The LASIK Procedure
LASIK procedures performed at our Phoenix and Sun City practices represent the latest technology in refractive surgery to correct refractive errors. LASIK utilizes the precision of the computerized excimer laser delivery system to customize change in corneal curvature to bring light into proper focus. By reshaping the cornea under a precision made flap, the comfort level and return to normal activities generally happens very quickly.
- LASIK lifts a corneal flap.
- The bed under the corneal flap is flattened precisely with an excimer laser beam.
- The corneal flap is placed back over the flattened cornea; with the flap in place, the eye is more comfortable much more rapidly than in PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy).
In the LASIK procedure, a corneal cap is fashioned by the Microkeratome (described above). This technique has been refined with today's technology to the point where it produces beautiful smooth surfaces dependably with the best in speed and efficiency. Cornea reshaping is accomplished with the excimer laser by virtue of the bed of the cornea under the cap being flattened or remolded to correct for errors of short-sightedness, far-sightedness and astigmatism.
After the central cornea is remolded by the high energy ultra-violet pulses of the excimer laser, the cap is folded back over the central cornea and allowed to heal in place without the need for any sutures. The patient does have a 4 to 5 hour period of time when there is discomfort that feels like sandiness in the eyes, which is tolerated better by simply keeping the eyes closed for this period of time. After this 4-5 hours, the eyes are expected to be comfortable, and we can expect a return to normal activities by the next day. By the next day, we expect the patient to be seeing quite well, though fluctuations of vision are normal over the expected healing time of 3-4 months.
The PRK (EPILASIK) Procedure
There are some individuals who may have higher amounts of myopia combined with corneal thicknesses that are a little thinner than average. These parameters are determined in the consultation by measuring the corneal thickness with ultrasound pachymetry. In order to preserve stability of the cornea, these occasional patients are safer having treatment with the PRK technique. With this technique, no flap is fashioned. Only the very superficial layer of epithelium is removed (with a delicate brush in PRK or with the specialized Epilasik Microkeratome) and the cornea is then reshaped with the laser. Because there is no flap to keep the eye comfortable post-operatively, a delicate bandage contact lens is utilized to encourage healing of the epithelium; a process that generally takes 3-5 days. Although the patient is more blurred in the first few days, the ultimate visual result is every bit as excellent as with Lasik.
- Appears to have more precise results than the old and outdated techniques of radial keratotomy (RK)
- Results appear equivalent to PRK , but the eyes become comfortable more quickly.
- Has been shown to produce good results in high myopia, and has also shown encouraging results around the world for low hyperopia as well as astigmatism
- No pain aside from some irritation for 4-5 hours
- Can return to normal activities by the following day
- The visual effect is seen quickly – usually within 24 hours
- No need for a bandage contact lens to promote healing as in PRK
- Generally no haze seen, as noted for the first 2 months in PRK for moderate myopia
- Generally no need for cortisone eye drops for the 2 months as with PRK
Although the LASIK procedure, when performed on an individual that is an appropriate candidate, is very successful, some symptoms, such as glare at night, are common early on in the healing period. In addition, dry eye symptoms are also common during the healing period, but can be successfully managed with the use of artificial tears. We expect that these symptoms settle in most individuals over the 3 - 4 month healing time.. Other issues, such as infections or flap problems, are uncommon, and often can be successfully managed. For a more complete discussion of risks and benefits, it is best to come in for a consultation so that a relevant discussion of factors as related to your particular circumstances can be discussed.
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Frequently Asked Questions
- LASIK or PRK? What is the best type of refractive surgical procedure for you?
- Will I have pain with a Laser Treatment?
- Will I see anything during the procedure?
- What happens if I move my eyes during the procedure?
- How fast will I heal? How fast can I return to work?
- What is the cost of Laser Refractive Surgery?
- Is patient financing available?