LASIK, or Laser in-Situ Keratomileusis differs from PRK in that it corrects vision by reshaping the corneal tissue beneath the surface of the cornea rather than on the surface. LASIK combines the accuracy of the Excimer laser with the healing benefits of a surgical procedure called Lamellar Keratoplasty, to treat higher levels of nearsightedness and moderate amounts of farsightedness.
Intralase Laser Flap Used for LASIK
After the eye has been completely numbed using “eye drop” anesthesia, an eyelid holder is placed between the lids to prevent blinking. Next, the feintosecond Intralase laser makes a protective flap in the cornea. During this process you may feel a little pressure, but no discomfort. You will be asked to look directly at a target light while the laser reshapes the cornea. Just like in PRK, the cornea is made flatter to treat nearsightedness, steeper to treat farsightedness and more spherical to treat astigmatism. Next, the protective flap is folded back in place where it bonds without the need for stitches.
Because LASIK is performed under a protective layer of tissue, there is less surface are to heal, less risk of corneal haze, less postoperative discomfort, less need for post operative medication and vision returns more rapidly, often within a day or so. LASIK can also treat a higher range of nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. With LASIK, both eyes are often treated at the same time.
Are You a Candidate for Laser Vision Correction?
In general, the ideal patient has a healthy cornea, and must not have had a significant increase in their prescription in the last year. People with certain medical conditions or pregnant women may not be good candidates. Those with significant dry eye problems are usually not good candidates for LASIK.
The decision to have Laser Vision Correction is an important one that ultimately, only you can make. It is important that you have realistic expectations and that your decision is based on facts, not hopes or misconceptions. The goal of any refractive surgical procedure is to reduce your dependence on corrective lenses. Laser Vision Correction does not always create 20/20 or even 20/40 vision. It cannot correct a condition known as presbyopia, or aging of the eye, that normally occurs around age 40 and may require the use of reading glasses. In fact, people over 40 who have their nearsightedness reduced with surgery may find they need reading glasses after the procedure. Your doctor will provide you with additional information that will allow you to make an informed decision.
The First Step
Finding out more about the health of your eye and your refractive error is your first step towards visual independence. This is accomplished by calling your eye doctor and scheduling a personal consultation. Should your refractive error fall within the range of correction for Laser Vision Correction, more comprehensive tests will be necessary. This information will help you and your doctor determine which procedure is in your best interest.