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LASIK, is currently one of the most frequently performed elective procedures in North America. It is a highly effective outpatient procedure, often referred to as refractive surgery or laser vision correction.

LASIK is used to treat the following conditions:
  • Myopia (nearsightedness)
  • Hyperopia (farsightedness)
  • Astigmatism
  • Presbyopia

The LASIK procedure, which is performed by trained LASIK surgeons, uses a cool beam of light from the excimer laser to gently reshape the front surface (cornea) of your eye. This is done by creating a corneal flap on the surface of the eye, which is peeled back to allow to allow the excimer laser to begin reshaping.

Before your treatment plan is determined, you will not only be evaluated as a potential candidate for laser vision correction, but you will also receive a comprehensive eye examination and screening to detect any conditions that might affect your results. The goal of refractive surgery is to reduce your dependence on corrective lenses. Results cannot be guaranteed. Though additional information about these procedures will be provided to help you make an informed decision, make sure to have all questions and concerns addressed before proceeding.

Depending on your individual needs, your physician might recommend one of the following forms of laser vision correction procedures:

  • Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK)
  • Laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK)

Both PRK and LASIK involve reshaping the cornea with an excimer laser (an ultraviolet light beam) to correct vision. At Columbia, we use the latest VISX excimer laser, which provides CustomVue treatments. CustomVue technology uses a person’s unique profile to measure and correct imperfections of the eye 25 times more precisely than standard methods.

In near-sighted eyes, the laser flattens a cornea that is too steep, while in far-sighted eyes, the laser steepens a cornea that is too flat. Problems such as myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism can be treated with either PRK or LASIK, and both procedures achieve similar vision correction results. However, each procedure is performed differently, and has its own benefits and drawbacks.

In PRK, the physician removes the epithelium (the outermost layer of the cornea) and uses the laser to reshape the stromal portion of the cornea. After the procedure, the epithelium usually heals within a week’s time.

In LASIK, the physician creates a flap in the cornea using a microkeratome (a small blade) or a special kind of laser (called a “femtosecond” laser, such as Intralase). At Columbia, we primarily use the Intralase laser to create the LASIK flaps, since it is more precise and allows the flap to adhere better. The physician lifts the flap and reshapes stromal portion of the cornea with the excimer laser. Because the flap cannot be used to change the cornea’s properties, patients with thin corneas might not qualify for LASIK. These patients might be better candidates for PRK.

Recently, other surgical alternatives have become available. Among these is a technique called phakic IOL implantation which involves implanting a lens behind the cornea, but in front of the iris. With this new option, many of those who were too highly nearsighted for LASIK are now candidates for refractive surgery.

If you are interested in refractive surgery, please let us know and one of our specialists can help you determine if one of these procedures is right for you. We have been involved with refractive surgery for over 30 years and have managed thousands of refractive surgery patients. Our surgeon is a corneal specialist who has performed thousands of LASIK procedures with excellent results. Refractive surgery is not to be taken lightly and that is why we recommend you use our surgeon who is a highly skilled, experienced and ethical corneal surgeon. Detailed testing is necessary to determine whether or not you are a good candidate for the surgery. For more information please call our office at 212-233-2344.

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