For over two decades, Dr. Nancy Balin has been changing lives through better vision. Her expertise, advanced technology, and great results have made her one of the most sought after doctors for laser vision correction in Western MA.
The iLASIK Procedure
iLASIK is a completely customized, blade-free LASIK treatment. Using two of the most advanced technologies, CustomVue and Intralase, Dr. Balin is able to personalize your LASIK treatment to achieve optimal results.
During your exam, Dr. Balin will use a WaveScan device to measure the imperfections in each of your eyes. A detailed map of your unique visual track will be created. Your treatment will be based upon this personal vision profile. Just as your fingerprint is unique, your treatment plan will be unique and customized to only you. Dr. Balin will transfer your personal vision profile into the laser and guide your procedure. Within seconds the cool laser light from the Excimer Laser will gently and accurately reshape your corneas to provide better vision. This is a completely customized, tailored approach to vision correction.
Just as your treatment plan is customized, the creation of your flap is also customized. Using the femtosecond Intralase laser, Dr. Balin will create a flap that is tailored to your eye. The Intralase laser creates the flap by emitting ultra-fast pulses of laser light into the cornea. The laser light passes harmlessly through the cornea creating bubbles at a precise and uniform depth. These bubbles separate the corneal tissue and allow Dr. Balin to gently lift the flap to perform the procedure. This is a completely customized, all-laser, blade-free flap creation. Using Intralase allows Dr. Balin to have greater control over the flap creation. Intralase is considered to be safer technology than the blade and produces flaps that are thinner and more consistent.
One of the most important steps in the iLASIK process is to be properly evaluated for the procedure. Not everyone is a good candidate for iLASIK. At Balin Eye & Laser Center we offer Lasik pre-op exams to determine iLASIK candidacy. This exam begins with taking a complete medical history of the patient. Then a complete eye exam is performed to check the overall health of the eye. Specialized testing is done to determine the best treatment options for each patient. For some patients, Dr. Balin may recommend an alternative procedure to correct your vision. In order to obtain the best results, it is imperative that you undergo a thorough candidacy evaluation with a qualified LASIK surgeon.
The following general guidelines apply to LASIK candidacy:
- You need to be at least 18 years of age.
- You need to have stable vision.
- Your prescription must fall within correctable parameters.
- Your eyes should be healthy and free of eye disease, injury or infection.
- Your cornea needs to be thick enough for reshaping.
- You need to have realistic expectations.
Correcting Distance and Reading Vision
Around the age of forty, the lens in our eye becomes less flexible and loses its ability to accommodate. We experience this when we lose the ability to see clearly up-close. This natural aging condition is called Presbyopia. To compensate for presbyopia, patients will wear reading glasses over contacts, switch to monovision or multifocal contacts, move into a bifocal or progressive eyeglass or even remove their eyeglasses to see clearly up close. For patients who want distance and reading vision corrected, Dr. Balin performs Refractive Lensectomy with advanced multifocal lens implants, KAMRA Inlay or Monovision.
Monovision is one option for treating patients who are over 40 years old and are no longer able to see clearly up close. To correct a patient to Monovision, the dominant eye will be corrected for clear distance vision and the non-dominant eye will be corrected for up-close reading vision. Even though each eye is performing a different task, most patients adapt well and are able to see clearly at distance and up-close. Not everyone is a good monovision candidate. At your LASIK pre-op exam, Dr. Balin will discuss your options for correcting both distance and reading vision. Patients who are interested in monovision will undergo a monovision trial using contacts to determine if this type of surgical correction would work best for them.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is LASIK Safe?
Over 30 million people worldwide have had laser vision correction. It is considered to be an extremely safe and effective procedure to reduce or eliminate your need for glasses or contacts.
What does iLASIK Treat?
iLasik treats your distance vision which includes nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. It does not treat presbyopia which is the need for reading glasses. Patients who are interested in both distance and reading vision correction may be candidates for monovision, Refractive Lensectomy or the KAMRA Inlay.
