Laser Vision Correction

Laser Vision Correction

LASIK | PRK

Choosing sight without glasses is a life-changing event

Choosing sight without glasses is a life-changing event

Why is Laser Vision Correction necessary?

A laser can be used to treat refractive errors. . To see clearly, light rays must be refracted by your cornea and lens. The light focuses on the retina which turns light into signals that travel to your brain and become images. When your eye does not bend light properly because of the shape of your cornea or lens, it means you have a refractive error.

Refractive errors include:

1 Myopia (near-sightedness) – difficulty in seeing things far away

2 Astigmatism – ghost images form at a distance

3 Hyperopia (far-sightedness) and presbyopia – trouble reading and seeing up close

Technical advances in refractive surgery have been rapid. Due to blade-less surgery and more accurate lasers and software, the optical results after modern refractive surgery are very predictable. Today, the vast majority of refractive surgery patients have independent vision after surgery that is at least as good as, or better than it was before surgery using glasses and contact lenses. Now hyperopia and presbyopia can also be corrected. This means that you can even get rid of those reading glasses or bifocals.

Who should have Laser Vision Correction?

Laser Vision Correction (LASIK or PRK) is a lifestyle surgery with the purpose of improving your quality of life through improving your vision. For those who do not mind using prosthetic devices such as glasses and contact lenses to help them see, however, Laser Vision Correction is probably not necessary.

People wearing contact lenses have likely already determined that glasses do not fit their lifestyle.

Those experiencing eye discomfort when wearing contact lenses are often told that they have dry eyes. This is usually not completely accurate. Soft contact lenses tend to soak up tears and make eyes itchy or scratchy, leading one to ask: what came first, the dry eyes or the contact lenses? The PROWL LASIK study compared dry eye symptoms in contact lens wearers that continued to wear contact lenses with those who had LASIK. After one year the symptoms were similar and during the next two years, the LASIK patients did better.

Contact lens wearers that get repeated eye infections should also consider LASIK. Although both contact lenses and LASIK are considered safe, studies show that contact lens wearers are 10 times more likely to experience significant vision loss or blindness from wearing contact lenses than from having LASIK eye surgery. When the surgery is performed by an experienced surgeon using a careful screening process, the rate of success is very high. Complications from contact lenses accumulate over years, while those from LASIK eye surgery occur over a brief time. LASIK also dramatically improves the ease of night driving not only for [former] contact lens wearers but also for those who wore glasses.

Although there are certain situations when losing your glasses might not only be inconvenient but even dangerous, statistically, glasses are the safest option. When considering your options, you and your ophthalmologist should look at the advantages and disadvantages of Laser Vision Correction for your particular lifestyle.

Who can have LASIK?

The vast majority of patients undergoing Laser Vision Correction worldwide are suitable for LASIK, wether they are near-sighted, far-sighted or have astigmatism. For patients with thin corneas, surface procedures like PRK are recommended, which do not require the creation of a corneal flap. Surface procedures are a bit more uncomfortable than LASIK and take longer to heal. The long-term results are, however, similar. A small minority of patients may not be suitable for LASIK or PRK and may instead be candidates for an intraocular lens procedure.

To find out if you might be a candidate, try our online self-test. (link

Book your complimentary screening with one of our Optometrists. (Link booking form

Your ophthalmologist could suggest other refractive procedures if you do not qualify to have LASIK.

Not a candidate for LASIK? You might qualify for PRK or a secondary intra-ocular lens implant

If you are not a candidate for LASIK, PRK surgery can be another excellent option to help you achieve your overall vision goals. PRK is a refractive surgery technique designed to reshape the cornea and enhance your ability to focus clearly by treating the surface only. This technique is more suitable for people with thin corneas. The long-term results are similar to LASIK but patients can expect more discomfort after surgery and a longer healing time.

If you are not a candidate for Laser Vision Correction like LASIK, a secondary lens implant might be an option to achieve spectacle independence. A phakic intra-ocular lens is a special kind of lens that is implanted surgically into the eye to correct severe near-sightedness. The eye’s natural lens is left untouched. It is almost like a permanent contact lens implanted in the eye. Because the eye’s natural lens is untouched you will still have normal accommodation. These implantable lenses are indicated for patients with high refractive errors when surgical correction by laser (LASIK and PRK) is not an option. Phakic IOLs are designed to correct high myopia ranging from −5 to −20 D. For patients with thick corneas, LASIK can in certain cases correct myopia up to about -12 D.

