Common questions

  • LASIK at Pacific Cataract and Laser Institute

    • How many cases have you done?

      Our small team of highly skilled specialists has a long track record of success. They draw on the combined experience of more than 100,000 LASIK procedures and 500,000 cataract-related surgeries. The opportunity to operate at such a high level enables them to continually refine their skills and techniques.

    • Do you guarantee 20/20 vision?

      We will concentrate our skills on giving you the best possible outcome, but no treatment can guarantee perfect vision. Rather than forever eliminating your need for corrective eyewear, a more realistic goal is to significantly reduce your dependence. To learn your approximate chance of achieving 20/20 vision, call 800-884-7254 and speak with one of our knowledgeable LASIK educators.

    • Will I require enhancement treatment?

      People with average or moderate degrees of correction can expect a 5-10% chance of needing an enhancement. Those with higher degrees of correction have a higher probability of requiring enhancement treatment. Due to the inherent risks of surgery, and the potential for overcorrection, we generally do not perform enhancements unless vision is 20/30 or worse.

    • What is the cost of enhancement?

      Enhancement treatment is free of charge as long as you are examined annually by an optometrist.

    • How important is the surgeon’s skill?

      We have learned that accuracy and attention to numerous small details, controlled directly by the surgeon, is the key to achieving excellent LASIK outcomes.

    • Do contact lenses need to be left out before treatment?

      Yes, contacts modify the cornea's contour and must be left out long enough for your eyes to return to their natural shape. You will be instructed how long to leave them out before your evaluation exam and surgery.

    • Can I have surgery if I am pregnant?

      No, because hormonal changes are known to cause fluctuation in vision. Our advice is to avoid treatment if you expect to become pregnant within 6 months, and then wait at least 3 months after you are no longer pregnant or nursing.

  • The Procedure

    • Does LASIK hurt?

      No, your eyes will be numb from the anesthetic eye drops so you will feel minimal if any discomfort. You will feel a pressure sensation for a few seconds while the flap is created, but it does not hurt.

    • How will I keep my eyes from moving?

      Our stabilization system ensures that your eyes are held precisely on target (within 1/100th of an inch) so there is no need to worry.

    • How long does treatment take?

      Although the actual laser time is usually less than a minute for each eye, you will be in the laser suite for 10-15 minutes for both eyes. However, there is some preparation time before surgery when we verify critical eye measurements and review after-surgery instructions. Plan to be in our office for 2-3 hours on the day of treatment.

    • Can my family and friends watch?

      Before COVID-19, friends or family could view treatment from our glass-walled observation area. A video camera on the surgeon’s microscope provided a close-up view of the procedure on a TV monitor, and one of our staff accompanied guests to explain the process. We look forward to being able to offer this again one day.

  • After LASIK

    • How well will I be able to see right after surgery?

      Many people notice immediate improvement. Sitting up after the procedure, they often can see the time on the clock and details in the room. However, due to thick lubricating drops placed in your eyes, your vision will likely be blurry for several hours.

    • Will my eyes be patched?

      No, but you will be given clear plastic shields to protect your eyes while sleeping the first night.

    • Can I drive myself home?

      No. In addition to having blurry vision, a mild sedative taken before the procedure will make driving unsafe.

    • Will I need to use eye drops?

      Yes, you will be given instructions to use medicated eye drops and moisturizing comfort drops.

    • How long is the visual recovery period?

      Although most people notice significant improvement within the first week of surgery, mild fluctuations in vision can last up to 4 weeks. Achieving your best vision can take up to 3 months.

    • What side effects can I expect?

      In the first few days and weeks, you will likely notice some of these normal side effects:

      • Watery eyes—especially the first 6 hours.
      • Temporary discomfort like an eyelash in your eye—usually for the first 12 to 24 hours. You will be given drops to use for pain, if needed.
      • Fluctuating vision—normal for 2 to 4 weeks as the eye heals.
      • Light sensitivity—usually decreases over the first few weeks, but you may need to wear sunglasses more than usual during that time.
      • Halo effect—around bright lights at night, usually diminishes with time.
    • How long will I be off work?

      We recommend allowing for 1 to 3 days, but many people are able to return to work the next day. If your job involves precise vision, dirty air, or risk to your eyes from flying objects, you may need more time.


