Frequently Asked Questions



Q. Who is a good candidate for a refractive procedure?

The only way to know whether or not someone is a good candidate for a refractive procedure is to be examined by a qualified refractive surgeon. At the San Diego Eye & Laser Center, we make it easy for someone to schedule an appointment for an evaluation. In general, candidates for laser vision correction must meet the following requirements: Be at least 18 years of age; have a stable prescription for glasses or contact lenses for a year prior to the procedure; be without certain diseases of the cornea or retina; and have realistic expectations about the outcome of the procedure, understanding that complications, as in any surgical procedure, while rare, can result. Every person's situation is unique. In order to assess whether someone is a candidate, he or she must have a complimentary consultation with Dr. Leung.


Q. How does someone know which eye surgeon to choose?

In most situations, it is very difficult to know how good your doctor is. In refractive surgery, it is relatively easy -- just ask about results. Any competent refractive surgeon constantly monitors the outcome of his or her surgery. At the San Diego Eye & Laser Center, results are constantly monitored. The results of our patient satisfaction survey are available to all potential patents. We offer a full range of refractive procedures, unlike many centers that feature just one procedure and try to treat all eyes with that one procedure. To ensure the highest degree of patient care, technicians may assist in pre-operative testing. However, Dr. Leung personally conducts the examination of all refractive patients.


Q. How long has Dr. Leung been doing refractive surgery?

Dr. Leung has been performing refractive surgery since 1985. He was the first ophthalmologist to perform refractive surgery at the prestigious Doheny Eye Institute in Los Angeles. Dr. Leung's first experience with the excimer laser was in 1986. In May 1998, Dr. Leung also was the first ophthalmologist in San Diego to perform Down-up LASIK. As an expert, he has been featured on several local television stations demonstrating Down-up LASIK. His techniques also have been highlighted in more than 10 major U.S. markets and Canada. As director of the San Diego Eye & Laser Center, Dr. Leung has been involved in teaching and training eye surgeons and residents to perform laser vision correction. He was recently honored with an appointment as a Clinical Instructor at the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine. He also educates eye doctors to manage pre- and post-operative care through the comprehensive training programs in the field of laser vision correction.


Q. How does laser vision correction improve vision?

Laser vision correction uses cool pulses of ultraviolet light to remove a very small amount of tissue from the cornea at the front of the eye. This corrects the problem curve of the  cornea and allows light to properly focus on the retina. The result is clearer distance vision.


Q. What is LASIK?

LASIK is an acronym for "Laser-assisted-in-situ-keratomileusis." It is a laser vision correction procedure that combines the technologies of the femtosecond laser and the excimer laser. LASIK can correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism by reshaping the curvature of the cornea. Unlike radial keratotomy (RK), deep corneal incisions are not created. A very precise, thin flap of corneal tissue is made, the excimer laser is used to make the desired correction, and the thin corneal flap is replaced.


Q. What are the advantages and disadvantages of LASIK?

The excimer laser must be applied to the inner layers of the cornea in order to have an effect. To reach this layer, one could scrape off the top layer of the cornea and then apply the laser as in photorefractive keratectomy (PRK). When this is performed, the top layer of the cornea takes from 3-5 days to heal and during this time period there may be considerable discomfort. One of the advantages of LASIK is that the top layer is not scraped off. As a result, patients experience much less discomfort. The eyes may burn or hurt for a few hours, but afterward there is little discomfort. LASIK also preserves the second layer of the cornea (Bowman's membrane). Some refractive surgeons believe that preservation of this layer results in a better quality of vision. In addition, certain diseases such as keratoconus are the result of defects in the Bowman's layer. Disadvantages of LASIK are that the procedure is very surgeon-dependant. This means that it is important to choose an experienced LASIK surgeon. There are risks of problems during the creation and healing of the corneal flap.


Q. Is LASIK painful?

Our patients are required to arrive at the surgery center at least thirty minutes prior to their appointed surgical time. An oral sedative is given to alleviate anxiety. Topical eye drops are used to numb the eyes. The procedure lasts only a few minutes and is usually not painful. The sensation is one of pressure more than pain. This pressure sensation is felt at the beginning of the procedure and lasts less than one minute. Many patients do not require pain medication following their procedure, unlike some other vision correction options. Post-operatively, antibiotic and steroid eye drops are used to aid in the healing and prevention of infection following surgery. A patient will have protective eye shield taped over his or her corrected eye for the first day and night to avoid any rubbing or interference while  sleeping. It is best to keep eyes closed for the first four hours after the procedure. The clear plastic eye shield is worn at night for the first seven nights. One of the hallmarks of our care at the San Diego Eye & Laser Center is the comfort of our procedures. Our attention to comfort has had a great deal to do with our success.


Q. How long does the treatment take?

The laser treatment itself takes about 15 to 40 seconds, based on the degree of correction  necessary. A patient will be in the laser suite for about 20 minutes. A patient should plan on being at the laser center for about an hour and a half and will need a driver to get home.


Q. When can a patient go back to work?

The day of surgery, you need to go home and rest. The next morning, many patients drive in for their one day post-op visit and then go on to work. Patients generally note great improvement in your vision on the first morning post-op, but crystal clear vision may take a week or more.


Q. Can both eyes be done on the same day?

95 percent of our patients have both eyes done on the same day. In the event that this cannot be done safely, one eye will be treated at a time. During a patient's  complimentary consultation, Dr. Leung will discuss these options.


