Dr. Conti's Practice/Conti Eye Care  
     
     
Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions

 

Gabrielle Tull is our ophthalmic technician and will happily answer your eye related questions.

Kathryn Cargill and Marianne Dhuyvetter are our receptionists and can help you with office questions, including setting up an appointment for exams and LASIK,CK, or Neuro-ophthalmology consultations!

We are thrilled to have Marianne, Kathryn and Gabi working for us!

We also have Cheryl Reese as the optician in our optical shop. She can help you purchase glasses for all your visual needs!

 

general LASIK information
 
Can you imagine your life with limited or no use of contact lenses or glasses? Being able to swim, ski, jog, or even just get out of bed in the morning and see clearly without glasses seems like a miracle to some people. It did to Dr. Eileen Conti of Conti Eye Care when she had LASIK in June of 1999. "The most amazing thing is being able to go to sleep without worrying about taking out contact lenses and being able to see clearly the moment I wake up! LASIK is a wonderful invention!"
LASIK (laser in situ keratomileusis), meaning to shape the cornea from within, is one of the newest procedures used to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. Dr. Conti of Conti Eye Care performs LASIK.
Nearsightedness (myopia) occurs when the front cover of the eye, the cornea, is too steep or when the eye is too big. This causes the light that enters the eye to focus in front of the retina instead of directly on the retina at the back of the eye. Glasses and contact lenses can correct this by changing the amount light is bent as it enters the eye. Light then focuses on the retina, allowing vision to be more clear.
The laser corrects myopia by permanently flattening the central cornea, causing light to be bent to a lesser degree, and subsequently to be better focused on the retina. Hyperopia, or farsightedness, is corrected by the laser flattening the periphery of the cornea, thereby steepening the central part of the cornea. Correction with the laser will reduce or eliminate one's need for glasses or contact lenses.
PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) is similar to LASIK in that the cornea's shape is changed by the laser as well. However, in PRK the top most layer of the cornea (the epithelium) is first scraped off before the laser treatment is applied to the cornea. This causes some pain the first few days after the procedure, and also causes visual recovery to take several days to weeks.
During LASIK, instead of scraping off the epithelium, a very small blade is used to make a flap in the top layer of the cornea. The flap stays attached at one area of the cornea, usually at the upper edge of the cornea under the eyelid, creating a hinge. This flap is flipped back at the hinge, the laser is applied to the area of the cornea beneath the flap, and finally the flap is replaced into its original position. The flap bonds back into place without the need for stitches in just three minutes. The use of the flap enables LASIK to be done with minimal, if any, post-operative pain. In addition, the vision recovers fully in just a couple of days unlike PRK, which takes much longer.
Ophthalmologists, who are MDs, can perform PRK and LASIK. Generally, a two or three day course is required to learn how to use the laser and make the flap before an ophthalmologist can begin to perform LASIK on patients. However, Dr. Conti has undergone a 12 month refractive surgery/cornea fellowship in Boston where she had extensive training in LASIK. She worked closely with several ophthalmologists, including Dr. Roger Steinert and Dr. Helen Wu, who helped invent the excimer laser used for LASIK and helped refine the LASIK procedure. She is therefore thoroughly trained and has much experience performing this challenging, yet efficient procedure. She is an experienced LASIK surgeon as well as being a LASIK patient!

 

Frequently Asked Quesions-LASIK
 
Commonly Asked Questions About LASIK

Q: What is LASIK?

A: LASIK stands for Laser-In-Situ-Keratomileusis, which means "to shape the cornea from within using the laser." Myopia (nearsightedness) and hyperopia (farsightedness) occur because the cornea is too steep (in myopia) or too flat (in hyperopia). Therefore, the light that enters the eye is bent by the cornea either too much (in myopia) or not enough (in hyperopia). When light does not focus directly onto the back of the eye (the retina) your vision is blurry.
During LASIK the laser is used to change the shape of the cornea so that the light entering the eye focuses on the retina, giving you clear vision. The too steep cornea is flattened by the laser in myopes, and the too flat cornea is steepened by the laser in hyperopes.

Q: How long has LASIK been around?

