What is LASIK?
LASIK (Laser-Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis) is a safe, reliable and painless way to improve vision and reduce or eliminate the need to wear glasses or contact lenses. LASIK changes the way light is bent, or refracted, as it passes through the cornea so that it focuses properly on the retina and objects can be seen clearly.
During the procedure, a device called a microkeratome cuts a thin flap in the surface of the cornea. The flap is then lifted and an excimer laser beam reshapes the cornea's curvature (steepened for far-sighted patients, flattened for near-sighted patients) to improve vision. The flap is then repositioned.
The entire procedure takes only 15-30 minutes per eye, and patients are often ready to leave within an hour or two. The flap heals on its own within a few days with no need for stitches.
Some common complaints after surgery include light sensitivity, glare or halos in dim lighting, and dry eyes. These are temporary and will subside within a few weeks. Antibiotic and anti-inflammatory drops will be prescribed along with artificial tears.
The three steps of LASIK
The corneal flap is created and lifted.
An excimer laser reshapes the cornea.
The flap is replaced.
Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK) is a surgical procedure that uses an extremely precise laser to remove corneal tissue for the purpose of correcting refractive errors. PRK takes place on the surface of the cornea. Since the central corneal epithelium (the outer layer of corneal cells) needs to be removed for PRK there may be some discomfort. A bandage contact lens helps to reduce the irritation and encourages healing of the tissue. Following PRK, vision is blurry for the first few days, but it generally improves once the corneal epithelium has healed and the bandage lens is removed. By one week, vision should be reasonably good and is often stabilized in one month.
An excimer laser is a precise computerized instrument that uses invisible ultra-violet light to ablate the cornea during refractive surgery. This cool light laser produces virtually no damage to the surrounding tissue, increasing its safety. Each pulse of the laser removes only a minute amount of corneal tissue - about 1/500th of the thickness of a human hair.
Newer generation excimer lasers, such as Bausch & Lombs Technolas 217A, utilize an innovative technology called a flying spot laser. A narrow beam (about 2 mm wide) contacts the eye at lightning speed in a pattern that allows the debris to clear in one place before contacting that area again. The laser beam covers a broad surface area, but does not penetrate as deep. Unlike the old broad beam lasers, the full width of the flying spot beam is exposed to the cornea during every pulse. This technology produces a smoother corneal shape and helps increase the accuracy and effectiveness of the surgery.
The newest generation excimer laser, the Technolas 217z Zyoptix System for Personalized Laser Vision Correction, combines both a 2mm and a 1mm beam.
Am I a candidate?
Not everyone is a candidate for LASIK. When you come in for an evaluation, your eyes will be examined to determine whether LASIK or another refractive procedure is appropriate for you, and whether you are at risk for any complications.
The ideal LASIK candidate:
- Is at least 18 years old;
- Has had stable vision for at least one year;
- Has a healthy cornea thick enough for a flap;
- Has refractive error(s) that fall within the treatable range;
- Does not have a disease or condition that could impair the procedure or healing process;
- Has been educated about the procedure, including its risks and benefits.
- Understands that the goal of surgery is to improve vision and reduce dependence on glasses and contact lenses.
At Cornerstone Eye Associates, patient safety & results are our top priority. While most of our patients are very pleased with their results, like all medical procedures, there are risks involved. Click here for a full list of risks and considerations associated with LASIK and our technology.
Contact our Rochester offices to setup a consultation. We will review your visual goals and discuss whether LASIK is right for you. (877) 470-EYES