What is refractive laser surgery?
Until recently, the only treatment for a refractive condition has been corrective eye wear - glasses or contact lenses. In the last decade a new, high-tech treatment method called laser vision correction was developed. Laser vision correction, also known as refractive laser surgery, refers to several different techniques that use laser technology to re-shape the cornea. Common refractive procedures include PRK, LASIK, refractive lensectomy (clear lens replacement or CLR), INTACS, CK and AK.
Once the cornea has been returned to a normal or nearly normal shape, the person's vision will also be normal or nearly normal. After laser vision correction, many individuals no longer need corrective eye wear.
Is refractive laser surgery safe?
Like any surgical procedure there is always an element of risk. However, sight threatening complications are rare. There are some minor, common side effects such as halos around lights at night, a star burst effect when looking at lights or fluctuations in vision quality, but these tend to disappear after a couple of weeks.
How do I know if laser surgery is right for me?
Every patient is different. There are several different vision correction techniques used to correct a variety of vision problems. You and Dr. Hyder should decide together which option is best for you.
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. Patients are given anesthesia so they can't feel the instruments. The flap is then lifted and an excimer laser beam reshapes the cornea's curvature to improve vision. The flap is then closed and covered with a protective contact lens.
The entire procedure takes only 10-15 minutes for both eyes, and patients are often ready to leave within an hour. The flap heals on its own within a few days with no need for stitches.
A common complaint after surgery is sensitivity to light, but this will subside. Antibiotic eye drops will be prescribed for a few days, along with any other post-operative instructions. Full recovery takes a few weeks.
VISX™'s CustomVue procedure combines the most advanced technologies of the WaveFront and STAR S4 Excimer Laser systems for high-definition, high-accuracy LASIK vision correction. CustomVue makes it possible to perform customized refractive surgeries using information gathered from your own eyes. This allows us to correct the very specific refractive errors that obscure each patient's vision so you can enjoy the best post-operative vision quality possible. Other benefits of the CustomVue process include faster treatment time and no need to dilate the pupils.
IntraLase® LASIK - "Bladeless" LASIK
The IntraLase® FS laser is a highly precise tool aiding in corneal flap creation, the first step in laser vision correction surgery. During the procedure, the IntraLase laser fires 15,000 pulses per second into the cornea, where the flap can be created at a depth and diameter determined by the surgeon as appropriate for each individual patient. In addition to benefiting from this pinpoint (2-3 micron) accuracy, patients who undergo surgery conducted with the IntraLase laser are less likely to need an enhancement (follow-up) procedure than with other technologies.
NearVision CK (Conductive Keratoplasty) can improve your near vision, allowing you to see clearly like you could 10 years ago. It`s an exciting advancement in vision correction because it is a simple, painless procedure that uses radiofrequency (RF) energy instead of a laser.
- No cutting - helps minimize side effect and speed recovery
- Convenient - your doctor performs the procedure in his or her office
- Safe - the only FDA-approved technology used to improve near vision in those over 40
- Fast and Easy - takes only 3 to 5 minutes and is virtually painless
How NearVision CK Works
CK can change how the eye focuses light by reshaping the surface of your eye. When the shape is changed, light can be refocused on the correct part of your eye. To produce this reshaping, CK uses the controlled release of RF energy to heat and shrink corneal tissue. This steepens the cornea and allows light to properly focus on the retina again, improving near vision.
PRK or photorefractive keratectomy is one of the safest and most time-tested laser vision correction procedures available. Like LASIK, it reshapes the cornea to improve vision.
In PRK the surgeon uses an excimer laser to vaporize a small amount from the top of the cornea. LASIK, by contrast, cuts a deep flap in the cornea using a sharp microkeratome blade. This weakens the cornea, makes it difficult to replace the flap in precisely the right place, and can cause other complications including flap irregularity, epithelial ingrowth and corneal ectasia. PRK avoids these risks.
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