If you’re tired of relying on eyeglasses or contact lenses to be able to read, drive and perform other everyday tasks, laser eye surgery is most likely the best solution for your needs. Though there are different variations and techniques of laser eye surgery, the common goal is to correct refractive errors, including myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) or astigmatism (misshapen cornea). This is achieved by reshaping the corneal tissue with an excimer laser.
During a LASIK procedure, the eye surgeon creates a flap in the cornea and carefully pulls it back to expose the underlying layers of tissue. A very precise laser beam vaporizes a small amount of cells to reshape the cornea. Then, the flap is repositioned and the eye heals itself.
Customized LASIK Surgery, or Wavefront Guided LASIK, addresses higher order aberrations (subtle imperfections) that cannot be treated by conventional LASIK, glasses or contact lenses. Custom LASIK is special because it makes a very detailed map of the eye, including its unique measurements and curvature. This information makes it easier to accurately correct the aberrations.
The alternative to LASIK is Photorefractive Keratectomy, or PRK, which uses a different treatment approach to access the underlying layers of corneal tissue. Instead of creating a flap with a laser or blade, the eye surgeon gently removes the top layer of cells (the epithelium) in the cornea. PRK is more suitable for patients whose corneas are either too thin or too irregular to handle the creation of the flap made during LASIK. The disadvantages to PRK are that it can require a longer recovery period than LASIK and the downtime can be more uncomfortable. LASEK is a variation of PRK in which laser energy is used to lift the epithelium before the cornea is reshaped. It is later replaced.