When it comes to Laser Vision Correction, there are many options that patients can choose. It is important to know what the best options are and if you could be a good candidate for these procedures.
If you want to learn more about Laser Vision Correction procedures, contact Blue Sky Vision-Three Rivers. We can provide an evaluation and recommendation as to whether Laser Vision Correction is right for you. We work with many excellent ophthalmologists and eye care practices in the Southwest Michigan area who specialize in Laser Vision Correction and will refer you to a specialist if Laser Vision Correction is right for you.
What is a Laser Vision Correction Procedure?
A Laser Vision Correction procedure refers to any surgical procedure that uses a laser to fix visual problems. Laser Vision Correction may also be called refractive and laser eye surgery.
In most cases, when you undergo a Laser Vision Correction procedure, it involves reshaping the cornea to allow light to focus properly.
In other cases, a Laser Vision Correction procedure may replace the eye’s natural lens with an artificial lens, like during laser cataract surgery.
The Most Common Laser Vision Correction Procedures Include:
LASIK, or Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis, is the most popular elective medical procedure. Each year, millions of patients undergo LASIK. During LASIK, the cornea is permanently reshaped.
During bladeless LASIK, there are 2 lasers used. The first is a femtosecond laser, which creates a flap in the cornea. Creating a flap allows the LASIK surgeon access to the corneal tissue underneath.
After creating the flap with the femtosecond laser, a second laser is then used. The second laser is an excimer laser, which is what reshapes the corneal tissue.
By reshaping the tissue, this corrects refractive errors like nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. After reshaping the cornea, the flap is then left to heal on its own.
Results from LASIK are permanent and most patients experience improved vision almost immediately. LASIK has a short recovery period where most people go back to work a day or two after their procedure and see clearly.
PRK, or Photorefractive Keratectomy, is another Laser Vision Correction procedure that delivers almost identical results to that of LASIK. PRK starts off a lot like LASIK.
Like LASIK, an excimer laser is used to reshape the cornea. But unlike LASIK, there is no corneal flap created during PRK.
Instead, the epithelium, which is the cornea’s thin outer layer, gets removed. This outer layer repairs itself a few days after PRK, but it does mean there is a longer recovery period than LASIK.
SMILE is a Laser Vision Correction procedure, short for Small Incision Lenticule Extraction. SMILE is only FDA approved for patients with nearsightedness. Though it is a Laser Vision Correction procedure like LASIK, SMILE as a procedure is very different from LASIK.
During SMILE, the surgeon uses a femtosecond laser and creates a lenticule in the cornea. A lenticule is a small, lens-shaped piece of tissue.
Using the same laser, a small incision is then made on the cornea’s surface. This incision is 4 millimeters or less in length. With LASIK, the opening used to reshape the corneal tissue is about 20 millimeters. After creating the incision, the lenticule is then removed through the opening and discarded.
Even though the incision is tiny, it is enough to reshape the cornea and correct nearsightedness. The incision only takes a few days to heal and does not require any stitches. SMILE can correct up to -10.00 diopters of nearsightedness.
To be a good SMILE candidate, you must be at least 22 years old and have no more than -0.50 diopters of astigmatism. You must also have a stable glasses prescription for at least 12 months before undergoing SMILE.