In refractive surgery, a laser gently reshapes the cornea to redirect light to the retina. The procedure takes fifteen minutes and is very safe.
How does it work?
Before surgery, a scan of the eye is taken on a special wave-scan machine. The reading is plugged into the laser and is used to guide the laser during treatment.
We are changing the optics of the eye. When someone is nearsighted, their cornea is too steep. Using a laser, the cornea gets flattened which makes light focus further to land on the retina. With farsightedness, the cornea is flat and must be steepened. With astigmatism, the cornea is rounded to eliminate the oblique shape.
The procedure begins by creating a flap on the front of the eye using a special laser called Intralase. This flap is lifted and a different laser is used for the actual prescription treatment. When this is completed the flap is folded back and placed back into position.
Most prescriptions these days can be treated using a laser. The most common procedure is called LASIK (Laser-Assisted in situ Keratomileusis). If you are not a good candidate for LASIK due to thin corneas or other irregularities, PRK (Photo-refractive keratectomy) is performed which utilizes the same laser as LASIK without the cutting of a flap. We expect achieving a result of 20/20 vision a high percent of the time.
Preparations: Remove contacts one week before the procedure. If using hard lenses, 1-2 months in advance.
Precautions afterwards: No touching of your eyes. Use the prescribed antibiotic and anti-inflammation drops.
For the most part, you can experience clearer vision immediately in LASIK. There is some haziness due to swelling for 24 hours but you can tell that the vision has been corrected right away. However, those patients undergoing PRK will experience blurred vision during the first week. Additionally, PRK patients will experience discomfort during the first week of healing.