LASIK, also known as Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis or laser vision correction, is a refractive procedure that reshapes the cornea to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism.
LASIK is the most common type of refractive surgery. Using targeted excimer laser beam energy, the LASIK procedure reshapes corneal tissue to correct refractive errors so that light rays are focused more precisely on the retina to produce clear, sharp vision. Patients who choose to undergo LASIK achieve clear vision without the need for glasses or contact lenses, while also benefiting from minimal downtime and little to no post-operative discomfort.
LASIK offers many improvements over other refractive surgery procedures. These include little or no post-operative discomfort, immediate vision improvement, and the ability to drive or return to work quickly-sometimes as soon as the next day. Most patients require no corrective eyewear after surgery although patients over 40 may require reading glasses.
Candidates Eligible for LASIK
LASIK is considered a safe procedure, yet it is not ideal for everyone. A thorough medical evaluation of the patients eyes will be performed in order to determine if the LASIK procedure is appropriate, or if the patient would benefit from another type of refractive procedure.
Candidates eligible for the LASIK procedure include patients who meet the following requirements:
- Are over 18 years old
- Not pregnant or nursing
- In general good health
- Has had stable vision for at least six months
- Has a healthy cornea thick enough for a flap
- Has refractive errors that fall within the treatable range
It is also important for patients to fully understand the details and risks of the procedure, and maintain realistic expectations as to the outcome of the procedure.
Choosing a LASIK Surgeon
The decision to have eye surgery is difficult to make because it has long-lasting consequences. That is why it is important to find an experienced surgeon equipped with the latest technology to ensure the best surgical results possible.
Contact our practice today to schedule a consultation to find out if you are a candidate for LASIK.
Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK)
Photorefractive keratectomy, or PRK, is a laser vision correction procedure that reshapes the cornea to correct mild to moderate conditions of:
- Nearsightedness, or myopia
- Farsightedness, or hyperopia
PRK uses an excimer laser to remove a small amount of the anterior portion, or front, of the cornea to correct refractive errors. Unlike the LASIK procedure, where a flap is created to access the cornea, PRK removes the epithelial, or outer layer, of the cornea so that it can be reshaped with an excimer laser to remove tissue from the surface. This process flattens the cornea and achieves the corneal steepening needed for vision correction.
Advantages of the Photorefractive Keratectomy Procedure
The PRK procedure provides the surgeon with greater control over the location and amount of tissue being removed, which allows patients to enjoy much more accurate results. The PRK method involves gently sculpting the cornea rather than cutting, allowing the surgeon to treat greater degrees of nearsightedness, as well as farsightedness and astigmatism.
Up to 95 percent of patients with a correction of up to -6.00 diopters achieved a vision of 20/40 or better after PRK, with up to 70 percent achieving 20/20.
Some of the advantages of the PRK procedure include:
- Less depth of laser treatment
- Patients with thin corneas are eligible for PRK
- No corneal flap complications
Results of the Photorefractive Keratectomy Procedure
The results of PRK are considered comparable to those of LASIK, although some patients may experience vision of only 20/40, and others may still need glasses or contact lenses after their procedure. PRK does not correct presbyopia, a natural change in the eyes that affects everyone over the age of 40, so patients that need reading glasses will continue to need them after surgery. It is important for patients to maintain realistic expectations in order to be satisfied with the results of PRK.
Laser Epithelial Keratomileusis, also known as LASEK, is a laser vision correction procedure that is recommended for patients with very thin or very steep corneas. With LASEK, more of the cornea is exposed during the procedure than LASIK, making LASEK a better choice for patients who require greater vision correction. As a result, LASEK requires a longer period of recovery.
The LASEK Procedure
An extremely thin layer of the epithelium, the outer layer of the cornea, is removed with a microsurgical instrument known as a trephine. The eye is then bathed with a special alcohol solution that loosens the edge of the epithelium to allow for the creation of an epithelial flap. The epithelial flap is created and lifted aside so that the central cornea is exposed for treatment with an excimer laser. After the laser treatment, the epithelial flap is put back in place and covered with a soft contact lens so the eye may heal. The contact lens will need to be worn for a few days until recovery is complete.
Risks and Complications of the LASEK Procedure
During the post-operative recovery period, patients may experience some discomfort which may be alleviated by over-the-counter pain medication.
To learn more about our Ophthalmology Services,
please contact us or call us at 650-948-0403 today to schedule an appointment!