If you no longer want to wear glasses or contact lenses to treat your nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism, LASIK surgery is a great alternative. Rather than simply compensating for the corneal aberrations that cause these lower-order refractive errors, LASIK actually corrects the corneal aberrations, thereby providing patients with clear vision.
To be considered a good candidate for LASIK, patients must meet a number of requirements, including meeting the corneal thickness guidelines.
Nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism are caused when the shape of the cornea is too flat, too round, or irregular. When the eyes are processing images, this can result in light being directed in front of or behind the retina, rather than directly on it.
During LASIK surgery, a flap incision is created in the outer, epithelial, layer of the cornea. With the flap open, the surgeon can then reshape the stromal layers of the cornea to achieve the precise shape upon which light can directly reflect off the retina and produce clear vision.
Because LASIK surgery requires the creation of a LASIK flap, patients must have a sufficiently thick cornea. If the patient does not have enough corneal thickness to support the flap, they would be more likely to experience LASIK complications such as corneal ectasia, a bulging of the cornea that can actually worsen vision. Since patient safety is the priority, LASIK should not be performed on thin or weak corneas.
Corneal Thickness Guidelines
After LASIK surgery, the patient should have a minimum of 250 microns of corneal thickness remaining. The surgery involves:
In addition, I’ll measure the degree of your refractive error and the amount of prescription power needed to correct it. Then, I’ll determine how much tissue will need to be removed to achieve improved vision. For example, if you have a -3.00-prescription power, 36 to 42 microns of corneal tissue would be removed during your LASIK surgery. Add this to the 160 microns for the corneal flap, plus the 250 microns that must be remaining after surgery, and you would need at least 452 microns of corneal tissue before LASIK to be considered a good candidate for surgery with a -3.00-prescription power. For most patients, the cornea is 540 to 550 microns thick.
Patients with natural thin corneas, and those with high prescription powers may not have sufficient corneal thickness for LASIK surgery. However, these patients may be good candidates for PRK surgery.
This technology uses computerized imaging technology to create a very detailed three-dimensional “map” of the patient’s cornea to program the excimer laser for reshaping the cornea. Wavefront technology can measure very small abnormalities in the surface of the cornea, taking 200 measurements, to achieve more effective and safer vision correction than conventional LASIK.
Contoura Vision Topography Guided LASIK technology enables the computer to create an individualized treatment algorithm that controls the extremely precise laser machine.
Because of this precision and accuracy, Contoura Vision Topography Guided LASIK offers the following distinct advantages:
Easier night driving, with decreased incidence of haloes and starburst
Lessened light sensitivity and glare
Better reading speed and clarity
Better quality of vision than glasses or contact lenses
Lesser higher order aberrations, and greater visual comfort
Because the creation of the flap is so precisely controlled in the newer versions of LASIK, the chances of corneal complications, even in thin corneas are significantly reduced. There is sufficient evidence to say that this provides the patient a better quality of vision and quality of life, along with better post-operative comfort.