Laser Vision Correction - When LASIK Is Not Best
By Jeffrey Martin, MD
Published on April 02, 2010
Laser vision correction is one of the most popular elective surgical procedures in the United States. LASIK is the most well known laser eye surgery procedure, but there are other types of laser vision correction that are performed today.
In LASIK, a superficial flap is made in the cornea. This flap is then lifted and the laser vision correction ablation reshapes the cornea, and the flap is then placed back on the cornea. Visual recovery is quick with most patients being able to drive to the office for the first post-operative appointment. The most modern technique in LASIK surgery is bladeless custom LASIK utilizing Intralase, a blade-free laser that creates the thinnest, safest, and most accurate flap possible. Dr. Jeffrey Martin then uses Wavescan to make a custom fingerprint of each patient's vision. This Waveprint is used to precisely reshape the cornea during laser vision correction. The custom LASIK system that we use at our Long Island LASIK practice also offers automatic tracking and centering, as well as iris registration.
For patients with thin corneas, irregular corneas, or high prescription, LASIK is not always the best laser eye surgery. In these cases, preserving as much cornea as possible is important. In those cases, we use advanced surface ablation, also referred to as PRK, Epi-LASIK, or LASEK. In these surface laser eye surgery procedures, the thin skin layer of the cornea is removed using a brush or alcohol. We then do the custom laser vision correction right on the surface of the cornea. Healing takes a few days longer and is more uncomfortable for a few days. Once fully healed, final vision of surface laser vision correction is equal to LASIK.
In conclusion, Dr. Jeffrey Martin feels that it is imperative to choose the right laser vision correction procedure for each patient. In his private practice in Smithtown, New York in Long Island, Dr. Martin performs LASIK on about 70 percent of patients and advanced surface ablation in 30 percent of all cases.