LASIK in Billings, MT

21 Procedures ( View All )


As one of the safest and effective methods for reducing or even correcting refractive vision errors, LASIK (or Laser-Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis) has been providing people clear vision for more than three decades. It is one of the most popular vision correction procedures in the world due to its remarkable results, which allow patients increased or even total freedom from their corrective lenses, such as glasses and contact lenses.

Dr. Vance Thompson and his team of LASIK surgeons, Dr. Russell Swan, Dr. John Berdahl, Dr. Michael Greenwood, and Dr. Brandon Baartman, are global leaders in the advancement and optimization of LASIK technology. In addition, they are the only vision team in the region made up of fellowship-trained Corneal and Refractive surgeons. At Vance Thompson Vision, we stay at the forefront of laser and vision correction by staying consistently involved with FDA studies, conducting intensive research, and partnering with the leading LASIK technology providers.

We are dedicated to educating patients on the most important factors when considering LASIK surgery — the experience of the surgeon and his or her access to and skill in using the most advanced LASIK technology for every procedure. At Vance Thompson Vision, we provide our LASIK patients with only the most state-of-the-art, proven techniques and technologies with procedures performed by extensively trained, experienced, and distinguished surgeons.

Our team understands how a person's quality of vision can directly impact their quality of life, and we are committed to providing the highest standards of refractive surgery. Choosing to have LASIK surgery can be truly life-changing. Contact us at Vance Thompson Vision in Billings, MT to plan your LASIK consultation.

Laser FAQs Paying for LASIK LASIK Checklist

Schedule FREE LASIK Consultation

How Vision Works

The human eye is incredible. When healthy and functioning properly, the cornea (or surface layer) is formed with a very specific curve that allows it to properly gather and focus light onto the retina (which is at the back of the eye.) This proper focusing of light is necessary for your eye to relay a clear, sharp image for your brain.

Some individuals may have corneas that are a little too curved or not curved enough. For these people, the corneas can't properly direct light to the retina, which leads to blurry vision. When a cornea has abnormal or irregular contours, this results in myopia (near-sightedness), hyperopia (far-sightedness), or astigmatism. To help the eye compensate for abnormal or irregular corneas, some people choose to wear corrective lenses. Laser vision correction is a method that actually surgically reshapes the cornea to more properly focus light. 

Refractive Errors

The LASIK Procedure

Dr. Swan and his LASIK surgery team provide LASIK and PRK consultations and procedures in our Billings, MT in-office surgical center. During a LASIK procedure at Vance Thompson Vision, your surgeon will use the most advanced laser technology to precisely reshape your cornea for optimal focusing power. Reshaping the curve of the cornea allows the eye to focus light toward the correct area of the retina without the need for glasses or contact lenses.

Before beginning your surgery, we will use anesthetic drops to fully numb your eyes. Next, a special, noninvasive device will be placed on your eyelids to prevent blinking during the procedure.

For the first step of the procedure, your surgeon will carefully make a surgical flap in the very outer layers of the eye, the epithelium and upper corneal tissue. The flap can be gently folded back to allow the surgeon access to the layer of corneal tissue that will be reshaped. Once the surgeon has achieved the desired new shape, the thin flap is folded back into place, where it will heal back together on its own. This means there is no need for any sutures.

The complete LASIK surgery is performed in under 10 minutes per eye, and most patients are able to see the results of their procedure as soon as it is done. Another great benefit is that most patients can go back to work and resume driving by the day following the procedure.

LASIK Technology and Options

Three important types of technology are involved in a Vance Thompson Vision LASIK procedure:

  1. Technology for making a precise corneal flap

  2. Technology for changing the curve of your cornea

  3. Technology for creating a detailed map and measurements of your eye to maximize procedure accuracy

Technology for making the corneal flap:

At Vance Thompson Vision, we use state-of-the-art, digitally controlled femtosecond laser technology to perform the flap-creation step of LASIK surgery. However, some surgeons in other practices still use a handheld surgical instrument called a microkeratome to create the flap. One primary advantage of our bladeless LASIK technology is that we can completely customize the precise measurements needed for each individual patient's flap, which means the edges of the flap line up more smoothly and securely when they are folded back into place. This precision allows a much easier healing process for the eye and a much lower chance of any complications.

Another amazing advantage of bladeless LASIK is that its remarkable level of accuracy makes it more accessible to those who may have previously been told they weren't ideal LASIK candidates. Patients who have thin corneal tissue or large pupil size may now be able to take advantage of the procedure, as well as those who need higher levels of refractive correction. 

Vance Thompson Vision is committed to making sure each patient is treated with the ideal laser flap technology for their specific eyes and corneas. That is why we are proud to be able to offer four different femtosecond laser platforms to perform the flap-creation step, including the IntraLase IFS and the Wavelight FS500 lasers.