A: In general, LASIK has been performed in the United States for the past seven years. In the early 1980s excimer lasers began to used experimentally to change the shape of the cornea, as it was realized that they did not cause any thermal damage. In the late 1980s clinical trials concerning the use of the excimer laser for refractive surgery began all over the world. In 1995 the FDA approved the use of the excimer laser for the treatment of myopia with PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) in the United States. In 1999 LASIK was FDA approved.
PRK has the best results in low to moderate myopes, so refractive surgeons began using the laser to correct myopia in association with a procedure called ALK. ALK was first performed in 1949 by Dr. Jose Barraquer. It entails using a small blade (microkeratome) to cut and fold back the top layer of the cornea. A second pass with the microkeratome removed a piece of the cornea in order to flatten it. This second pass did not always give an accurate or predictable result. So, in 1991 ophthalmologists began to try using ALK to fold back the top layer of the cornea (the "flap"), but instead of making the second pass with the microkeratome, the excimer laser was used to change the shape of the cornea (LASIK). This gives much more accurate and reproducable results.

Q: How long does LASIK last?

A: We have about 22 years of data, and once the eyes are stable, the prescription does not change. You may need glasses for reading, but your nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism correction remains stable after one laser treatment.

Q: Can I go blind from LASIK?

A: You cannot go blind during the LASIK procedure. A bad corneal infection can decrease your vision, but we treat you with antibiotics before, during and after the LASIK procedure to prevent infection.

Q: How much does LASIK cost?

A: The charge for LASIK at Conti Eye Care is $5000.00 for both eyes together if the flap is made with the blade (microkeratome) and $6000.00 if Dr. Conti makes the corneal flap with the bladeless Intralase laser. This may seem like a lot, but it includes the preoperative and postoperative visits (1 day postop, 2 weeks, 2-3 months, and 6 months and any additional unforeseen visits you might need), the laser fee (for use of the laser at New Jersey Eye Laser Institute), the surgeon fee, the drops you use after surgery, and the retreatment/enhancement fee should you need a touch-up. We also have 0% interest payment plans available to help you out with payment if necessary. You may see LASIK advertised for less, but Dr. Conti believes the quality of care may suffer if the physician is doing too many procedures per day to make up for the low cost. Also, it is unlikely that these ophthalmologists are doing their own post-operative care.

Q: Am I a good candidate for LASIK?

A: In order for you to be a candidate for LASIK, you must be at least 17 years old, healthy, and have a stable refraction (prescription for glasses) for at least one year. "Stable" means specifically that your refraction has not changed by more than 1.0 diopters (unit of measurement for glasses). In addition, you should be in good health.
If you have a large amount of nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism you may still be a good candidate. The best way to find out if you are a candidate for LASIK is to make an appointment with the ophthalmologist for an evaluation.

Q: What is the difference between LASIK and PRK?

A: In either procedure the top layer of the cornea (the epithelium) has to be removed in order for the laser to work on the central thickest part of the cornea (the stroma). In PRK the epithelium is totally removed either by scraping it off with a blade, using the laser, or by loosening it with alcohol and then rubbing the rest of it off. Because the corneal nerves are in the epithelium, removal of it results in postoperative pain. In addition, visual recovery is slower than in LASIK as the epithelium has to grow back and stabilize before the vision is at its best and is stable.
In LASIK, on the other hand, the microkeratome or Intralase laser is used to make a flap out of the epithelium. The flap is left attached at one edge and is folded up out of the way during the actual lasering of the cornea. It is then replaced into its original position, where it bonds down without the need for stitches to keep it in place. As the epithelium is never actually removed, as it is in PRK, the nerves are not affected. Because of this there is very little, if any, postoperative pain. This hastens visual recovery as well. This lack of postoperative pain and quicker visual recovery are the major reasons that we primarily perform LASIK over PRK.

Q: Is the procedure done in the office?

A: No, the excimer laser used for LASIK is very large and requires daily maintenance which cannot be done in the office. Dr. Conti operates out of the Somerset Eye Institute/NJ Eye Laser Institute on Easton Avenue in Somerset. We will provide you with directions.

Q: How many LASIK procedures has Dr. Conti done?

A: Dr. Conti has performed over 1000 LASIKs. She has had wonderful
results, and is an excellent surgeon.

Q: Is LASIK painful?

A: In general, the answer to this question is no. The epithelium is left intact in LASIK and so postoperative discomfort is minimal. During the procedure a suction ring is placed on the eye in order to hold it still. There is a feeling of pressure for about one minute when this suction ring is in place. The overwhelming majority of people who have had LASIK state that there is no significant pain either during or after the procedure.

Q: Will I need glasses for distance or for reading after LASIK?

