Laser Vision Correction in Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania - FAQs

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At InSight℠ LASIK & Refractive Group, patient education is as much a part of our commitment to excellence as delivering the highest-quality of vision care.  Most individuals have questions about laser vision correction procedures offered at our surgery center near Pittsburgh in Western Pennsylvania, and we have tried to answer some of those questions. 

What is laser vision correction?

Laser vision correction is an advanced form of eye surgery in which the ablating energy of an excimer laser is used to alter the shape of a patient's cornea, thereby correcting refractive error. Currently, the most popular form of laser vision correction is LASIK surgery.  However, PRK, the forerunner of LASIK, can be used as an alternative method of laser vision correction for many individuals who are not ideal candidates for the LASIK procedure.

Am I a good candidate for LASIK?

The best candidates for laser vision correction procedures are over 18 years of age, since the eye does not reach full development until approximately that age.  They should also have adequate corneal thickness to reduce the risk of complications arising from the creation of the corneal flap, as well as a prescription that has been stable for at least a year. 

Women who are pregnant or nursing or anticipate becoming pregnant should delay undergoing laser vision correction because hormonal changes that occur naturally during pregnancy can affect the results of the procedure.

It is important that LASIK candidates understand that, as with any surgery, there are risks associated with the procedure, and that no  guarantees can be made.  LASIK is usually quite successful in reducing an individual's dependence on corrective lenses although it may not necessarily eliminate the need altogether.

What is refractive error?

In a perfectly shaped eye, light is refracted (or bent) as it passes through the cornea and crystalline lens and arrives at a focal point on the retina, creating a crisp, precise image.  However, when light passes through an abnormally shaped eye, improper refraction may result, producing blurred or otherwise inaccurate vision.  Lower-order refractive errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism can be addressed with laser vision correction.  Custom wavefront LASIK allows Dr. Zimmer to correct the more difficult higher-order aberrations that often cause starburst patterns, halos, and persistent glare.    

What is nearsightedness?

Nearsightedness (also referred to as myopia) is a refractive error that is caused by an elongated eye. The eye is slightly longer than average from front to back.  This irregular shape causes light to be focused at a point before the retina, where all images are produced, thereby resulting in blurred distance vision while near objects retain their clarity.  Nearsightedness is a lower-order aberration that can be improved with laser vision correction at our surgery center in Western Pennsylvania.

What is farsightedness?

Farsightedness (or hyperopia) is the opposite of nearsightedness.  It is a refractive error caused by an eye that is shorter than normal from front to back.  Light is focused at a point behind the retina causing near objects to appear blurred while distance vision remains clear.  Laser vision correction, at our surgery center near Pittsburgh, is an effective means of improving farsightedness.

What is astigmatism?

Astigmatism is a refractive error that occurs when the cornea or the lens is irregularly curved.  Instead of having a uniform curvature, some areas may be flatter or steeper than others.  This distortion results in multiple focal points, which produce blurred vision at all distances.  Astigmatism is generally present from birth, and the condition remains relatively constant over time.  Like farsightedness and nearsightedness, astigmatism is treatable with laser vision correction.  Limbal relaxing incisions have also proved effective in correcting this common refractive error.

What is presbyopia?

Presbyopia is an age-related condition that affects many people as they reach their 40s.  Individuals with presbyopia experience a gradual decline in near vision.  Symptoms include:

  • Difficulty focusing on near objects, such as the print in books or on the computer
  • Recurring eyestrain or headaches after periods of prolonged reading or detail work

Presbyopia occurs when the proteins within the eye's crystalline lens begin to change, causing the lens to harden.  Prior to this, the lens is able to change shape to adjust for changing focus.  When the lens begins to lose its flexibility, it can no longer adjust its shape to provide proper refraction for close objects, and near vision becomes blurred.

Because presbyopia is not caused by irregularities in the shape of the eye, refractive lens exchange (RLE) is the most effective treatment for the condition, aside from corrective lenses.  Laser vision correction, which involves reshaping the structure of the eye, is not yet able to improve this condition, though it may become a useful method in the future.

