Refractive surgery procedures such as LASIK and SBK are popular among the millions of Americans that suffer from nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and astigmatism. While there are similarities between these procedures, each has distinct differences. LASIK and SBK can each produce clear vision in patients; however, SBK is better suited to those who have thin corneas or are at risk of developing dry eye.
During LASIK eye surgery, a microkeratome or laser is used to create a hinged flap on the cornea. Once the flap is open, the surgeon reshapes the underlying corneal tissue so light properly reflects off the lens of the eye. The flap is then closed, and the incisions close on their own in the weeks following surgery.
The SBK procedure is similar to the LASIK procedure. The difference between the two laser vision correction treatments is that during SBK surgery, the surgeon creates an even thinner flap than the one created during LASIK. The flaps that are made during LASIK surgery are typically between 120 to 160 microns thick, whereas the flap made for SBK surgery is approximately 110 microns thick.
Many patients who are not good candidates for LASIK because they have thin corneas can safely undergo SBK surgery. SBK is also associated with a reduced rate of dry eye and corneal ectasia.
Because SBK surgery incorporates use of the Intralase® laser to create the corneal flap, it is generally more expensive than traditional LASIK surgery. SBK surgery generally costs anywhere from $1,500 to $4,000. The price can range based on the area of the country in which treatment is performed, the surgeon's experience, and the degree of patient vision correction.
A small number of patients have reported post-surgical complications, including hazing and scarring, after SBK surgery.
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