A: The majority of people who have had LASIK will not need glasses for distance, or will wear them only on a rare occasion. For example, one might want to wear glasses for night driving or to increase the clarity of very distant images, such as when you are watching a movie from the back of the theater.
LASIK does not correct presbyopia, an age-related hardening of the natural lens which makes reading vision less clear. Therefore, in general LASIK will not prevent one from needing glasses for reading if you needed glasses for reading before LASIK. However, if you are nearsighted you may consider having one eye slightly undercorrected. This enables you to see in the distance clearer with one eye and to see close-up better with the other (undercorrected) eye. This is called "monovision" and may decrease one's dependence on reading glasses. Regardless of whether you get monovision or not, everyone needs glasses for reading sooner or later. If you are nearsighted and take your glasses off to read now, then you may need reading glasses as soon as 1 day after your LASIK procedure. This is because being nearsighted and taking off your glasses to read can prevent you from needing reading glasses for a few extra years. If you can read with your contact lenses in or your glasses on then you will probably not need reading glasses for several years after LASIK. Also ask Dr. Conti about CK, which is an in-office procedure that can temporarily (usually from 1 to 3 years) drastically reduce your dependence on reading glasses.

Q: Can LASIK get me out of my reading glasses?

A: If you wear glasses only for reading, then LASIK is not the procedure for you. Many ophthalmologists are currently doing research on how to correct presbyopia (changes in the lens that make us all need reading glasses after age 45-50). Again, ask Dr. Conti about CK (Conductive Keratoplasty), which she performs, or monovision. Either of these can prevent you from needing reading glasses for at least a year or two.

Q: Who will I see after the procedure?

A: Unlike many LASIK laser centers, Dr. Conti does all the preop and postoperative visits herself. Of course, she performs the LASIK procedure as well.

Q: Am I guaranteed 20/20 vision after LASIK?

A: No. A physician can never guarantee the outcome of any surgery. However, statistics show that approximately 85% of Dr. Conti's patients are 20/20 after LASIK and the vast majority, 95%-99%, have 20/40 vision or better. This is better than legal driving vision, which is 20/50.

Q: How long after LASIK will I be able to go back to work? drive? swim? exercise?

A: The day of the procedure people usually relax after they go home. As soon as the next day, as long as you are not experiencing any discomfort, you may return to work. You may drive as soon as you are comfortable doing so, and of course, as long as you have legal driving vision (20/50 or better), which is usually the day after surgery! It is advisable not to swim or exercise for a week after the procedure to ensure that your eyes have healed entirely and that the flap is securely back in place.

Q: What are common side effects of LASIK?

A: Common side effects include dry eye, foreign body sensation, and glare around lights at night. The vast majority of the time these side effects are temporary and last between one day to several months. There are ways to help ensure that these side effects do not become permanent.

Q: Should I wait for the laser to improve before I have LASIK?

A: If you have a normal amount of myopia, astigmatism or hyperopia, then there is no reason to wait. Dr. Conti can tell you if you have myopia, astigmatism or hyperopia in the normal range. The Excimer lasers that are used for LASIK have improved over time, so that now we do CustomVue (personalized laser treatment). Further laser advancements any time soon are unlikely at this point. Therefore, Dr. Conti does not think there is any particular advantage to waiting for new lasers to be available. This is why Dr. Conti has already had her LASIK done!

Q: Is LASIK FDA approved?

A: Yes! About three years ago LASIK was FDA approved. This shows that the FDA has much confidence in the LASIK procedure.

Q: What is a "flying spot" laser?

A: This means that the laser has a tracking mechanism that helps keep the laser treatment centered on the cornea. The laser Dr. Conti uses does have a tracking mechanism similar to the "flying spot."

Q: What laser does Dr. Conti use?

A: Dr. Conti operates at the New Jersey Eye Laser Center in Somerset, NJ. She uses the VISX Star 4 laser with Iris Registration that they have at the laser center. She is very happy with the results she gets with this laser!!

For the answers to any further questions, please call Dr. Conti at (908)595-1322!

 

payment options
 
At Conti Eye Care the LASIK fee is $2500.00-$3000.00 per eye ($5000.00-$6000.00 for both eyes). This fee includes ALL expenses, including all of the postoperative appointments that are necessary(done by Dr. Conti herself), any retreatments needed, the entire procedure fee and eyedrops.

You have several options for payment. Mastercard, Visa, and American Express cards are accepted. We also give discounts if you have certain vision insurance such as VSP, Spectera, and EyeMed.

In addition we have several payment plans available through Care Credit (check out their links). Several of these payment plans are 0% interest and can be as low as $120.00 per month.

We also accept payment through you Flex Spending account or Healthcare account, which involves using taxfree salary towards your LASIK procedure!

Call us and ask us for details about our easy payment plans!

