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LASIK Alternatives

Laser Epithelial Keratomileusis (LASEK), is a vision correction option, much like LASIK, without a flap. To perform LASEK, the patient first receives a local anesthetic. The doctor applies a diluted alcohol solution to the epithelium (the surface layer of the cornea), loosening it from the stroma (the tissue beneath). This loosened epithelium is placed to one side and laser energy is applied to the stroma, using the same parameters used to reshape the cornea as in LASIK surgery in Los Angeles. After the completion of the treatment, the epithelium is moved back into position. To aid healing, a contact lens is applied to the eye that will remain for several days. During the proceeding few required for healing, the eyes can be sensitive to light and may cause minor discomfort.

Photo-Refractive Keratectomy (PRK)

Photo-Refractive Keratectomy (PRK) is another method used to surgically reshape the cornea using the excimer laser at UCLA Laser Refractive Center. The primary difference between PRK and LASEK is that for PRK, the surface epithelium is removed entirely for the treatment, whereas in LASEK, the epithelium is pushed off to the side after being loosened and later re-positioned after laser treatment. In both procedures, healthy corneal cells then grow over the treatment zone, healing the eye. A contact lens is applied after surgery to improve comfort. During the few days required for healing, the eyes can be sensitive to light and individuals may experience discomfort.
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Custom LASEK and Custom PRK allow physicians to tailor the LASEK and PRK procedures to each individual patient, potentially improving upon the already excellent results available from the conventional procedures. These next generation techniques use wavefront technology to measure and chart the entire eye,  creating a unique “three-dimensional”map. The map contains detailed optical information that is specific to each eye, much like a fingerprint is unique to each individual.

The doctor uses this information to guide the excimer laser, customizing the treatment to the eye’s unique visual irregularities.While traditional LASEK and PRK correct refractive errors known as lower order aberrations (myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism) that affect how much we can see, Custom LASEK and PRK also have the potential to improve higher-order aberrations (coma, spherical aberration, and others) that affect how well we can see.

Studies indicate that 5 to 10 percent of patients significantly benefit from Custom LASEK/PRK treatments while other patients may benefit to a lesser degree.

Key features of Custom LASEK/PRK

  • Treats both lower- and higher-order aberrations.
  • Ability to offer LASEK/PRK treatment to people with larger pupils.
  • Ability to treat patients who have thin or steep corneas and are not good candidates for LASIK surgery.
  • Reduced chance of night-vision disturbances, glare and halos for people at risk for higher-order aberrations.
  • Longer healing period than LASIK (good vision is achieved in 5 to 7 days).
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