Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Does LASIK surgery hurt? [top]
There is only mild discomfort or pressure on your eyes during the procedure. Probably less discomfort than when you have your teeth cleaned. During recovery, for the first 24 hours, there is minimal discomfort, tearing and foreign body sensation. Occasionally patients experience dryness for the first 3 months. Most patients come away saying the procedure was intense but well worth the stress for the final outcome.

What is Wavefront? [top]
Wavefront also referred to, as “custom treatment” is the latest breakthrough in LASIK treatment. Many times, there are areas on the cornea, which require different prescriptions. This is why glasses and contacts can only help so much. With Wavefront Dr. Pilkinton is able to measure and treat up to 200 different locations on the eye, giving each location its own custom requirement, needed to give sharp crisp vision, often better than with glasses or contact lenses.

Can LASIK correction help me if my vision is very poor? [top]
It can if you are a candidate; all patients who are candidates come away with improved vision. We offer free consultations to determine if you are a candidate.

What are the long-term results from LASIK? [top]
While LASIK has only been in existence since 1991, another, very similar procedure called myopic keratomileusis (or MKM), has been performed for almost 40 years. LASIK is really a refinement of MKM, so there are 40 years of cases to draw on for conclusions. These cases tell us is that if patients are carefully selected for lamellar refractive surgery (like LASIK) then the long-term results are excellent.

What about laser technology? [top]
The size of your pupils, thickness of your cornea and amount of astigmatism are all uniquely yours. Dr. Pilkinton personally selects the treatment he feels will provide the best outcome for his patients. While you might hear that the laser is what makes all the difference in LASIK surgery, it does not guarantee success. It is the surgeon using the laser on the right candidate during the procedure that makes the difference.

How long does the procedure take? [top]
This depends on the amount of treatment your eyes require. Generally it is approximately 10 minutes per eye in the operating room. Additionally, there are the pre-operative preparations that include giving post-operative instructions, numbing the eyes and cleaning around the eyes. You can expect to be here approximately 1 hour.

Will my eyes be injured if I can’t hold them still during the procedure? [top]
During the laser portion of the procedure, Dr. Pilkinton will have you focus on a blinking red light. The laser will follow any eye movements during the procedure, however if your eye movement reached a certain level the tracker is designed to stop the laser. If you must rest your eye, or if it accidentally moves, Dr. Pilkinton can stop the procedure. Then, when your are ready, Dr. Pilkinton will have you, again focus on the red light and the computer will continue your treatment from where it left off.

My friends and family have concerns about things they’ve heard regarding LASIK treatment. What should I tell them? [top]
Your friends and family are simply showing concern for your well being. With any procedure the involved something as crucial as sight, there should be a certain level of concern. What we suggest is that you encourage your concerned friends and family to attend your free consultation. Dr. Pilkinton will be happy to explain the process and answer any questions that come up.

How long before I may return to normal activities after having LASIK? [top]
You may return to normal activities the next day but should avoid dusty conditions after LASIK. With sports or exercise, you need to avoid causing trauma to your eyes. You must also be careful not to get perspiration into your eyes during this time because you may inadvertently rub them. The best thing to do is to discuss with Dr. Pilkinton the activities you’re planning and he will tell your what you should avoid. You may need to use eye lubricants if you are planning to fly.

Should I have both eyes done at the same time? [top]
Most of the time Dr. Pilkinton treats both eyes on the same day. This minimizes discomfort, time off work and the imbalance that can occur from having one eye treated and the eye untreated.

Are there any risks involved with LASIK? [top]
Remember that LASIK is surgery and that there are risks with any surgery. However, the vast majority of patients-90%, as well as published studies, show excellent results with no complications. In fact, with the millions of LASIK procedures that have been performed, we do not know of a single case of blindness resulting from the procedure.

What if my vision isn’t 20/20 after surgery? [top]
LASIK has never been safer or more precise, but if a second treatment is needed Dr. Pilkinton usually waits 3 to 6 months after initial treatment before enhancement. This ensures that the patient’s vision is no longer fluctuating and avoids over correction.

