Denver and Fort Collins Eye Surgeon, Dr. Paul Cutarelli, provides answers to frequently asked questions.

Frequently Asked Questions


Q: Is laser vision correction the same as LASIK?

LASIK is but one of many laser vision corrective procedures that are available. If a patient is not currently eligible for LASIK, Dr. Cutarelli may suggest an alternative.

Q: How long has LASIK been available?

FDA approval was received 1995. Though excimer laser technology was developed in the United States, most of the original patients received LASIK eye surgery elsewhere. This is because the United States FDA approval process is more extensive, requiring comprehensive, 5-year scientific and clinical studies. Every year, over 1 million Americans benefit from laser eye surgery.

Q: What is Personal Best Vision?

Personal Best Vision is the highest achievable vision within the physical limitations of your eyes. If your best corrected vision with glasses is 20/25, then it is unlikely vision after LASIK will be better than 20/25. However, many patients do see better than they did with glasses and contact because of a more tailored visual correction.

Q: What does ‘better than’ 20/20 mean?

20/20 is the current standard for excellence in vision. If you were 20/20, then what normal people see from 20 feet, you can see from 20 feet. If you were 20/400 (the big E on the chart) then what normal people see from 400 ft away, you would have to be at 20 ft to see it. Now, if you have better than 20/20 vision, i.e., 20/15, then what normal people see at 15 ft, you could see from 20 ft.

Q: How can LASIK help my vision?

If you are nearsighted or farsighted, LASIK may be able to significantly improve your vision.

Q: Can everyone have LASIK?

Typically 65%-80% of patients can have LASIK. The reason for not being a candidate include overall medical history, the health of their eyes, the thickness of their corneas, or the degree of their eye correction.

Q: Can I have LASIK if I have astigmatism?

Yes! In fact, astigmatism is just as easy to correct as nearsightedness or farsightedness.

Q: What if I’m not a good LASIK candidate?

Cutarelli Vision is more than just a LASIK practice. We offer many LASIK alternatives such as PRK, ICL, and RLE. Please see alternatives for more information.

Q: Can I have LASIK if I have had RK (Radial Keratotomy)?

In most cases, yes. However, Dr. Cutarelli will need to perform a dilated exam to make sure.

Q: Am I a good candidate for LASIK?

If you are above the age of 18, not pregnant, have stable vision with no significant changes in prescription for the last two years, have eyes free from disease and complicating injury, have a prescription in a correctable range, then most likely the answer is yes. However, you must have a dilated eye exam to determine ultimate candidacy.

Q: Can both eyes be done the same day?

Yes. Usually both eyes are treated at the same time . However, it is possible to treat one eye at a time. Dr. Cutarelli will help decide which option is right for you.

Q: Is LASIK safe?

LASIK is the most widely performed elective surgery in the world. It is approved by NASA for its astronauts and the military for its pilots. To date, millions of LASIK surgeries have been performed world-wide.

Before Surgery

Q: How do I prepare for LASIK?

To find out what your options are, call for an appointment for a complementary initial exam. We also suggest you read over the information contained on our web site. We have a page specifically for preparing for surgery. If you have any questions, please call us at: Denver (303) 486-2020 or Fort Collins (970) 225-2300 .

Q: Will I need to remove my contacts before my exam?

If you presently wear contact lenses you will need to leave them out for a specified time period before your comprehensive LASIK eye exam. Wearing contact lenses can change the curvature of your cornea and removing them for a time allows the cornea to return to its natural shape. This is a very important step for proper measurements to be made, before your procedure can be scheduled. The time required for you to leave out your contact lenses depends on the type. For details see our pre-op exam section.

Q: How much time do I need to be off work?

For LASIK, 1-2 days is typical. PRK however can be 2-5 days. In both cases, it really depends on your job and your level of comfort.

During Surgery

Q: How long will my procedure take?

Laser vision surgery takes five to fifteen minutes. The actual laser time is usually less than a minute. The entire visit will be completed in about two hours.

Q: Is there any pain involved with LASIK?

Laser eye surgery itself is virtually painless. You will receive a sedative before surgery, and topical anesthetic eye drops just prior. Most patients report that they experienced no pain whatsoever. There may be a slight pressure sensation as the flap is being created and as the eyelids are supported against blinking by an eyelid speculum.

Afterwards, some patients report mild sensations like an eyelash or sand in the eye, or watery eyes. These are temporary symptoms and are not a problem for most. Dr. Cutarelli can prescribe pain medication if needed, although he has yet to do so.

Q: What if I sneeze during surgery?

We have never had that happen, but it would not be a problem if it did, as the eye tracker would immediately stop the laser. When the eye was repositioned back into place, the laser would be restarted.

After Surgery

Q: When will I be able to see well?

Immediately following laser eye surgery most people notice that their vision is better. However, for several hours it will seem like you are looking through a foggy haze, plastic or water. However, by the next day approximately 80 percent of patients see 20/20 or better. Nearly all have 20/40 or better, which is the level of vision required to drive without correction.

Q: Can my vision results be guaranteed?

As with any medical procedure, there are no guarantees. Most patients are extremely happy with their outcome. If patients need a fine-tuning of their vision, Dr. Cutarelli can perform an enhancement if needed. Dr. Cutarelli also offers his patients a lifetime commitment.

Q: Will I need glasses or contacts after LASIK?

    Possibly. Although, six months after the FDA clinical study, without glasses or contacts:

  • 100% of participants could pass a driving test
  • 94% of participants could see 20/20 or better
  • 74% of participants could see better than 20/20

Some patients with extremely high degrees of correction may still require glasses after surgery, but they will have thinner and lighter lenses.

If you are over the age of 40, or wear reading glasses prior to surgery, you may need to continue use or begin use of reading glasses due to a condition called presbyopia.

Q: Is there a treatment for presbyopia?

If you are older than 40 years of age, presbyopia develops and you will likely need reading glasses unless LASIK monovision eye correction is performed, where one eye is corrected for distance and the other for near vision. Prelex is a treatment for presbyopia that has had some inconsistent results most likely related to the particular lens implant utilized. Future IOL technologies may provide desirable treatment alternatives.

Q: Will I experience glare or halos at night?

In the past, glare and halos were an issue, especially in patients with large pupils. However, with our advanced technology, it is usually not an issue. In fact, with have the only laser FDA approved to improve night vision!

Many patients found their night vision was improved after their Wavefront guided LASIK procedure. In fact, in an FDA clinical study, more participants were very satisfied with their night vision after the procedure without glasses or contacts as compared to their night vision before with glasses or contacts.


Q: Does insurance cover LASIK?

Usually, LASIK is NOT covered by insurance. Please check with your surgery counselor at the time of your appointment if you think you have insurance that covers LASIK. Any available reimbursement by the insurance company will be made directly to you. For more information, please refer to our Insurance page.

Q: Does Cutarelli Vision offer financing?

Yes! We believe that money should not be an obstacle to obtaining this life changing procedure. Being sensitive to the fact that different patients have different needs, we provide several flexible payment options including no-interest and low-interest payment plans. Please read our LASIK Financing page for more information.