LASIK / PRK (laser refractive eye surgery)
LASIK (Laser-Assisted-In-Situ Keratomileusis) and PRK (PhotoRefractive Keratectomy) are refractive surgical procedures that can dramatically reduce (but not entirely eliminate) the need to wear glasses and contact lenses. Both are highly effective for most low, moderate, and higher prescriptions, and there are now techniques to correct myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism.
In LASIK, a special bladed device called a microkeratome creates a flap of corneal tissue, which is then folded back to expose the inner layer of the cornea. Then a cool beam of light from an excimer laser is used to reshape the corneal contour to the curvature required to eliminate the refractive error. The flap is then repositioned, and the patient is able to see well almost immediately, with only mild discomfort.
IntraLase (also called "bladeless") LASIK uses a laser instead of a microkeratome to create the corneal flap, resulting in a smoother surface. A big advantage of this procedure is the ability to cut a thinner flap, allowing people with higher prescriptions and thin corneas to have LASIK. Studies have also suggested that the incidence of post operative dry eye is reduced with this technique.
PRK is performed when the cornea is too thin to cut any flap. The excimer laser is used directly on the outer corneal surface, and, although it is considered to be more accurate at re-contouring the desired shape, it leaves the patient with a large corneal abrasion. A high oxygen silicon-hydrogel extended wear contact lens must then be worn for 4-7 days while the abrasion heals.
"Custom" LASIK and "Custom" PRK utilize a wavefront analyzer to measure the way light travels through your eye. Numerous types of visual imperfections exist. Three of them we know as myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism, but the others, referred to as higher-order aberrations, cause glare and haloes. Custom LASIK and PRK target these higher-order aberrations as well, resulting in an even better visual outcome.
As mentioned earlier, laser refractive surgery dramatically reduces, but cannot eliminate the need to wear eyeglasses or contact lenses entirely. Our eyes change as we get older, and especially when we get into our 40's and beyond, the need to use reading glasses becomes greater (known as "presbyopia"). A way to reduce this need for reading glasses has been used by contact lens wearers for a long time (called "monovision", where one eye is made to see far away, while the other eye is made to see near by slightly undercorrecting it). This can be done using laser refractive surgery as well, but because gaining this near vision means losing some distance clarity, we recommend that you try monovision with contact lenses for a week and prioritize your vision needs before making a decision.
We are proud to be closely associated with Woolfson Eye Institute, the premier laser eye surgery center in the southeast United States. Dr. Jeruss has had the opportunity to work closely with Dr. Jonathan Woolfson, providing the pre- and post-op care, while Dr. Woolfson performs the surgery. For more information, or to watch an animated slide show of the procedures, please visit Woolfson Eye Institute's website at: