Laser Vision Correction

Lasers are the most technologically advanced  means available to correct certain vision problems. Nearsightedness and astigmatism are  corrected with the laser by gently reshaping the  surface of your eye with a cool, ultraviolet beam  of light. We believe that laser vision correction  is a wonderful alternative for suitable  candidates; however, the decision regarding which  vision correction alternative is right for you is  best made between you and your eye doctor.

You have many choices for vision correction. All  have benefits and drawbacks. These are described  in detail in the following section.

Glasses

GlassesWall1Glasses are the most common solution to correct  refractive vision problems.

The advantages of glasses include:

  • Easy  maintenance
  • Relatively low cost
  • Versatility

The disadvantages include:

  • Change in cosmetic appearance
  • Restriction of peripheral vision
  • Interference with recreational, sporting, and  work-related activities
  • Easy to lose or damage
  • Continual dependence

 

Contact Lenses

IS3359851_White_Finger_ContactContact lenses are another common solution for  correcting refractive vision problems.

The advantages of contact lenses include:

  • No change in cosmetic appearance
  • More freedom during recreational and sporting  activities
  • Better peripheral vision than glasses

The disadvantages include:

  • High  maintenance
  • Easy to lose
  • Less comfortable for a patient with dry eyes
  • More difficult to fit for patients with higher degrees of astigmatism
  • Risk of infection

Infection is usually more common with contact lenses than with vision correction procedures, such as RK, ALK,  PRK, or LASIK.

Orthokeratology

Ortho K is a technique utilizing a series of  rigid contact lenses to progressively flatten  your cornea, in order to treat myopia.

The advantages include:

  • The  effects are reversible
  • The  procedure is suitable for adolescents

The disadvantages include:

  • Continued  dependence on part-time  "retainer" lenses
  • High  maintenance
  • Requires  several visits with close follow-up4.

 

Radial Keratotomy (RK)

RK is a surgical procedure that corrects myopia  by altering the shape of the cornea. This is  accomplished by placing incisions in a  "radial" pattern along the outer  portion of the cornea using a hand held  diamond-tipped blade. These very fine incisions  are designed to help flatten the curvature of the  cornea, thereby allowing the light rays entering  the eye to properly focus on the retina.

Automated Lamellar Keratoplasty (ALK)

In ALK, a microkeratome (an ophthalmic  instrument) is used to create a corneal flap,  revealing the inner corneal tissue. A thin wedge  of corneal tissue is then removed with a second  microkeratome pass, thereby reshaping the cornea.  The corneal flap is then closed. ALK performed in  this fashion can correct myopia, and a variation  can be used to correct hyperopia.

ALK can treat very high levels of myopia.  However, the procedure lacks the accuracy of the  excimer laser.

Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK)

PRK is the most common procedure utilizing the  excimer laser. It is used to correct myopia,  astigmatism, and hyperopia.

With PRK, no scalpels are used and no incisions  are made. Your doctor prepares the eye by gently  removing the surface layer of the cornea, called  the epithelium. This layer naturally regenerates  itself every few days. Computer-controlled pulses  of cool laser light are then applied to the  surface of the cornea to delicately reshape the  curvature of the eye. Deeper cell layers remain  virtually untouched. The whole PRK procedure  itself is usually completed in under five minutes  and is painless.

Laser In-Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK)

LASIK is similar to ALK, but the excimer laser is  utilized for improved precision.

The doctor uses a microkeratome to create a  corneal flap, as in ALK. The cool laser beam then  gently reshapes the cornea, and the flap is  closed. LASIK is an extremely effective  outpatient procedure that is suitable for higher  prescriptions. It can be used to correct even the  most severe one- percent of prescriptions, and  has generated significant excitement in the eye  care community around the world.

LASIK dramatically reduces your recovery time  (versus PRK) and decreases the chance of many of  the procedural risks (compared to ALK). The  procedure itself takes only a few minutes to  complete and involves minimal discomfort.