Are you tired of relying on glasses and contact lenses to see clearly? Does it seem like there has to be something better than these visual aids that always fall short?
If you’re a good candidate, the answer may be as simple as undergoing a laser vision correction procedure! Maine Eye Center is excited to be able to offer our patients these procedures and help change lives.
What is Laser Vision Correction?
Laser vision correction procedures correct refractive errors. These include nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.
Laser vision correction works to reshape the cornea. Your cornea is the transparent front part of the eye that helps light focus appropriately on the retina, ensuring you can see clearly.
If you have a refractive error, light cannot refract or bend as it should, resulting in visual distortion. But when you have laser vision correction, reshaping the cornea corrects these refractive errors, finally giving you the crisp, clear vision you thought you could only dream of.
Laser vision correction not only corrects your vision but also provides you with better vision than you could achieve by relying on visual aids. This is possible because these procedures correct your vision beyond your original prescription, so most patients have 20/20 vision or better.
iLASIK, or IntraLase, is a 100% blade-free technique that uses two lasers: a femtosecond laser and an excimer laser. It’s performed using the iLASIK platform, which uses the VISX star4 excimer laser. This excimer laser has Iris Registration (IR) that uses a blueprint of each patient’s eye to provide superior alignment to the patient’s cornea during the procedure.
It also uses CustomVue Wavefront technology, which expands treatment zones while minimizing higher-order visual aberrations. Each treatment patients receive is unique and customized to their vision, resulting in better visual quality.
Finally, the iLASIK platform uses ActiveTrak 3-D Active Eye Tracking to track eye movements during the LASIK procedure to pinpoint accuracy during all parts of the procedure while using an IntraLase Blade-free femtosecond laser to create the corneal flap and finish the LASIK procedure.
Am I a Good Laser Vision Correction Candidate?
Although laser vision correction has helped millions of patients achieve the vision of their dreams, these procedures are not suitable for everyone. You have to be a good candidate for the procedure to undergo it.
You may be a good laser vision correction candidate if:
- You’re between the ages of 21-50
- You have a stable prescription that’s remained unchanged for a year or more
- You’re in good health, and your prescription is within the range of what laser vision correction can safely treat
- You have no other eye conditions besides refractive errors
- Your corneas are thick enough
- You have realistic expectations about what to expect if you have laser vision correction
- You’re not currently pregnant or nursing
If you think you could be a good candidate for LASIK, the next step is to schedule your LASIK consultation at Maine Eye Center!
Clear Lens Extraction
For refractive patients over 50, another procedure worth considering is clear lens extraction. Clear lens extraction (CLE) is a procedure that removes your natural lens from your eye and replaces it with an intraocular lens (IOL).
The IOL ensures clear vision. One of the most significant advantages of this procedure is that patients will never have to worry about cataracts as they age.
Clear lens extraction is also an excellent way to treat presbyopia, which occurs when the eye’s natural lens loses its flexibility because of aging. Presbyopia makes it more challenging to see things up close, meaning you’ll need to use reading glasses for tasks like reading a menu or using your phone.
With a procedure like clear lens exchange, you’ll have clearer vision without worrying about cataracts as you get older.
What is PRK?
Though LASIK is one of the most popular vision correction procedures you can undergo, it’s not the only one. If you’re not a good candidate for LASIK, your eye doctor may recommend an alternative procedure like PRK.
PRK is a laser vision correction procedure that corrects nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. Rather than creating a flap in the cornea like LASIK, PRK involves removing the epithelium.
The epithelium is the outer layer of the cornea. After removing the epithelium, an excimer laser will reshape the cornea, and a contact lens is used as a bandage to protect the cornea. During recovery from PRK, the epithelium will regenerate, though it will take several weeks and can cause discomfort during this time.
How PRK Differs from LASIK
LASIK and PRK are similar, but a few things set these procedures apart. These differences include:
No Flap Created During PRK
The most significant difference between LASIK and PRK is that no flap is created during PRK. However, there is no flap, so this can make PRK more suitable for patients with dry eyes, thinner corneas, or those who aren’t good candidates for LASIK.
Longer PRK Recovery
Another difference between LASIK and PRK is that PRK has a longer recovery. The longer recovery is because the epithelium is removed and has to regenerate. PRK patients experience more discomfort during recovery, which will dissipate over time.
Slower Visual Improvement
LASIK and PRK produce virtually identical results. However, while LASIK patients typically see visual results almost immediately, PRK can take a little longer.
Although there are differences between these procedures, there’s no doubt that PRK is an excellent choice if you don’t qualify for LASIK and want to achieve visual freedom.
What Can I Expect During the LASIK/PRK Procedure?
During the procedure, your surgeon will start by giving you numbing eye drops to ensure you don’t feel any pain and oral medication to relax you. Next, they will use a femtosecond laser to create a flap in the cornea.
Your surgeon will fold this flap back to expose and gain access to the tissue in the inner cornea. They will then use an excimer laser to reshape your cornea by removing a small, precise, and predetermined amount of tissue.
After reshaping your cornea to correct your refractive errors, your surgeon will replace the corneal flap or place a contact lens if you’re undergoing PRK. If you’re having LASIK, they will put the flap back into place. LASIK/PRK does not require sutures or stitches since the flap acts as a natural bandage during recovery.
Laser vision correction is an outpatient procedure, meaning you can go home after it’s over. However, you will need a friend or family member to drive you home, as your eyesight will be unstable after the procedure.
Recovering After Laser Vision Correction
Once you’ve had laser vision correction, the best thing you can do is go home and relax. You may experience discomfort, blurry vision, and light sensitivity after laser vision correction, although these things should subside in a day or two.
You’ll need to use eye drops to reduce inflammation and prevent infection, as prescribed by your eye doctor. If your eyes still bother you, use oral over-the-counter pain relievers to feel more comfortable.
Most patients can return to normal activities a few days after LASIK, and one week after PRK, though you’ll need to avoid strenuous activities and contact sports for a month after the procedure. You’ll also need to abstain from hot tubs and swimming in pools, lakes, or other bodies of water for a month to prevent infection.
Do not rub your eyes, as this can damage the fragile flap. You must attend follow-up appointments at Maine Eye Center, starting a day after your laser vision correction procedure. These appointments help ensure your eyes are healing properly and there are no complications.
Most laser vision correction patients reach their peak vision about 3-6 months following the vision correction procedure. Your vision will continue to improve before this time, allowing you to see in crisp, sharp detail like never before.
Are you ready to find out if you are a good laser vision correction candidate? Take the first step by requesting your laser vision correction consultation at Maine Eye Center in Portland, ME, now!