Refractive eye surgery is any eye surgery used to improve the refractive state of the eye and decrease or eliminate a need for glasses or contact lenses. This can include various methods of surgical remodeling of the cornea or cataract surgery.

Doctors use lasers to reshape the curvature of the cornea. Successful refractive eye surgery can reduce or cure common vision disorders such as myopia (nearsightedness or shortsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism, as well as degenerative disorders like keratoconus.

LASIK and PRK are common laser vision correction surgical procedures approved by the FDA.

LASIK (short for Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis) is eye surgery that permanently changes the shape of the cornea (the clear covering on the front of the eye) in order to improve vision and reduce a person’s need for glasses or contact lenses.

PRK (short for Photorefractive Keratectomy ) also permanently changes the shape of the cornea using an excimer laser, to remove (by vaporization) a small amount of tissue.

LASIK is more comfortable, usually pain-free and rehabilitation time is usually quicker. of vision, but is technically more difficult to perform and has a slightly higher surgical complication rate than PRK. This is because of the extra step needed during LASIK to create the corneal flap.

If you’re having PRK, the laser removes the outer layer of the cornea. With LASIK, the surgeon cuts a thin flap in the inner layer of the cornea. Both procedures then use the cool beam of the excimer laser to re-shape the cornea. The flap is then repositioned. In both procedures, the amount of corneal tissue removed by the laser is microscopic – less than the thickness of a human hair.

During the LASIK procedure there is usually no pain, however there is about 15 seconds of firm pressure while the corneal flap is being created. Following the procedure, patients are usually more comfortable than patients undergoing PRK.

PRK

PRK (short for Photorefractive Keratectomy ) also permanently changes the shape of the cornea using an excimer laser, to remove (by vaporization) a small amount of tissue.

It is difficult to prove that PRK is better than LASIK, or visa versa. PRK and LASIK have about equivalent long-term outcomes.

LASIK is more comfortable, usually pain-free and rehabilitation time is usually quicker. of vision, but is technically more difficult to perform, and has a slightly higher surgical complication rate than PRK. This is because of the extra step needed during LASIK to create the corneal flap.

If you’re having PRK, the laser removes the outer layer of the cornea. With LASIK, the surgeon cuts a thin flap in the inner layer of the cornea. Both procedures then use the cool beam of the excimer laser to re-shape the cornea. The flap is then repositioned. In both procedures, the amount of corneal tissue removed by the laser is microscopic – less than the thickness of a human hair.

During the LASIK procedure there is usually no pain, however there is about 15 seconds of firm pressure while the corneal flap is being created. Following the procedure, patients are usually more comfortable than patients undergoing PRK.

FAQs

  • What kind of laser is used?

LASIK and PRK are performed with an excimer laser. This type of laser produces a cool beam of light, which changes the shape of the cornea, allowing light rays to be properly focused on or near the retina.

  • Is laser vision correction safe?

Since 2003 in the United States, follow-up clinical trials have been conducted, with very few sight-threatening complications occurring. Outside the US millions of procedures have been performed over the past six years. There are risks associated with any surgical procedure, but laser vision correction has shown very few risks in these clinical trials.

  • What are the drawbacks and side effects of LASIK?

The most common side effects with LASIK include:

  •  sensitivity to light
  •  night glare
  •  dry eyes
  •  mild irritation

These common side effects are temporary and will subside over time. Night glare can last from two to four weeks and dry eyes can last up to six months. These problems are usually no worse than what most contact lens and eyeglass wearers currently experience. Side effects are directly related to the patient’s initial prescription.
The following risks are rare, but may include:

  • Corneal infection.
  • Corneal scarring or permanent problems with the cornea’s shape, making it impossible to wear contact lenses.
  • Decrease in contrast sensitivity-objects may appear fuzzy or gray.
  • Glare or halos.
  • Night driving problems.
  • Patches of red or pink in the white of the eye (usually temporary).
  • Reduced vision or permanent vision loss.
  • Scratchiness.

Remember, the best side effect is better vision!

  • How is the LASIK procedure performed?

This is an outpatient procedure, which means you’ll only spend an hour or two at the surgeon’s office. The laser treatment usually takes less than a minute, while the entire procedure takes around 15 minutes. Someone else will need to drive you home.

Prior to the procedure you’ll have a series of numbing drops placed in your eyes. During the procedure you’ll lie on your back and your head will be positioned under the laser. An instrument is placed on your eye to keep you from blinking, and you’ll be asked to focus on a specific light.

  • Will I be in any pain?

LASIK is generally considered by most patients to be a “painless procedure”. Drops are used to numb the eye and you are awake during the entire procedure.

  • Can I correct both eyes at once?

Yes. Most patients find it more convenient to have both eyes treated at the same time. Having your eyes corrected on separate occasions only extends the healing time and increases the number of required postoperative appointments.

  • What happens before and after surgery?

Before – Your doctor will perform a thorough eye exam to make sure your eyes are healthy and that you’re a suitable candidate for laser vision correction. Tests will be performed to look for glaucoma, cataracts, and other disqualifying conditions. Also, a high-tech machine called a corneal topographer will photograph and electronically map your eye. The surgeon will use this map and other measurements to program the computer for the most precise results possible.

After – The surgeon will place drops in your eyes. You’ll want to relax for a little while, then go home and rest. On the day of surgery most patients have a sense of “looking under water”. The vision of most patients is clearer by the next day and continues to improve in the next few weeks.

  • Can I expect to see 20/20?

No one can promise that you’ll see 20/20, but most patients reach this goal or come within just a few lines on the eye chart of 20/20. Within this range, you’ll be able to participate in sporting events, swimming and driving without the aid of glasses or contacts. The level of improvement you will experience is dependent upon the degree of your current prescription. During your consultation, the surgeon will outline the results you can expect to achieve.

It is realistic to expect to achieve correction after surgery comparable to what you are able to achieve with glasses and contacts. Results show that 98% of all people can see well enough to pass a driver’s license test without any correction after laser vision correction.

While almost everyone has significant improvement in their best uncorrected vision (what you can see without any glasses or contacts), some people may still need to wear a much milder prescription of eyeglasses or contact lenses-for reading or driving after the surgery.

  • How soon after surgery can I drive?

You can resume driving when you feel comfortable with your vision. About 90% of patients are able to drive on their own the day after their procedure.
With PRK, it usually take about 4-5 days to feel comfortable. Following surgery, you should avoid driving while under the influence of any medications other than eyedrops.

  • How long before I can return to normal activity or exercise?

You may resume normal activities, including exercising, as you like. Keep sweat from dripping in your eyes for at least four weeks; pay special attention to keeping your hands clean and away from your face; and don’t swim for at least four weeks. You should also wear protective lenses if you participate in contact or racquet sports.

  • How long will my procedure take?

The actual surgery takes only minutes and the laser is focused on your eye for only seconds. Preparation, eye drops, and the procedure for both eyes takes approximately one hour.

  • Will I need glasses or contacts after surgery?

The overwhelming majority of patients that have had LASIK do not wear glasses for daily activities. Some patients may need a minimal prescription for night driving.

As people enter their 40’s, they start to develop presbyopia (normal aging of the eyes). Regardless of whether or not you’ve had laser vision correction, this process will happen to you.

As one gets older, it will be necessary to wear reading glasses. If you are over the age of 40 and are used to removing your glasses to read, you must realize that this will no longer be an option following a full correction of your nearsightedness with the surgery.

If you have any questions about our services, please contact us today at (801) 373-1711 (Orem) or (801) 288-0882 (Midvale).