Laser-Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK) is an FDA-approved surgical procedure intended to reduce or eliminate dependency on eyeglasses or contact lenses. It is performed on nearly 1 million patients each year to correct myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism by permanently altering the shape of the cornea, the eye’s thin, transparent covering. Corneal reshaping modifies the eye’s focusing power to achieve unprecedented visual clarity.
After eye drops are given to numb the eyes, a thin incision is made to form a flap in the surface of the cornea with the Intralase laser. The flap is folded back to reveal the cornea’s midsection, called the stroma. Next, an excimer laser is used to remove a thin layer of the stroma. Guided by a sophisticated computer, this cool laser beam can reshape with curvature of the cornea by removing microscopic amounts of tissue without damaging surrounding areas. The excimer laser is so precise that each pulse can remove 39 millionths of an inch of tissue. It would take 200 excimer laser pulses to cut through a single human strand of hair. Finally, the flap is repositioned and, due to the cornea’s extraordinary bonding qualities, the flap remains in position without stitches.
TYPICAL RESULTS OF LASIK
The vast majority of patients who have LASIK achieve between 20/20 and 20/40 vision without glasses or contact lenses. Studies show that over 90 percent of patients who have had vision correction surgery are able to pass a standard driver’s license eye exam (which generally requires 20/40 vision or better) without corrective lenses.
Although LASIK will not prevent age-related eye conditions or diseases, results are usually permanent. Most patients return to their normal daily activities the day after surgery. As with any surgical procedure, however, there are some risks involved with LASIK, which Dr. Kaufman reviews with each patient prior to the procedure.
Dr. Kaufman is proud to offer the most advanced technology to our patients, the Alcon WaveLight®EX500 Excimer Laser. The EX500 is the newest and fastest laser system available in the U.S. that enhances the precision, reliability, and safety of laser vision correction.
ADVANTAGES OF THE WAVELIGHT EX500
The EX500 combines a number of innovations to enhance the success of treatment and visual results for patients.
FASTER VISION CORRECTION TREATMENT
The EX500 is the only excimer laser in the U.S. to operate at 500 Hz, making it the fastest laser available. The average treatment time with the EX500 laser is approximately 1.4 seconds per diopter. For patients, this means spending less time in the treatment chair.
The EX500 uses Alcon’s Perfect Pulse technology, which ensures that each laser beam is precisely calibrated to safely and precisely sculpt the cornea. The excimer laser also features a multi-dimensional eye tracker that is able to follow the eye’s smallest movements — up to 1000 times per second! If at any time the eye moves out of range or too quickly to be measured, the laser will wait for the eye to move back into the correct position. This ensures the correct placement of each laser pulse, enhancing the precision of the LASIK treatment.
LOWER RISK OF COMPLICATIONS
The laser’s fast speed decreases the risk of the cornea drying out during treatment and consequently swelling afterward. This results in increased patient comfort during treatment as well as a shorter recovery.
BROADER RANGE OF TREATMENT
The precision and accuracy of the EX500 allow it to offer a broader range of treatment, including those with the highest levels of nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. The EX500 may also be able to treat patients who were previously told they were not candidates for LASIK.
BETTER VISUAL OUTCOMES
The EX500 uses advanced laser beam precision to produce customized and overall better visual results than with previous lasers. In many cases, treatment with the EX500 results in 20/20 vision or better.