All About Lasik
- STEP 1: In performing the initial stage of the LASIK procedure, our surgeons must lift a thin outer layer of cornea to gain access to the central part of the cornea. The microkeratome is placed on your anesthetized eye.
- STEP 2: The thin outer layer of corneal is then lifted.
- STEP 3: The surgeon uses a sophisticated, on-board computer to guide the cool laser beam through the procedure. This part of the treatment is completed in a matter of seconds.
- STEP 4: The flap is carefully placed back into position.
LASIK & PRK
The cornea and lens combine to focus visual images on the retina, in the back of the eye. When the overall shape of the eye is incorrect or when the curvature of the cornea is incorrect, the visual images are not in focus. The cornea accounts for approximately two- thirds of the focusing power of the eye. By surgically changing the corneal curvature, the image can be placed clearly in focus on the retina with most or all of the blur eliminated. Laser In Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK) and the older Photo-Refractive Keratectomy (PRK) are two surgical techniques which utilize lasers to reshape or change the curvature of the cornea.
LASIK had its origins about thirty years ago and was originally developed to treat patients who had very poor vision due to corneal disease. It has now evolved into a successful technique for correcting refractive errors. The current procedure, done on an outpatient basis, involves both the use of conventional and laser surgery to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. Current data indicate that 99.5% of patients maintain best corrected visual acuity of 20/20 or better.
THE LASIK PROCEDURE
In performing LASIK, eye drop anesthetic is used to numb the eye. The surgeon then uses a special instrument called a micro-keratome to create a flap consisting of the top portion of the cornea. The flap is lifted back to expose the inner portions of corneal tissue. The eye is then positioned under the excimer laser, which has been computer programmed to remove microscopic amounts of the internal corneal tissue. Removal of the tissue changes the curvature of the cornea. Infrared tracking technology is currently being used which allows the computer to adjust the treatment for any tiny movements of the eye during the laser treatment. This allows for more safe and accurate outcomes.
If the patient is nearsighted, tissue closer to the central part of the cornea is removed to decrease the curvature and effectively flatten the cornea. If a patient is farsighted, tissue in the peripheral part of the cornea is removed to increase the curvature of the cornea. To correct for astigmatism, selected tissue at certain angles is removed to ensure that the cornea curves equally in all directions After the laser has been used, the flap is returned to its original position. The corneal tissue has extraordinary natural bonding qualities that allow effective healing without the use of stitches. Since only local anesthetic is used, patients remain awake during the procedure. The entire procedure takes only a few minutes. Improved vision is often possible on the day following the surgery. After surgery, eye drops are prescribed, and it is be necessary to wear protective eye goggles, like sport goggles, at night for approximately one week.
ADVANTAGES OF LASIK
The advantages of LASIK include a much faster healing time than other refractive surgical methods, rapid visual recovery, less risk of scarring, less risk of corneal haze, and less post-op discomfort. As a flap is created during LASIK surgery, flap management is an additional consideration.