Laser Vision Correction
Laser vision correction refers to a group of minimally invasive procedures that reshape the cornea with laser energy to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. These procedures are customized to provide the best possible results for each individual patient, allowing your surgeon to correct the very specific refractive errors that blur your natural vision.
Laser vision correction procedures help patients eliminate the need for eyeglasses and contact lenses, a costly and bothersome hassle that millions of people deal with everyday. By reshaping the cornea, these procedures change the way that the eye focuses light, allowing you to enjoy clear vision.
There are several different laser vision correction procedures available to help patients achieve clearer vision without glasses or contacts. Please call us today to schedule a consultation with our board certified refractive surgeon Dr. Lauren Schneider MD to find out whether you are a candidate for laser vision correction, and if so, which procedure is best for you.
Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK) is a safe, reliable and painless way to improve vision by changing the way light is bent, or refracted, as it passes through the cornea, so that it properly focuses light onto the retina and allows objects to be seen clearly.
During the LASIK procedure, the surgeon creates a thin flap within the surface of the cornea with a specialized laser, called a femtosecond laser. This procedure is performed under local anesthesia, in the form of topical anesthesic eye drops, so that pain is minimized. The corneal flap is then lifted and an excimer laser beam reshapes the corneal curvature to improve your vision. Finally, the flap is replaced to its original position. The entire procedure takes about 15 to 30 minutes for both eyes combined.
The ideal LASIK candidate includes someone who is over 21 years old, has stable vision and has a healthy cornea that is thick enough for the creation of a flap. After undergoing this procedure, patients experience immediate and significant vision improvement. Patients can often return to work the very next day, after the doctor checks your eyes to ensure that the flap of each eye has remained in good position. Your final visual enhancement may take up to a month to achieve.
Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK)
Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) uses the same excimer laser as is used in LASIK surgery (after the flap has been created and lifted) to reshape the surface of the cornea. In contrast to LASIK surgery, there is no flap created within the cornea during the PRK procedure. Instead, the surface cells of the cornea (also known as the epithelial cells) are gently brushed aside.The PRK method then involves sculpting the cornea with the excimer laser to treat greater degrees of nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.
Before LASIK technology and techniques were available, PRK was the most commonly performed refractive surgery procedure. For certain patients, LASIK has some advantages over PRK, including less discomfort and faster results; although, PRK is still preferred for patients with large pupils, thin corneas, or high refractive errors (high prescriptions). The PRK procedure takes only a few minutes per eye to complete and, just like LASIK surgery, is performed with only local anesthesia (topical anesthetic eye drops) to minimize any pain or discomfort.
A bandage contact lens (or a contact lens with little or no power) will be placed on each eye immediately after the PRK treatment. These contact lenses are not used to correct your vision, rather their purpose is to reduce your discomfort in the 3-4 days following your surgery. You will need to see your doctor the day after surgery for a check up.
Your corneal surface cells (epithelium) will self heal over your corneas (under the bandage contact lenses) within the first week following PRK. The contact lenses will remain in place until your surgeon removes them in the office at your one week visit. After PRK surgery, your vision will be substantially better than before the procedure, but it is normal to expect mild to moderate fluctuations in the clarity of your vision as the surfaces of your corneas continue to finalize the healing process over the following 6-8 weeks.