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As a result of researching LASIK surgery on the Internet, many patients have developed their own lists of questions. We understand and appreciate that these are the only eyes you have, and that you want to be assured that the refractive surgeon you choose is the right one for you. We have diligently reviewed many internet sites to create this list of questions most often asked by persons considering the LASIK procedure.

FAQ's Cost/Insurance

Q: Does insurance cover LASIK?
A: Most insurance companies do not cover LASIK, because it is considered an elective surgery. It is your responsibility to find out what coverage you have. Some companies and unions do provide partial or full compensation for refractive surgery.
Q: How much do you charge for the evaluation to see if I am a candidate?
A: At Foulkes Vision Institute, our evaluations are free of charge and no obligation. It may be the most thorough eye exam you have ever had. We want our patients to be confident with who they choose to do their LASIK.


Q: Is the procedure painful?
A: Anesthetic drops are used immediately before the procedure so that you do not experience any discomfort. After the procedure, your eyes may feel uncomfortable for several hours. We strongly urge our patients to go home and take a nap after the procedure. Within a few hours post-operatively, you are feeling much better.
Q: How deep does the laser go?
A: This varies by from person to person depending on your treatment. Some factors are your prescription, pupil size, and corneal thickness. The FDA requires 250 microns be left in the corneal bed after your treatment. We typically leave over 300 microns after the procedure. Dr. Foulkes believes this is safer and wants to leave room for further treatment, if necessary.
Q: How long has LASIK been performed?
A: The surgery has been performed commonly in the United States since 1997. The credit for the 1st procedure goes to Dr. Palikaris from Greece, Dr. Lucio Burato of Italy and to the great Dr. Ruiz of Colombia. These procedures were performed and reported in 1991.
Q: If a refinement is required, how soon can I have one?
A: It can vary by patient depending on circumstance, dryness, and stability of prescription. Typically we recommend waiting 1 year after the initial surgery, less if you had surgery longer ago.
Q: How do I know if I qualify for the surgery?
A: The initial criteria is you must be at least 18 years of age and have a stable RX for the past year. However the list of criteria is long and the doctor will let you know if you are a good candidate for LASIK.
Q: Is LASIK permanent?
A: Yes, LASIK is a permanent change to the shape of your cornea. The reshaping of the cornea is permanent, but regression, meaning a small part of the prescription comes back, can happen. These are not common, but also not abnormal. 5% of our patients need a secondary procedure.
Q: Does it matter that my eyeglass prescription is over one year old and I feel that it needs to be updated?
A: As part of your evaluation at Foulkes Vision Institute, we test your visual acuity and attain the most current prescription. It doesn't matter that your prescription is old.

FAQ's Safety

Q: Can my vision get worse or can I go blind?
A: The risk of your vision becoming worse is less than 1%. Although there are risks associated with any surgical procedure (and nearly everything we do in life), today's vision correction procedures are extremely precise. Safety is our primary concern! The FDA looked at years of results before they finally approved the excimer laser. Risks today are roughly comparable or less than the risks we accept when wearing contact lenses. Also, there are no recorded cases of blindness in the United States.
Q: What stops me from blinking during the procedure?
A: There is a special device that prevents you from blinking. You may feel as if you are blinking, however, you should try to relax and stare ahead.
Q: Is there any weakening of the eye?
A: No, there is virtually no weakening of the eye whatsoever, making it ideal for police officers, firefighters, and athletes. The US army has approved LASIK for our troops!

FAQ's Technology

Q: Who are the manufacturers of the equipment that you use?
A: Nidek Auto Refractor, Technolas Refractive Workstation, including the Orbscan II and Zywave II with Iris Recognition software, Zeiss IOL Master, Zeiss Cirrus HD-OCT, Zeiss Humphrey Field Analyzer, the Konan Corneal Endothelial Cell Check, and the Zeimer Galilei G4 Corneal Topographer.
Q: Which laser do you use?
A: LASIK is a two step procedure. The first step is to create a flap with a femto second laser. Our current femto second laser is the Ziemer Z6. We are the first clinic in the United States to use this device, which replaced the original Ziemer laser. Dr. Foulkes helped design and launch the original Ziemer laser that so many refractive surgeons use now. The second step of LASIK is to reshape the cornea with an excimer laser. Our current excimer is the Technolas 217z. Unlike other systems, the Technolas laser is equipped with iris recognition and custom wavefront technology. These capabilities dramatically reduce or eliminate the incidence of glare and halo after surgery and make the LASIK procedure that much more personalized.
Q: Do you use the latest software available?
A: Yes, new software is purchased and installed as it becomes available.

