LASEK | Refractive Surgery

Eye Surgeon | Houston | Dr. Richard YeeLASEK, PRK and AK fall under the category of refractive surgery – commonly referred to as laser eye and incisional surgery. Each of these procedures uses laser energy to reshape the cornea – the clear front part of the eye – to increase its focusing power. There are advantages and disadvantages to each. A comprehensive exam performed by Dr. Yee, utilizing state-of-the-art ophthalmic examination devices and tests, helps him determine which surgery is best suited to correct your vision problem

LASEK (laser epithelial keratomileusis)

LASEK is the newest of the laser eye surgeries. It combines the best features of PRK (no cut is made) and LASIK (similar visual outcomes). In this procedure, the outer layer of the eye (the epithelial cells) is gently lifted and folded over using a mild alcohol solution to loosen the cells. Laser energy is applied to reshape the cornea, the cell layer is repositioned and a soft contact lens is placed over the eye to help keep the cells in place while it heals over the course of 3 to 4 days.

Dr. Yee prefers to perform LASEK on most of his refractive patients because he feels it is the safest, most effective means to improved vision.

PRK – Photorefractive Keratotomy

PRK is the original laser eye surgery – approved by the FDA in 1995. Like LASEK, no cut is made to create a flap. Instead an excimer laser delivers cool ultraviolet light to the surface of the cornea, removing (“ablating”) very small bits of tissue in order to reshape it. By flattening (myopic – nearsighted) or steepening (hyperopic – farsighted) the corneal surface, light is able to hit the retina more precisely, resulting in clearer vision.

AK – Astigmatic Keratomy

People with astigmatism have uneven, football-shaped corneas. AK surgically corrects the problem by making incisions in a curved pattern in the far periphery of the cornea with a high-precision, diamond-headed scalpel. Think of these incisions as a “relaxation” technique that allows the cornea to “let go” in the elevated areas and assume a more spherical shape. The amount of “relaxation” is controlled by the number, positioning, length and depth of the incisions. The depth is usually 90% of the thickness of the cornea, as measured by a pachymeter. A pachymeter is a device that measures the thickness of the cornea with ultrasonic waves. The scalpel is pre-programmed with the depth number and the incisions are made under microscopic observation to ensure correct placement.

Contact Dr. Yee for a free consultation to learn more about refractive procedures and how he can change your life with less dependence on glasses and contact lenses.

photo by: laszlo-photo