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LASIK Eye Surgery

In normal vision, the cornea refracts (bends light) so it focuses properly on the retina. Nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism are the result of irregularities of the shape of the cornea, or errors in the cornea’s refractive power, resulting in blurred or distorted images being received by the retina. This is termed ‘refractive error’ and can vary from person to person.

Glasses and contacts simply disguise the symptoms of poor vision. They don’t solve eyesight issues at the source; they clutter up our appearance and complicate our lives. LASIK addresses common vision problems like nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism at the source by using lasers to reshape the curve of the cornea and solve refractive error. Over 14 million Americans have had LASIK since the technique was approved by the FDA in the 1990s.

Advances in laser technology have raised the standards of safety, precision, outcome, and comfort. Today an experienced surgeon like Dr. Lipstock can provide freedom from the inconveniences and frustrations of glasses and contacts – and better vision for his patients than they ever thought possible. Dr. Lipstock’s goal is to produce better than 20/20 vision for every one of his LASIK patients.

LASIK can change the way you see life and how others see you. Take your time to understand the procedure, learn about LASIK technology, explore your options, and gain the confidence to bring your vision into the 21st century.

How does LASIK Work?

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Flap Creation
Excimer Laser Treatment
Excimer Laser Treatment
Flap Creation
Placement of the Flap

 

  1. The first step of a LASIK procedure is the creation of the corneal flap, which is a thin segment of the outer layer of the cornea. In the early days of LASIK, an instrument called a microkeratome was hand-held and contained an oscillating razor blade used to create the corneal flap. With all-laser LASIK, this step is performed with a special IntraLase™ laser to create a thinner, more precise flap using a series of bubbles in the corneal tissue. Not using a blade increases safety, decreases dry eye issues and enables faster healing.
  2. An excimer laser is used to re-shape the underlying corneal tissue to correct any irregularities. This step of custom LASIK is performed with the VISX laser and is based on a 3D map taken of each individual eye so the most precise corrections are possible.
  3. The flap is folded back into place where it bonds quickly. Healing is rapid with all-laser LASIK and most people can return to work the next day.

The actual LASIK procedure takes just minutes per eye. Most patients do not feel pain, but there may be a mild to severe pressure sensation as suction is used to elevate the eye pressure during the procedure.

The refractive errors corrected by LASIK stay corrected for the rest of your life. It should be noted that since the eye is living tissue and there can be natural aging changes in the power and shape of both the lens and the cornea resulting in refractive errors later on in life sometimes laser vision correction may be recommended decades later.

After the post-operative processes are complete, you can expect your vision to improve and stabilize, with many LASIK patients reporting excellent vision that gets even better over time. Depending on the age at which you have your procedure, you can expect decades of excellent vision free of the effects of refractive error.

LASIK Surgery and Recovery Time

The purpose of the corneal flap in LASIK is to provide faster visual recovery than with the PRK method. We use the IntraLase laser to create the corneal flap. This laser creates hundreds of thousands of tiny bubbles within the cornea at approximately 1/5 the depth of the cornea.

  • To create the flap, a suction ring is applied to the eye to elevate the internal pressure of the eye. A pressure-like sensation is felt for approximately 30 seconds.
  • The flap has a hinge on one side. It is moved aside so the excimer laser can be used to change the shape of the underlying corneal tissue (just as it is used on the surface of the cornea for the PRK procedure.)
  • The flap is replaced over the eye.

The only abrasion created is a tiny one around the edge of the circular flap. Usually, only a mild foreign body sensation is felt for about 3 hours. Patients are advised to go home and take a short nap or to lie with their eyes closed for a few hours. Soon afterward, they are up and around, usually feeling quite comfortable.

Most LASIK patients have clear vision the next morning, which gets even clearer over the following days and weeks depending on the type and amount of correction that was treated.

Watch Katie’s LASIK Experience

As your eyes age, another component causes further vision trouble for people over age 40, requiring the need for reading glasses. This element is the eye’s lens, which gradually loses flexibility and results in a condition called presbyopia, or the need for reading glasses. Blended Vision LASIK can help this condition significantly.

Blended Vision LASIK

The need for reading glasses is age related and generally begins around age 42 and progresses over the years requiring stronger and stronger reading glasses.  This usually stops increasing at about age 65.  This condition, known as “presbyopia” occurs as a result of the natural aging process of the lens (located inside the eye).  As the lens gets denser with age it becomes more difficult for the focusing muscle to change the shape of the lens to focus up close, so near vision becomes blurry.  Nearsighted people over age 42 can see up close without their glasses although their distance vision is blurry (“nearsighted presbyopes”).  Farsighted presbyopes (farsighted people over the age 42) have difficulty seeing both near and far without their glasses.  People who only need reading glasses have presbyopia without nearsightedness or farsightedness.  When we correct nearsighted presbyopes or farsighted presbyopes with Laser Vision Correction so both eyes see clearly at a distance then they have simple presbyopia only.  They no longer need glasses for driving but need reading glasses for near tasks.

One approach to address the issue of presbyopia is called “Blended Vision” and involves intentionally setting the dominant eye for distance and the non-dominant eye is made a little nearsighted to allow for near vision tasks without glasses. This is done by under correcting the nearsighted eye or overcorrecting the farsighted eye.  The result is for the non-dominant eye to have a good uncorrected near vision (and somewhat blurred distance vision) while the fully corrected dominant eye will have good distance vision (and somewhat blurred near vision).  With both eyes open the patient can see clearly both near and far.  This is because the brain is able to merge the two images into one.  The greater the difference between the two eyes the more difficult it becomes for the brain to do this.  Therefore, the non-dominant eye is not aimed for so much nearsightedness that all small print can be seen even at age 60; however, enough nearsightedness is aimed for so that significantly useful near vision is retained for all ages.  Some reading glasses may still be required for smaller print or in dimmer light depending on the age of the patient.  For most patients, they can at least see their computer print without reading glasses.  The goal is to make you better than normal, since the normal presbyopic patient sees well at distance but cannot see near objects well at all. At Lipstock LASIK and Cataract Center we highly recommend blended vision for our nearsighted and farsighted patients over 40, because they have done so well with it. For those rare patients who cannot adapt, a reoperation (commonly referred to as an “enhancement”) can be done to adjust the amount of Blended Vision or to eliminate it so that both eyes are set for distance vision. To learn more about LASIK, contact us today to schedule your free LASIK Consultation. Or, read Dr. Lipstock’s answers to common LASIK questions.

Watch Jennifer’s Blended Vision Story

To find out conclusively whether or not Laser Vision Correction is right for you, schedule your free LASIK Consultation.

If you’re in your 60s or 70s, you may be experiencing another age-related vision problem: cataracts. LASIK cannot address this condition because it is a clouding of the eye’s natural lens rather than a refractive error. Find out if you are experiencing symptoms of cataracts and how Dr. Lipstock can help.