El Paso's leader in laser vision surgery.
There are several ways that laser vision correction can be done. The two most common are LASIK and PRK. PRK (sometimes called surface ablation) is performed essentially on the surface of the cornea whereas LASIK is performed deeper in the tissue under a thin flap of corneal tissue. Both are effective ways of correcting vision and each way has advantages over the other. Long-term studies have shown no statistical difference in maximal visual improvement between the modalities, and by six months after surgery, the vision is essentially identical between the two techniques.
In PRK (surface ablation) the laser energy is applied directly to the surface of the cornea after a thin barrier of protective epithelial cells are removed. This protective barrier regrows within 3 to 5 days of the procedure. There are minor technical differences in how the protective cells are removed, but with each comes a name: PRK, LASEK and Epi-LASIK.
With PRK, either a brush or the Excimer laser itself is used to remove the epithelium whereas in LASEK it is removed by ethyl alcohol. In EpiLASIK the epithelium is removed by a machine that uses a plastic separator.
In LASIK procedures either a mechanical device using a blade (microkeratome) or femtosecond laser (for example the Intralase laser) is used to cut the cornea partial thickness making a small flap of tissue. The laser reshaping is performed in the middle of the cornea and then the flap is repositioned. Femtosecond laser technique is used much more often now than mechanical devices (microkeratomes) due to fewer flap related complications and more reliable flap thickness and lower risk of ectasia (a rare but serious complication that may sometimes require additional surgery).
The advantages of surface ablation over LASIK procedures include a stronger cornea and no potential for problems associated with the flap. LASIK has the advantage of faster healing and recovery of vision and a slightly lower risk of infection. Both are effective and reliable methods of correcting vision.
A third way that laser vision correction surgery can be performed without removing corneal tissue involves an implantable device called Intacs. In this procedure, the femtosecond laser is used to create channels within the corneal tissue allowing for a transparent semi-circular ring of PMMA (polymethyl methacrylate) to be placed. This results in flattening of the central cornea and reduction in myopia and astigmatism. Intacs are used to treat lower levels of nearsightedness and have the advantage that they can be removed. They can also be used to treat certain corneal diseases such as keratoconus (please see the discussion on keratoconus for more information).
Other technologies on the horizon include the SMILE and ReLex procedures which use femtosecond technology exclusively to create small lenticules (lens shaped cuts) within the cornea that can then be extracted to change corneal curvature. These are not yet FDA approved and have not yet proven to be more effective than LASIK/PRK.
Don’t go backwards in technology. Featuring blade-free LASIK technology with the Intralase IFS laser, we provide the safest, most advanced laser vision technology available. We are the only laser surgical practice in El Paso to have a fixed IFS and VISX Star S4 IR platform and also offer treatment with the Alcon Allegretto for expanded level of customization for our patients.
The flexibility offered by having this array of technology allows us to tailor the procedure best suited to an individual. This ensures the greatest possibility of excellent results while remaining committed to patient safety first.
Other practices may use older bladed technology routinely on patients and rotate surgeons in from other cities only on the day of surgery or may use deceptive pricing practices that don’t reflect what you’re actually going to pay. Our surgeons are committed to El Paso and to bringing the best our community.
Before undergoing surgery, we encourage you to familiarize yourself with the procedures available for correcting your vision. As with any surgery, there are always considerations that need to be made before proceeding. We encourage you to learn as much as you can before making your decision.
Dedicated to providing El Paso and Southern New Mexico with world-class, state-of-the-art technology and personalized service.
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