      To achieve the best possible visual outcome, it is vital that your eye health is carefully examined and your vision closely monitored during your recovery. Examinations are prescribed at key intervals to ensure proper healing and stability of vision.

  • LASIK Results

    • If I’m corrected for distance vision, will I still be able to see near?

      This depends on your age. As we get older, our eyes slowly lose their ability to focus up close. This is called presbyopia. By age 40, most people require some reading correction. Your optometric physician can best determine if you’ll benefit from reading or computer glasses after surgery. An advantage of being nearsighted is that it may take until age 50 to be affected by presbyopia. But, if you are nearsighted and have successful LASIK, you may need reading glasses in your early 40s, as is normal for most people.

    • If I wear reading glasses now, will I still need them after LASIK?

      Unless you choose to have monovision, with one eye corrected for near vision and the other for distance, you will likely still need reading glasses for near vision after treatment.

    • If I don’t get fully corrected, can I be retreated?

      In most cases, yes. But the remaining thickness of your cornea may limit further treatment—which is known as an enhancement. Due to inherent risks and the potential for overcorrection, we generally do not perform enhancements unless your vision is 20/30 or worse.

    • Is LASIK permanent?

      Yes, vision is permanently changed by LASIK. However, there can be some regression, especially with higher amounts of correction. When regression occurs, retreatment is sometimes an option.

    • Will having LASIK interfere with cataract surgery when I’m older?

      No, it won’t interfere with the safety of cataract surgery. But the surgeon will need to know that you had LASIK so he or she can select the correct power for the artificial lens implant.

    • Will I have to wear corrective lenses after surgery?

      We will do all we can to fully correct your vision, but some eyes heal and respond differently. A more realistic goal is to lessen your dependence on corrective lenses. If you still need glasses, they will likely be lighter and thinner, and you will probably be able to function more easily without them.

    • Do you track patient satisfaction?

      Yes, we regularly ask patients to provide feedback on their visual outcomes as well as our customer service. Constant input enables us to fine-tune and maintain our high level of care.

  • Cost and Payment Options


      Our pricing is straight forward with no hidden fees. For details, call 800-884-7254 and speak with one of our knowledgeable LASIK educators.


      Yes, some insurance plans include a LASIK benefit, and others provide a discount. Let us know if you have any type of LASIK benefit.


      Yes. If you are unsure if your vision is treatable with LASIK, we offer free screening. This includes several tests that will help rule out major variables that could prevent you from being a good candidate for LASIK. After the screening, if you wish to proceed, a comprehensive exam and surgery evaluation are needed. There is a fee for this service.


      Yes, if your optometrist is willing, he or she can:

      • Evaluate your vision to determine if you are a good candidate and share your eye test results with us.
      • Perform follow-up exams and monitor your vision during recovery to ensure that you achieve the best possible outcome.

      If your family eye doctor performs the necessary care before or after surgery, we will reduce our fee accordingly. Your doctor will charge for the important service they provide.


      No, we are careful to avoid that. No portion of our treatment fee is shared with referring doctors. Doctors who provide before and after-surgery care establish their own fees. The relationship we have with doctors who trust us with their patients has been built by providing years of consistent, excellent care.


      We accept cash, checks and all major credit cards including Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express and CareCredit.


      Yes, flexible monthly payments are available through CareCredit with payments as low as $75 per month. Click here to apply or call CareCredit at 800-365-8295 at least a week before surgery. When asked for the business name or doctor's last name, enter or say Pacific Cataract and Laser Institute.


      Yes. If your employer offers a Flex Spending Account (FSA) that allows you to have some pre-tax dollars set aside each month from your paycheck to pay for medical expenses not covered by insurance, this is a good time to use it. By not paying taxes on this money, you can substantially increase your spending power. Ask your employer for more details.

  • The Next Step


      Call 800-884-7254 and speak with one of our knowledgeable LASIK educators. They will answer your questions and review treatment details. If you wish to proceed, they will schedule your appointments.

Multiple doctors over the years said my prescription was just too severe for LASIK. However, Pacific Cataract and Laser Institute performed LASIK on me and now I miraculously see 20/20! Being a dentist I was extremely concerned about the outcome. I couldn’t be happier. The doctors, staff, and facility are top notch!

— Jason from Lake Stevens, WA

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