Laser vision correction is now in its second decade of helping patients reduce or eliminate their dependence on glasses and contact lenses. Heavy patient demand for laser vision correcton has inspired surgeons and laser manufacturers to make tremendous advances in both Excimer laser technology and surgical technique.
Refractive laser surgery improves vision by permanently changing the shape of the cornea, the clear front window of the eye. When treating myopia, or nearsightedness, refractive surgery techniques reduce the curvature of the cornea (flattens the surface) to lessen the eye's focusing power. When treating hyperopia, or farsightedness, refractive surgery techniques make the cornea steeper to increase the eye's focusing power.
LASIK is a combined microsurgical and excimer laser procedure used to correct myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism. Dr. Sacks uses an ALL LASER TECHNIQUE to perform LASIK. The first step is to use a Femtosecond laser to create a thin flap of cornea. Step two uses the Excimer laser to reshape the corneal surface. The flap is then replaced in its original position and no stitches are necessary.
To be a good candidate for LASIK, the cornea must be of sufficient thickness to allow for the flap to be made and still have enough tissue under the flap to allow for the proper amount of tissue to be removed to achieve the targeted level of correcton. A healthy tear film is also important and this will be assessed by Dr. Sacks,
Functional vision returns very rapidly, with the majority of patents seeing well enought to drive in a day or two without glasses or contact lenses. Most patients elect to have LASIK on both eyes at the same time.
The decison to have laser vision correction is an important one that, ultimately, only you can make. It is important that you have realistic expectations and that your decision is based on facts, not hopes or misconceptions. The goal on any refractive proceure is to reduce or eliminate your dependence on glasses or contact lenses. As with any medical procedure, ther are risks, complication, and side effects associated with laser vision correction. Dr. Sacks will review these with you. Be sure to have all your questions answered before giving your consent for surgery.
Step One: Intralase Laser to Create the Flap
After topical anesthetic eye drops are placed in the eye to minimize sensation, the eyelids are secured in the open position using a ring which fits snugly on the eye. You will not feel pain during this stage, however, vision will darken during the time the suction is applied and there may be a slight pressure sensation. The Intralase laser is silent and the flap is created in less than 25 seconds. After this procedure the patient sits in a dark room for approximately 15 - 20 minutes before Step Two.
Step Two: Excimer Laser for Vision Correction
With the flap folded back, the excimer laser removes an exact pre-determined amount of tissue from the center of the cornea. The computer controls the amount of laser treatment based on your prescription. During this stage, Dr. Sacks will ask you to look at a blinking red light to allow for proper alignment of the laser as the laser is focused on the corneal surface (stroma).
Step Three: Flap Replacement
Lastly, the flap is returned to its original position where it quickly begins to adhere to the underlying tissue (stroma). It is allowed to air dry for approximately 2-5 minutes. There is usually no need for sutures.
Dr. Sacks has access to 3 different FDA approved lasers at the laser center. Although he most frequently uses the WaveLight Allegretto Wave™ Laser, the VISX and Alcon Ladar Custom Conrnea Lasers are available.