Dr. Dressler is one of the area’s top surgeons for laser vision correction, having performed more than 1,000 LASIK procedures since 1998. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about the LASIK procedure.

What sort of laser is used in LASIK?

A special excimer laser is used in LASIK laser vision correction.  The excimer is an ultraviolet laser, which creates a non-thermal (cool) beam of laser light which can painlessly and precisely vaporize minute amounts of tissue in a process commonly referred to as “photoablation.”  A simple way to imagine how the laser works is to think of it as placing the curvature from your glasses or contact lenses onto the front surface of your eye.

The excimer laser is remarkably precise. It is able to remove 0.25 microns of tissue in a single pulse, which is 1/200th of the width of a human hair or 39 millionths of an inch, in 12 billionths of a second!

What distinguishes Dr. Dressler from other laser vision providers?

The only Harvard Medical School graduate in the D.C. area performing LASIK laser vision correction, Dr. Dressler brings her dedication, surgical skills and LASIK experience to make LASIK successful and comfortable for her patients.  Unlike some impersonal, mass-market LASIK operations in which the LASIK surgeon spends little time with the patient (sometimes only seeing the patient for the surgery itself), at Dressler Ophthalmology, an ophthalmologist (eye physician/surgeon medical doctor) performs your LASIK care, including the important patient counseling, refractive evaluations and post-op follow-ups, which all contribute to the success of your procedure. 

Moreover, unlike most mass-market LASIK practices, Dr. Dressler’s LASIK patients can remain patients in her ophthalmology practice after their LASIK procedure, for any of their general eye care needs, if they so choose. Dr. Dressler believes that the LASIK surgeon’s willingness to enter into a long-term relationship with the patient shows that the surgeon truly believes that LASIK is the right procedure for the patient long-term. Furthermore, Dr. Dressler believes that it is beneficial for LASIK patients to be followed by an ophthalmologist who knows their eyes well, since the LASIK procedure leads to falsely low intraocular pressure readings and thus can make the subsequent detection of glaucoma somewhat more difficult.

Can anyone have LASIK done? Am I a candidate?

In general, candidates for laser vision correction must meet the following requirements:

  • be 21 years or older
  • have stable vision for at least one year prior to the procedure
  • be free of certain diseases of the eye and certain systemic diseases
  • have realistic expectations about the outcome of the procedure

Is it possible for a patient who is very near sighted to have LASIK?

With the approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration of high myopia treatment, the overwhelming majority of nearsighted patients (well over 98%) can now have LASIK to improve their distance vision.

What about treating astigmatism?

Many patients have heard that astigmatism can’t be treated with a laser. Years ago this was true in the U.S. however, treatment of astigmatism with the excimer laser has been FDA approved and generally yields excellent results.

What about farsightedness?

Farsightedness can be treated also, having received FDA approval in late 1998.

How long does the procedure take? Does it hurt?

LASIK generally takes about 5-7 minutes per eye. Numbing drops are the only anesthesia used, and the procedure itself is generally painless, though you will feel some eyelid pressure from the eyelid speculum which holds your eyelid open throughout the surgery. After the procedure, most patients experience some irritation, light sensitivity, and watering of the eyes for a few hours. Usually this irritation is not too bothersome because patients are medicated with Alleve and Valium for the LASIK procedure. The next day, most LASIK patients are very comfortable and can return to normal activities.

What if I look away for a moment or can’t hold my eyes still for the procedure?

Some patients worry about this, but the overwhelming majority of people have no problems whatsoever in maintaining good eye alignment. The laser has an advanced eye tracking system to compensate for eye movements. The machine’s tracker will stop laser treatment if eye movement becomes extreme, and the laser will resume treatment at the right spot once proper eye alignment is regained. Blinking is not a problem, as an eyelid holder is inserted to prevent blinking and the topical anesthetic drops eliminate the urge to blink.

Where is the procedure performed?

The TLC Laser Eye Center in Tysons Corner.

How much time will I need to take off work?

Most patients take off from work only the day of the surgery. 

Will I have any restrictions after surgery?

If you wear eye make-up, you should avoid wearing it for a few days prior to the laser and one week afterwards. You should avoid dusty, dirty, and smoky environments, as well as swimming pools, hot tubs, saunas, and certain sporting activities for several weeks after your laser. Care should be taken not to strike, rub, or squeeze your eyes for the first week following the procedure.

Will I have perfect vision after the procedure?

Experience has shown that LASIK has been overwhelmingly successful in reducing or eliminating myopia, astigmatism, and hyperopia. The great majority of patients achieve 20/20 vision following their laser procedure. Due to differential healing patterns among people and other factors, a few patients will not achieve 20/20 vision. Patients may receive a free second procedure (an enhancement) to further improve their results if desired and medically advisable.

When do I return for post-op visits?

You will be seen at our office the following day after your surgery. As long as you are healing properly, your next appointments will be at one week, one month, three months, six months, and 12 months. The costs for all these visits are included in your laser fee.

What is the cost of the procedure?

The cost of LASIK (on both eyes) which includes wavefront Visx laser and intralase flap-making technology is $4900.

Every patient’s situation is unique and requires a free pre-operative consultation with Dr. Dressler. Call our office to schedule an appointment today!