  • Your general health and medical history
  • Any medications you are taking

Common LASIK risks and complications to be aware of:

Temporary discomfort and vision disturbances. Discomfort during the first few days following LASIK surgery, such as mild irritation and light sensitivity, is normal and to be expected. During the first few weeks or months you also may experience: halos; glare and starbursts in low-light environments, especially at night; dry eye symptoms; hazy vision; and reduced sharpness of vision. In most cases, these are temporary and disappear completely within3-6 months.

Flap complications. The LASIK procedure involves the creation of a thin, hinged flap on the front surface of the cornea. This is lifted during surgery for laser reshaping of the eye. The flap is then replaced to form a natural bandage. If the LASIK flap is not made correctly, it may fail to adhere properly to the eye's surface or microscopic wrinkles called striae (STRIE-ee) could develop in the flap. These flap complications can cause optical aberrations and distorted vision.

Dry eyes after LASIK. Some people who have LASIK surgery experience a decrease in tear production that can cause eye discomfort and blurred vision. Dry eye syndrome after LASIK surgery is usually temporary and can be effectively treated with lubricating eye drops or other measures. Dry eye problems usually disappear when healing of the eye is complete, which can take up to 6 months. People who already have severe dry eye usually are eliminated as LASIK candidates.

Significant undercorrection, overcorrection or regression. Not everyone will achieve 20/20 vision after LASIK eye surgery, and contact lenses or eyeglasses for some or all activities may still be required in very rare cases. If the laser removes too much or too little corneal tissue, or your eye's healing response is not typical, your visual outcome will be less than optimal. One possible cause of a less-than-perfect outcome is that your eyes did not respond to laser eye surgery in a predictable manner. Another possible cause is that your eyesight may have been optimal shortly after LASIK but regressed over time due to over-healing. In most cases, a significant undercorrection or regression can be successfully treated with additional laser vision correction after your surgeon confirms your residual refractive error is stable.

Eye infection. Infections rarely occur after LASIK because the corneal flap acts as a natural bandage. Still, it is very important to use medicated eye drops as directed after your LASIK procedure to avoid infection and control inflammation as your eyes heal.

Choosing a skilled and experienced LASIK eye surgeon can help reduce these risks and enable you to achieve the best possible results from laser eye surgery. If you would like to schedule a consultation with one of our doctors to discuss if LASIK is right for you, contact Pacific Eye Specialists at (415) 921-7555 or today. 

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LASIK Surgery Recovery Time

Posted by administration on October 03, 2016

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What Does Refractive Surgery Mean?

Posted by administration on September 25, 2016

what_does_refractive_surgery_mean.jpgRefractive surgery is eye surgery that is performed to eliminate or reduce dependency on contact lenses or glasses, although some people still need prescription eye glasses or contacts after the procedure. It is used to improve the refractive state of the eye which improves natural vision.

Refractive surgery can include a variety of methods of surgery that remodel or change the cornea.  Excimer lasers are used most commonly to reshape the curvature of the cornea.  Refractive surgery is a way to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and some types of astigmatism.  The most widely performed type of refractive surgery is LASIK.

Light rays enter the eye through the clear cornea, pupil and lens. These light rays are focused directly onto the retina, the light-sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye. The retina converts light rays into impulses, sent through the optic nerve to your brain where they are recognized as images. About 70% of the eye’s focusing power comes from the cornea and 30% from the lens.

Many forms of refractive surgery improve vision by permanently changing the shape of the cornea, the clear front window of the eye. In San Francisco, the doctors at Pacific Eye Specialists use LASIK to improve the following conditions:

Refractive Surgery for Myopia:

In an eye with myopia (nearsightedness), the corneal focusing power is too strong for the eye’s overall length. Instead of focusing on the retina, images fall in front of it, and vision is blurry. When treating myopia, certain refractive surgery techniques reduce the curvature of the cornea to lessen the eye’s focusing power. Images that are focused in front of the retina, due to an elongated eye or steep corneal curve, are pushed closer to or directly onto the retina following surgery.

Refractive Surgery for Hyperopia:

In an eye with hyperopia (farsightedness), the corneal focusing power is too weak for the eye’s overall length. Instead of focusing on the retina, images focus beyond the retina, and vision is blurry. When treating hyperopia, certain refractive surgery techniques make the cornea steeper to increase the eye’s focusing power. Images that are focused beyond the retina, due to a short eye or flat cornea, are pulled closer to or directly onto the retina following surgery.