Like the intricate process of luxury watchmaking, Laser Vision Correction is a delicate combination of art and precision. For a true refractive surgeon, it is not only a form of responsibility, but also a kind of pleasure and an instrument of compassion. A surgeon’s skill is not a dispensable luxury but a simple necessity. Do your homework – spend some time researching refractive surgeons in your area. Look at things like the training they had, how many laser eye surgery procedures they have performed, their success record of visual outcomes, and their patient references. Read more about Dr Lourens Coetzee here.

During our consultations we have to be as thorough as possible. With Laser Vision Correction our aim is perfection which means that we may have to do many scans and tests. Your consultation may take up to 2.5 hours. Your pupils may have to be dilated to clearly visualise the back of your eye to exclude any other diseases that may influence your results. Dilation can cause you to have blurry vision. It is advisable that you have someone drive for you after your consultation.

The planning consultation is charged at R4000.

Cost estimates per procedure in 2022 are as follows:

– LASIK/PRK surgery for both eyes – R32 000

– PresbyLASIK surgery for both eyes – R36 000

This is just an estimate and prices are subject to change. Please confirm costs upon booking.

Immediately after surgery, you should plan to rest your eyes for 6-12 hours. Consider taking a nap. The day after surgery most patients will see clearly, others may take 2- 5 days to recover. You will have follow-up appointments at one week and six weeks with your ophthalmologist to assess your vision and healing. Complete recovery takes about 3 to 6 months, within this period your vision might fluctuate a bit. You may also experience dryness that should improve. Healing is different for each patient. There is no set timeline for recovery.

LASIK is a Laser Vision Correction procedure that treats refractive errors permanently. When the surgery is performed by an experienced surgeon using a careful screening process, the rate of success is very high.

In some cases, years after LASIK, your vision might not be as sharp as the first few years after the procedure. This is called regression and even though it can happen, it is unlikely. Each year after LASIK there is a slightly increased chance of needing a retreatment. It is common for refractive surgeons to offer an enhancement free of charge in the first year after LASIK if needed. Similar to wearing glasses, LASIK does not prevent your eyes from changing as a result of other diseases or aging. Around the age of 45 you will start wearing reading glasses. This can be corrected again with a laser procedure called PresbyLASIK. Later, old age is likely to give rise to cataracts or macular degeneration which would need a whole different treatment approach.

Before we do LASIK/PRK, preparation is key to success. An advanced ocular examination takes about 2 – 3 hours. Not only will these tests determine candidacy for laser vision correction but also screen for other eye diseases. It’s important to note that you might need a driver. Your eyes may be dilated to examine the back of your eye, this leads to light sensitivity and blurry vision.

The procedure itself takes about 15 minutes per eye. By the next morning, you will already see much clearer. For PRK Patients the vision will fluctuate for up to two weeks after the procedure.

You should not wear contact lenses for two weeks before having LASIK. 

Unfortunately, most medical aids do not cover LASIK as it is seen as lifestyle surgery. Medical aids may, however, refund the planning-tests from your day-to-day benefits if you have funds available. Some medical aid options do include a refractive benefit. This often only partially covers the procedure. After surgery, patients are welcome to claim back from their medical aid if they do have a refractive benefit in their plan, but the full costs of the procedure remain the patient’s responsibility.

Cost estimates per procedure in 2022 are as follows:

– LASIK/PRK surgery for both eyes – R32 000

– Presby LASIK surgery for both eyes – R36 000

This is just an estimate and prices are subject to change. Please confirm costs upon booking. 

We offer Mediwallet, payment options to make LASIK payments easy.  

We are partnered with @MediWalletSA!

Apply for MediWallet and pay in 3, interest free!

 It takes the stress out of paying out of pocket or to cover those costs your medical aid does not cover.

You will also be able to select a more affordable repayment term of up to 18 months.

For pre-approval, SMS your SA ID Number*Gross Monthly Income to 45105.

For more info, visit www.mediwallet.co.za

SMS costs R1.50. Ts&Cs apply. 

