What Is Laser Vision Correction?
Laser Vision Correction refers to any refractive surgical procedure utilizing a laser to reshape the cornea.
Laser Vision Correction Can Reshape the Cornea By…
- flattening it (to treat nearsightedness),
- steepening it (to treat farsightedness),
- and/or making it more spherical (to treat astigmatism), so that light focuses more directly on the retina.
There are two types of Laser Vision Correction: LASIK and PRK.
What Is LASIK?
LASIK (Laser in Situ Keratomileusis) is a type of laser vision correction that has become the most well-known surgery for treating mild to moderate amounts of nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism.
LASIK Is a Two-Step Procedure
First, an instrument called a microkeratome or the femtosecond laser is used to create a circular flap on the surface of your cornea. This flap will serve as a natural bandage when the procedure is finished. During this part of the procedure, you may feel a little pressure, but no discomfort.
The second step involves the use of a computer-guided excimer laser. The corneal flap is gently lifted and folded to the side, exposing the underlying corneal tissue. With a series of rapid pulses, the laser precisely reshapes the inner layer of your cornea. During the laser treatment, you will hear a clicking or popping sound. Excimer laser light does not penetrate the eye, and leaves other eye structures (iris, lens, retina) undisturbed.
The actual laser treatment takes about 15 to 45 seconds, depending on the amount of correction required. The corneal flap is then returned to its original position where it bonds naturally within a few minutes, without the need for sutures.
Following the LASIK procedure, your eyes may feel a bit irritated and can be watery for a few hours. You can also expect your vision to be blurry for a day or two. Some people are not good candidates for LASIK because their corneas are too thin. This is because the cornea must be thick enough to allow for the flap to be made, and still have enough tissue left to achieve the targeted correction.
What Is PRK?
PRK (Photo-Refractive Keratectomy) is also used to treat nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. With PRK, the same excimer laser is used, but the treatment is performed on the surface of the cornea, rather than beneath a flap.
The PRK Procedure
During the PRK procedure, the protective surface cells of the cornea, called the epithelium, are removed before the laser treatment. Afterwards a soft “bandage” contact lens is placed on the eye to keep it more comfortable during the healing process, and will be removed by the doctor within 3 – 5 days.
You can expect some blurry or hazy vision and variable discomfort during the first week as the epithelium heals and covers the treated area. Eye drops, pain medication and the bandage contact lens are effective in minimizing this post-operative discomfort. Most patients notice an improvement in their vision soon after surgery; however, the final visual results may not be realized for up to one month, depending on your healing tendencies.
Is LASIK or PRK Better?
The long-term visual results between the two procedures are identical. Since LASIK heals faster and with less early discomfort than PRK, most patients who are good candidates for either procedure opt for LASIK.
PRK is often recommended for patients with thin or irregular corneas or chronically dry eyes. Also, those who participate in contact sports, serve in the military, or are other first responders might be better candidates for PRK.
We Use CustomVue for LASIK and PRK
CustomVue uses the WaveScan system to address your eye’s unique imperfections with unprecedented (great) accuracy. Like a topographical map showing distinct features of a landscape, WaveScan technology creates a detailed map of your eye’s optical system. The system translates that information, and it is transferred directly to the Excimer Laser to guide the treatment pattern.
This technology was originally developed for use in high-powered telescopes to reduce distortions when viewing distant objects in space. Today, the same technology is used to improve the visual results of LASIK and PRK.
Previously, your laser treatment was based on diagnostic technology similar to that used for the prescription of eyeglasses or contact lenses. However, the WaveScan system captures each eye’s distinct characteristics and provides a precise and more detailed analysis of your eye, like a fingerprint. This makes it possible for Dr. Boyd to perform a customized laser treatment that addresses your individual needs.
The WaveScan system measures not only nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism, but also higher order aberrations which can cause visual disorders, such as glare and halos at night. These are more complex imperfections of the eye’s optical system that were never attainable using standard methods for measuring and correcting vision.
Utilizing the WaveScan system, CustomVue procedures correct these very specific imperfections with a high level of accuracy, attaining better visual results than ever before.
We Provide a Personalized Approach for Laser Vision Correction
Eye Care of Delaware is proud to provide you with a more personalized approach to laser vision correction by using CustomVue for all of our LASIK and PRK procedures. Call us today at (302) 454-8800 or request an appointment online.