 

Finance Your Procedure
 
Vision correction is an excellent investment in an individual's well being. Because of this, we believe

financial considerations should not be an obstacle to obtaining this procedure. Being sensitive to the fact

that different patients have different needs, we provide the following payment options:

    • Low Monthly Payment Plan
    • Cash or Check
    • Credit Cards
    • Flex Account
    • Insurance Coverage

LOW MONTHLY PAYMENT PLAN

Vision Fee Plan is a flexible monthly payment option offered through our practice. It is specifically designed

for refractive surgery - with payments as low as $67 per month ($67 is our lowest 60-month payment).

    • No initial payment
    • Low, fixed rates ranging from 9.99% - 12.99%
    • Low monthly payments
    • First payment not due for 4-6 weeks
    • No prepayment penalty, terms up to 6 months

You may apply quickly and securely via the Web.
Click here to begin the process.

 

FDA Approved CustomVue LASIK
 
Dr. Eileen Conti is pleased to announce she now offers the FDA approved CustomVue individualized laser vision correction procedure! CustomVue can help people achieve their personal best vision, typically 20/20 or better. With Wave Scan driven technology, we are now able to carefully measure the unique imperfections of each individual's vision and develop a treatment plan tailored just for that patient's eyes. CustomVue LASIK is for people with a certain range of myopia and astigmatism.

A clinical study showed that 100 percent of participants could pass a driving test without glasses or contacts one year after the procedure. Seventy percent of these patients had vision better than 20/20 without glasses or contacts. Anyone 21 or older who wears glasses or contacts for the correction of nearsightedness and/or astigmatism may be a candidate for CustomVue LASIK.

Call us for more details!

 

Conductive Keratoplasty (CK)
 
CK is a nonlaser,FDA approved procedure that can get you out of your reading glasses!

Dr. Conti does the procedure right in the office. See CK Frequently Asked Questions or call the office for more information!

 

CK-FAQ
 


Q:Is Conductive Keratoplasty (CK) permanent?

A:With CK we will be able to turn back the hands of time but we cannot stop the clock from ticking. We will be able to take you back to the time where you just started relying on glasses for reading a menu in dim lighting and up close work. As you age, so do your eyes. The effect of CK is not permanent because as we age our vision continues to weaken.

Q:Will my vision improve immediately after surgery?

A:Patients usually notice an immediate improvement in their vision after the CK procedure. However, it usually takes several weeks for the eyes to reach the final level of correction.

Q:Can CK correct presbyopia?

A:Yes, CK can TEMPORARILY reduce presbyopia. If you have presbyopia, Eileen Conti, M.D. may recommend, blended vision with CK. Unlike monovision, where one eye is treated for near vision, leaving the untreated eye for distance vision, blended vision improves your ability to focus on near objects without sacrificing distance vision in the treated eye. This makes it easier for you to adjust to the two separate images. If you have not tolerated monovision treatments in the past, blended vision may be a better choice.

Q:What are the risks and side effects of CK?

A:Because CK is minimally invasive and very controlled, the procedure has very few surgical complications. During the first 24 to 48 hours after surgery, you may experience tearing and some discomfort, including a foreign-object sensation in the eyes. You may also experience a slight over-correction of your vision, allowing you to see better up close, though your distance vision may be blurry. This will stabilize during the following weeks.

Q:Will I ever need glasses or contacts again?

A:The vast majority of patients do not need corrective lenses of any kind for a year to three years after the CK procedure. However, you will need additional vision correction (surgery, reading glasses, or bifocals)by a few years after CK. This is because your eyes continue to change as you age.

Q:Will my vision fluctuate after the procedure is performed?

A:Most patients will experience mild fluctuation in their vision after surgery. Any fluctuation will usually subside within a few weeks.

Q: Is CK reversible?

A: As with most vision correction procedures, CK is not reversible. Once the procedure has been performed, it is not possible to reverse the effects of the procedure. This is an important factor that anyone thinking about surgery should carefully consider. To make sure CK is right for you, make sure you discuss your vision needs with Eileen Conti, M.D.

Q:How soon will I be able to return to work?

A:With CK, the majority of patients are able to return to work and other normal activities 1-3 days after their procedure. Although recovery is fairly quick, it is advisable to be careful with your eyes and avoid any strain. Those whose jobs demand intense clarity of vision (such as dentistry, surgery, or computer work) may find their work more difficult to perform for several days after having the procedure.

Q:How much does CK cost?

A:Dr. Conti charges $1000/eye for the initial CK treatment. Any retreatments done 6 or more months after the initial treatment are $800/eye. Of course, there are financing plans available, including 0% financing if you pay back over 3, 6, or 12or 18 months.