Fortunately, most patients agree that it is a pain-free procedure. You may experience some discomfort like someone is pressing on your eye.
Numbing eye drops are used to keep your eyes comfortable and pain-free during LASIK. This takes about 10 to 15 minutes to numb both eyes. During the first half of the procedure, it feels like someone is pressing on your eyelid, with the creation of the corneal flap. Thereafter you will be asked to stare at a light as the laser reshapes the cornea. If you are anxious before your procedure, your surgeon can give you a mild sedative to help you relax.
Afterward, you might find that your eyes will be light sensitive and a bit uncomfortable for about 6- 8hours, use your drops and pain medication as prescribed to ensure minimum discomfort. 

How do I know if I am a candidate for Laser Vision Correction?

If you are interested in spectacle freedom but you are not sure if you are a candidate, you can take our online self-tests: 

18-45 years old: LASIK self-test 

https://sandtoneyeclinic.co.za/lasik-self-test/ 

45-60 years old: PresbyLASIK self-test

Presby-LASIK Self-Test

60+ years old: Refractive Cataract Surgery and lens options self-test

https://sandtoneyeclinic.co.za/cataract-self-test/ 

This self-test should not be considered medical advice or a diagnosis. A complete examination is necessary to determine candidacy. You can also book a complimentary Laser Vision Correction consultation to determine if you are an eligible candidate.

LASIK is the safest, most effective, life changing outpatient surgical procedure of any kind. You should look at the risks as compared to your current vision correction choice. Although both contact lenses and LASIK are considered safe, studies show that contact lens wearers are 10 times more likely to experience significant vision loss or blindness from wearing contact lenses compared with having LASIK eye surgery. When the surgery is performed by an experienced surgeon using a careful screening process, the rate of success is very high. Complications from contact lenses accumulate over years, while those from LASIK eye surgery occur over a brief time. Although there are certain situations when losing your glasses might not only be inconvenient but even dangerous, statistically glasses are the safest option.
LASIK is one of the most researched medical procedures. The evidence supporting LASIK is overwhelming, with over 6 300 studies and reports as of July 2019. A recent review of the best studies found them to be free of industry bias and in support of a better than 99% success rate. 
Refractive surgeons themselves have LASIK and similar surgeries 4 times more frequently than the general population, and they routinely recommend it to friends and family members.
Every surgical procedure, even LASIK, has risks and all patients do not have the same chance of success. You and your ophthalmologist must look at the advantages and disadvantages of Laser Vision Correction considering your lifestyle and your specific situation.

The long term visual outcomes of LASIK and PRK are similar. LASIK is, however, much more convenient than PRK from a recovery perspective. With LASIK you will likely be able to return to your normal daily routine as soon as the day after surgery because you should have clear vision and minimal discomfort. With PRK initial recovery is about 1 week during which you will experience a scratchy, gritty feeling. Although you will be able to return to work after the first week, complete visual recovery may take 6 weeks to 3 months. During this time your vision may fluctuate.

There are different laser vision correction options and different centers offering these procedures. If you are looking at prices ensure that you are comparing apples to apples. I will refer to the most popular procedure with the shortest recovery time: LASIK. At Sandton Eye Clinic the consultation is about R4500 and can be at least partially claimed back from your medical aid. The LASIK procedure is priced at R32 000 including your post operative follow up visits. A few medical aids do have a refractive benefit, but the procedure is rarely covered by medical aids.

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is now. The best time for laser vision correction is when you are 18, but if you want clear, effortless vision and you are considered a perfect candidate, the next best time is right now. Laser vision correction can be life-changing at various stages of life, allowing people to do what they love without the inconvenience of glasses and contact lenses.

LASIK does not wear off, it’s a one-time procedure. LASIK permanently changes the shape of your cornea. It is an extremely accurate, virtually painless, a fifteen-minute outpatient procedure with a short recovery period to normal activities. Rarely an enhancement may be necessary within the first year due to unique differences between patients and their recovery leading to over or under correction. Sandton Eye Clinic offers an enhancement  free of charge in this period.

Like the rest of our body, our eyes will age as well. When we reach age 45 our lens will change leading to the need for readers. This is the same weather you had LASIK or not. At this stage a slightly different procedure PresbyLASIK can get rid of readers as well.

Around 65 you will once again start developing cataracts like everyone else that did not have LASIK. Cataract surgery with multifocal lenses will give you spectacle independence that will last until old age.

There are vision correction surgical options at all ages over 18. LASIK corrects vision from age 18 to about 40. After 40 PresbyLASIK should be considered to ensure you do not need reading glasses in the near future. At around 60 you might start to develop cataracts which means that a lens exchange or cataract surgery with multifocal lenses should keep you spectacle free until old age.

