Learn about LASIK and other Refractive Surgeries

LASIK

LASIK involves the use of a microkeratome, or laser to cut a flap of the cornea (the surface covering the eye) which is then lifted. The laser is then used to change the corneal curvature by removing tissue beneath the surface of the cornea. The lifted flap is then put back in place.

Removal of small amounts of tissue may produce the results you need to correct your refractive error and reduce your dependency on glasses or contact lenses.

Some people choose monovision correction or binocular vision. This is when one eye is corrected for near and the other eye is corrected for distance. This can reduce optimum depth perception. We recommend this option be tried with contact lenses prior to monovision correction There is also the option of Photo Refractive Keratectomy (PRK).

PRK

PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) is a type of refractive surgery to correct myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism.

PRK was the first type of laser eye surgery for vision correction and is the predecessor to the popular LASIK procedure. Though PRK recovery takes a bit longer than recovery from LASIK eye surgery, PRK is still commonly performed and offers advantages over LASIK for some patients.

PRK involves scraping the epithelial cell layer (the outermost layer) and doing the laser treatment in the stromal bed (middle layer). This is as effective as LASIK, but the healing time is about three weeks for optimal vision. This procedure can also be painful. A bandage contact lens is placed over the cornea to help alleviate the pain.

The main difference between PRK and LASIK is the first step of the procedures.

In LASIK, a thin flap is created on the cornea with a microkeratome or a femtosecond laser. This flap is lifted to expose the underlying corneal tissue and is replaced after the cornea is reshaped with an excimer laser.

In PRK, the thin outer layer of the cornea (epithelium) is removed and discarded prior to reshaping the underlying corneal tissue with an excimer laser. The epithelium repairs itself (grows back over the corneal surface) within a few days after surgery.

Frequently Asked Questions

LASIK and PRK FAQs
Are LASIK and PRK safe?

The FDA recognizes LASIK and PRK as proven, safe and effective. Laser vision correction uses a cool (non-thermal) beam of light that is computer controlled. The surgeon turns the laser on and is able to turn it off at any moment. Many safeguards are in place to reduce the risk of error. However, risks are associated with any surgical procedure.

Although no one knows the exact number of complications, studies suggest that the incidence of minor difficulties such as dry eyes and nighttime glare is around 3 percent to 5 percent, while the risk of serious incidents such as lost vision is thought to be less than 1 percent. There are no known cases of blindness from LASIK or PRK. Again, outcomes generally are very good.

Can I have both eyes done at the same time?

Most surgeons perform a LASIK procedure on both eyes at the same time. Because it takes longer for clear, comfortable vision after PRK, many surgeons will wait a week or two between eyes for PRK

How is eye laser surgery different from previous types of refractive eye surgery?

Current FDA-approved laser vision correction methods, such as LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis), have a higher predictability of the final result with a lower incidence of complications. Additionally, older techniques typically involved manually performed incisions rather than automated lasers for correction.

Does laser vision correction hurt?

You won’t feel pain during LASIK or PRK, because your surgeon will place anesthetic eye drops in your eye first. Afterward, he or she may prescribe pain medication if necessary. Many LASIK patients report no more than mild discomfort for a day or so after surgery. There is more discomfort after PRK because the procedure exposes the deeper layers of the cornea. For clear and comfortable vision after PRK, protective surface cells have to grow back over the treated area. This process can take a week or two, sometimes longer

How long does LASIK take?

The laser treatment itself usually takes less than a minute, while the entire procedure takes approximately 15 minutes per eye.

Am I a good candidate for LASIK?

Because each case is different, we encourage people to contact our office for a complimentary LASIK evaluation, but here are some general guidelines:

  • You must have healthy eyes — no glaucoma, infection, cataracts, severe dry eye or any other condition that would affect postoperative healing.
  • You must be an adult: age 21 or older (with some exceptions).
  • Your vision must be stable for at least a year before surgery.
  • If you’re pregnant or nursing, your hormonal levels can affect the shape of your eye. You’ll need to wait until your hormones are back to normal levels.
  • You cannot have a degenerative or autoimmune disease since this would affect healing.

Please keep in mind that there are over 15 procedures to improve vision health; therefore, a consultation is always advisable in order to perform a thorough exam and explore the various alternatives.

As with any surgery, there are risks associated, and your doctor will go over those in the office

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Lasik Center of Virginia

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Parham Professional Park - 2821 Parham Road - Richmond, VA 23294

The Beach - 1201 First Colonial Road, Virginia Beach, VA 23454-2217

River - 710 Train Lane, Heathsville, VA 22473-4514

Phone::(804)330-9303 | FAX:(804)330-9302 | E-mail: lasikcenterva@aol.com