Laser Vision Correction
Laser vision correction refers to a group of minimally invasive procedures that reshape the cornea with laser energy to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism, leaving patients with 20/20 vision or better after treatment. These procedures are customized to provide the best possible results for each individual patient, allowing your surgeon to correct the very specific refractive errors that obscure your vision.
Laser vision correction procedures help patients eliminate the need for eyeglasses and contact lenses, a costly and bothersome hassle that millions of people deal with everyday. By reshaping the cornea, these procedures change the way that the eye focuses light, allowing you to enjoy clear vision.
There are several different laser vision correction procedures available to help patients achieve clear vision without glasses or contacts. Please call us today to schedule a consultation with any of our offices to figure out which procedure is best for you.
Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK) is a safe, reliable and painless way to improve vision by changing the way light is bent, or refracted, as it passes through the cornea, so that it properly focuses on the retina and allows objects to be seen clearly.
During the LASIK procedure, the surgeon creates a thin flap in the surface of the cornea with a femtosecond laser. This procedure is performed under local anesthesia so that pain is minimized. The corneal flap is then lifted and an excimer laser beam reshapes the cornea's curvature to improve vision. Finally, the flap is closed.
The ideal LASIK candidate includes someone who is over 21 years old, has stable vision and has a healthy cornea. After undergoing the procedure, patients can often appreciate immediate vision improvement without their glasses or contact lenses, and can shortly return to work.
Many improvements have been made in LASIK procedures since they were first introduced years ago. Among the newest and most advanced is iLASIK, which incorporates IntraLase and CustomVue technologies for the best possible vision enhancement.
IntraLase® has redefined the world of LASIK vision correction. Also known as bladeless LASIK, the IntraLase® all-laser procedure eliminates the need for a metal blade during surgery, helping bring clear vision to many people who feel uneasy about going "under the knife" during LASIK.
The state-of-the-art IntraLase® technology replaces the microkeratome blade that has traditionally been used to cut the necessary corneal flap during laser vision correction procedures. Rather than creating the flap with a blade, IntraLase® uses laser energy to make a quick, painless incision. By replacing the hand-held blade with a computer-controlled laser, the risk of complications is virtually eliminated.
VISXTM's CustomVue procedure combines the technologies of the WaveFront and STAR S4 Excimer Laser systems for high-definition, high-accuracy LASIK vision correction. CustomVue makes it possible to perform customized refractive surgeries using information gathered from your own eyes. This allows for the correction of the very specific refractive errors that obscure each patient's vision so you can enjoy the best post-operative vision quality possible, whether you are nearsighted, farsighted and/or astigmatic. Other benefits of the CustomVue process include faster treatment time.
The Benefits of iLASIK
Because of the low risk of complications and high level of precision it provides, bladeless LASIK treatment has become the standard of care among leading LASIK surgeons and ophthalmic teaching institutions worldwide.
Compared to methods that use a microkeratome blade, this minimally invasive and incredibly precise procedure decreases the occurrence of partial flaps, holes in the flap, and other traumatic flap complications. Of the hundreds of thousands of iLASIK procedures that have been performed globally to date, there have been no reports of any serious or sight-threatening complications.
Am I a good candidate for iLASIK?
An eye exam is required to see if you are a candidate for laser vision correction. Candidates must be at least 18 years old to ensure that their eyes have matured. Also, vision must have remained stable without an infection or injury for one year prior to the surgery. Ideal candidates for iLASIK surgery do not suffer from dry eye syndrome or any autoimmune disorder such as lupus or Sjogren's syndrome, and have no scarring on the cornea.
How iLASIK Works
The laser uses quick pulses (a quadrillion per second) of laser energy to create the flap in the cornea needed to correct refractive problems. The computer-guided laser pulses travel through the outer layers of the cornea, moving back and forth across the eye to create microscopic bubbles at a specified depth. The bubbles under the cornea eventually create a perforation. The surgeon is then able to gently separate the perforated tissue to create a flap, allowing him to continue with the laser vision correction procedure.
Because the laser is guided by a computer, the procedure is carried out with extreme precision and creates the optimal depth, position, and diameter for the flap specific to each patient. The entire process of creating the corneal flap takes about 10 seconds.
