In the early 1990's, refractive surgery experienced the dawning of a new era with the advent of the Excimer Laser. The excimer laser uses a cool light beam to remove corneal tissue from the inner cornea. The beam of the laser is so accurate that it can cut notches in a single strand of human hair. Laser in-Situ Keratomileusis, LASIK, uses the excimer laser in combination with a laser generated flap to correct the distance prescription of both eyes in less than 15 minutes, and can help eliminate your dependency on contact lenses and glasses.
The LASIK Procedure
LASIK is performed on an outpatient basis using only numbing eye drops to reduce any potential discomfort. The entire surgery takes less than 5 minutes to perform, although patients can expect to spend a few hours at the doctor's office. If requested, patients can receive an oral sedative prior to surgery to reduce any anxieties about the procedure.
During the LASIK procedure, the patient lies down in a reclining chair as the doctor positions the laser precisely over the eye. A speculum is used to keep the eye open while the eye is cleaned and anesthetic eye drops are administered. A corneal flap is created with either a blade or a laser. The surgeon gently lifts the surface of the cornea aside, enabling the excimer laser to reshape the curvature of the cornea.
The excimer laser delivers customized pulses of light energy based on each patient's prescription. The measurements for customization are determined prior to surgery, with the precise positioning confirmed prior to the start of the procedure. The second eye is treated immediately after the first. Following the surgery, the patient is provided with a protective shield to protect the eyes from bright lights.
What Can LASIK do for me?
LASIK can truly change your life. You can experience the freedom of seeing clearly when playing sports, swimming, even something as simple as seeing the alarm clock when getting up in the morning.
Laser vision correction was first approved in America by the Food and Drug Administration in November 1995, although, the first laser procedure was performed in Germany back in 1987. To date, there have been over 30 million laser vision procedures performed throughout the world.
What Laser Vision Correction Means to You:
- No more hassles with broken eye glass frames
- No more fidgeting with contacts every morning and night
- No more showers without seeing the soap
Bladeless Custom LASIK
Bladeless Custom LASIK using the IntraLase and VISX lasers, also referred to as iLASIK, is a state of the art method of laser vision correction that is 100% personalized to the individual shape of your eyes. This all-laser procedure corrects your vision based upon your eyes' visual wavefronts as measured by the WaveScan WaveFront system. Using the IntraLase laser, we are able to achieve a level of precision in flap creation that was unattainable with conventional systems. The VISX Star IR laser, which quickly and gently reshapes your cornea, uses iris-recognition technology to ensure proper orientation and delivery of your individualized treatment.
Custom LASIK provides an additional level of precise data about your vision requirements using wavefront technology--a technology that was not available prior to the advent of this technology. A device called a wavefront analyzer, the WaveScan, measures the way light travels through your eye and compares it to the way light travels through an eye with perfect vision. This device then creates a 3-D wavefront map that is unique in the same way that your DNA is unique to you. Your wavefront map provides a detailed diagram of your vision that allows your doctor to provide you with truly personalized vision correction.
Custom LASIK provides your doctor with the tools to take a precise measurement of your eyes, like a "fingerprint" of your vision. This custom "fingerprint" is then transmitted to the laser, enabling your surgeon to customize the LASIK procedure to your individual vision requirements.
Many patients who were not candidates for conventional LASIK may now be candidates for Custom LASIK.
Several types of visual imperfections, referred to as lower- and higher-order aberrations, exist within the eye and can affect your vision. Prior to Custom LASIK, only lower-order aberrations (such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism) could be measured and treated. However, these do not account for all potential vision imperfections. Higher-order aberrations can also have a significant impact on one's vision.Custom LASIK may help to correct these higher-order aberrations that, in the past, could not be adequately corrected with glasses, contacts or conventional LASIK treatments.
Q: HOW DO I KNOW IF I AM A CANDIDATE FOR LASER VISION CORRECTION?
A: Currently the FDA has approved laser vision correction for nearsightedness, astigmatism, and farsightedness. Not everyone is a candidate, there are several other factors to consider. Very high degrees of nearsightedness, astigmatism and far sightedness are not good candidates, and certain eye and medical conditions are not suitable for LASIK surgery.
