What could your life be like without glasses or contact lenses? Imagine waking up, opening your eyes, and being able to see clearly. Laser vision correction can give you that and so much more. Activities like swimming, golfing, and skiing as well as daily activities become easier without the hassle of dealing with corrective lenses. LASIK and PRK correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism allowing most patients to leave their glasses or contact lenses behind. This life-changing procedure takes minutes to correct the refractive error you’ve lived with for years.
Let the experienced and specialty trained LASIK surgeons at Milwaukee Eye Care show you your vision correction options. We encourage you to schedule a free LASIK consultation to determine if LASIK is right for you!
Refractive surgery has been performed since the early 1970s with good long term results for correcting nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. With the introduction of lasers for refractive surgery (photorefractive keratectomy or PRK), a new era in eye care began to unfold. Surgeons found that the excimer laser procedure combined with the creation of a corneal flap (Lamellar Keratoplasty or LK) was an excellent technique for reshaping the surface of the cornea to correct nearsightedness and astigmatism.
The combination of both procedures is called Laser Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK) and offers the accuracy of refractive lasers with the benefits of the LK procedure’s speedy recovery. PRK, essentially laser surgery without creation of a flap, is still commonly used and gives similar results to LASIK. Some individuals are better candidates for one procedure over another.
LASIK Review for Dr. Peter Foote
LASIK Review for Dr. Jason Edmonds
Second LASIK Review for Dr. Jason Edmonds
The LASIK Procedure
LASIK is typically performed in 30 minutes or less. Before the procedure you are given powerful numbing drops and your surgeon uses an instrument to keep your eyes open.
First, a femtosecond laser is used to create a thin flap of corneal tissue. The flap is then lifted, allowing your surgeon to access the area of the cornea to be reshaped. Next, the surgeon uses a second laser and WaveLight® technology to quickly and precisely reshape the cornea, changing your prescription. The flap is then gently put back into position. Finally, with the help of the surgeon you are asked to sit up and read the time on a wall clock. Most people are surprised how well they can see immediately after the procedure!
In the hours that follow the LASIK procedure you may experience blurry vision, watery, dry, or itchy eyes. These symptoms are normal and improve greatly within 24 hours.
You’ll have a follow-up appointment your eye doctor the next day, where they will check how the cornea is healing and measure your vision. While it can take a few months for your eye to completely heal and your vision to stabilize, most people can see comfortably enough to drive themselves to this appointment.
What is a Refractive Error?
In normal vision, light enters the eye through the cornea and is focused at a single point on the retina at the back of the eye. With a refractive error, there is a defect in the way light passes through the eye. Light rays do not bend properly to achieve a single focus point. Instead, light rays focus in front of the retina (nearsighted), behind the retina (farsighted), or at two different points (astigmatism). Refractive errors usually result from a defect in the length of the eye or shape of the cornea.
Individuals with myopia or nearsightedness see close objects clearly but distant objects appear blurred.
Myopia is caused by a steeply curved cornea or elongated eye.
Individuals with hyperopia or farsightedness see distant objects clearly but close objects are blurred.
Hyperopia is caused by a short eye.
Astigmatism is caused by an unevenly curved or warped cornea.
Objects at all distances appear indistinct and distorted.
Instead of using heat to alter tissues like other lasers, an excimer laser beam breaks the bonds that link tissues together with only minimal effect on surrounding tissue. These unique properties allow the excimer laser to be used in the LASIK procedure to reshape tissue immediately beneath the surface of the corneal flap. After LASIK, light rays focus more precisely on the retina. A computer, programmed by the specialty trained LASIK surgeons controls the laser and the reshaping of the cornea.
The procedure is performed while the patient lies on her/his back. As the laser beam expands or moves, a tiny lens-shaped disc is created. The focal point of the beam only penetrates the cornea about two-thousandths of an inch (about half the thickness of a human hair). Only a small area in the center of the cornea is treated. Finally, the corneal flap is replaced (without stitches) and the LASIK procedure is complete.
Is Monovision right for me?
As part of the natural aging process, our eyes gradually lose the ability to focus on near objects. Reading small print or reading in dim light becomes increasingly difficult. This natural loss of reading vision usually begins around the age of forty and progresses into our sixties. This natural, normal aging process of the eye is known as presbyopia. Presbyopia may be dealt with in a number of different ways. Reading glasses or bifocals accommodate for this loss of reading vision. Another method of correction, which works well for many individuals, is known as monovision. Most people use contact lenses to achieve monovision; however monovision is also possible with the LASIK procedure.
With a monovision correction, one eye is corrected for distance vision and the other eye is left slightly under-corrected to preserve one’s reading or close vision. Since it is your brain rather than your eyes that interprets what you see, your brain is able to selectively focus on the clear image while the blurry image is suppressed. Because both eyes are in constant use, monovision will not cause any harm to your eyes. Your specific visual needs are important to us. The doctor will discuss the correction options available to you at your pre-operative evaluation. If you are interested in monovision, you may be fitted with monovision contact lenses prior to your surgery to help you and the doctor decide if monovision is right for you. In a small percentage of people, a monovision correction may not be accepted. If this is the case, the eye which was left slightly under-corrected for reading vision may be enhanced to full distance correction. To learn more about options for correction of presbyopia click here.