In our world of advanced medical technology, there are many amazing techniques that can be used to improve our health. Vision correction surgery is very popular. The four most common procedures are Lasik and iLasik, photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) and custom wavefront guided treatments
What is LASIK Surgery?
Two of the most popular are LASIK and iLASIK surgeries. They are exactly the same surgeries, except with regard to flap construction. The difference is the instrument used to make the flap.
- In traditional LASIK surgery, a blade or microkeratome is used to make the flap.
- In iLASIK surgery, the ophthalmologist uses a laser, most commonly the Intralase, to make the flap. This method is more reliable and safer than using a microkeratome flap. After the flap is constructed, a different laser is used to reshape the cornea.
When LASIK surgery is performed, the flap that is created and folded out of the way much like a can lid, allowing access to the cornea so that the vision correction procedure can be completed. After the cornea is reshaped, the flap is then replaced. There are no sutures needed to secure the flap in place, as once the tissue is repositioned it sticks in place by small pumps in the cornea which function like nature’s Velcro.
The patient remains awake with numbing eye-drops anesthetizing the eye. It is a simple procedure that is usually performed in an outpatient surgery suite which may be located in your ophthalmologist’s office. Most people are back to their regular activities within 24 hours.
During healing, prescription eye drops are usually prescribed for one to two weeks after surgery.
Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK)
Photorefractive Keratectomy is a laser cornea-reshaping eye surgery that is primarily used for correcting mild to moderate nearsightedness. This procedure uses a cool, pulsing laser with ultraviolet light that reshapes the surface of the eye’s cornea. This procedure is performed when the patient has a thinner cornea and may not be a good LASIK candidate, a person who has an occupation that may require physical contact with the eye, or in a person with corneal scarring who may not be a good candidate for a flap. The healing time may be slightly longer than LASIK, but the vision is usually equivalent once the eye has healed. This procedure may require 3-5 days off from work during the healing phase.
Wavefront Guided Treatments
The Wavefront Guided Treatment can be thought of as measuring a fingerprint of the eye. The laser system then treats this measurement on the surface of the cornea. This allows the ophthalmologist to correct not only the blurriness caused by the glasses but also blurring cause by rays of light that are out of focus for other reasons. These are commonly referred to as higher order aberrations.
What Are There Complications to Eye Surgery?
In rare cases, complications may occur after a person has vision correction surgery. But, most people finish up the healing time without any concerns or complications. Statistically, laser created flaps are less likely to have complications because the flap creation is done with the precision of a laser and not a surgical blade.
If you are considering vision correction surgery, you should talk with your ophthalmologist to determine whether the surgery is right for you. Your doctor will also give you the opportunity to explore the differences between LASIK/iLASIK surgery. You will find that the majority of the surgeons will suggest a bladeless procedure.
Be sure to research a bit before you have your surgery, so that you can better understand the procedure. Taking some time to examine your options will also give peace of mind that you found the most qualified professional in your area to complete the surgery.