John B. Miller, M.D., a retina specialist at Mass. Eye and Ear, offers his perspective on laser pointer eye safety.
The Top 3 Options for Laser Vision Correction
There are many reasons people decide to have laser eye surgery, from convenience to career. How do you know whether it’s right for you?
Laser vision correction surgery, or refractive eye surgery, is an increasingly popular procedure that treats nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. The surgery allows people who wear eyeglasses or contacts to no longer need prescription lenses. At Massachusetts Eye and Ear, surgeons utilize the latest technology and equipment, including highly precise lasers, to treat vision problems. Below are three of the most common options for laser vision correction surgery:
LASIK (Laser-Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis) is the most common type of refractive surgery and is recommended to treat varying degrees of nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. This outpatient procedure is quick and relatively painless, and generally results in minimal post-operative pain and rapid vision recovery. During LASIK, the surgeon makes a small flap in the cornea, which is a clear, dome-shaped surface that covers the front of the eye, and folds it back. Then a laser reshapes the cornea. For clear vision, the eye’s cornea and lens must bend (refract) light rays properly in order to allow images to be in focus, otherwise they will be blurry.
Karen Ho decided to have LASIK at Mass. Eye and Ear because she wanted to experience life without the daily inconvenience of wearing glasses or contacts. “I was interested in LASIK because of the fast recovery and minimal discomfort,” she said. “The first week after surgery, I thought I was still wearing contact lenses. But I wasn’t, and it was such an amazing feeling.”
SMILE (Small Incision Lenticule Extraction) is the latest advancement in laser vision correction to treat nearsightedness. The SMILE procedure is minimally invasive, and involves removing a small piece of tissue from the cornea with a laser, rather than creating a flap or altering the surface. Most patients feel no pain during or after the procedure, and are able to return to their daily activities quickly.
Josh Zotter had worn glasses and contacts his entire life until he conducted research on laser vision correction surgery, and found that SMILE was right for him. “And it corrected my vision,” he said. “It was phenomenal.”
Mass. Eye and Ear patient Adria Halasz told Focus last year that she sought out SMILE after a coworker in London had the procedure and raved about the results. Unable to leave home without her glasses or contacts due to nearsightedness, she had been planning to travel to London until she learned the procedure was offered at Mass. Eye and Ear.
“Everything went exactly how I had hoped,” she said at the time. “Now I can see even better than I did with my contacts.”
The most common alternative to LASIK is called PRK (photorefractive keratectomy). PRK works best in people with low-to-moderate nearsightedness and who have thin corneas or dry eyes. In this technique, surgeons remove the cornea’s outer surface layer and use a laser to reshape it. PRK may be a better option for people who have high prescriptions, thin or somewhat irregular corneas, or who may not be ideal LASIK candidates.
Before pursuing any of these options, please consult your doctor. Your personal goals and medical and vision history play an important role in determining if laser vision correction surgery is right for you.
Mass. Eye and Ear is pleased to offer $1,000 off laser vision correction surgery from now through August 31, 2019. Call 1-833-LASER-99 to schedule an evaluation. Learn more: https://www.masseyeandear.org/specialties/ophthalmology/cornea-and-refractive-surgery/laser.