Refractive Surgery for Astigmatism:

Astigmatism occurs when the cornea is more curved in one direction than the other, like the shape of a football. If astigmatism is significant, light passing through the cornea is scattered. Images reaching the retina are distorted and vision is blurred. When treating astigmatism, refractive surgery techniques selectively reshape portions of the cornea to make it symmetrical and smooth, like the shape of a basketball, so that images focus clearly on the retina.

If you are interested in reducing your dependence on contact lenses or eye glasses and would like to investigate refractive surgery as an option, please contact Pacific Eye Specialists in San Francisco at (415) 921-7555 or to schedule a consultation.

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What Can LASIK Correct?

Posted by administration on September 19, 2016

What_can_LASIK_Correct.jpgLASIK is a surgical procedure that uses a laser to change the shape of the cornea to correct refractive errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and/or astigmatism. In San Francisco, one of the surgeons at Pacific Eye Specialists creates a thin flap in the cornea, folds back the flap, then removes some corneal tissue underneath using an excimer laser. The flap is then laid back in place, covering the area where the corneal tissue was removed.


 Astigmatism is the inability to focus clearly at any distance due to an irregular or misshapen cornea. With astigmatism the cornea is shaped more like a football than a basketball and light rays focus at differing points on the retina, causing images to overlap and causing blurred vision. LASIK corrects this oval shape, making the cornea rounder and achieving clear vision. 

Myopia (Nearsightedness)

Nearsighted people see close objects clearly – but not distant objects. In nearsightedness the curve of the cornea is too steep, or the eye itself is somewhat elongated, resulting in images being focused in front of the retina. LASIK corrects this condition by flattening the curvature of the cornea which allows the cornea to focus images exactly on the retina thus achieving clear vision.

Hyperopia (Farsightedness)

 Farsighted people see distant objects better than up close ones, however objects at all distances are blurred. In farsightedness the shape of the cornea is too flat, causing light rays to focus behind the retina. LASIK corrects this condition by shaping the outer area of the cornea so that it focuses images correctly.


Presbyopia is a condition that tends to occur to most people after age 40. As we age, our once supple lenses begin to stiffen, making it difficult to focus on objects close-up. This starts slowly but can gradually become worse over time. Traditional LASIK cannot correct presbyopia; however, a technique called monovision LASIK may help. In this technique, one eye is corrected for close-up vision and the other eye is left for distance vision.

Contact Pacific Eye Specialists today at (415) 921-7555 or to schedule your LASIK Evaluation and see if LASIK is an option for you.

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Cataracts Types

Posted by administration on September 12, 2016

Types_of_Cataracts.jpgA cataract is a clouding of the eye's natural lens, which can make it harder for you to see.

Cataracts are the most common cause of vision loss in people over age 40 and is the principal cause of blindness in the world. Cataracts develop when protein builds up in the lens of your eye, making it cloudy. This prevents light from passing clearly through the lens, causing some loss of vision. New lens cells form on the outside of the lens and the older cells are compacted into the center of the lens, forming the cataract.

Types of cataracts include:

  • Nuclear: A nuclear cataract forms deep in the central zone (nucleus) of the lens and is the most common type of cataract. Because opacity develops in the center of the lens, known as the central nucleus, nuclear cataracts interfere with a person's ability to see objects in the distance. Usually the result of advancing age, nuclear cataracts can take years to develop and often give the nucleus a yellow tint.
  • Subcapsular: A subcapsular cataract occurs at the back of the lens. People with diabetes or those taking high doses of steroid medications have a greater risk of developing a subcapsular cataract. These cataracts progress the most rapidly. While nuclear cataracts take years to develop, subcapsular cataracts reach an advanced stage within a matter of months.
  • Cortical: A cortical cataract begins at the outer rim of the lens and gradually works toward the central core. This type of cataract resembles spokes on a wheel. This type of cataract occurs in the lens cortex, which is the part of the lens that surrounds the central nucleus. Patients with cortical cataracts often notice problems with glare or a "halo" effect around lights. They may also experience a disruption of both near and distance vision.

Currently, the only cure for cataracts is surgery. In San Francisco, your surgeon removes the cloudy lens and replaces it with an artificial lens (called an intraocular lens, or IOL). Fortunately, cataract surgery is a low-risk procedure with an excellent record of safety and success. The procedure typically is performed on an outpatient basis and does not require an overnight stay in a hospital or other care facility.

If you would like more information about cataracts or cataract surgery, please contact Pacific Eye Specialists at (415) 921-7555 or

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