How long does the LASIK procedure take?

LASIK is an outpatient procedure performed in our state-of-the-art, fully accredited, ambulatory surgery center.  Though the actual surgery is completed in a matter of seconds, depending on the degree of correction required, the entire procedure may take several minutes.  In addition, there is a certain amount of preparation that goes into every LASIK procedure. 

What are the risks of laser vision correction?

Some complications of laser vision correction include:

  • Dry eye
  • Impaired night vision
  • Glare
  • Halo's
  • Loss of best-corrected vision
  • Under or over response

Though such complications are possible, studies have shown that the actual risk of these complications occurring is minimal.

What is the total price for having a LASIK or PRK Procedure?

There is no cost for the preliminary consult evaluation which determines whether you are a good candidate for LASIK surgery.  There is a $100.00 fee for the comprehensive examination which is deducted from your laser vision correction fee.         

Our refractive group does not believe in “good, better, best pricing”, which is commonly promoted by other LASIK centers. We have one price which is $4,500.00 for both eyes and includes the most state of the art option available today, a Bladeless and CustomVue Wavefront Procedure. Compared to the “additional cost” most other practices charge for a Bladeless and wavefront procedure, our pricing is very competitive.

  • EVERY patient receives a thorough evaluation and CUSTOM WAVEFRONT technology tailored to produce a quality outcome for your individual lifestyle.
  • The cost includes the procedure on both eyes, all pre-operative and post-operative appointments for one year, artificial tears, any enhancements (rarely needed) for two years and punctual plug insertion after surgery to reduce dryness and promote healing.

Is FINANCING available?

We provide 0% financing for 12 months with no money down, no pre-payment penalty and no application fee.

  • Patient must PRE-qualify for credit through Tracey Long @ Fifth Third Bank.
  • The process is simple and takes less than 3 minutes on the phone.

Are there other payment options?


  • CASH
  • CREDIT CARD (MC, Visa, Discover, Amex)


There is normally no discomfort.  It is most often minimal, if any.  Topical anesthetic drops are used (numbing eye drops) so you should not feel any pain during the procedure.  You may, however, feel mild pressure during the creation of the corneal flap. If you do have discomfort after the procedure, you may take any over-the-counter pain medication such as Advil or Tylenol.

What do I have to do to prepare for the consult evaluation?

It depends on whether you wear contact lenses & how soon you want surgery.

  • If you wear contacts and wish to have surgery as soon as possible, soft contacts must be out for at least 10 to 14 days prior to your examination (gas permeable contact lenses at least 3 weeks)
  • If you do not wear contacts, no special instructions are required

What is the expected recovery time after LASIK?

2-3 Days

  • Surgery is done on Thursdays and most patients are able to drive by Friday and return to work by Monday.
  • The following restrictions DO apply post-operatively:
  • No eye-make up or powdery cosmetics for 1 week
  • No swimming pools, saunas or hot tubs for 2 weeks
  • No contact or racquet sports for 30 days
  • No tanning beds for 30 days

How soon can I schedule my LASIK surgery?

It depends upon whether you currently wear contact lenses.  We are often able to schedule surgery within 1 to 3 weeks.

How often will I come back for visits?

You will be seen the day after your procedure, one week later, at one month, at three months, at six months and at one yearThese visits are included in your total price for the LASIK or PRK procedure.

Is Laser Vision Correction permanent?

LASIK and PRK are the most stable refractive surgery’s available.  Studies of the first LASIK patient’s performed in 1991 indicate that they have maintained their corrected vision.  Stability of vision is usually achieved within one month per unit of correction.

Learn More about Laser Vision Correction

If you have additional questions about the methods of laser vision correction performed at our Pittsburgh-area surgery center in Western Pennsylvania, please don't hesitate to contact InSight℠ LASIK & Refractive Group.