Variety in lasik procedures

In 1998 a new procedure was introduced that changed the world of eye care dramatically. Lasik eye surgery was approved by the FDA and surgeons began performing the procedure for many excited patients. Before lasik there was another kind of eye correction surgery, called Photo refractive Keratectomy or PRK, but the risks associated with it were to great for many people to take the chance. When lasik was approved and studies showed it had less risks and a higher success rate versus PRK eye surgeons took an interest. Today the world of lasik vision correction is a growing industry bringing new technology into vision correction.

Lasik eye surgery works by reshaping the cornea. The cornea is the clear lens in the eye that reflects light to the retina and then on to the brain. When the cornea is not shaped correctly the images it reflects are distorted or blurry. During lasik surgery a flap is cut into the outer layer of the cornea. Then a laser is used to trim and shape the inside layer of the cornea.

The early attempts at vision correction were very primative compared to lasik. PRK and lasik are very similar. The same laser is used and the basic procedure is the same, but there is one distinct difference. In PRK instead of cutting a flap, the outer layer is scraped off. It is quite easy to see how the risks can be greater with PRK. The healing time is longer and the risk of infection is greater.

Recently an even newer lasik procedure was introduced. Wavefront lasik uses space technology to make lasik surgery even more precise. The difference between traditional lasik and wavefront lasik is not during the actual surgery but during the pre-op exam. Wavefront technology is used to map out the eye. This allows the surgeon to know every detail about the shape of the cornea, including imperfections. Wavefront lasik allows the surgeon to be able to fix even small flaws, thus creating a better chance of 20/20 vision for the patient. This new form of lasik is also often called custom lasik because it customizes the lasik surgery for each patient.

Besides different types of lasik eye surgery there are different procedures. A lasik procedure called Monovision is used to help eliminate the use of reading glasses. People who need reading glasses or bifocals suffer from an age related problem called presbyopia. Presbyopia is where the eyes loses the ability to focus correctly. A traditional lasik surgery will not help, but Monovision can. What happens during this procedure is one eye is treated to fix near vision while the other is treated for distance vision. The eyes will have to adjust to working separately and the patient will have to adjust to using one eye for near and one for far vision.

Many advances have already taken place with lasik procedures. From the early stages to today’s advanced procedures lasik has been correcting vision with technology that is space age cutting edge. Lasik vision correction procedures are not a guarantee for perfect vision, but as technology advances perhaps one day it will be.

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