Get Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Evergreen Eye Center in Puget Sound

 

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What is LASIK?
LASIK surgery, or laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis, is a procedure used to correct myopia (near-sightedness), hyperopia (far-sightedness) and astigmatism (impaired vision due to misshapen cornea). After cutting a small flap in the surface layer of the cornea, eye surgeons use an excimer laser to reshape the cornea’s lower layers. This improves the cornea’s ability to focus light on the back of the eye, which results in better vision.

LASIK is common in the United States, with over 700,000 patients undergoing the procedure every year.

 

Am I a candidate for LASIK?
The ideal candidate for LASIK surgery:

  • is over 21 with a stable corrective prescription;
  • has sufficient corneal thickness;
  • is not suffering from untreated dry eye;
  • does not have too high a refractive error (i.e., prescription);
  • is free of conditions that affect healing or recovery;
  • has no scarring of the cornea;
  • is not pregnant or nursing.

There may be other factors that affect your eligibility for LASIK. An Evergreen Eye Center doctor can help you determine whether or not you are a candidate for this procedure.

 

How long will it take me to recover from my LASIK surgery?

LASIK is an outpatient surgery, which means that patients can go home following the procedure. Though you should have someone drive you home afterward, most people are able to resume normal activities and return to work within 24 to 48 hours.

Most patients see significant results from their surgery within a few hours, with vision stabilizing over a few days or weeks.

 

Does LASIK hurt?

LASIK surgery is performed while the patient is awake and requires only a topical anesthetic, administered in the form of eye drops. During the procedure, patients may experience a sensation of pressure on their eye because of the suction device used to hold the eye still; however, discomfort is usually limited to a dry, scratchy feeling that can be treated with eye drops and usually resolves a few hours after surgery.

 

What is IntraLase?

IntraLase technology uses a blade-free laser instead of a hand-held blade (microkeratome) for the initial step in LASIK. The computer-guided laser creates the flap using nothing but painless laser energy, gently sculpting the underlayers of the cornea and allowing one of our experienced LASIK eye surgeons to lift it from the eye without ever having to use a blade. In recent studies by IntraLase, this technology may now make it possible to treat those who were previously dismissed as non-candidates due to thin corneas. Studies have shown that the incidence of dry eye symptoms may be reduced with IntraLase. Bladeless LASIK has been used in more than one million LASIK procedures worldwide.

 

How do I know if I have a cataract?

Symptoms of cataracts include:

  • Clouded or blurred vision;
  • The appearance of glare or halos;
  • Needing increased light to read;
  • Reduced night vision;
  • Double or multiple images.

Though cataracts usually manifest the symptoms above, some do not cause any symptoms until they are in their advanced stages. Because of this, the doctors at Evergreen Eye Center recommend regular vision checkups.

 

How are cataracts treated?

Cataracts in their early stages can be treated with corrective eyeglasses. More advanced cataracts can be treated with cataract surgery, in which the cataract is removed and replaced with an artificial lens. Cataract surgery is one of the safest and most commonly performed surgeries in the United States and most patients see a significant improvement in their vision as a result of the procedure.

 

What are premium intraocular lenses?

Intraocular lenses (IOLs) are surgically implanted artificial lenses that replace your natural lens and can be used to correct a range of vision problems including cataracts, astigmatism and presbyopia.

Recent advancements have allowed the development of premium IOLs, which can allow patients to see at multiple focal points, reducing or eliminating the need for bifocals. Evergreen Eye Center offers many different types of premium IOLs; contact us today to find out which is the appropriate alternative for you.

 

What is macular degeneration?

Macular degeneration is the degeneration of light-sensitive tissue in the back of the eye (the macula) needed for clear central vision. Macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States and is usually age-related, though some cases can be linked to hereditary factors.

 

What is the difference between wet and dry macular degeneration?

Dry macular degeneration is the more common of the two types and results when fatty deposits appear on the macula.

Wet macular degeneration is caused by leakage into the retina from newly forming blood vessels in the surrounding tissue, resulting in damage to the macula.

 

How is macular degeneration treated?

Your eye physician may recommend special vitamins to decrease your chance of losing vision from dry macular degeneration. There are also new treatments for wet macular degeneration that have reduced long-term vision loss for many patients. Your Evergreen Eye Center expert can discuss different options with you and help you select the best course of treatment for you.

 

What is a corneal transplant?

In corneal transplant surgery, a damaged or diseased cornea is replaced with a healthy donor cornea, usually acquired from an eye bank. It is an outpatient surgery, which means that patients can go home following the procedure.

Corneal transplant surgery is very common in the United States and has a high rate of success. Recent advances have further improved both the success rate and the safety of this procedure.

 

What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is damage to the optic nerve from a variety of risk factors such as too-high pressure in the eye. It results in loss of peripheral vision and, in some cases, blindness. It is the second leading cause of blindness worldwide, so common that we screen for it at each visit.

Although glaucoma starts with loss of vision in the periphery, working its way inward with time, the initial symptoms are so slow, it often goes undetected until it is too late to treat.

 

Who is at risk for glaucoma?

Anyone can be at risk for glaucoma, but particularly high-risk groups include:

  • People over 60 years of age;
  • African-Americans over 40 years of age;
  • Hispanics
  • People with a family history of glaucoma;
  • People with diabetes;
  • People with a history of trauma to the eye;
  • Anyone who has used oral or inhaled steroids for other medical conditions.

 

How is glaucoma treated?

Early detection is an important factor in the treatment of glaucoma, which means that regular vision checkups are key to reducing the risk from the disease.

Once identified, glaucoma can be treated using eye drops or a surgical procedure called selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT). An Evergreen Eye Center professional can discuss our numerous advanced options for detection and treatment of glaucoma to determine which course of action is best for you.

