See More Clearly with Surgical Eye Correction
The cornea and lens combine to focus visual images on the back of the eye. When the overall shape of the eye is incorrect or when the curvature of the cornea is incorrect, the visual images are not in focus. The cornea accounts for approximately two-thirds of the focusing power of the eye. By surgically changing the corneal curvature, most or all of the blur can be eliminated.
Laser In Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK) and Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK) are two surgical techniques which utilize lasers to reshape or change the curvature of the cornea.
LASIK had its origins about thirty years ago and was originally developed to treat patients who had very poor vision due to corneal disease. It has now evolved into a successful technique for correcting refractive errors. The current procedure, done an outpatient basis, has evolved into All Laser LASIK to correct most degrees of nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism, with excellent results (95% of patients achieve 20/40 vision or better).
At our laser center, eye drops are all that are needed to numb the eye. The patient is initially taken for Intralase creation of the corneal flap. We have an array of excimer lasers to do the corneal ablation. The ideal laser is selected for the specific needs of the patient. The flap is gently lifted to expose the corneal stroma. With the eyes positioned under the laser, microscopic amounts of corneal tissue are removed in a computer-controlled pattern. The total laser time for flap creation and tissue ablation is usually less than one minute. Removal of the tissue changes the contour of the cornea. The flap is then returned to its original position. The extraordinary, natural bonding properties of the cornea allow prompt, effective healing without stitches.
After surgery, topical medications are provided. There may be some foreign body sensation for a few hours. The vision is initially blurred, but functional, likened to glasses smeared with Vaseline. Overnight, however, the vision rapidly clears. The patient is discharged home a few minutes after the procedure is finished. Most patients are comfortable driving the next day.
Some patients are unable to undergo the LASIK procedure -- often because their corneas are too thin. People with thin corneas are not good candidates for LASIK, because they are more likely to suffer complications related to the corneal flap that is created with the microkeratome in LASIK. The LASEK (laser epithelial keratomileusis) procedure does not require the use of a microkeratome and may be a good option for some refractive surgery patients, including those with thin corneas.
In LASEK, only the outer layers of cells (the epithelium) is peeled back from the cornea. This is done using a special instrument, which creates tiny perforations in the epithelium, and an alcohol solution. The alcohol solution loosens the epithelial tissue so that is can be carefully pushed back. Then, as in LASIK, a laser is used to reshape the underlying corneal tissue. When the procedure is complete, the epithelial tissue is put back in place, where it heals with the help of a special eye bandage.
Like LASIK, LASEK improves vision by changing the curvature of the cornea. But LASEK is a better option for some people, such as those patients with thin corneas. LASEK does have a slightly longer recovery period than LASIK, with best vision being achieved within a week of surgery rather than within a day or two.
Presbyopia (Greek for “aging eye”) is America’s most prevalent eye condition. 90 million people either have presbyopia or will develop it in the next 10 years. The condition causes near vision to fade with age, affecting most people by the age of 40 and everyone by the age of 51. The three-minute NearVision CK procedure uses radio waves, instead of a laser or scalpel, to bring near vision back to focus, without cutting or removing any tissue. The procedure boasts one of the highest safety profiles in the refractive market.
How is NearVision CK performed?
NearVision CK uses radio waves, instead of a laser or scalpel, to reshape the cornea and bring near vision back into focus. CK is performed using a small tip, thinner than a strand of human hair, that releases radio waves. The tip is applied in a circular pattern on the outer cornea to shrink small areas of collagen. This circular shrinkage pattern creates a constrictive band (like the tightening of a belt), increasing the overall curvature of the cornea. The treatment, which takes just a few minutes to perform, is performed using only topical anesthesia (numbing eye drops).
Will you be cutting the cornea?
No. NearVision CK is performed without the cutting or removal of tissue. It is a safe, minimally invasive treatment for baby boomers who struggle to read a newspaper, menu, alarm clock, or computer.
Is radiofrequency (RF) energy safe for use on the eye?
Yes. The use of RF energy is one of today’s most advanced surgical techniques. In addition to its use in NearVision CK, RF technology is being used in prostate cancer therapy, back surgery, even cardiovascular procedures.
What are the risks and side effects of NearVision CK?
Because NearVision CK is minimally invasive, the treatment has exhibited minimal risk and almost no side effects. During the first 24 to 48 hours after NearVision CK, you may experience tearing and some discomfort, including a foreign-object sensation in the eyes. You may also experience initial slight overcorrection of your vision, which stabilizes during the following weeks. Because NearVision CK doesn’t cut or remove tissue, many of the side effects associated with other vision correction procedures have not been observed with NearVision CK.
What will I feel during the NearVision CK treatment?
You will experience minimal to no pain during the NearVision CK treatment. You will be aware of a support (speculum), which helps to hold your eye open. The most common sensation that patients experience is a feeling of pressure on the eye. After the procedure, there may be some mild discomfort, and many patients experience a foreign-object sensation or "scratchiness" in the eye. This usually subsides within 24 hours of the procedure.
Will my vision improve immediately after the NearVision CK treatment?
Patients usually notice an immediate improvement in their vision after the NearVision CK procedure. However, it usually takes several weeks for the eyes to adjust to the final level of treatment.
How soon can I return to work?
With NearVision CK, the majority of patients are able to return to work and other normal activities the day after treatment. Although recovery is fairly quick, it is advisable to be careful with your eyes and to avoid any strain. Those whose jobs demand intense clarity of vision (such as dentistry, surgery or computer work) may want to give their eyes some extra rest for a couple of days following the procedure before going back to work.
PRK Photo-Refractive Keratectomy, or PRK, is another method of surgically reshaping the cornea using the excimer laser. The difference between LASIK and PRK is that for PRK, the corneal flap is not created. That is, the outer layer of the cornea remains in place and the laser removes tissue directly from this outer layer. During LASIK, a part of the cornea is peeled back so that the laser removes tissue from the inner corneal layers. PRK is used for low to moderate amounts of nearsightedness.
Just as in LASIK, the laser treatment requires less than a minute. But unlike LASIK, the healing period time is longer. The correction for nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism is the same as in LASIK. The corneal curvature is changed so that the visual images are properly focused on the back of the eye.