Laser Eye Surgery
Refractive errors cause blurred vision and may require one to wear glasses or contacts, which can be inconvenient.
For patients who would rather live without these hassles, our doctors at GW Eye Associates in La Jolla, CA, offer laser eye surgery.
So why should you consider eye surgery?
Laser Eye Surgery Can Dramatically Affect Your Quality of Life
The effects of laser eye surgery are long-lasting. You can enjoy the benefits of clearer vision for years to come without having to spend additional money on new lenses.
Developed in 1990, LASIK, or laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis, is a laser eye surgery technique that involves reshaping the inner layers of the cornea while leaving the surface layer relatively undisturbed.
Like PRK, LASIK begins with a computerized mapping of the eye's surface. Once the map is complete and the excimer laser is calibrated, anesthetic drops are applied to the eye and a device known as a microkeratome is used to create a thin flap on the surface of the cornea. This flap is gently folded back so the laser can be applied to the corneal tissue. The flap is then replaced over the cornea and naturally seals itself in place.
IntraLase® / iLASIK™
IntraLase® and iLASIK™ are forms of LASIK surgery that involve using a laser to create the corneal flap instead of a microkeratome. Benefits of this technique include increased precision and the ability to create a thinner flap. At GW Eye Associates, we offer both traditional LASIK and blade-free IntraLase® and iLASIK™ methods and will select the most appropriate procedure for each patient on a case-by-case basis.
PRK, or photorefractive keratectomy, is a laser eye surgery procedure that was developed in 1986 and is still a highly effective option for patients who may not be good candidates for LASIK due to thin corneas, large pupils, or other conditions.
The PRK procedure begins with the creation of an extremely detailed map of the surface of the eye. This information is then used to program the excimer laser that will be used to reshape the surface of the cornea. Prior to application of the laser, the surgeon will apply topical anesthetic drops to the eye and gently remove the outermost layer of cells, known as the epithelium. These cells will be fully regenerated in three to five days.
The excimer laser is then used to reshape the surface of the cornea so that it focuses light onto the retina correctly. This process takes one minute or less to complete and is virtually painless.
An ICL, or implantable contact lens, is designed for permanent vision correction and is inserted into the eye, between the iris and the eye's natural lens. Like all forms of laser eye surgery, this technique involves changing the way light enters the eye. However, unlike procedures such as LASIK and PRK, the insertion of ICLs does not involve removing any natural tissue.
The prescription needed for your ICLs will be determined prior to surgery. To insert the lenses during surgery, your surgeon will apply anesthetic drops to the eye before creating a very small incision along the edge of the cornea. The lenses are specially folded so as to allow them to fit through the incision before unfolding inside the eye. Once the lenses are in place, they will be virtually unnoticeable.
Candidacy and Risks
There are many factors that should be considered before deciding to have laser eye surgery or ICLs. Your eyeglass prescription, your corneal readings, your goals, and your expectations should be taken into account in choosing the treatment method that's right for you. Having had refractive surgery himself in 1991, Dr. Gordon Wong knows what patients expect from laser eye surgery. Drawing on their knowledge of the procedure, Drs. Gordon and Wildon Wong can help you determine whether you might be a good candidate for laser vision correction or another vision correction treatment.
Although most laser eye surgery is successful, there are some potential side effects of surgery that can result in a less than desirable outcome. A thorough pre-surgery LASIK, PRK, or ICL consultation will help you obtain the best visual results possible.