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

Glasses 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

    Contact 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.