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Traditional vs. Custom LASIK: Which Is Best for You?

Traditional vs. Custom LASIK: Which Is Best for You?


If you are looking to improve your vision through laser eye surgery, you may be confused about the many options available to you. No doubt you have heard a lot about LASIK eye surgery (short for laser assisted in situ keratomileusis), and you may be wondering about the difference between this procedure and custom LASIK. Custom LASIK is a more precise form of laser-eye surgery, and it can treat more complex vision problems than traditional LASIK. However, both types of LASIK are effective, trusted surgical procedures. The type you choose will largely be determined by the nature of your vision problems, your budget, and the recommendations of your doctor.

What Is Traditional LASIK?

Traditional LASIK was invented in the 1990s as a treatment for lower-aberration vision problems such as near-sightedness, far-sightedness, and astigmatism. Before your procedure, your doctor will give you a LASIK test, holding several lenses up to your eye to determine the degree of correction needed. To perform the surgery, the doctor will use a tiny surgical blade or a highly precise laser to create a small flap in the surface of your cornea. He will then reshape the retina using an excimer laser, which is equipped with ActiveTrakTM 3D eye tracking so that it stays accurately aligned with your eye. Once your cornea is reshaped, the retina is able to properly focus light. Then, your doctor will gently lay the flap back down, and it will heal on its own in just a few days. LASIK surgery typically only takes about 10 minutes per eye, and it involves minimal discomfort and downtime.

What Is Custom LASIK?

Custom LASIK is a more recent development in laser eye surgery. It is based on Wavefront technology, which was created in 1999. This procedure uses the highly precise wavefront equipment to create a three-dimensional digital model of your eye. The laser bounces off the back of your eye and reflects back, which reveals the distortion of light at it enters your eye. Thanks to this advanced technology, custom LASIK is able to detect vision problems with 25 times more accuracy than traditional LASIK. This technology also allows your doctor to treat 60 higher-order vision problems, such as glare, halos, and problems with night vision. Once the digital image has been created, your doctor programs the surgical laser to target the specific shape of your retina. The rest of the procedure is similar to traditional LASIK; your doctor will create a flap in your cornea and reshape your retina with an excimer laser.

Choosing Your Procedure

Today, more and more doctors recommend that their patients receive custom LASIK. The advantages of custom LASIK include:

  • The ability to correct higher-order vision aberrations
  • Greater accuracy in correcting severe astigmatism
  • Less risk of glares and halos following surgery
  • Higher chance of achieving 20/20 vision

Despite these advantages, however, traditional LASIK is still considered a highly effective treatment for lower-order aberrations. If you are looking to correct simple near-sightedness, far-sightedness, or mild astigmatism, you may only need the simpler traditional LASIK procedure. In addition, traditional LASIK costs less than the Wavefront procedure, making it a better option if you are on a budget.

Find a LASIK Surgeon

Talking to an experienced doctor is the best way to determine which type of laser eye surgery is best for you. Schedule an appointment with a doctor in your area, and get started on the path to better vision today.

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