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LASIK Surgeries: There’s More Than One

Most people have heard of LASIK, but did you know there are variations of LASIK eye surgery? One method may suit your vision correction needs better than another; your eye doctor and surgeon will determine the best course of action to meet your vision correction needs. Read on to learn about the various laser surgeries available, then make an appointment with a laser vision doctor to discuss which option is right for you.

LASIK Eye Surgery
LASIK (Laser-In-Situ Keratomileusis) can correct common vision problems to decrease or eliminate dependency on contact lenses or eyeglasses. It's the most well-known refractive surgery. More than 12 million people have had LASIK eye surgery to correct various vision disorders such as farsightedness, nearsightedness, and astigmatism.

An ophthalmologist performs the LASIK eye surgery using a femtosecond laser or mechanical cutting tools (microkeratome) to create a circular flap in the outer layer of the cornea. The newly exposed underlying corneal tissue is then reshaped by an excimer laser. The flap is put back in place and acts as a natural "bandage." The procedure lasts about ten minutes per eye and recovery time can be as short as a few days to several weeks. Get the low down on what happens during a LASIK procedure.

Bladeless LASIK
All-laser LASIK is known as bladeless LASIK since the mechanical cutting tools used to create a circular flap in the outer layer of the cornea are replaced by a femtosecond laser. While recent improvements in microkeratome have made blade LASIK safer, bladeless LASIK generally has fewer complications.

Bladeless technology enables the surgeon to customize the corneal flap for every individual patient. Bladeless LASIK may make it possible to treat those who were previously dismissed as non-candidates due to thin corneas, dry eyes and extreme nearsightedness.

Custom LASIK
Custom LASIK offers many advantages that conventional LASIK does not. Using wavefront technology, precise and individualized vision correction may be achieved. Data provided from wavefront technology allows for treatment on tiny imperfections in the eye that can have a significant impact on one's quality of vision. Imperfections are identified and measured 25 times more precisely than conventional LASIK. Using the data, a 3-D map of the patient's eye guides the laser during the reshaping process for a customized procedure.

Custom LASIK eye surgery has the potential to provide better overall vision, including better night vision. There is also the potential for higher quality vision than is possible with eyeglasses or contacts, resulting in patients seeing clearer and sharper than ever before. Even post-LASIK side-effects such as glare and halos may be reduced. Everyone's eyes have unique visual characteristics; Custom LASIK offers unique solutions for both patients and surgeons.

PRK Surgery
Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) is a laser eye surgery that first debuted in 1986...13 years before the FDA approved LASIK. Like other commonly performed laser eye surgeries, PRK uses an excimer laser to reshape the cornea and correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. Unlike LASIK - which creates a flap in the outer layer of the cornea - PRK surgery removes the epithelium, the thin surface layer of the cornea in order to reshape the cornea. This method eliminates the risk of flap complications and reduces the risk of removing too much of the cornea. Most patients will benefit from Custom PRK, which provides your surgeon an additional level of data about your vision requirements using customized wavefront technology.

Recovery time after PRK surgery is slower than after LASIK eye surgery because the epithelial cells need to regenerate across the surface of the eye. Patients with large pupils, dry eyes, or thin corneas are good candidates for PRK surgery.

While laser eye surgery complications are relatively rare, procedures may pose risks for certain individuals. Discuss laser surgery applications and potential complications with your eye doctor and surgeon. They'll ensure you get the right LASIK eye surgery that best suits your vision needs.