 

What is diabetic retinopathy?

Diabetic retinopathy describes the effect that diabetes – a condition caused by the pancreas’ inability to regulate blood sugar – can have on your eyes. There are two main types of diabetic retinopathy:

  • Non-proliferative: In non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy, weakened blood vessels can leak or bleed causing floaters, blurred or double vision and even vision loss.
  • Proliferative: In proliferative diabetic retinopathy, a network of blood vessels actually grows over the retina, impairing the patient’s vision.

Treatment options for diabetic retinopathy include laser surgery, injection of medication into the eye, and, in some cases, surgical repair of the retina.

Diabetic retinopathy is a serious medical condition that requires comprehensive, specialized treatment by a trained eye care professional. An Evergreen Eye Center expert can discuss different options with you for keeping your eyes healthy and safe.

 

What is Implantable Collamer Lens (ICL) Surgery?

The Visian Implantable Collamer Lens (ICL) surgery is an FDA-approved alternative to LASIK for treating moderate to severe nearsightedness. It is an option for people who cannot have LASIK and an alternative for many who are eligible for LASIK but demand superior vision or are uncomfortable with laser surgery. The procedure does not contribute to dry eye and is reversible. The Implantable Collamer Lens (ICL) is placed in the eye to improve focusing without disturbing or replacing a patient’s natural crystalline lens.

 

What is dry eye?

Dry eye is a medical condition with health and lifestyle consequences if left untreated. There are two primary forms of dry eye – evaporative (which is associated with deficiency in the oily layer of your tears) and aqueous deficient (which is associated with deficiency in the watery layer of tears). LipiFlow® addresses evaporative dry eye, which is the most common cause of dry eye symptoms. As part of our dry eye evaluation, the doctor will use several tests to assess and identify the root cause of your dry eye symptoms and recommend the best treatment for you.

 

What are meibomian glands?

Meibomian glands are the oil-producing glands of your eyelids. If these glands do not produce enough oil or become blocked, it may contribute to your symptoms of dry eye.

 

What is LipiView®?

LipiView® is a new assessment technology that allows the doctor to evaluate the lipid (oil) layer on your eyes. This assessment is part of the process to identify the root cause of your dry eye. The doctor’s recommendation for treatment will be based on a full evaluation of the cause of your dry eye condition.

 

What is LipiFlow®?

LipiFlow® is a cutting-edge treatment for evaporative dry eye. LipiFlow® is a thermal eyelid massage that applies consistent, comfortable heat to your eyelids. It also provides gentle, pulsating pressure to your eyelids to massage out the liquefied blockages of your meibomian glands. Your eye doctor can provide you more information if this is an appropriate treatment option for your dry eye symptoms.

 

Does Evergreen Eye Center have LipiFlow®?

Yes, Evergreen Eye Center is excited to be one of the few practices in the Puget Sound area to offer the LipiFlow® technology. The doctor will discuss with you all the risks and benefits of the treatment. First, he or she will conduct tests to make sure you are an appropriate candidate for LipiFlow®.

 

What happens during the LipiFlow® procedure?

The LipiFlow® Activator (disposable) is inserted under your lower and upper eye lid. It is shaped to prevent contact with the cornea, or front surface of your eye. Once in place, you simply recline in the treatment chair for the procedure. The treatment can be performed in your wheelchair or an upright chair for patients with limited mobility.

 

How long is the LipiFlow® procedure?

The LipiFlow® procedure lasts 12 minutes.

 

Does LipiFlow® work?

In a clinical study, 79% of patients reported improved overall dry eye symptoms (ranging from 10% to 100% improvement) within four weeks of a single LipiFlow® treatment. Results may vary depending on factors that your doctor will discuss with you during your dry eye evaluation before pursuing treatment.

 

Is LipiFlow® FDA-approved?

Yes, LipiFlow® is FDA-approved.

 

What are the risks of the LipiFlow® procedure?

Your doctor will explain to you the risks and benefits of the LipiFlow® procedure during your dry eye evaluation and before treatment.

 

How long do the benefits of the LipiFlow® treatment last?

The results of the LipiFlow® treatment vary person to person. It may take several weeks to feel the full effect of symptom relief. Your doctor will discuss with you what benefit the LipiFlow® treatment may have for your dry eye symptoms after a thorough dry eye evaluation at one of Evergreen Eye Center’s Seattle-Tacoma area clinics.

 

Is LipiFlow® the only treatment option for my dry eye?

There are many treatment options that your doctor will discuss with you. LipiFlow® is just one of the options. After the dry eye evaluation, your doctor will recommend to you the treatment options that he or she feels will best help to relieve your dry eye symptoms.

 

Do I qualify for LipiFlow®?

The doctor will determine if you are qualified for LipiFlow® after a thorough evaluation of your eyes at one of Evergreen Eye Center’s four clinics. The doctor will then discuss with you whether LipiFlow® would be beneficial for relieving your dry eye symptoms.

 

How do I schedule a visit to get LipiFlow®?

The doctor must do a thorough evaluation of your eyes to determine the cause of your dry eye symptoms in order to determine if you are a candidate for LipiFlow®. This dry eye evaluation will be performed at Evergreen Eye Center.

 

Will my insurance cover LipiFlow®?

At this time, the LipiFlow® procedure is not covered by most insurance plans.

 

Will my insurance cover the dry eye evaluation?

We can attempt to bill your medical insurance for the cost of the dry eye evaluation. However, it is not guaranteed that it will be covered by your insurance.

 

How many follow-up visits do I need?

The number of follow-up visits you will need depends on your eye’s response to treatment and your overall satisfaction.

 

How much does LipiView®, LipiFlow®, and a dry eye evaluation cost?

Please call Evergreen Eye Center at 800-340-3595 for pricing details.