FAQ's Diagnostic Exam

Q: Why don't you use the "puff of air" test for glaucoma in your exam?
A: We believe that the Goldmann tonometry is more accurate than the "puff" tonometry, which is more of an approximation. With LASIK the cornea is thinned and the puff method is no longer accurate. For this reason we go to some effort to screen you for glaucoma prior to LASIK and continue that care after surgery as well.

FAQ's Doctor/Staff Expertise

Q: Is Dr. Foulkes certified and licensed?
A: Dr. Foulkes is a licensed medical surgeon with the State of Illinois and the State of California. He is an active member of the American Ophthalmology Association, the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons, and the International Society of Refractive Surgeons. He is an assistant clinical professor at the University of Illinois and actively studies many areas of interest in refractive surgery.
Q: How long has Dr. Foulkes been doing LASIK and how many LASIK procedures has he done?
A: Dr. Foulkes has performed over 48,000 refractive procedures since the start of his career in 1998.

FAQ's Patient Expectations

Q: Will I get 20/20 vision?
A: We cannot guarantee 20/20 vision, but we aim for it. We very often exceed 20/20 with 20/15 when looking with both eyes. The Ziemer femto second laser and Technolas 217z excimer laser have the highest rates of primary treatment success of any laser combination and Dr. Foulkes' techniques may improve these slightly. Your visual acuity is checked on a white screen with black letters, which is ideal testing conditions, but is only a small part of good vision. We are always attempting to give you "20/happy" vision and you should not get bogged down by the eye chart. Meeting your expectations means keeping them reasonable. We wish to maximize your probability of success without risking your quality of vision.
Q: How long does the procedure take?
A: You will be in the office for approximately two hours. First, you will submit your signed consent or read and sign the consent form if you have not done so already. At this time, any additional questions or concerns should be expressed. Next, we will repeat any testing, including a prescription check and go over post operative instructions. Then you will be prepped for surgery. We will give you a Valium to help you relax and a series of drops similar to the ones you'll use after surgery. The actual laser time is only a few seconds, but varies by patient. You will be in the laser suite for about 20 minutes. When finished, we would like you to go home immediately and sleep for 3-4 hours. This ensures the flap is sealed down and most discomfort and irritation has subsided. You should be able to see when you sit up from surgery, but it will be cloudy. Most of this haze will be gone after your nap, but can take a few days to weeks to completely clear.
Q: When can I return to work and normal activities, including sports?
A: It depends on the kind of work you do, but most patients can return within 24 hours. We ask that you stay out of dusty and/or smoky environments for at least one week. We ask you to stay out of the pool for at least one week and avoid water sports for one month, goggles should be worn for another month after that. Protective eyewear should be worn for any sport in which you may make contact with your eye. We have treated many elite athletes and there is no reason not to get back to normal exercise the day after your procedure.
Q: Will the doctor provide names of previous patients that I may contact?
A: Yes, upon request.
Q: Who will I see for my pre and post operative visits and who will perform my surgery?
A: Our technicians will do pre-operative testing and dilate your eyes so you can then see the doctor. Typically, you will see our optometrist, Dr. Hendrickson, who will finish your pre-operative exam and answer any questions you may have at that time. Dr. Hendrickson will also see you for most post-operative visits. Dr. Foulkes is our only surgeon and only he will perform your surgery.
Q: How often after surgery will I be seen?
A: For LASIK, we require post operative visits at 1 day, 1 week, 2 months, and 1 year. We may need to see you more often depending on your particular circumstances. Any visit related to the refractive procedure is covered for 1 year. After that we recommend annual dilated exams, which we can typically bill to your medical insurance, since we are a medical practice.


The ASCRS (American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery) web site at www.ascrs.org, is a source of the latest information on refractive surgery. This site contains articles and papers, which may be of interest to you.
American Academy of Ophthalmology
Ocular Surgery News
Excellent educational website about vision