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November 12, 2013

Laser Eye Surgery – Are you the right candidate?

Are you tired of wearing glasses or contact lenses? Do you want to get up in the morning and see the alarm clock without reaching for your glasses? During your comprehensive eye examination with our Optometrist, we will determine if you are a suitable candidate for laser refractive surgery. We will co-manage your care pre and post-operatively with one of our surgeons. Laser eye surgery is a surgical procedure to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism in which a laser beam is used to remove and reshape) inner layers of corneal tissue. There are different types of laser procedures to suit individual patient prescriptions. These include Lasik, PRK, and Lasek.

Lasik (Laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis) is the most common procedure for correction of most cases of myopia or nearsightedness. In this procedure, a circular superficial cornea flap is created with the help of a microkeratome or recently developed excimer laser. Once the flap is created it is then folded back, and the laser beam then reshapes the deeper layers of the cornea (stroma) by removing internal tissue from the middle layer according to your refractive error. The flap is then folded back and settles naturally without the need of any stitches. The amount and shape of the tissue that is removed is determined by your prescription. i.e., the amount of nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia) and/or astigmatism. It is safe and effective with over 20 years of proven results.

Another technique that is used is called PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy). This type of technique removes the surface layer of the cornea and then reshapes the cornea with an excimer laser. This procedure is used when patients have thinner corneas and is a safer option for patients involved with contact sports such as boxing, wrestling, martial arts as no flap is created with this technique. Similar to Lasik, PRK can effectively correct nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia) and/or astigmatism. This technique has a slightly longer recovery period compared to Lasik with the same visual outcome.

So far the techniques discussed correct the overall distance vision. In our 40’s, our ability to see close up becomes more difficult. Hence the need for longer arms! This is a phenomenon known as presbyopia and is a natural aging process of the eyes in which the crystalline lens loses its elasticity and cannot focus as easily. Does Laser surgery correct for this?

Presbyopia can be corrected through a technique called monovision. Monovision corrects one eye for distance, and the other eye is slightly undercorrected to help see near objects. At EyedeologyTM, our Optometrist can help the patient experience monovision by simulating with the use of contact lenses to determine if the patient would be a good candidate for this procedure. Monovision can be done with Lasik or PRK/ Epi-Lasik. It is important to note, monovision is a compromise as your depth perception is reduced and tasks which require the using your eyes for long periods of time, i.e., reading a novel or working on the computer, may cause eye strain and require the use of reading glasses.

Other factors that can affect your suitability for laser surgery include the stability of your glasses prescription, overall health, medications taken, ocular conditions, i.e. dryness of the eyes, and various medical conditions. If you are not within the prescription range for the common laser refractive procedures discussed above, other options such as intraocular lens implants may be right for you. If you want to wake up and see your alarm clock without glasses, contact us, and we will guide you to what best suits you in the latest world of laser refractive surgery.

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