After the iLASIK Procedure
Discomfort is usually minimal following iLASIK. You can expect to notice a significant improvement in vision the very next day. Most patients are able to resume normal daily activities, including driving and returning to work, at this time. You should, however, avoid using any eye makeup for three days following the procedure and avoid swimming and rubbing your eyes for two weeks.
Some patients experience increased sensitivity to bright light in the weeks following iLASIK. Patients sometimes also report seeing halos around lights at night. On occasion, patients may experience dry eyes and require eye drops to increase moisture. These symptoms typically decrease shortly after the surgery.
Follow-up visits are required to make sure that the procedure went well and your vision remains crisp and clear.
The iLASIK procedure has proven to be extremely safe and effective. Nevertheless, no surgery is entirely free from risks and complications. Some patients experience light sensitivity. This is often temporary and can be successfully treated using steroid eye drops for a few weeks. Also, inflammation can occur in the cornea. Though microscopic, this swelling can lead to blurred vision. This should correct itself over time. Dry eyes may also be experienced, in which case eye drops may be recommended to lubricate the eyes.
Advanced Surface Laser Ablation (ASLA)
Advanced Surface Laser Ablation (ASLA) uses an excimer laser to treat a small amount (about 5 to 30 percent) of the cornea. Instead of creating a flap in the cornea with a laser, this method preserves the strength of the cornea. During the ASLA procedure, the surgeon also has great control in the location and amount of tissue being removed, allowing patients to enjoy a highly accurate treatment.
The ASLA method involves gently sculpting the cornea rather than cutting, allowing your surgeon to treat greater degrees of nearsightedness, as well as farsightedness and astigmatism. Up to 95 percent of patients with a correction of up to -6.00 diopters achieved vision of 6/7.5 or better after ASLA, with up to 90 percent achieving 6/6.
Before LASIK was available, ASLA was the most commonly performed refractive surgery procedure. LASIK brought about several advantages over ASLA, including less discomfort and faster results, but ASLA is still preferred for patients with thin corneas. The ASLA procedure takes less than a minute to complete, and is performed with only anesthetic eye drops.
Candidates for Advanced Surface Ablation Similar to LASIK, there are certain requirements that patients must meet in order to undergo the ASLA procedure. This procedure is ideal for patients who:
- Are over the age of 18
- Have a stable eye prescription
- Have no major health issues
- Seek to improve nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism
Many patients choose to undergo ASLA because they do not qualify for LASIK, whether they have corneas that are too thin or have problems with eye pressure or a corneal dystrophy.
Advanced Surface Ablation Procedure ASLA takes about 20 minutes to perform and is done on an outpatient basis using only anaesthetic eye drops. During the procedure, Dr. Kumar will first remove the surface layer of the eye (epithelium). This can be done with a solution of diluted alcohol that gently loosens the epithelium so that it can be removed or pushed to the side.
Once the epithelium is removed, the cornea is then carefully reshaped with a laser to correct vision. The advanced laser used during this procedure customizes vision correction for each individual patient to ensure successful results. A bandage contact lens is then placed over the eye to promote proper healing.
Recovery from Advanced Surface Ablation After the ASLA procedure, patients will be able to go home after a few hours, although someone will need to drive you home. The bandage contact lens will be worn for three to four days. Eye drops will be prescribed to prevent infection and keep the eyes moisturised. In many cases, patients can return to work the next day, although strenuous exercise should be avoided for at least a week.
Patients will notice an improvement in vision within the first few days after surgery, with full results gradually developing over the course of six months. Glasses may need to be worn during an initial period after surgery as vision adjusts Vitamin supplements may be recommended to help the eyes heal more quickly and comfortably.
Results of Advanced Surface Ablation The results of ASLA are comparable to LASIK and other laser vision correction procedures. Some patients may still require glasses or contact lenses after treatment, but their prescription will be significantly reduced.
To learn more about ASLA and to find out whether or not this procedure is right for you, please call us today to schedule a consultation.
