LASIK Vision Correction

As it turns out, more than 17 million people worldwide have had some form of laser vision correction.   Laser vision correction: A class of surgeries where a laser is used to reshape the cornea to correct refractive errors. Includes LASIK surgery.   More specifically, every year approximately 400,000 Americans undergo LASIK vision correction.1

The numbers are staggering and speak to how popular the procedure has become. Not only is laser vision correction one of the most popular elective surgeries today but the LASIK vision correction procedure specifically has become the most widely performed and accepted form since it completed US clinical trials in 1999. LASIK patients also can’t say enough good things about it.

In one survey, 93% of patients who underwent the LASIK procedure were able to see at least 20/20 or better.2

In another survey, 87% said they would recommend LASIK surgery to their friends.3

But before you make any decisions about LASIK, first understand that several options exist under the umbrella phrase "laser vision correction" and that only certain eye conditions can be treated with this technology.

Laser Vision Correction and LASIK Technology

Essentially, every type of laser vision correction follows the same procedure. Using a laser beam, your surgeon reshapes your cornea. The laser removes small amounts of tissue from the cornea, making the eye a more ideal shape for focusing light.

The difference is, some procedures, such as LASIK, and in particular OptiLASIK® Laser Vision Correction, do it more effectively than others.

LASIK is actually only 1 of 3 types of laser vision correction procedures. It tends to be the most popular and talked about, but to help you make an informed decision, we'll introduce you to all 3 briefly: their pros, cons, and how each varies slightly in execution and results.

LASIK (laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis) PRK (photo-refractive keratectomy) LASEK (laser-assisted sub-epithelial keratectomy)
• Thin corneal tissue layer pulled back • Top layer of cornea (epithelium) removed • Newer but similar to PRK
• Eye laser reshaped inside cornea • After surgery, epithelium must heal on its own • Epithelium temporarily loosened then replaced after reshaping to aid natural healing
• Outer cornea tissue replaced to serve as natural bandage • Contact lenses act as bandages • There remains controversy over whether it is really better than PRK in recovery time and discomfort
• Eye heals more quickly and with minimal discomfort, compared to other techniques • Longer healing time and more discomfort than LASIK procedures  

While all 3 have come a long way from the days when the cornea was reshaped with a scalpel (Radial Keratotomy), the focus here will be solely on LASIK. We believe, along with millions of others, that it's the best procedure available.

Clarity of Vision

Clarity of vision in the normal eye is the result of light rays passing through the cornea, pupil and lens, and focusing directly on the retina.

Nearsightedness

What causes nearsightedness?
Nearsightedness can occur when the curve of the cornea is too steep or the eye is too long in relationship to its corneal curvature. This causes light to focus in front of the retina instead of on its surface, resulting in blurry distance vision.

How can LASIK correct this condition?
After the eye has been numbed using eye drops, an eyelid holder is placed between the eyelids to prevent blinking during the procedure. Next, a thin protective flap of corneal tissue is created and gently folded back using a surgical device. The laser then removes tissue from the center of the cornea making it flatter, moving the point of focus from in front of the retina to the surface of the retina.

Post-LASIK
Finally, the protective flap is folded back into place where it bonds securely without the need for stitches. After LASIK, some patients report a slight discomfort that usually goes away within twelve to twenty-four hours. Although post-operative results vary from patient to patient, most patients are able to pass a drivers’ license test without glasses or contact lenses.

Farsightedness

What causes farsightedness?
Farsightedness can occur if the cornea is too flat or the eye is too short. This causes light to focus at a hypothetical point beyond the retina, resulting in blurry close vision.

How can LASIK correct this condition?
After the eye has been numbed using eye drops, an eyelid holder is placed between the eyelids to prevent blinking during the procedure. Next, a thin protective flap of corneal tissue is created and gently folded back using a surgical device. The laser then makes the cornea steeper by removing tissue from the outer margins or periphery of the cornea, moving the point of focus from somewhere behind the retina to the surface of the retina.

Post-LASIK
Finally, the protective flap is folded back into place where it bonds securely without the need for stitches. After LASIK, some patients report a slight discomfort that usually goes away within twelve to twenty-four hours. Although post-operative results vary from patient to patient, most patients are able to pass a drivers’ license test without glasses or contact lenses.

Astigmatism

What causes astigmatism?
Astigmatism occurs when the cornea is more curved in one direction than the other and often occurs with nearsightedness and farsightedness. This causes light to focus in more than one point in the retina, resulting in blurry and often distorted vision.

How can LASIK correct this condition?
After the eye has been numbed using eye drops, an eyelid holder is placed between the eyelids to prevent blinking during the procedure. Next, a thin protective flap of corneal tissue is created and gently folded back using a surgical device. The laser then removes tissue from the steeper portion of the cornea, making the cornea more spherical, allowing light to come to one point of focus on the retina.

Post-LASIK
Finally, the protective flap is folded back into place where it bonds securely without the need for stitches. After LASIK, some patients report a slight discomfort that usually goes away within twelve to twenty-four hours. Although post-operative results vary from patient to patient, most patients are able to pass a drivers’ license test without glasses or contact lenses.

Find out more about the LASIK procedure or How the Eye Works.


By considering the way your eyes naturally curve, OptiLASIK® Laser Vision Correction offers an advanced procedure that actually adapts to the unique curvature of your eyes, reshaping it more closely to an ideal, natural eye shape.

Next: LASIK Eye Surgery

References

  1. Approximately 391,376 (2010 estimate) reference/based on Market Scope data for 2010. Accessed November 2, 2010.
  2. Data on file. Alcon, Inc.
  3. FDA Clinical Trials: Wavefront-Guided Treatment for Myopia. For further data on Myopia treatment, see Brief Statement.