To get the process started we recommend you call for a phone consultation with our patient counselor. If you can, have your eyeglass or contact lens prescription available and we can tell you if you are a potential laser vision candidate. If you are, we can schedule a no cost to you evaluation with one of our doctors who can discuss which procedure, if any, is best for you.
Q: WHAT WILL MY VISION BE LIKE FOLLOWING LASER VISION CORRECTION?
A: Laser Vision Correction has been shown to reduce people's dependence on glasses and contacts. Over 95% of Dr. Feldman's patients who undergo laser vision correction achieve 20/40 vision or better. This will enable you to pass a driver's license exam without glasses. Our counselor will be happy to review the potential benefits and risks of Laser Vision Correction with you.
Q: HOW LONG WILL THE PROCEDURE ACTUALLY TAKE?
A: You will be at the Laser Center approximately two hours. The time in the surgery suite with the doctor is 15 to 20 minutes. The actual laser treatment time is approximately one minute per eye.
Q: IS THE LASER PAINFUL?
A: The procedure itself is not painful, although some temporary discomfort is not unusual. Post operatively, most patients experience little or no discomfort. After the procedure, your eyes may feel scratchy, gritty, or watery. These are temporary symptoms and are not a problem for most patients.
Q: WHAT KIND OF VISION CAN I EXPECT AFTER SURGERY?
A: Many patients notice improved vision immediately after the procedure, although it is normal to be somewhat blurred immediately after an operation. The next day, most patients have excellent vision and do not need any glasses or contacts. Patients continue to see a gradual increase in their visual acuity during the first five to seven days after the procedure.
Q: DO YOU HAVE FINANCING PLANS?
A: Our Laser Centers has various financing plans available and will work with you to develop a flexible payment plan to meet your requirements. Of course all major credit cards are accepted, and financial arrangements must be completed before the day of your procedure.
Q: DOES INSURANCE COVER REFRACTIVE SURGERY?
A: Most insurance companies consider refractive surgery an elective surgery and it is not usually a covered benefit. However, it is certainly worth checking with your insurance company and we encourage you to call them.
Q: CAN BOTH EYES BE DONE AT THE SAME TIME?
A: Because of the advanced technology associated with laser vision correction, both eyes are most often treated at the same time.
Q: DO THE RESULTS LAST?
A: Refractive surgery is considered to be a permanent procedure. However, refractive surgery will not prevent any age related conditions such as presbyopia (the need for reading glasses), or cataracts. In a small number of cases, eyes do change over time and develop a new prescription, but the effect of the laser on the preoperative prescription is permanent.
Q: HOW MUCH WORK WILL I MISS?
A: Most patients return to their normal activities the day after the procedure. The doctor can give you more details on what you can expect when you come in for an evaluation.
Q: WHAT ARE THE RISKS OF REFRACTIVE SURGERY?
A: While enjoying a very high success rate, refractive surgery is still surgery and like all surgery has some degree of risk associated with it. At Philadelphia Eye Associates we never loss sight of the fact that our most important goal is safety and we have one of the best track records in the industry. Your surgeon will go over the informed consent and review the potential risks and how we can try to avoid them. You should always be sure to have all your questions answered before having surgery.
You should always be sure to have all your questions answered before having surgery.
Q: WHAT ABOUT SOME OF THE OTHER PROCEDURES I'VE HEARD ABOUT TO CORRECT MY VISION?
A: There are many new and exciting ways to correct refractive errors, including the need for reading glasses we all will need as we get older. The surgeons at Philadelphia Eye Associates keep up to date on all these developments. There are other surgical options besides LASIK that we perform at Philadelphia Eye Associates, including advanced surface ablation or PRK, intracorneal inlays or ring segments, or lens-based surgeries. The physicians at Philadelphia Eye Associate are leaders in vision-correction surgery and will discuss these alternatives with you during your consultation.
For More For more information about vision correction with LASIK, please take the time to read through this VISX Patient Education Booklet.