How do I Find Out if I am a Candidate for iLASIK?
The LASIK pre-op exam that determines if you are a good candidate for iLASIK is a comprehensive dilated exam that is scheduled in the Northampton office. If you wear contacts, you will be instructed to remove the contacts for a period of time prior to the exam. Expect to be at the office for at least 3 hours. Your eyes will be dilated with strong drops that will last for a minimum of 12 hours, but if you are sensitive to the drops you may remain dilated for a longer period of time. Extensive testing will be performed at this exam and you will meet personally with Dr. Balin to discuss all of your results. It is possible that Dr. Balin may recommend an alternate procedure based on your results. There is a $150.00 fee for this exam which is applied toward your surgery.
Is There a Cost to Find Out if I am a Candidate for iLASIK?
The LASIK pre-op exam is a comprehensive dilated exam. You will be at our office for at least 2-3 hours undergoing extensive testing that involves technician and doctor time. Dr. Balin will review your testing results and recommend your best vision treatment options. Unfortunately, insurance does not cover the cost of this exam. We do charge a minimal fee of $150.00 for this comprehensive appointment. As a courtesy to our patients, we do apply this $150.00 fee toward your surgery.
What to Expect the Day of Surgery
Surgery day is exciting. You should plan on being at our office for about 2 hours. When you check-in for your procedure, we will give you a prescription for pain medicine and a sleeping pill. Both medications are optional. We do recommend that you fill the prescriptions in the event that you need them. Your procedure should only take about 20 minutes. Your eyes will be numbed so you should not feel any pain. We will ask you to keep your eyes closed and rest for the remainder of the day. You cannot drive yourself home or drive to the one day post-op appointment. You will need to arrange for a ride.
What Will I Feel During the Procedure?
Your eyes will be numb during the procedure so you should not feel any pain. You may feel a pressure sensation. Following the surgery, most patients report mild to moderate discomfort usually described as a slight stinging sensation. This discomfort is temporary and usually disappears within 24-48 hours. You will be given pain medication which is optional.
What Should I Expect Following the Surgery?
Postoperatively we will see you on one day, one week, five weeks, 6 months and 1 year. You will be using drops which include antibiotic, anti-inflammatory and moisture drops as you heal. No swimming, eye make-up, eye rubbing or contact sports for three weeks following your procedure. You will also need to wear sleeping goggles for three weeks at night to prevent any rubbing while you sleep. You may return to work within a day or two after your procedure.
Is There Financing?
Yes! Learn more about our financing options.
What is the Cost of iLASIK?
Although most insurances do not completely cover the procedure cost, there are many insurances that provide some coverage in the form of discounts. We do participate with many of these insurances, so please contact our Refractive Surgery Coordinator for surgical quotes.
What Are the Risks?
Dr. Balin will personally review the risks of the surgery with you at your pre-op candidacy exam. The procedure is considered to be safe and effective but like all surgical procedures, there is always some risk.
Where is the Procedure Performed?
The procedure is performed in our state-of-the-art laser suite in Northampton MA. All procedures are performed by Dr. Balin using the latest generation VISX Star S4 Excimer Laser. The VISX Star S4 laser features a 3-D Eye Tracker for greater accuracy, Variable Spot Scanning for flexibility in treating larger areas and Iris Registration to ensure accurate alignment of treatment to the cornea. The suite is also equipped with the Femtosecond Intralase Laser for no blade flap creation. The laser suite waiting room is equipped with a monitor so your family and friends can watch your entire procedure.
How Long do the Results Last?
The correction is a permanent correction to the eye. However, it is possible that your eye could change in the future.
What is the Next Step?
The next step is to call our office at 413-584-6666 to schedule your LASIK pre-op exam. Our Lasik Refractive Coordinator would be happy to answer any questions you have about iLASIK.