In addition to LASIK, there are a number of refractive laser eye treatment procedures that are similar to LASIK and offer the same opportunity to live a life free of contacts or glasses. The differences between the treatment options are not good, better or best. Rather, each laser eye treatment procedure offers a unique technique that may or may not be more appropriate depending on the unique characteristics of your eye.
Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis, more commonly referred to as LASIK, is a procedure that corrects your vision by reshaping the cornea with a laser. By permanently reshaping your cornea (the part of your eye that refracts light onto your lens), LASIK improves visual acuity and reduces or eliminates your need for glasses and contact lenses.
Advanced Custom LASIK
Custom LASIK (or Wavefront LASIK) allows your Northwest Eye LASIK surgeon to precisely tailor the procedure to your eyes and treat corneal problems that traditional LASIK is unable to address. By creating a detailed 3D map of your eyes, your Northwest Eye LASIK physician will create a custom plan to treat “higher-order aberrations” (complicated visual imperfections that affect your vision).
Custom LASIK Procedure
First, your surgeon creates a 3D image of your cornea with a special light and the Wavefront sensor. With this information, your surgeon prepares your cornea as they would for a traditional LASIK procedure. Unlike traditional LASIK that has a “one-size-fits-all” approach, your surgeon reshapes your cornea based on its unique shape provided by the 3D image of your eye. The entire procedure takes 15 to 20 minutes.
Are all refractive laser eye treatments LASIK?
Even though LASIK is the most common refractive procedure, not everyone is a candidate for LASIK vision correction and there may be better laser eye treatment options available. By scheduling a no-obligation, free LASIK Evaluation with Northwest Eye, our LASIK consultants will determine if you are a good candidate for LASIK or better understand your options for LASIK alternatives, including Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK), Phakic Intraocular Lenses (IOLs) and Clear Lens Exchange.
Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK)
PRK differs from LASIK in how the underlying corneal tissue is accessed by the surgeon – the actual corneal reshaping process is the same. With the PRK procedure, there is no corneal flap created – instead, the cornea’s entire epithelial (outer) layer is removed to expose the underlying corneal tissue for laser reshaping. The epithelial cells typically grow back within one week. While the visual outcomes of PRK in Minneapolis are comparable to LASIK, the recovery times are usually longer and some patients may experience discomfort during the healing process. It may take up to six months to achieve clear, stable vision after PRK.
Phakic Intraocular Lenses (IOLs)
Phakic IOLs are an alternative to LASIK and PRK eye surgery for correcting moderate to severe myopia (nearsightedness), and in some cases produce better and more predictable vision outcomes than laser refractive surgery. Unlike LASIK & PRK, which corrects aberrations on your eye’s cornea, Phakic IOLs are clear implantable lenses that are surgically placed either between the cornea and the iris (the colored portion of your eye) or just behind the iris, without removing your natural lens. Phakic lenses enable light to focus properly on the retina for clearer vision without corrective eyewear.
Implantable lenses function like contact lenses to correct nearsightedness. The difference is that phakic IOLs work from within your eye instead of sitting on the surface of your eye.
Clear Lens Exchange
Another option for refractive surgery is clear lens exchange. Unlike LASIK & PRK, which corrects aberrations on your eye’s cornea, clear lens exchange replaces your eye’s clear natural lens with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL). Clear Lens Exchange typically is for people with presbyopia or extreme farsightedness, for whom LASIK, PRK, or Phakic IOL surgery generally are not suitable. The procedure is virtually identical to cataract surgery with the only difference being that the lens being replaced is clear, rather than a cloudy lens due to a cataract.
Be Eye Wise and learn more about laser eye treatments, including LASIK and PRK, available our Golden Valley Eye Clinic and LASIK Center. Schedule a LASIK consultation with a Northwest Eye surgeon to determine which laser eye treatment option is right for you.