Traditionally, glasses or contact lenses provided the source of
correction for imperfect vision. Glasses are relatively trouble-free
and many people regard them as a fashion accessory to enhance their
appearance. With the advent of newer technology, and people's intense
desire to be free of glasses or contact lenses, ophthalmic surgeons and
engineers developed surgical alternatives for refractive correction.
Today, procedures such as LASIK, PRK, LASEK, and EPI-LASIK are the
procedures of choice for laser vision correction using the excimer
laser. We only use state-of-the-art FDA approved VISX Star S4 and
Autonomous LADAR lasers equipped with the most recent software
upgrades, active eye trackers, iris registration, and large pupil
capability. Most importantly, our lasers feature "custom cornea"
wavefront technology to achieve the most personalized vision
correction. We are also one of the few centers to offer the all-laser
approach to refractive surgery employing the IntraLase laser to create
the flap and the excimer laser to reshape the cornea.
What is laser vision correction?
Laser vision correction emcompasses several procedures (LASIK,
Custom LASIK, PRK, LASEK, and EPI-LASIK) which utilize the excimer
laser to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.
During the treatment, the laser's cool ultraviolet light removes a
small amount of corneal tissue to reshape the corneal surface in order
to allow light to be more sharply focused onto the retina, thereby
Patients considering laser vision correction should have a stable
refraction for at least one year. There is no upper age limit. After
the procedure, eyeglass correction for distance vision will not
generally be required, although some patients may desire them for
certain activities, such as driving at night. If you are in the age
range where bifocals or "readers" are normally required for close
vision (40+ years of age), you will need reading glasses following the
procedure. This condition is known as presbyopia and is part of the
natural aging process. Presbyopia currently cannot be corrected with
laser vision correction, unless one eye is adjusted for near vision.
This is called "monovision".
Laser Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK), combines the
precision of the excimer laser delivery system with the benefits of a
sophisticated surgical instrument known as a microkeratome or the
IntraLase laser. First, by utilizing either a microkeratome or the
IntraLase laser, a thin layer of cornea, or corneal flap, is created
and lifted up. Then, ultraviolet light energy pulses from the excimer
laser to reshape the exposed cornea with accuracy up to 0.25 microns.
By adjusting the pattern of the laser beam, it is possible to treat
nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. After the cornea has
been reshaped by the laser, the flap is replaced in its original
Because of the cornea's extraordinary natural bonding
qualities, sutures are not required. The entire procedure takes less
than 15 minutes for both eyes. LASIK is an FDA approved procedure.
Advanced Surface Procedures - PRK / LASEK / EPI-LASIK
Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK), LASEK, and EPI-LASIK are methods
of surgically reshaping your cornea using the excimer laser. They are
called "advanced surface procedures". They are very similar to LASIK,
but no corneal flap is created.
Surface procedures are generally performed for patients who are not
good candidates for LASIK because of a thin or mildly irregularly
shaped cornea. The side effects, risks and complication rate are about
the same for LASIK and the surface procedures. Fortunately, all of the
procedures are safe and effective. However, every surgery carries some
In PRK, after removing the surface cells (epithelium) of the cornea,
the excimer laser is applied to the surface of the cornea making the
central zone flatter in the case of nearsightedness, and steeper in the
case of farsightedness. The modified corneal contour is then able to
focus light more precisely onto the retina, thereby reducing
nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.
LASEK and EPI-LASIK are similar to PRK (but not similar to LASIK).
In these advanced surface procedures, the superficialb corneal cells
(epithelium) are peeled back in a thin sheet. The excimer laser is
applied to the cornea and the epithelial cell sheet is laid back down
over the treated area.
The visual results of LASIK and the various surface procedures are
the same. However, because the surface cells must become smooth, it
takes about a month for the vision to become clear after a surface
The Benefits of Wavefront Guided Custom LASIK
Conventional LASIK attempts to replicate the vision obtainable with
the best glasses and contact lenses by correcting "lower order
aberrations" (nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism). The
results with conventional LASIK are excellent. However, we know that
the eye is not perfectly regular and that ideally, each spot on the eye
actually requires its "own" particular prescription. This is clearly
impossible with glasses, contact lenses, or conventional LASIK.
However, with Wavefront Guided Custom LASIK hundreds of individual
locations are measured, and each microscopic area of the cornea is
specifically treated with the laser in order to attempt to optimize
Higher order aberrations such as spherical aberration, coma, and
trefoil may pre-exist in the eye or be induced by laser treatment.
Conventional LASIK, PRK, LASEK, and EPI-LASIK - even if perfectly
performed - can induce higher order aberrations from the treatment
itself. The advantages of Wavefront Guided Custom LASIK is that it
induces fewer higher order aberrations, thereby allowing patients to
achieve sharper vision and fewer side effects such as glare, halo,
starburst, and poor contrast vision.
However, it is important to realize that results will vary from
patient to patient depending upon how each individual eye heals.
Although the FDA studies and our extensive clinical experience have
shown that many patients achieve superior quality of vision following
Wavefront Guided Custom LASIK compared to glasses, contact lenses, or
conventional LASIK, it is impossible to predict which patients will
benefit even if pre-existing higher order aberrations are present.
There can be no guarantee that Wavefront Guided Custom LASIK will be
any better than conventional laser treatments for any given individual.
However, Wavefront Guided Custom LASIK offers the very latest in
technology and the greatest chance to achieve the best possible vision.
Will I have perfect 20/20 vision?
If you would nbe dissatisfied with anything less than perfect
vision, then a refractive procedure may not be in your best interest.
The goal of refractive surgery is to restore natural vision. However,
even for those who do not wear corrective lenses, vision can fluctuate
during the day due to lighting conditions, pupil size, and fatigue.
Following refractive surgery, patients may need to wear glasses to
sharpen their vision, especially for certain tasks such as night