How LASIK Works with the Eye Clinic of Austin
Excellent eyesight is usually considered 20/20 vision, which means light comes into the eye through the cornea, passes through the lens, and is then passed onto the retina. When someone is experiencing less than perfect eyesight, it is usually the result of a refractive error. In a refractive error, the cornea is misshapen and light is not refracted correctly onto the retina.
After determining that you are a good candidate for LASIK through our Free LASIK Consultation, there are four steps to LASIK.
- Mapping Your Eyes’ Imperfections - Your eyes, just like your fingerprints, are unique. The specific irregularities causing your vision to be less than optimal must be precisely identified in order to produce excellent vision. Our surgeons use a digital mapping system to capture each eye’s unique imperfections with greater accuracy than ever before. This advanced technology creates a detailed 3D map of the cornea’s surface which our surgeons then program into a digital treatment plan used to perform your LASIK procedure.
- Creating the Corneal Flap – Before the laser is applied to the cornea, a corneal flap must be created. Traditionally, the microkeratome, which is a vibrating metal blade, was used for this step. With all-laser LASIK, this flap can now be created with a laser. At Eye Clinic of Austin, we use the IntraLase™ laser for the most precise flap-creation. The laser creates thousands of tiny bubbles below the surface of the eye so that the flap can be separated easily from the deep layers of the cornea. During the procedure, patients may feel slight pressure on their eyes; however, really rubbing your eyes when they itch may cause more pressure than LASIK
- Reshaping of the Cornea – Once the flap is gently folded back, the excimer laser is used to reshape the cornea so that it will focus more accurately on the retina. We use the most up-to-date laser available – the VISX S4 IR™. With the precision of this advanced laser, most patients need a very miniscule section of tissue removed – about the thickness of a human hair – to make the correction. This entire process takes just minutes per eye.
- Replacing the Corneal Flap – After the cornea has been reshaped, the flap is folded back into place where it immediately begins bonding with the tissue. Healing is quite rapid and most people can return to normal activity the very next day.
While these steps are similar with many LASIK practices, the important things to note are the surgeon’s experience with his staff and the technology used for each step. Some centers have performed many procedures but not with the same surgeon and the same staff. It isn’t likely they’ll tell you the percentage of their patients that need “enhancements”. Without the most advanced lasers and the right team, you could be left with poor night vision or needing enhancements. Choosing a doctor with exceptional skills and results who uses the best technology is the only way to ensure you receive the best optical results possible.
To see if you are a good candidate for LASIK, take our LASIK Self Evaluation.
Key Questions About the Technology Used in LASIK
What Is All-Laser or Blade-Free LASIK?
All-laser LASIK is the most advanced evolution for the flap-creation step. In the ‘bladeless’ or ‘all-laser’ technique, a laser forms a series of bubbles in the corneal tissue to create the flap, rather than using a blade. The advantages with this advanced technique are more accuracy and stability, and greater patient comfort.
Which Technology Solves Night Vision Problems?
Many of us suffer from night vision problems with or without refractive surgery. In the earliest days of laser vision correction, some patients reported halos and ‘star bursts’ after their procedures, especially when driving at night. Patients with large pupils were susceptible to this complication.
Today’s advanced lasers have dealt authoritatively with night vision issues. In fact, many of our patients report improved night vision after the procedure, and large pupils are no longer thought to be a major cause of night vision problems.
How long does LASIK last?
The refractive errors corrected by LASIK stay corrected for the rest of your life. Since the cornea is living tissue there can be minor fluctuations and occasionally the need for enhancements as the cornea adapts following the procedure. These are a normal part of the post-operative process.
After the post-operative processes are complete, you can expect your vision to improve and stabilize, with many LASIK patients reporting excellent vision following the procedure that gets even better in the next months and years.
Your eyes age as you do, and for most of us who’ve reached our mid-forties, another element of the eye will cause vision trouble by creating 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. A special LASIK procedure called Monovision LASIK can help this condition significantly. The procedure for Monovision LASIK corrects one eye for distance and one eye for close up viewing, such as reading. Most people find this to be a good solution for solving presbyopia. The results of this procedure can be simulated with contact lenses to see if it will work for you.
By the time you are in your 70’s you will be experiencing another set of age-related vision problems which LASIK doesn’t address - cataracts. However, if you corrected your refractive error with LASIK earlier in life, that correction will still be true and enable you to have your best vision once the cataracts are removed.