LASIK (Laser Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis)
A laser-assisted procedure to correct blurred vision. LASIK is virtually painless and is an effective means of correcting myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism. The range of correction is wide and varies by laser and your laser vision doctor will determine if the laser can correct your prescription.
LASIK eye surgery is a medical miracle and often recognized as one of the greatest medical breakthroughs in history. More than 2 million LASIK surgeries are performed each year throughout the world. With the recession, the volume of surgery has declined. LASIK utilizes a special wavelength of laser (193nm), an excimer laser, to reshape the cornea. This reshaping with the LASIK procedure has allowed patients to eliminate or reduce their dependence on glasses and/or contact lenses.
How Does LASIK Eye Sugery Work?
For normal vision, light passes through the cornea and the lens and results in a perfect focus on the retina. Vision is generally stable after 21 years of age. With presbyopia (after 40-45 years old) the near vision declines. For people who require glasses (those with "refractive errors"), light will come to a focus in front of the retina, behind the retina or in multiple points. Although the retina may be normal, if the light is not in focus on the retina, the vision will be blurred. Much as a camer lens has the responsibility of focusing light rays on the film in the camera, the cornea and natural lens of the eye must focus the light on the retina for clear vision. During the LASIK procedure, the refracting power of the cornea is changed so that the light rays become properly focused. This laser eye surgery procedure creates virtually no pain and patients can typically see better within hours of the procedure.
About LASIK and Laser Eye Surgery
LASIK is one type of laser eye surgery that is commonly performed for the correction of myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism. LASIK surgeons who perform LASIK may also perform laser eye procedures such as PRK, LASEK and Epi-LASIK. They may also offer non-laser alternatives to LASIK, and may offer variations of LASIK such as monovision LASIK to address presbyopia, or custom LASIK using wavefront technology.
With the LASIK procedure, your ophthalmologist will use an extremely precise laser to reshape the cornea of your eye in order to bring the light back into focus.
To begin the procedure, a corneal flap is created to prepare the eye for the second step. Using the IntraLase® method, the corneal flap is created by applying tiny, rapid pulses of laser light (creating a flap using a blade is known as the microkeratome method). With IntraLase®, each pulse of light passes through the top layers of your cornea and forms a microscopic bubble at a specific depth and position within your eye that is determined by the doctor. As the IntraLase® laser moves back and forth across your eye, a uniform layer of bubbles forms just below the corneal surface. Your doctor creates your corneal flap by ripping the tissue where these bubbles have formed. It is much like separating velcro. The unique way the IntraLase ® creates this flap results in uniform flap. The corneal flap is then folded back so the doctor can perform the second, vision-correcting step of your LASIK treatment, using an excimer laser.
Nearsightedness (Myopia): To correct nearsightedness, the laser is used to flatten the central corneal surface, enabling light to focus on the retina.
Farsightedness (Hyperopia): To correct farsightedness (hyperopia), the laser is used to flatten the peripheral or outer edge of the cornea, causing the central portion to steepen and increase its power. This tends to produce less favorable results than treatment for Myopia. It is not unusual for the patient to lose one line of vision.
Astigmatism: To correct an astigmatism, the laser is used to selectively reshape some portions of the cornea, flattening the steeper areas in an elliptical pattern.
Are You a Good Candidate for LASIK Eye Surgery?
A professional consultation and full LASIK evaluation is essential to help you determine if you are an appropriate candidate for LASIK or another corrective eye procedure. Please consult with a qualified refractive surgeon to determine if you are a candidate for any refractive procedure, and if so, whether LASIK, or another laser eye surgery, or a non-laser eye surgery would be the most appropriate choice for you. Several important factors influence your Ophthalmologist's recommendation. These include:
1. Your Age — In the United States, LASIK treatment is performed on patients aged 18-21 or older. If you do not meet the lasik age requirement, you might also consider Bausch & Lomb PureVision contact lenses or Vision Shaping Treatment™ (VST) as an alternative if you do not meet the LASIK age requirements.
2. Your Condition — LASIK surgery treats most refractive errors, however, LASIK cannot correct eye diseases, such as glaucoma or cataracts, or presbyopia (the need for bifocals).
3. Your Degree of Myopia — Myopia treatment is generally advisable only up to -12 diopters. Older patients (>40), most likely, will sacrifice some near vision in exchange for dramatically improved distance vision.
4. Your Degree of Hyperopia — Treatment is generally advisable for hyperopia only up to +4 diopters.
5. Your Degree of Astigmatism — LASIK can treat astigmatism up to 6 diopters.
6. The Stability of Your Refractive Error — The refractions listed above should be within 0.50 diopters of your old prescription from the previous year.
We encourage you to research all LASIK Doctors in your area and review the profile of each LASIK or Laser eye surgeon you are considering to learn about his or her philosophy, education and treatment experience.