LASIK surgery is something many people have considered, but never gone through with because frankly, no one is particularly keen on lasers near their eyes. Modern LASIK essentially works by using a pair of lasers, one to first create a thin piece of hinged tissue known as a “flap” in the cornea or front surface of the eye, and a second to remove tissue underneath this flap to reshape the exposed cornea beneath this flap.
LASIK is an incredibly beneficial procedure, and advancements in the safety and effectiveness of the treatment should put to bed any misgivings you may have. Whether your eye doctor has recommended LASIK, or it is something you’re considering, it is surgery that will change your life for the better. As humans, we are incredibly dependent on our sight to function, and the thought of allowing another person to perform this this treatment (with lasers no less) can be nerve-wracking.
The advances made in the development of LASIK are slowly and inexorably making glasses and contact lenses obsolete, and light nervousness shouldn’t stand in the way of anyone receiving these benefits. We have found that by providing our clients with some history of LASIK, as well as information about the procedure itself, can go a long way towards assuaging any fear a customer has regarding the procedure.
To that end, we have taken this opportunity to lay out a LASIK road map of sorts, and thereby help potential LASIK patients become more comfortable with the idea.
History of LASIK Surgery
LASIK surgery, or laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis, may appear as a relatively new procedure, but the idea of surgically altering the patient’s cornea to eliminate the need for glasses and contacts goes all the way back to the 1940’s. During this time, a doctor by the name of Jose Barraquer worked to establish a more precise technique to reshape a patient’s cornea. He worked towards creating a reliable method of reshaping a patient’s cornea to improve their vision. This led to the development of a device called a microkeratome to be used in the process of removing corneal tissue.
The microkeratome is a device that uses a blade system that works to slice a thin, controlled portion called a “cap” off the top of the cornea that was then reshaped and replaced. Picture it as a sort of incredibly precise miniature deli-slicer, but used for eye surgery, and you won’t be far off. In 1958, Dr. Barraquer experimented with a device called a cryolathe that, when used to reshape the cornea after removal, provided promising results, but lacked the precision.
In the early 1980’s a contemporary of Barraquer by the name of Dr. Stephen Trokel began exploring with the idea of using the newly perfected excimer laser to flatten the center of a patient’s cornea to correct vision problems that would otherwise need to be addressed with glasses. For refractive and laser eye surgery, the excimer laser emits a “cool” beam of ultraviolet light that can reshape the cornea to correct nearsightedness or farsightedness.
After successful tests on previously blind patients showed no damage to the clarity of the cornea itself, this technique was approved for use on patients with sight who required permanent vision correction. This procedure was named photorefractive keratectomy (PRK). This procedure would remain in popularity as the primary form of permanent vision correction until almost the end of the decade.
In late 1989, Italian M.D. Lucio Buratto came up with a technique that involved using the microkeratome to create a “cap” to expose the cornea, as in Dr. Barraquer’s original technique some 40 years before. He then used the excimer laser from Dr. Trokel’s technique to make precise adjustments to the exposed cornea beneath in a way that was safer and more effective than manually manipulating the shape of the cornea. This technique was further refined by the medical community to create the modern “flap” of tissue. The flap versus cap technique also allows the tissue to act as a natural bandage and reduce the healing time by a substantial amount.
This procedure is very near to modern LASIK as we know it, with one crucial difference.
Modern LASIK: Painless, Permanent Vision Correction
In 2002, the FDA approved the final two pieces of the puzzle that is modern LASIK surgery: the femtosecond laser and wavefront analysis. The femtosecond laser replaces the decades-old microkeratome with a much more precise laser that can be controlled via computer. Wavefront analysis creates a much more precise image of the patient’s prescription than was previously available and allows for a LASIK procedure that is custom tailored to each patient.
Laser eye surgery such as LASIK can now be safely and effectively used by your ophthalmologist to possibly eliminate your need to wear glasses or contacts, and can be done swiftly and painlessly. Further advances including different types of lasers, more precise corneal mapping techniques as Wavefront, and a wide variety of custom surgical options mean that LASIK is now an option for an ever-increasing number of people.
Benefits of Modern LASIK Surgery:
- Prices are dropping
- Shortened recovery time
- Safety continues to rise
LASIK is currently the number one elective surgery performed worldwide since 2002. With all of these positive advancements in the field of laser eye surgery, and with the very real and likely possibility of never having to put on glasses or fuss with contacts again, LASIK is continues to become more popular each year.
Make the Trip to Your Trusted Lasik Surgeon in Orange County
LASIK is a safe, effective, and painless way to improve your vision and your life. If this sounds like you can benefit from this procedure, talk to an our ophthalmologist Dr. Ghosheh to determine if this procedure is right for you, and see the world through your own crystal clear vision.
To schedule a consultation call us at 1-866-997-2020.