Technology for changing the contours of your cornea:

Once the flap is made and gently folded back, your surgeon will carefully recontour your cornea using a cool excimer laser. This excimer laser strategically cuts away microscopic portions of the cornea, which permanently changes its shape to more properly direct light to the retina. At Vance Thompson Vision, we are equipped with two different types of advanced excimer laser to make sure you receive the optimal treatment for your individual case — the Wavelight Allegretto 500 kHz and the VisX Star V.

The excimer laser does not generate any heat, so there is never any concern about surrounding tissue damage. It is powered entirely by ultraviolet light, which is invisible to the human eye. In order to change the contour of the cornea, the laser removes layers of tissue that measure approximately 1/10th the width of a human hair. Because the laser is controlled by a computer, it can be programmed to remove the exact amount of tissue required to obtain the best results.

Technology for creating a detailed map and measurements of your eye to maximize procedure accuracy:

Vance Thompson Vision is proud to offer Custom LASIK, the first completely customized vision procedure approved by the FDA. For a Custom LASIK procedure, our surgeons utilize a specialized Wavefront device to transmit a light ray through your eye and measure its exact path. This measurement is then used to create a complex Wavefront Map of your eye, which is as individualized as a fingerprint. This Wavefront Map allows us to fully customize each LASIK procedure for increased accuracy and enhanced results.

The vast majority of refractive vision errors are caused by the contour and shape of the cornea, and these are referred to as “lower order aberrations.” However, about 10% of blurred vision is the result of issues known as “higher order aberrations.” With our Wavefront technology, we can now enhance the outcomes of LASIK procedures by locating and addressing these smaller issues as well.

Custom LASIK is the ophthalmic industry's only completely bladeless LASIK surgery performed entirely with lasers, from making the corneal flap to customizing the corneal reshaping through Wavefront technology. This optimized approach results in customized treatment and outcomes for your vision.


Patients should always have realistic expectations for LASIK surgery. LASIK is intended to help free patients from always relying on glasses or contacts. In the majority of cases, our patients are totally happy with their improved vision follwing LASIK surgery; however, LASIK can't promise perfect vision for everyone.

In the weeks following your LASIK surgery, you will need to schedule regular follow-up visits with your surgeon and home optometrist to monitor your progress. Everyone has a bit of an adjustment period with their new vision, and your surgeon and optometrist will be there to answer any questions you have during these follow-up appointments.

At Vance Thompson Vision, we use state-of-the-art technology and techniques to provide you with the best possible LASIK experience and result. However, it is important to note that some patients do still require reading or driving glasses following LASIK, and, rarely, some patients need to return for a minor LASIK fine-tuning. 

The Ideal LASIK Candidate

Recent technological advancements are allowing more and more people to take advantage of laser or implant vision correction. If you can see well using prescription lenses and have not had a necessary change to your prescription in the last year, you are a potential candidate. However, certain medical conditions are still a limiting factor for some patients.

At Vance Thompson Vision, our experienced team of specialists will perform a thorough eye exam and help you evaluate your options. We consider your lifestyle, your expectations, and more when helping you decide whether laser or implant vision correction is best for you.

LASIK Risks and Considerations

Millions of patients have received LASIK surgery with successful results, and you may be able to as well. However, it is important to us that we ensure you understand all the possible benefits and risks of the LASIK procedure.

LASIK is approved by the FDA, but like with any type of surgery, there can be potential risks. Following your pre-LASIK evaluation, we will talk with you about the risks and how they might relate to your specific visual situation. Every patient has a unique set of vision issues, and different treatment options are available that can accommodate each case. However, is very important to talk to your surgeon about any concerns and weigh all the risks and potential benefits before choosing to have LASIK.

To find out if LASIK is right for you, we will require that you come in for an evaluation with our LASIK coordinator and surgeon. At Vance Thompson Vision, safety and patient care are top priorities, which is why we always invest in the most cutting-edge technology and innovative procedures. If we determine that you are not a candidate for LASIK, we will always be up front with that information and educate you on other potential options.

Our team looks forward to learning more about you and your specific visual situation and helping you find the ideal solution for your vision.

Request Consultation

Procedure Information

Procedure Time  
20 minutes
Follow Up Time  
1 day, 1 week, 1 month
Recovery Location  
Contact Us

Your Next Step

If you have been considering LASIK, we encourage you to call us or click the Contact Us button to schedule your free LASIK consultation at Vance Thompson Vision in Billings, MT to learn more. We are excited to help you start your LASIK journey toward clearer, sharper vision.

Related Procedures

Related Posts

*Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person. Images may contain models.