Custom LASIK vs. Traditional LASIK

By Gordon Wong, OD on June 15, 2014

Custom LASIK vs. Traditional LASIKMany patients have heard of LASIK surgery; most understand that the procedure is capable of reducing or even eliminating patients’ dependence on eyeglasses and contact lenses. However, the majority of interested patients are not aware of the differences among LASIK surgical technique. At GW Eye Associates Inc - An Optometric Corporation in La Jolla, patients have the option of undergoing traditional LASIK or custom LASIK surgery. In this blog post, the doctors at our ophthalmology practice educate patients about their treatment options, including traditional and custom LASIK.

Traditional LASIK Surgery

Traditional LASIK eye surgery is a highly successful procedure that has been performed on millions of patients, and is still commonly performed today. The surgical treatment involves the creation of an incision in the cornea, he clear outer covering of the eye. The three-sided incision produces a flap that can be opened, exposing the underlying corneal layers of the eye. Once the flap is open, an excimer laser reshapes the cornea to treat lower order aberrations of the eye. Lower order aberrations include nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.  Once the cornea is reshaped, light properly reflects off of the retina, producing clear vision at near and far distances.

Benefits

  • Less expensive
  • Produces results similar to those achieved with eyeglasses and contact lenses
  • Is associated with a high rate of success
  • Sufficiently corrects the lower order aberration nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism

Disadvantages

  • Does not correct the higher order aberrations that affect the quality of vision
  • May result in a higher degree of post-surgical side effects
  • Patients may still experience poor night vision or other quality issues that affect vision

Custom LASIK Surgery

Custom LASIK surgery is performed in the same manner as traditional LASIK. The difference is that a three-dimensional wavefront map is created of the eye. Instead of just detailing the lower order vision flaws that affect patients, the wavefront map also identifies higher order vision problems. Researchers have found that dozens of higher order aberrations can affect a person’s vision. In fact, they estimate that these higher order aberrations account for 15 percent of the vision flaws that affect the eye. By treating higher order aberrations, patients achieve better quality vision than they would achieve just by correcting the lower order aberrations.

Patients who choose to undergo custom LASIK will have a wavefront map created for each eye. This map is transferred to the computer that guides the excimer laser during treatment, allowing the laser to reshape the cornea and reduce or eliminate both lower and higher order aberrations.

Benefits

  • Results in better overall vision quality
  • Corrects lower and higher order aberrations
  • Reduces the incidence of post-surgical side effects

Disadvantages

  • More expensive

When deciding between traditional and custom LASIK, all surgeons will agree that custom LASIK is the superior option. The only downside, from a patient’s perspective, is the cost of custom LASIK. Because custom LASIK requires the use of wavefront technology, the custom LASIK technique is more expensive - in some cases up to twice the price of traditional LASIK.

To schedule a LASIK consultation, contact GW Eye Associates Inc - An Optometric Corporation.

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