By Dr. John French

How does laser work?

The concept of corneal refractive surgery is to change the shape of the cornea so that images seen will be focused on the retina. Photorefractivekeratectomy (PRK) was the first form of laser refractive surgery. In this procedure, the corneal surface cells are removed and the excimer laser is used to change the shape of the cornea. LASIK was developed to give faster results with improved comfort. With LASIK, a thin flap of corneal tissue is created, gently lifted, and an excimer laser treatment is applied to the cornea to reshape the cornea. The flap is then placed back over the treated cornea. Originally, a blade was used to make this flap, but the femtosecond laser has almost entirely replaced the older blade method. Both surgical options, PRK and LASIK, have their advantages and applications. The surgeon determines the most appropriate procedure for each patient during the pre-operative evaluation based on the glasses prescription, corneal tissue thickness, and other factors.

If I have astigmatism can I still get LASIK?

Excimer lasers can also correct astigmatism by reconfiguring the corneal shape to create a normal shape. It is a misconception that LASIK cannot treat astigmatism.

Could I have LASIK to decrease my need for glasses after cataract surgery?

Yes. Some people had cataract surgery before advanced technology lenses were made available in the United States or chose not to have advanced technology cataract surgery. These patients wear glasses after cataract surgery. LASIK can be performed after cataract surgery to reduce the need for glasses after cataract surgery. With LASIK surgery, some people choose to have both eyes set to see well for distance without glasses and wear reading glasses for near. Others choose to have one eye set to see well for distance without glasses and the other eye for near without glasses which is called monovision. LASIK can be performed in these patients to minimize the need for glasses.

What to expect before LASIK Surgery?

Your eye doctor will perform a thorough eye exam to ensure your eyes are healthy enough for the procedure. He or she will evaluate: the shape and thickness of your cornea, pupil size, refractive errors (nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism) and check for any other eye conditions.

Your eye doctor will also discuss your general health history to determine if you are a suitable candidate for LASIK. You should stop wearing contact lenses for a period of time advised by your doctor (around two weeks) before your eye exam and before the LASIK procedure.

What to expect the day of surgery?

Lasik is a two-step vision correction procedure performed on the cornea. At Carolina Eye Associates, the procedure is a “bladeless” all-laser procedure.The Wavelight FS 200 Femtosecond Laser creates a thin flap of the cornea in the first step. The Allegretto WAVE Eye-Q excimer laser then reshapes the central cornea before the flap is replaced.