- Do I need to be a Kaiser Permanente member to receive services?
- Do I need a referral from primary care or dermatology before going to a Laser Vision Correction location?
- How Do I Learn More?
- What Does the Fee Cover?
- Who Performs the Surgery?
- What Is Laser Vision Correction (LVC)?
- How Does Laser Vision Correction Work?
- What Is Laser Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK)?
- What is Surface Ablation (Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK) or LASEK)?
- Who Is a Good Candidate?
- Can Laser Vision Correction Correct Presbyopia?
- What Is Monovision?
- What Is Wavefront?
- What Is IntraLase?
- What Are My Payment Options?
Do I need to be a Kaiser Permanente member to receive services?
Kaiser Permanente Vision Correction Services are available to everyone. You do not have to be a Kaiser Permanente member to come to our facilities and see a Kaiser Permanente provider for laser vision correction. In fact, many of our current patients are not members, but were referred by friends or families who have Kaiser Permanente for their health coverage. Whether you are a member or nonmember, you will receive the same level of high-quality care. There is also no difference in price for members and nonmembers.
Do I need a referral from primary care or dermatology before going to a Laser Vision Correction location?
You do not need any referral. You can make an appointment directly with one of our offices. Click here to see a list of our Northern California laser vision locations.
How Do I Learn More?
To learn more about laser vision correction, please call the LASIK eye surgery center nearest you to schedule a consultation or talk to one of our patient care coordinators about your specific needs or concerns.
What Does the Fee Cover?
Laser vision correction at Kaiser Permanente is comprehensive. Our price includes:
- Comprehensive clinical consultation including corneal topography, pachymetry, dilated and non-dilated refractions, eye pressure measurement and assessment of laser vision correction candidacy
- Professional surgical fee
- Laser center fee
- Twelve months of post-operative care
- Peri-operative antibiotic and anti-inflammatory drops
Who Performs the Surgery?
Our Northern California Ophthalmology Board Certified refractive surgeons perform your surgery. When you trust your eyes to Kaiser Permanente laser vision correction services, an experienced team of professionals will care for you. Overall, our refractive surgeons:
- Have many years of ophthalmic/ refractive surgery experience
- Have additional expertise ranging from cataract surgery to corneal transplants
- Are board certified in ophthalmology
- Perform thousands of eye surgeries every year
- Have performed thousands of laser vision corrections surgeries, including fellow physicians and employees
In addition, some of our refractive surgeons have teaching or surgical privileges at some of the nation's top academic institutions, including Stanford University and the University of California, San Francisco.
What Is Laser Vision Correction (LVC)?
Also known as refractive surgery, laser vision correction refers to elective operative eye procedures that use a laser to reshape the cornea, and change the way light is focused or "refracted" by the eye. The goal is simple: to reduce your dependence on glasses or contacts. If you are nearsighted, farsighted or have astigmatism and feel that glasses or contact lenses limit your activities, laser vision correction may be the right choice for you.
How Does Laser Vision Correction Work?
The most common laser vision correction procedures are done with an excimer laser. The excimer laser is a computer-guided cool laser that corrects vision by reshaping the cornea to improve the way light is focused or refracted by the eye. Two major procedure types are available for treating low to moderate levels of nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism: Laser assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK) and surface ablation (PRK or LASEK). In both cases, the laser sculpts the cornea in about 60 seconds and the entire procedure usually takes less than 15 minutes.
What Is Laser Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK)?
After a drop of anesthetic is applied to the eye, a thin layer of cornea is surgically created. The surgeon carefully lifts the flap, and uses the excimer laser to contour the internal corneal layers. After the cornea has been reshaped, the flap is returned to its original position. Because of the cornea's extraordinary natural bonding qualities, healing is rapid and does not require stitches.
What is Surface Ablation (Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK) or LASEK)?
During surface ablation, the epithelium (the outermost protective layer of the eye) is removed, then the excimer laser energy is applied to contour the front layers of the cornea. With surface ablation, there is generally a lengthier healing process and more discomfort than with LASIK. However, surface ablation requires less instrumentation and avoids the creation of the corneal flap and its attendant risks.
Who Is a Good Candidate?
Laser vision correction can treat nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. To be a good candidate for laser vision correction or LASIK in Northern California you should meet the following criteria:
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Have stable vision for at least one year before surgery
- Have healthy eyes that are free of diseases, scars, cataracts, corneal and retinal problems
- Be nearsighted or farsighted with or without astigmatism
- Be well informed and have realistic expectations
- Be in good general health
Can Laser Vision Correction Correct Presbyopia?
Presbyopia occurs in most individuals around the age of 40 to 45 years. This develops because the lens inside the eye loses its ability to change shape, and allow near focusing. People compensate for presbyopia by using bifocals and reading glasses. Although there is no surgical cure for presbyopia, symptoms can be reduced with monovision.
What Is Monovision?
Monovision is a condition in which one eye is slightly nearsighted (myopic) and one eye is corrected to provide good distance vision. The nearsighted eye focuses well on near objects and can be used for reading or similar activities. The distance-corrected eye can be used for driving, sports, or other activities requiring distance vision. This is a good compromise for people dealing with presbyopia.
What Is Wavefront?
Wavefront is an advanced diagnostic technology for laser vision correction that creates a precise map of your eye that enables refractive surgeons to customize your LASIK treatment in ways they could not before. That map is transmitted to the surgeon's laser. The surgeon then uses the map to reshape your cornea in a customized fashion specifically for your eye.
Wavefront identifies highly complex imperfections that glasses, soft contacts, and traditional laser vision correction could not previously address, such as night glare and halos that can make even 20/20 vision seem less sharp.
What Is IntraLase?
Traditionally, refractive surgeons mechanically create the corneal flap (a micro-thin flap of tissue on the outer layer of your eye) using a device called a microkeratome. IntraLase replaces the microkeratome with a computer- guided femtosecond laser, which for appropriate candidates can enhance the safety and accuracy of your procedure.
What Are My Payment Options?
Laser vision correction is a fee-for-service procedure, and is not covered under Health Plan benefits.* You can pay for your procedure with cash, money order, or credit card. Check with your local Northern California laser vision correction location for details and additional payments options.
Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) or Medical Savings Plans (MSP)
- Use your employer-provided flexible spending account or medical savings plan to help pay for laser vision correction with pre-tax dollars
- Variable savings depending on your income and tax bracket
- Consult your employer health plan administrator for details about FSAs and MSPs