Frequently Asked Questions

These are answers to some commonly asked questions; however, it is not intended to be medical advice. To schedule an appointment with one of our physicians to discuss your specific vision needs, please call 229-244-2068.

LASIK FAQ

With All-Laser LASIK, a blade never touches your eye and the laser creates a smooth, even surface after the flap is lifted. This procedure combines the very latest of three FDA-approved technologies to provide a truly customized LASIK procedure tailored specifically for your vision imperfections. SGNF also has the benefit of having our own laser equipment on site at our state-of-the-art surgery center in Valdosta – giving you better quality and more flexible scheduling.

While results are different for each patient, one common side effect is subconjunctival hemorrhaging. This is caused when blood vessels are ruptured or broken. It is generally a painless and harmless condition and disappears within two weeks. No additional treatment is necessary if this occurs. Other risks associated with traditional LASIK may apply.

Every process in LASIK is customized for you and aids the surgeon in getting the best possible results for your laser vision correction procedure. There are three main steps to the LASIK procedure:

Step 1: WaveScan® Map The first step in LASIK is the preparation of the WaveScan 3-D map. Through a series of tests, this tool maps out all the imperfections in your vision so your personalized vision correction plan can be formulated for the Advanced CustomVue vision correction laser.

Step 2: Femto Second™ Laser Although complications are rare, in conventional LASIK the majority occur during the creation of the flap with the microkeratome blade. The Femto Second Laser used in our surgery center eliminates these types of complications. The flap, created with laser technology, is a thinner, more precise flap that allows for faster healing of the cornea.

Step 3: Advanced Laser Vision Correction The last step in creating vivid and clear vision for you is the custom laser treatment on your cornea. The WaveScan map provides the surgeon and laser’s computer the information needed to reshape your cornea for your best vision possible. The cool beam of light treats the cornea painlessly and precisely, in just a matter of seconds.

Using a laser allows for a more customized, smoother flap fit. This helps further reduce the risks of infection and other side effects, such as dry eye and epithelial in-growth. Using a laser creates a thinner flap, which is gentler on the eye than a traditional blade. Patients also experience a faster recovery time. In short, it is safer and more precise.

You do not need a referral. We always accept new patients.

Laser vision correction is a procedure that improves your vision by permanently changing the shape of your cornea (the clear covering of the front of the eye) with a laser. Often referred to as LASIK (an acronym for the medical term laser assisted in-situ keratomileusis ), it is the most commonly performed type of laser procedure and is an effective treatment for a wide range of vision problems.

Your eyes will be anesthetized with special drops. You will then lie down, and one of our ophthalmologists – Dr. Scott Petermann or Dr. Wes Ross – will make sure your eye is positioned directly under the laser. (One eye is operated on at a time.) A device is gently placed in your eye to keep your eyelids open. Normally, this is not uncomfortable. An ink marker will be used to indicate where the flap should be placed. A small incision is then made with a laser. (During the procedure, you won’t actually see the creation of the flap, which is very thin.)

You will be asked to look at a target light for a short time while the surgeon watches your eye through a microscope to make sure it remains in the correct position while the laser sends pulses of light to your cornea. The laser is able track your eye so that small movements do not affect the outcome.

The laser uses a cool, ultraviolet light beam to precisely remove very tiny bits of tissue from the cornea to reshape it. You’ll hear a steady clicking sound as the laser is operating. You’re also likely to smell a mild odor due to the tissue removal. The flap is then laid back into place, covering the area where the corneal tissue was removed. No stitches are necessary.

During the procedure, our surgeons will use a computer to adjust the laser for your particular prescription. The higher your prescription, the more time the surgery will take.

It is not uncommon for patients to move their eye during the procedure. A little movement does not cause any undue risk or danger to your eye, and our surgeons can stop the laser at any time during the procedure. He will ask you to concentrate on a red light. If you move your eye too much, the laser will automatically shut down. After you are in position again, our surgeons will restart the laser, and it picks up where it left off. The laser is also able to track eye movements.

Your eyes may tear and have a “gritty” feeling, as if there is a foreign body in them. They may also be sensitive to light. These symptoms will diminish over a few days. It is also normal to experience a glare as your eyes heal. Taking all of your medications as directed will help relieve any discomfort.

Most patients are able to return to work—and resume most of their normal daily activities—the day after the procedure.