LASIK complication rate is extremely low. It is important to understand that after surgery you might have some temporary side effects that clear up in a few weeks to months. You did have surgery. These include dry eyes, halo’s and glare.

Complications are more serious and are not expected but can be addressed with medication or additional procedures. The LASIK complication rate is less than 0.3%. The most common complication is infection. Rarely there may be under or over correction that will be corrected at no additional charge at Sandton Eye Clinic during an enhancement.

Over 20 Million LASIK procedures have been performed with a better than 99% success rate. Vision correction surgeons themselves have LASIK 4 times more frequently than the general public. It is important to remember that every surgical procedure, even LASIK, has risks. All eyes are not the same. If you are considering LASIK discuss your risk profile with your surgeon. If your risk is higher your surgeon may suggest a different procedure.

Every patient experiences healing slightly different. Most agree that LASIK is virtually pain free. For about two hours after your procedure your eyes will tear and scratch a bit like when your contacts start to bother you. You should plan to go home and take a nap. Normal pain killers may be used if needed. Most patients are only left with light sensitivity the next morning and possibly a bit of scratchiness. You must not rub your eyes. You should already have about 90% of the vision you will achieve the day after surgery. Many patients already return to normal activities the day after surgery. Your vision should improve even more in the next 4-6 weeks. You should wait at least 1 month before swimming again.
Pregnancy does not cause permanent changes to your cornea, and it does not reverse LASIK. Hormones during pregnancy causes temporary changes in the cornea which may influence your vision weather you had LASIK or not. A few months after delivering you baby your vision should return to normal. You can have LASIK before you get pregnant and a few months after pregnancy and breastfeeding but not during pregnancy.

LASIK does not wear off, it’s a one-time procedure. LASIK permanently changes the shape of your cornea. It is an extremely accurate, virtually painless, a fifteen-minute outpatient procedure with a short recovery period to normal activities. Rarely an enhancement may be necessary within the first year due to unique differences between patients and their recovery leading to over or under correction. Sandton Eye Clinic offers an enhancement  free of charge in this period.

Like the rest of our body, our eyes will age as well. When we reach age 45 our lens will change leading to the need for readers. This is the same weather you had LASIK or not. At this stage a slightly different procedure PresbyLASIK can get rid of readers as well.

Around 65 you will once again start developing cataracts like everyone else that did not have LASIK. Cataract surgery with multifocal lenses will give you spectacle independence that will last until old age.

You are indeed fully conscious as this is quick,15 minute per eye, procedure is virtually pain free. Sandton Eye Clinic offers patients medication to calm the nerves and local anesthetic drops. Most patients are surprised at how quick and painless the procedure is. Patients report that it feels like someone is pressing on your closed eyelid and the most bothersome thing is the light that shines in your eye for a few minutes.
A laser vision correction consultation is around R4500 and can be at least partially claimed back from your medical aid.

LASIK is considered a lifestyle procedure and not offered at public hospitals. Public hospitals do prescribe glasses to correct refractive errors.

Most patients do not need follow up surgery. Rarely you may need an enhancement in the first year which Sandton Eye Clinic offers free of charge. This is due to small difference in healing that may lead to under correction in a few patients. This is seen more often in people with very high prescriptions. When you need reading glasses later in life like all your ageing friends you may need PresbyLASIK. You will also still develop cataracts like everyone that did not have LASIK.
Use your eye drops as prescribed. Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun and wind for at least 2 weeks. Take your pain medication to alleviate discomfort as needed. Wear eye shields while you sleep for the first week. Avoid getting soap and water in your eyes when showering for 1 week. Do not apply makeup until after your one-day follow-up exam. No swimming or other activities in the ocean/ rivers for a month.
 

Returning to work: You will be booked off for the day of the procedure and the day after. Many patients can return to work the day after the procedure

Computer vision syndrome or digital eye strain is a group of eye problems that result from staring at your screen for too long. Your eye muscles must continuously focus nearby. Try looking at something about 6 meters aways every 20 minutes for 20 seconds to rest your eye muscles. Remember to blink while looking at your screen. LASIK does not prevent computer vision syndrome but may make relaxing in front of the TV more comfortable, especially if you like to lie on the couch while watching TV and your glasses get in the way.