02 May Vision Laser Eye Surgery
Vision laser eye surgery has one of the highest levels of patient satisfaction of any medical procedure ever tested. This is because advances in eye surgery have improved both the accuracy and the safety.
I chose to have vision laser eye surgery myself and it has been a miracle in my life. Every week I help friends from around the region gain the vision they have dreamed of. It never gets old. Some are totally fine with their glasses or contact lenses. If you desire to see more naturally without glasses for distance then this may be for you.
Excimer Vision Laser Eye Surgery
There are two basic types of laser vision surgery, LASIK and PRK (advanced surface ablation). Both use an ecximer laser to gently reshape the outer surface of your eye called the cornea to restore focus.
When laser light is absorbed, heat is generated. The excimer laser is called a “cool laser” because any heat generated by the laser pulses travel up into the air faster than it can travel into your cornea. This greatly improves accuracy.
If the excimer laser did heat up your cornea, it would change its shape in a less predictable fashion and would decrease laser accuracy. The newer generation lasers like the wavefront allegretto treat faster. This is a good thing because the longer the treatment takes, the more the cornea dries out. A dry cornea reacts more to the laser spots than a moist cornea.
Greater accuracy occurs when the treatment takes place quickly. However, if the laser places too many spots in the same area in a short period of time, the cornea can start absorbing heat. The engineers have prevented this by having the laser vary the spot placement from one part of the cornea to another.
LASIK vs. PRK Surgery
In PRK, the excimer laser is applied to the surface of the eye. This leaves more of the eye untouched and the cornea stronger. This appeals to those that are involved in contact sports or professions.
In LASIK, a thin flap is created. The flap is lifted, the excimer laser is applied in the middle of the cornea, and the flap is smoothed back into place.
In PRK the cornea is stronger and the healing and discomfort last several days longer. In LASIK, the visual recovery is quicker and the discomfort only lasts two hours for most patients.
Bladeless Vision Laser Eye Surgery
The LASIK flap can be created with a razor blade (mechanical microkeratome) or with a laser (bladeless eye surgery). Originally, all flaps were created with the blade. The razor blade is mounted in a small device that makes the blade oscillate back and forth as it moves across your cornea to create a flap. This worked very well, but one of the greatest improvements in LASIK came when engineers invented a laser to make the flap, and a more accurate, safer procedure was born.
The Cost of Vision Laser Eye Surgery
There are a number of factors that determine the average cost of vision laser eye surgery. There are discount laser eye centers and quality oriented laser eye centers. The discounters tend to use older generation excimer lasers and the blade to create your flap as these cost less to use. Quality eye centers use advanced technology excimer lasers and focus on bladeless vision surgery. These cost more to use, so the cost is necessarily higher at the quality vision centers, but well worth the price.
Eye Surgery Candidates
A number of different tests are conducted to determine if you are a good candidate for bladeless vision surgery. One of the important tests is called topography. This creates a topographic map to help your surgeon decide if your cornea show any signs of weakness. If your cornea is already weak, then weakening it further would not be prudent.
The next step in finding out if you are a candidate is to schedule an appointment with a reputable eye surgeon in your area. Ask your friends whom they recommend. Often it is helpful to ask your optometrist and your primary care doctor whom they recommend. Often you can tell if you are in the right place as soon as you step in the door of their center. If it feels wrong, keep searching. You will find a place that feels like home and treats you like family.
My recovery from vision laser eye surgery was pretty easy. When I had my LASIK it felt like I had a bit of soap in my eye for about two hours and then it just felt dry off and on for a while. I was seeing great by the next morning. This is the normal experience of most though there are some that have more discomfort than that or take longer to feel good about their vision. You can resume driving after the procedure when your vision is adequate and the happy pills from the surgery day have worn off. If the flap looks secure the day after I encourage my patients to exercise as long as they avoid activities where they could get hit in the eye.
Most with PRK need comfort drops or pills to be comfortable for the first three or four days. The vision is OK for the first three days and then starts improving every day after that. Most can drive in the daytime by the forth day and at night later that week.
At the Eye Laser Center of Northern Colorado, we strive to be the best laser eye center in America. If you want to meet with me or one of my great partners, please call to schedule a time to meet with us.