At GW Eye Associates in San Diego, custom LASIK offers a wealth of advantages over conventional LASIK. Although conventional LASIK has proven to be a safe, effective, and extremely popular surgery over the course of more than two decades, it has its limitations, especially in comparison to today’s custom LASIK procedure. The optometrists and ophthalmologists of GW Eye Associates are pleased to offer a full range of high-quality eye care services, including custom LASIK and other advanced forms of laser eye surgery.
It should be stated, first and foremost, that the safety profile of conventional LASIK is extremely good. Side effects are rare and, when they do occur, usually temporary or treatable. One of the more common of these side effects is impaired night vision. In some patients, this impairment takes the form of glare or halos around objects at night, while in others, it manifests itself as diminished vision in all low-light environments. For the vast majority of patients who experience this side effect, night vision improves over time. However, for some patients, the impairment is permanent.
The possible causes of impaired night vision after LASIK surgery include residual refractive error and the continued presence of, and even potential introduction of, higher-order aberrations. Higher-order aberrations are the extremely tiny errors in the shape of the cornea that are unique to each eye. Unlike the universal visual errors myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism, higher-order aberrations cannot be detected or treated through traditional methods. For this reason, they go untreated by conventional LASIK, which is limited to the same scope of corrections as standard eyeglasses and contact lenses.
The primary difference between custom LASIK and conventional LASIK lies in how refractive errors are measured. Custom LASIK involves the use of a wavefront-mapping device that is capable of identifying not only degrees of myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism, but also higher-order aberrations. This extraordinarily detailed map is used to guide the excimer laser that reshapes the cornea to correct visual errors. By accounting for higher-order aberrations, custom wavefront-guided LASIK dramatically reduces the risk of post-operative impairments in night vision. Indeed, many of the higher-order aberrations corrected during custom LASIK could have been responsible for pre-surgical impairments in night vision. As a result, certain patients can emerge from surgery with the clearest, sharpest night vision they’ve ever had.
While custom LASIK does not, and cannot, offer “perfect” vision to any patient, the odds of being able to see clearly without glasses, contact lenses, or undesirable side effects such as poor night vision are much higher with custom LASIK. For the right candidates, custom LASIK is simply one of the safest, most effective procedures in the history of surgical medicine.
To learn more about custom LASIK and how it might help to improve your night vision, please contact the eye care professionals of GW Eye Associates today.