What is Laser Vision Correction? Which Refractive Surgery is Right for You?

There is no single treatment that is best across the board. The best choice for you depends on your prescription amount, astigmatism, age, important ocular measurements as well as other personal factors. You must also be aware of the risks associated with any surgical technique.

We pride ourselves on taking the extra time to personally address the issues involved in making such an important decision as refractive surgery. We make every effort to remain current on all refractive treatment options, and follow almost all of our refractive surgery patients postoperatively. As a result, we can give you honest and unbiased advice based on the experience of hundreds of patients we’ve managed.

PRK Photorefractive Keratectomy

An excimer laser is used on the eye’s surface to reshape to give a more accurate focus. The Excimer laser is a “cold laser” which means the tissue surrounding the area you wish to correct will be unaffected while the adjacent corneal tissue is treated. The procedure actually removes 10-20% of the anterior cornea without any scarring. This procedure works best on low to moderately high amounts of nearsightedness, and moderate amounts of astigmatism. The typical correctable prescription range is between -1.50 to -7.00 Diopters of myopia and up to -6.00 Diopters of astigmatism.


LASIK is very similar to PRK. The difference is a thin “flap” is made of the outer cornea. This is done with a microkeratome. The flap reveals the inner corneal layers, which is then gently reshaped with the cool laser (the excimer laser). The LASIK procedure can treat significantly more nearsightedness than with standard PRK. The LASIK procedure requires more technical skill and training than PRK. The results are usually a little better with LASIK and the post-op healing is much quicker with LASIK. The post-op discomfort associated with PRK is almost nonexistent in LASIK, due to the flap, which seals down immediately.

Intrastromal corneal Rings (Intacs by Keravision)

This technology is the newest form of refractive surgery. The FDA approved this for clinical use in mid-1999. In this procedure, a thin ring of plastic is inserted into the stroma of the cornea. The insertion of this ring then flattens the central cornea, similar to how the laser procedures reshape the corneal surface.

Corneal Topography

New computer technology was refined in the 1990s that greatly improved our ability to examine and study the complete curvature of the eye. Corneal topography is a technique where the entire corneal surface is measured and analyzed like a topographical map. The different colors on the printout correspond to various curvatures of the cornea. This topographical type measurement allows for more precise evaluation and treatment with corneal/refractive surgery.

What Does Corneal Topography Allow?

  • Greater accuracy for refractive surgical procedures.
  • The corneal map helps us to determine who is a good candidate, and even more importantly it helps determine who is a bad candidate for refractive surgery. Certain corneal diseases can be better detected with corneal topography (e.g., keratoconus and/or other irregular types of corneas).
  • Better long-term follow-up management of corneal changes.

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