Q. Do most patients have perfect vision after the procedure so that they'll never need glasses?

Experience has shown us that laser vision correction has been overwhelmingly successful in reducing myopia and astigmatism. While vision improves following the procedure, the degree of improve ment may vary from individual to individual. Overall, 98 percent of typical patients achieve 20/40 vision or better which means they can drive legally, play sports, and join the police or fire departments, all without their glasses for distance. The need for reading glasses usually begins at age 40 to 45, and is caused by a hardening of the natural lens of the eye. This hardening process results in an inability to focus on close objects, and reading glasses or bifocals become necessary. Refractive surgery cannot, as of yet, restore youthful softness to the natural lens of the eye. However, just as many people do with contact lenses, refractive surgery can set the focus of one eye permanently for near vision, so it can read. This is called monovision, because the individual then reads with one eye, and sees at distance with the other. Monovision works very well in most individuals, but it is not for everyone.


Q. What are the long-term effects of the procedure?

The excimer laser  procedure has been prevalent in  many countries around the world since the late 1980s. Many clinical studies have investigated the long-term effects of the excimer laser on the cornea. We are not aware of any studies that demonstrate any long-term negative effects on the integrity of the eye. Unlike radial keratotomy (RK) where the strength of the eye was severely compromised, the eye after laser vision correction is still as strong as it was prior to the procedure. Many of our patients achieved 20/20 vision after laser vision correction, is still as strong as it was prior to the procedure. Patients who require an enhancement procedure or develop a problem will typically do so within the first few months following the procedure, not years later.


Q. What are the risks of the laser vision correction procedure? How does a patient know it's safe?

It is essential that a patient understand as much as possible about the risks associated with the excimer laser procedure.  Some of the nation's top eye institutes are working with an independent medical council on an ongoing basis to ensure that the highest standards of safety are met. In general, serious complications with refractive surgery are very rare, occurring in less than 1 in 1,000 cases. By contrast, over 10 percent of contact lens wearers experience sight-threatening infections at some point.


Q. Can a patient go blind from the procedure?

More than 1 million patients in 52 countries have improved their vision as a result of laser technology. To our knowledge, no cases of blindness have ever been reported from either the PRK or LASIK procedures. While there is still a small risk of  somebody going blind from the procedure, this is true for contact lens and glasses users as well.


Q. Is this a good time to have a refractive procedure? Will something better come along in the near future?

The decision of when to have a refractive procedure is highly personal. Some of the considerations depend on the individual such as age, visual needs and personal attitudes. Other considerations are related to the technology involved. It would be discouraging to think that refractive surgeons will not improve their current abilities; we certainly will come up with innovations. One thing is certain: there are no guarantees with any type of surgery. If a person requires a guarantee to make a decision, then the answer is clear - that person should not have the procedure at this time.


Q. What does the cost of the procedure include?

The fees for LASIK at the San Diego Eye & Laser Center are fully inclusive. They include: preoperative evaluations, computerized retinoscopy, computerized corneal mapping, personal consultation, the laser procedure itself, and all follow-up care related to the procedure for one year. Our  patients can pay for their procedure using a variety of payment methods including cash, certified check, major credit cards, personal checks or payment through our extended payment plan.


Q. How does someone find out more information?

A potential patient can call us toll free at 1- (888) 95-LASER and ask for a free LASIK evaluation. We offer convenient appointment scheduling to perform a private evaluation, explain laser vision correction in more detail, and determine if someone  is a candidate for this exciting procedure to see better without glasses. We offer frequent free seminars where one can see the procedure performed, and speak to patients who have had LASIK through the San Diego Eye & Laser Center.

World Renowned LASIK Surgeon

Dr. Richard Leung is an internationally recognized ophthalmologist specializing in refractive and laser eye surgery. He has pioneered Laser in-Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK) and has performed thousands of laser vision correction procedures. Dr. Leung gained fame and captured the attention of people worldwide when he performed the world's first live Internet LASIK Procedure. He has the distinction of being chosen as one of the "Top-Rated Physicians in America".


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Why Choose San Diego Eye Center For LASIK?

LASIK is a great choice for those tired of the hassles of contact lenses and eye glasses. Choosing the right practice can be challenging. So why choose San Diego Eye Center for your LASIK procedure? There are many reasons, but all revolve around one major factor: EXPERIENCE. Learn more about our Experience in regards to Laser Vision correction.


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Clear Vision for LASIK

Are you ready to be free of glasses and contact lenses? There are many vision corrections options available to you! We encourage you to read more about these exciting procedures and to schedule a consultation to determine what vision correction option best suits you. Whether it be LASIK, PRK, premium intraocular lenses, or other forms of vision correction offered at San Diego Eye Center, our goal is to free you from your dependency on glasses or contact lenses.


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Premium Lens Options

Do you have cataracts? Did you know that you can now significantly reduce or even eliminate your dependency on eye glasses after cataract surgery? You now can due to the advanced technology of premium intraocular lenses! Learn more about your premium lens options.


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What Our Patients Say

Learn what our patients have to say about Dr. Richard Leung at San Diego Eye & Laser Center.  Click here to read testimonials.


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0% Financing

If you are seeking clear vision, do not let your finances get in the way! We are pleased to offer CareCredit financing to our patients. CareCredit is your healthcare Credit Card! With affordable payment options and 0% financing, you can afford the clear vision you have been dreaming of.


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