Alternatives to Laser Vision Correction
Refractive Lens Exchange
Refractive lens exchange replaces the natural lens with a presbyopia correcting intraocular lens (IOL) in patients wishing to correct high farsightedness, high nearsightedness or presbyopia without undergoing a corneal modification procedure such as LASIK. Patients can choose from a wide range of IOLs in order to achieve the best possible vision for their individual eyes.
The refractive lens exchange procedure is the same as that used in cataract surgery; the only difference is that refractive lens exchange is performed to achieve refractive correction rather than cataract removal. Refractive lens exchange involves a rapid recovery and offers patients dramatic improvement in vision quality.
After surgery, patients enjoy clearer vision and greater focusing power almost immediately. Most benefit from an eliminated or significantly reduced dependence on glasses or contact lenses, and vision that remains stable over time. This procedure also prevents the patient from developing cataracts in the future.
You may be a candidate for clear lens extraction if you:
- Want to reduce or eliminate your dependence on glasses or contacts
- Are over 50 years old
- Have high myopia (nearsightedness), high hyperopia (farsightedness), or presbyopia, with or without cataracts
- Have early symptoms of cataracts
Although refractive lens exchange is considered safe for most patients, there are certain risks associated with any kind of procedure. You can discuss these risks, along with the benefits of this procedure, before deciding whether or not it is right for you.
Phakic Intraocular Lenses
Phakic Intraocular Lenses are used to correct very high degrees of myopia, astigmatism or hyperopia. These lenses are implanted behind the iris and in front of the natural lens of the eye. The procedure is highly successful and maintains an ability to read at near. The ideal candidate is between 21 and 45 years of age. Dr Kumar uses the Visian ICL.
The Visian ICL™by STAAR Surgical is an insertable contact lens used to correct myopia (nearsightedness) without altering the cornea. Patients who undergo this procedure can often sharper, clearer and more vivid vision correction than LASIK, a quality termed High Definition VisianTM for its significant results. Visian is currently the only minimally invasive foldable lens available, and many patients are now choosing it as an alternative to glasses or regular contact lenses.
Made of Collamer®, a highly biocompatible material with small amounts of purified collagen within, the Visian lens safely improves vision while protecting the eye from ultraviolet rays. This lens does not require any special care and stays in place on its own, just like your natural lens. There is minimal risk of injection due to the biocompatible nature of the lens.
Candidates for Visian ICL Treatment
The Visian ICL is ideal for patients between the ages of 21 and 45 years old who are suffering from nearsightedness (myopia) and want to achieve clear vision without eyeglasses or regular contact lenses. For optimal safety and best results, patients should not have a history of ophthalmic surgery or diseases such as iritis, glaucoma or diabetic retinopathy. Your doctor will determine whether or not this treatment is right for you after an eye exam and evaluation of your vision history.
Visian ICL Procedure
On the day of the ICL implantation, Dr Kumar will numb the eye with a topical anesthetic before making an opening in the cornea to insert and position the lens. A gel-like substance will also be used during the procedure to protect the eye while the lens is being placed.
In most cases, sutures are not needed because of the small incision size. Eye drops will be administered to prevent infection or inflammation during the recovery process. An eye patch or shield may be used for further protection and comfort after the procedure. Patients should have someone else drive them home after their procedure. The entire procedure takes only 15 minutes to perform.
Results and Recovery
After the ICL is implanted, patients will likely only need a day or two to recovery, with little to no side effects. Noticeable vision improvement will occur almost right away, while the lens remains invisible to others, as it's positioned behind the iris.
Your doctor will ask you to return to the office the next day to evaluate the results of the procedure. Although the lens is meant to be kept in place for permanent vision correction, it can be removed if necessary by your doctor. It can also be replaced with an updated lens if your vision changes significantly after implantation. Patients will still be able to wear reading glasses for presbyopia after this procedure as well.
Visian ICL Safety
Unlike LASIK, PRK and other refractive procedures, the Visian ICL procedure is not typically associated with complications such as dry eye and thinning of the cornea. It is considered safer and less invasive than these other procedures, while still achieving clear distance vision. When they do occur, complications are usually mild and can be corrected by your doctor.
To learn more about the Visian ICL treatment, please contact us today and find out whether or not this procedure is right for you!
To learn more about our Laser Vision Correction Services, please contact us today to schedule an appointment.