LASIK / Refractive Surgery
At South Hills Eye Associates, our specially trained surgeons offer state of the art Laser Vision Correction. We treat nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia. Our experienced doctors will work with you using a thorough pre-operative assessment to first verify if you are a good candidate for a vision correcting procedure, and secondly to determine which procedure is best suited for you.
Refractive Surgery is a group of procedures designed to permanently reduce or eliminate your need for contact lenses or glasses. The most commonly performed refractive surgery is customized LASIK, and we also perform Advanced Surface Ablation (ASA) including custom PRK, as well as traditional LASIK and traditional PRK. These procedures can only improve vision if your vision is improved with glasses or contacts. We use the VISX Star S4 laser with a CustomVue wavefront guided ablation for our custom LASIK and custom PRK patients. The wavefront system provides unique high resolution scans of the eye to construct a personalized laser treatment for each patient. The VISX system has a tracking device to compensate for small eye movements to provide the highest level of precision.
In LASIK, the surgeon uses a computer guided excimer laser to gently remove a thin layer of tissue from the cornea (the front clear part of the eye) to achieve a desired vision correction. Before the excimer laser is used, a thin flap of corneal tissue is created. This flap is raised and laid back while still attached to the cornea, so that the cornea can be reshaped with minimal discomfort after the surgery. The flap is replaced into normal position within minutes, and natural forces hold the flap in place again. We often will use the IntraLase system to create the flap. This state of the art system creates the flap with a separate laser, so that the LASIK is a bladeless procedure. It provides superb precision and effectiveness. Another option is a microkeratome, which is a different precise flap making instrument which uses a tiny blade.
In ASA and PRK, the surgeon first removes the surface layer of cells on the cornea called the epithelium. Next, they reshape the cornea with the excimer laser in the same way it is performed in LASIK, except with no flap creation. No blades are required, and a special soft bandage contact lens is placed for a few days then removed when the epithelium heals. These procedures are often utilized as an excellent alternative to LASIK. They are also used when the cornea is too thin for LASIK, or if the patient participates in high level contact sports.
During the LASIK procedure there is no pain, but you will experience less than a minute of a pressure sensation. Following the surgery, some patients experience a scratchy feeling, which is often resolved the next morning. During PRK, there is no pain, and much less of a pressure sensation than with LASIK, if any at all. Following these procedures, a scratchy feeling along with some mild to moderate discomfort can be present for a few days which are helped by the bandage contact lens and preservative free moisture drops. Most patients elect to have both eyes treated with laser vision correction on the same day.