Two months after pregnancy or nursing, your prescription should be stable enough for the procedure. Our ophthalmologists will test for stability at your pre-op exam.

LASIK permanently changes the shape of your cornea. By reshaping the cornea, the optics of the eye are changed and this brings the image into focus on the retina at the back of the eye.

The laser only removes a small amount of tissue, usually less than 10% of the corneal thickness.

The procedure itself is painless. Your eyes will be numbed with eye drops, and no general anesthetic is necessary. A small percentage of patients do experience some discomfort after the procedure—often described as if an eyelash is in their eye. An over-the-counter pain medication usually helps with any discomfort. You will also be given eye drops to counteract any potential dryness you may experience after the procedure.

While LASIK has proven overwhelmingly successful in reducing the dependence on glasses and contact lenses, the degree of improvement may vary among individuals. How well and how quickly your vision improves depends on how well you heal and the severity of your prescription. However, most patients with mild to moderate prescriptions achieve 20/20 vision—or are within one or two lines on the eye chart. This means you no longer need glasses or contacts to drive, play sports, or watch movies or TV. But you may still need reading glasses because LASIK cannot correct presbyopia (aging of the eye), which occurs around age 40. Reading glasses may be required for clear, close vision. In addition, LASIK will not prevent you from developing naturally occurring eye problems, such as glaucoma, cataracts, retinal degeneration or detachment.

If you have an uncomplicated LASIK procedure, you can get pregnant at four weeks post-op (or later), and it will not affect the healing process. If you were to get pregnant four weeks or more after the procedure, and then it was determined that you needed a re-treatment, you would need to wait for the re-treatment. In the meantime, you might need to wear soft contacts or glasses to gain your best-corrected vision until the time of treatment.

As with any medical procedure, LASIK does have risks. However, the incidence of complications has been documented in a number of clinical studies to be low. Some potential complications can include dryness, increased sensitivity to light, night glare or haloes, irregular astigmatism, under correcting or over correcting, complications in making the surgical flap and loss of best-corrected vision. These complications occur in less than one percent of procedures. Our surgeons will discuss any possible risks with you during your examination and determine if LASIK surgery is appropriate for you and your specific vision needs.

We offer CareCredit, a monthly payment plan for qualified patients. Learn More at CareCredit.com

LASIK is an outpatient procedure that takes less than 15 minutes to complete. You should expect to be in the office for approximately 60-90 minutes.

A special device called a speculum is used to prevent you from blinking. It does not cause any pain.

Your vision usually improves immediately after treatment. You will typically notice dramatic visual results within the first 24 hours following the procedure, but your vision can continue to improve for the next six months. (Although you may experience fluctuations in your vision for several days after the procedure, this will usually stabilize after the first week.)

Once at home after your LASIK procedure, you should follow these instructions:

  • Try to rest, and keep both eyes closed as much as possible
  • Take precautions not to get your eyes wet when you shower or bathe for the first two days
  • Take your medications exactly as prescribed
  • Noswimming, hot tubs or saunas for two weeks
  • Noeye makeup for the first week after the procedure
  • Do not rub or bump your eyes for the first week

During the next few days after your procedure, you should follow these instructions:

  • Although an eye infection is rare, be careful not to get anything in your eyes during the first week, including soap and water
  • Wear eye protection for contact sports or any other activity where you could bump your eyes
  • Protect your eyes from sun radiation with a good pair of sunglasses that provide UV protection. Heavy UV exposure can burn your eyes and cause regression problems any time during the first year
  • Contact our office immediately if you experience any change in your symptoms or notice a decrease in your vision
  • Keep all of your follow-up appointments

The procedure fee may be tax deductible, depending on your personal tax situation. You should consult your accountant for more information. Often LASIK can be paid for with tax-free dollars through an employer’s flexible spending account.

Cataract FAQ

A cataract is a clouding of the normally clear lens of the eye and is a common cause of decreased vision. The clouding in the lens disrupts transmission of light through the lens, causing vision to be blurred, dark and distorted.

A cataract is a clouding of the normally clear lens of the eye and is a common cause of decreased vision. The clouding in the lens disrupts transmission of light through the lens, causing vision to be blurred, dark and distorted.

If cataracts are present, surgery may be recommended; cataract surgery is one of the safest and most effective types of surgery.

Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure that only takes a few hours. When you arrive, your eyes may be treated with eye drops and anesthetic to minimize any discomfort during the operation. LenSx® Laser Cataract Surgery is an advanced alternative to traditional cataract surgery that is blade-free and laser-assisted. LenSx® Cataract Surgery performs the same overall task as traditional cataract surgery – removing the old lens and replacing it with a new, clear lens. The difference between traditional surgery and LenSx® is that LenSx® provides the surgeon with micron-level precision, accuracy and predictability using a laser instead of surgical blades. The procedure is tailored to the surgeon’s specifications and delivers a remarkable degree of accuracy. By creating the incisions and fragmenting the clouded lens with LenSx®, the surgeon creates a precise opening for the new lens to be optimally positioned.

Our surgeons can use special lenses such as the ReSTOR® and Crystalens® to help with distance, near and intermediate vision. They can also use techniques and lenses to eliminate astigmatism and help patients achieve greater spectacle independence. Eye Partners’ ophthalmologists, Dr. Scott Petermann, Dr. Wes Ross and Dr. Garrett Webster , perform cataract surgery with LenSx® as an outpatient procedure at SGNF’s new surgery center in Valdosta. Pre-op and post-op visits for our patients can be scheduled in Valdosta, Tifton, Moultrie, Douglas and Madison, FL.

If you have cataracts on both eyes, you will have surgery on the second eye within two weeks of the first eye.

* Information provided by our partners at ReSTOR and Crystalens.

Our surgeons will advise you based on your procedure. Typically, he will see you one day after surgery, after 2-4 weeks and again around 3-6 months after surgery. Thereafter, an annual exam is sufficient.

Premium lens implants are used in conjunction with cataract surgery to help with distance, near and intermediate vision. In the past, regular cataract surgery only treated a patient’s cataracts; therefore, they would still be dependent on glasses for most of their daily activities. Premium lens implants correct more than just your cataracts. The procedure offers results with a fuller range of vision – and can reduce or eliminate your dependence on glasses.

Considering cataract surgery but want to be informed? Our cataract surgery patients receive a series of informative videos via text message prior to the first consultation and then leading up to surgery, so you know how to prepare and what to expect! Designated caregivers can receive the videos as well. Ready for consult? Just give us a call.

If your eyes are healthy, you have not had previous cataract surgery and you have no major health problems, you may be an excellent candidate for premium lens implants. Our ophthalmologists will perform a thorough exam and advise which type of premium lens implant is right for you.

Optical Solutions FAQ

Children should have their first eye exam between the ages of 6 and 12 months. The first exam usually tests for excessive or unequal amounts of nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism, eye movement ability and overall eye health.

By age three, your child needs a thorough optometric examination to make sure his or her vision is developing properly and there is no evidence of eye disease. Unless advised otherwise, the child’s next examination should be at 5 years of age. During these preschool years, parents should be on alert for common eye problems such as “crossed” eyes or “lazy” eye.

School-age children should receive comprehensive eye exams yearly unless recommended otherwise. Vision problems identified during this time may need to be corrected with either eyeglasses or contact lenses.

Adults up to 40 years old should see an Optometrist every two years. If you are at risk for eye problems due to a family history of eye disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, past vision problems or if you are experiencing eye strain, you may need to schedule exams more frequently.

Adults age 60 and beyond, should schedule annual eye exams. A number of eye diseases that can permanently change your vision become present as the eye begins to age. Common vision disorders include age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, retinal detachment, cataracts, glaucoma, and dry eye. Other medical problems such as high blood pressure and diabetes as well as any prescription medications can also have an effect on your vision.

In instances of patients who experience low vision, South Georgia Eye Partners’ Low Vision Clinic works with each one to find which rehabilitation option works best with their lifestyle.

The Optical Boutique in all of our locations, carries the latest in designer frames and sunglasses for children, teens and adults; each location also has opticians who provide expert fittings and selection advice!

Learn More

Videos

Meet our staff, and watch educational videos to learn more about South Georgia North Florida Eye Partners.

Forms

Prior to your visit with us, save time in the waiting room by accessing our patient forms, and bring them with you to your appointment.

Patient Education

We consider it our mission to educate the public about eyecare concerns, health risks, and general information regarding LASIK and surgery procedures.

Insurance and Payments

Wondering if we accept your insurance or vision plan? Find out what we accept and procedures we follow regarding payment and vision insurance plans.


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