Refractive Vision Correction is a term used to describe surgical procedures that treat nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism (refractive errors) by reshaping the cornea. The cornea is the clear tissue that covers the front of the eye, and the shape of the cornea helps determine how light is focused on the retina. Making subtle changes in the shape of the cornea can reduce or eliminate dependency on eyeglasses or contact lenses.
LASIK, Advanced Surface Ablation (ASA), Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) and Astigmatic Keratotomy (AK) are refractive surgical procedures offered at Atlantic Eye. By offering a variety of procedures, Atlantic Eye has helped tens of thousands of people see clearly without dependency on corrective lenses.
One of the most important steps prior to any refractive surgical procedure is the pre-operative exam. During this visit, your surgeon will evaluate the health of your eyes and begin to create your individual treatment plan. A series of tests will be performed to obtain precise measurements to aid in determining which procedure is best for you. Wavefront technology is used for customized LASIK and ASA treatments. Originally developed for use in high-powered telescopes, this amazing laser light technology produces a “fingerprint” of your eye’s vision, measuring the eye’s errors with an accuracy that is 25 times higher than conventional measurements. This individualized representation of your unique optical system provides an even higher percentage of patients that achieve 20/20 vision or better and even higher patient satisfaction.
Laser In-Situ Keratomileusis, most commonly known as LASIK, sculpts the cornea with the cool, ultraviolet light of the computer-guided excimer laser, under a hinged flap of corneal tissue. After numbing the eye with anesthetic eye drops, the LASIK flap is created and folded back, the excimer laser reshapes the cornea by removing a small amount of underlying tissue. The corneal flap is then repositioned and serves as natural “bandage”, protecting the treated area, with no need for stitches. LASIK patients experience little if any, discomfort and visual recovery is typically quite rapid. Most patients are able to resume their normal activities, return to work and even drive within a day or two. This advanced surgical treatment is performed on-site at our attached ASC. This nearly painless 20-minute outpatient procedure can give you dramatically improved vision the next day, with little to no ‘downtime’.
ASA treats refractive errors by treating the cornea, without the creation of a flap, as in LASIK. After numbing the eye with anesthetic eye drops, the surface of the cornea is polished with a corneal brush. The computer-guided excimer laser is then used to sculpt the corneal tissue. A protective, soft contact lens is then placed over the cornea to make the eye more comfortable while it heals. This takes approximately five days. Because the return to functional vision is longer than with LASIK, some ASA patients prefer to have one eye treated at a time. There are fewer risks associated with ASA than LASIK because the need for a corneal flap is eliminated. A full recovery of vision is not as rapid (it can take up to three months), as with LASIK, however, the end result is the same.
To correct corneal astigmatism, the surgeon precisely places small incisions in the steep axis of the peripheral cornea. The specific location and depth of these incisions are determined by advanced computerized testing prior to your procedure. This causes the cornea to relax and become more spherical allowing light rays to focus at one point on the retina, resulting in improved vision. When combined with cataract surgery and mono-focal lens implants, most patients find that their vision is improved to the level that eyeglasses are not required to drive or see well at a distance. When combined with cataract surgery using Crystalens® lens implants, most patients see well at a distance, intermediate range, and near, without dependence on glasses or contacts!
LRI is also used to correct corneal astigmatism. The main difference between LRI and AK is the placement of the incisions. LRI incisions are placed on the limbus part of the corneal which is much closer to the sclera (white part of the eye).
Although AK and LRI can be performed alone to reduce or eliminate dependency on glasses or contact lenses, they are most commonly performed to fine tune other procedures such as cataract surgery and RLE.
If you are not a candidate for LASIK, or have lost your ability to see up close (presbyopia), a Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) procedure may be a perfect alternative for you. This procedure is the same as cataract surgery, the difference is that RLE is performed to achieve refractive correction rather than cataract removal. With this procedure, the natural lens of the eye is removed and replaced with an intraocular lens implant (IOL). Usually, an advanced technology or a multifocal IOL is selected to provide distance vision as well as intermediate and near.
You may be a candidate for RLE if you: