LASIK: A Good Procedure Gets Better
Submitted by Dr. Dean Dornic on Tue 08/02/2011 - 11:50
LASIK has it’s roots in a procedure first performed over 50 years ago. A Columbian ophthalmologist described performing a procedure termed “keratomileusis” or corneal reshaping procedure to correct extreme amounts of nearsightedness using a bladed microkeratome and a lathe. Others began performing the procedure and refined it with better instrumentation and techniques to yield better results and improved safety. Eventually the excimer laser was introduced to replace the lathe in the reshaping part of the procedure and the term LASIK (laser assisted in-situ keratomilieusis) was applied to the “new” procedure. With the improved precision brought about by the excimer laser came wider acceptance of the procedure and eventual FDA approval.
As with most things in medicine, continued improvements and refinements have taken place. Two of the bigger refinements were the addition of wavefront technology to improve the final optics of the reshaped cornea and the introduction of a second laser: the femtosecond laser (IntraLase). Today’s LASIK procedure is far advanced from earlier generation procedures. Outcomes are improved with higher levels of 20/20 vision, lower levels of side-effects such as night vision difficulties and a safety profile that surpasses that of contact lens wear.
If you are contemplating LASIK or any other vision correction procedure, you should not presume that you will automatically benefit from all the refinements that have taken place. Upgrading and replacing equipment is an expensive proposition and some doctors and LASIK centers may not be willing to invest in new technology. That puts the responsibility on you, the patient, to investigate and determine if you are comfortable with the technology to be used in your procedure. If you have made the decision that improvements in the LASIK procedure have now made it a viable option for you, it is up to you to determine whether you, in fact, will be receiving this better procedure.