How critical is the surgeon’s experience with LASIK? [top]
Your surgeons experience is of the utmost importance. Remember the laser is only a tool. How Dr. Pilkinton uses this tool is the determining factor in the success of your treatment. Creation of the flap, aligning the laser beam and being a stable comforting influence during your treatment are all part of what it takes to create a successful outcome and experience is the key to excellent results.

Dr. Pilkinton’s practice performed Nashville’s first laser vision procedure. He has performed thousands of LASIK surgeries; he trained with the physicians who invented the procedure for clinical trials while in training at the LSU eye center, one of the country’s pre-eminent ophthalmologic teaching centers. The more experience a surgeon has with LASIK, the less likely there will be complications. The experience you should ask about from your LASIK surgeon should include:

  • the number of successful procedures performed
  • the surgeon’s training in the procedure
  • whether your surgeon trains other physicians
  • proctoring
  • lecturing

Can LASIK help me if I have astigmatism? [top]
Yes. Through Wafefront technology, LASIK is excellent for treating all types of astigmatism.

Can LASIK treat farsightedness? [top]
Yes, treating farsightedness is very routine nowadays. The results for patients under 40 are excellent with both near and distance vision. For patients over age 40, distance vision and near vision (with reading glasses) can be greatly improved.

I can see distance objects very well but I’m having trouble seeing my watch and reading the phone book. Can LASIK help me? [top]
In our mid-40’s we gradually begin to lose the ability to change focus from distance to near. This is a normal aging condition called Presbyopia. Those of us, who have never worn glasses before, suddenly have a need for reading glasses. This differs for farsightedness and LASIK cannot treat Presbyopia.

I wear glasses for distance but take them off to read. Will LASIK affect my reading? [top]
Someone who is nearsighted and over 40 often just uses his or her glasses to see far away, then removes them to see close up. While LASIK correction will improve a nearsighted person’s distance vision, he or she will then need reading glasses for up close. Or the patient may choose blended vision.

What is blended vision? [top]
Blended vision is the action of using one eye for distance vision and the other eye for near vision. Some patients already are utilizing blended vision in contact lenses.

Blended vision is one LASIK treatment, which can reduce the need for reading glasses. With blended vision, one eye is treated for distance vision and the other is treated for near vision. In time, your brain accommodates this difference in vision between your eyes.

Blended vision is a very personal choice. If you’re looking for an alternative to reading glasses, ask Dr. Pilkinton about blended vision. He will be happy to fully explain everything about this treatment option.

Can a LASIK treatment cause cataracts or glaucoma? [top]
There is no evidence that LASIK causes either cataracts or glaucoma? If a person does develop cataracts after LASIK, then cataract surgery can still be successfully performed. Glaucoma can also be successfully treated after LASIK.

How can I have 20/20 vision and still need reading glasses? [top]
The term 20/20 describes what a person with normal vision can see at 20 feet. To measure vision, a person must be tested for both distance and near vision. So, someone with 20/100 vision has to be 20 feet away from an object to see it as well as a person with 20/20 vision can see it from 100 hundred feet away. At the same time, this person might have 20/20 vision for distance vision, but 20/100 vision up close.

The way technology moves, is there something better than LASIK right around the corner? [top]
LASIK continues to be the pre-eminent procedure for vision correction. Dr. Pilkinton has been performing the procedure since 1996 and based on our knowledge of eye care, it will continue to be the best option for people who want to improve their vision.

Who will be in charge of my post-operative care? [top]
Your referring eye care physician usually does this, if you don’t have a referring physician Dr Pilkinton will perform your post-operative care himself. If there is a question or concern after your procedure, Dr. Pilkinton will he happy to see you and discuss your concerns.



A hike in the mountains. Cold, clear stream. Tiny fishes shiny and sharp. Thanks Lasik.