LASIK Vision Information

Laser and Surgical Vision Correction Procedures

Most people who wear glasses or contact lenses to correct their vision do so because the front surface of their eye - the cornea - is less than perfect in shape. Since the cornea acts likes a camera lens to focus an image on your retina, any imperfections cause blurred vision. If your cornea is too steep, you are nearsighted. If it's too flat you are farsighted, and if there are irregularities in the shape, you have astigmatism. All laser and surgical vision correction procedures are designed to change the shape and focusing power of the cornea. This results in better vision without, or with little dependence on, glasses or contact lenses.

LASIK

The most common laser and surgical vision correction procedure performed today is LASIK (Laser in-situ Keratomileusis). In LASIK, a surgeon combines the use of a microkeratome and the excimer laser. The microkeratome is a very precise surgical instrument, which is used to create and lift a thin flap of corneal tissue. When this flap is lifted, the surgeon uses the laser to reshape the underlying corneal tissue (the stroma) and correct the nearsightedness, farsightedness and/or astigmatism. The flap is then placed back over the cornea and heals quickly without stitches. LASIK is our procedure of choice in most cases because it does not alter the surface of the cornea. This promotes faster healing and less chance of scarring or discomfort after the procedure.

Questions and Answers about LASIK

 

What is the difference between LASIK and PRK?

The surgeons at DMEI have found that the LASIK procedure provides a more rapid recovery of vision for most patients, and the healing process is more comfortable.

How do I know if I am a good candidate for LASIK?

Most people who are nearsighted, farsighted or have astigmatism can benefit from laser or surgical vision correction. Based on a thorough evaluation of your eyes, your doctor will make a specific recommendation about LASIK. His/her decision will be based on many factors, including your age, vision stability, overall eye health, your current prescription and your expectations for the results.

How long does the LASIK procedure take?

The actual procedure takes less than ten minutes and is performed on an outpatient basis. You will be at the surgery center for about three hours on the day of your procedure.

Is any anesthetic used before the procedure?

The eye is anesthetized with numbing drops at the start of the procedure to ensure a painless experience.

How soon will I notice an improvement in my vision?

Most patients experience a dramatic improvement in vision within 24 to 48 hours after the procedure, allowing them to resume most normal activities. Most people return to work within a day or two, and some professional athletes have competed within a few days after LASIK. However, it may take several weeks for vision to completely stabilize.

Are there risks involved with LASIK?

Like any medical procedure, LASIK has some potential risks and side effects that will be explained by your surgeon. Specific end results can never be guaranteed. We can, however, closely predict your surgical outcome based on our experience of thousands of refractive procedures at DMEI.

Wavefront Aberrometry

Wavefront sensing is a system of optics and lasers that measure the minuscule aberrations (called high order aberrations) in the eye. This allows a custom correction to be designed for each individual patient. When this information is combined with the technology of the excimer laser used for refractive surgery (LASIK), it may actually be possible to surgically improve the capability of the eye far beyond what was intended by nature.

In addition, refractive surgery is not for everyone. The Wavefront Aberrometer allows our surgeons to determine in advance who might not be the best candidate for refractive surgery and avoid problems afterwards.

Other Laser and Surgical Vision Correction Procedures

Radial Keratotomy (RK)

RK was the first viable surgical alternative for the correction of refractive problems. RK involves the placement of four to eight radial incisions in the outer perimeter of the cornea. As these incisions heal, the cornea is flattened to correct nearsightedness. More people have had this procedure done than any other vision correction surgery; however, it has been largely replaced by LASIK, PRK and other newer techniques.

Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK)

PRK gained popularity rapidly as a replacement for Radial Keratotomy (RK). PRK was the first procedure to treat nearsightedness with the excimer laser and is still the procedure of choice for some patients. The PRK procedure corrects the shape of the cornea with the precision of the excimer "cool" laser by altering layers of the corneal tissue as thin as three ten-thousandths of a millimeter.

Intacs Corneal Ring Segments

Intacs corneal ring segments are a non-laser treatment for the correction of mild to moderate levels of nearsightedness. These clear, plastic arcs are implanted in the stromal layer of the cornea outside of the central vision zone. The result is a reshaping of the cornea and subsequent correction of some refractive disorders.

Thermokeratoplasty (LTK)

This investigational procedure is for the treatment of some cases of farsightedness and/or astigmatism. The procedure uses a special laser, called a Holmium YAG laser, to warm and shrink the collagen - protein structures within the corneal tissue. As the collagen shrinks, the curvature of the cornea is changed.

Intraocular Lens Implant

Also known as lensectomy, this procedure is sometimes used to reduce severe cases of either nearsightedness or farsightedness. As with cataract surgery, the natural crystalline lens of the eye is removed and a plastic intraocular prescription lens is inserted. Although this may be an ideal procedure for some patients, the artificial lens has a set focus. Therefore, reading glasses or contact lenses are usually still needed for close-up vision.

Intracorneal Lens

This procedure involves implanting a tiny plastic prescription lens within the corneal tissue. Several types of lenses are available to correct various vision problems including presbyopia. The presbyopia lens, which creates an effect like a bifocal, is still investigational, but early results appear promising for reducing dependence on bifocal eyeglasses.

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