What is Laser Vision Correction?
As the only two fellowship-trained corneal specialists in the region, Dr. Jonathan Primack and Dr. Adam Altman have been involved with laser vision correction from its earliest stages.
Laser Vision Correction is an exciting procedure that safely corrects refractive error with a high degree of accuracy. Refractive error results from a flaw in the shape of the eye that causes images to be improperly focused on the retina, and the result is blurry vision. The three major forms of refractive error are myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism. When the doctor performs your vision correction treatment with the excimer laser, he corrects these imperfections by precisely reshaping the curvature of your cornea. Each pulse of the laser removes a quarter of a micron of tissue (a micron is one millionth of a meter). Dr. Primack and Dr. Altman know exactly how much of the cornea to treat based on their highly detailed, personally performed examinations. The results are impressive: 90 – 95% of patients with mild to moderate myopia and astigmatism attain 20/20 vision or better.
Laser Vision Correction can be safely performed in two different ways – LASIK and PRK. Both are performed as an outpatient procedure in the comfort and convenience of our laser suite. Normally, these procedures last less than 10 minutes, with most patients experiencing an improvement in their vision immediately following the procedure. Both procedures utilize Custom Wavefront Technology and the visual results of Bladeless LASIK and PRK are identical.
Bladeless Custom LASIK
LASIK (Laser In-situ Keratomileusis) is performed in three steps:
- Using a femtosecond laser, the doctor creates a hinged flap on the surface of the cornea.
- The flap is gently folded back to expose the underlying corneal tissue which is then reshaped by the laser.
- The hinged flap is placed back into position so that it may heal into place; no stitches are used.
During the procedure, you will be asked to look at a red fixation light; this light is not the laser, but a guide to help keep your eye steady and pointed in the correct direction. The laser is also equipped with a tracking device in case your eye moves. As the laser delivers steady, rhythmic pulses of light to the cornea, you will hear a clicking sound. The procedure is painless. The main advantage of LASIK is a quick visual recovery. Many patients wake up the next morning seeing clearly without glasses or contacts.
PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy) can be thought of as LASIK without the flap. Instead of creating a hinged flap, the surgeon gently and painlessly removes the superficial cells covering the surface of the cornea. The laser is then applied in an identical manner as described above. New cells repopulate the surface the cornea over the next few days.
The PRK procedure is recommended for individuals who are not optimal candidates for LASIK given their corneal thickness, corneal curvature, or degree of refractive error. Patients receiving PRK usually note an improved quality of uncorrected vision soon after the procedure, but they do not see clearly enough to drive for several days. With each passing day, however, the vision becomes more crisp. PRK is the procedure of choice for military fighter pilots and many people in law enforcement careers given its safety profile and excellent results.