What Is LASIK?
LASIK, or laser in-situ keratomileusis, corrects refractive errors. A refractive error occurs when light that enters the eye cannot focus properly on the retina in the back of the eye. This occurs because of an imperfection in the cornea, which may be asymmetrical, too steeply curved, or too flat.
Glasses and contacts refocus light as it enters the eye to overcome imperfections in the cornea and create clearer vision. Refractive surgery was developed to refine the cornea itself. With the development of the excimer laser, LASIK and PRK (another laser refractive surgery) have become very popular, low-risk treatments that reshape the cornea and therefore eliminate or reduce patients' need for glasses and contacts.
During LASIK surgery, Dr. Holcomb carefully removes microscopic amounts of corneal tissue from your eyes to refine its shape. To access the inner layer (stroma) of your cornea, Dr. Holcomb will first create a flap in the surface. He accomplishes this using our IntraLase™ FS Laser, which uses very precise measurements of each individual eye to create a flap to the best depth appropriate for each patient. To minimize your discomfort during surgery, you may receive a topical numbing agent before the flap is created.
Next, Dr. Holcomb will use our VISX STAR S4 IR™ laser to shape your cornea. The STAR S4 IR™ works in conjunction with the CustomVue® WaveScan Wavefront system, which collects data about your unique refractive errors. The VISX STAR S4 IR™ carefully reshapes the cornea in one of three ways:
- Flattening an overly steep, myopic cornea
- Adding a steeper curve to an overly flat, hyperopic cornea
- Correcting asymmetry in an astigmatic cornea
Once your cornea has been sufficiently reshaped according to Dr. Holcomb's analysis of CustomVue® WaveScan Wavefront system data, he will replace the epithelial flap back over your cornea. You will begin to notice the results of LASIK almost immediately, and will recognize full results within one to two months following surgery.
Because you will experience some visual blurring following surgery, you should plan to have a friend or loved one take you home following surgery. LASIK surgery is permanent, although as the eyes naturally degenerate with age. Some patients may eventually need to receive LASIK again, or begin wearing reading glasses.