Laser Vision Correction

Refractive surgery, or LASIK, is an option for vision correction without needing to wear glasses or contact lenses.

Traditionally, glasses or contact lenses provided the source of correction for imperfect vision. Glasses are relatively trouble-free and many people regard them as a fashion accessory to enhance their appearance. With the advent of newer technology, and people’s intense desire to be free of glasses or contact lenses, ophthalmic surgeons and engineers developed surgical alternatives for refractive correction.

Today, procedures such as LASIK, PRK, LASEK, and EPI-LASIK are the procedures of choice for laser vision correction using the excimer laser. The latest state-of-the-art FDA approved lasers are equipped with the most recent software upgrades, active eye trackers, iris registration, and large pupil capability. Most importantly, newest lasers feature “custom cornea” wavefront technology to achieve the most personalized vision correction.

What is laser vision correction?

Laser vision correction encompasses several procedures (LASIK, Custom LASIK, PRK, LASEK, and EPI-LASIK), which utilize the excimer laser to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. During the treatment, the laser’s cool ultraviolet light removes a small amount of corneal tissue to reshape the corneal surface in order to allow light to be more sharply focused onto the retina, thereby improving vision.

Patients considering laser vision correction should have a stable refraction for at least one year. There is no upper age limit. After the procedure, eyeglass correction for distance vision will not generally be required, although some patients may desire them for certain activities, such as driving at night. If you are in the age range where bifocals or “readers” are normally required for close vision (40+ years of age), you will need reading glasses following the procedure. This condition is known as presbyopia and is part of the natural aging process. Presbyopia currently cannot be corrected with laser vision correction, unless one eye is adjusted for near vision. This is called “monovision.”


Laser Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK), combines the precision of the excimer laser delivery system with the benefits of a sophisticated surgical instrument known as a microkeratome or the femtosecond laser. First, by utilizing either a microkeratome or the femtosecond laser, a thin layer of cornea, or corneal flap, is created and lifted up. Then, ultraviolet light energy pulses from the excimer laser to reshape the exposed cornea with accuracy up to 0.25 microns. By adjusting the pattern of the laser beam, it is possible to treat nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. After the cornea has been reshaped by the laser, the flap is replaced in its original position.

Because of the cornea’s extraordinary natural bonding qualities, sutures are not required. The entire procedure takes less than 15 minutes for both eyes. LASIK is an FDA approved procedure.

Advanced Surface Procedures – PRK / LASEK / EPI-LASIK

Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK), LASEK, and EPI-LASIK are methods of surgically reshaping your cornea using the excimer laser. They are called “advanced surface procedures.” They are very similar to LASIK, but no corneal flap is created.

Surface procedures are generally performed for patients who are not good candidates for LASIK because of a thin or mildly irregularly shaped cornea. The side effects, risks and complication rate are about the same for LASIK and the surface procedures. Fortunately, all of the procedures are safe and effective. However, every surgery carries some inherent risk.

In PRK, after removing the surface cells (epithelium) of the cornea, the excimer laser is applied to the surface of the cornea making the central zone flatter in the case of nearsightedness, and steeper in the case of farsightedness. The modified corneal contour is then able to focus light more precisely onto the retina, thereby reducing nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.

LASEK and EPI-LASIK are similar to PRK (but not similar to LASIK). In these advanced surface procedures, the superficial corneal cells (epithelium) are peeled back in a thin sheet. The excimer laser is applied to the cornea and the epithelial cell sheet is traditionally laid back down over the treated area. Some experienced ophthalmologists believe the eye heals faster if this sheet is not laid down but removed. Therefore, those surgeons do not lay the sheet back but allow the cornea to heal, similar to PRK.

The visual results of LASIK and the various surface procedures are the same. However, because the surface cells must become smooth, it takes about a month for the vision to become clear after a surface procedure.

If you are interested in refractive surgery, let your doctor at Livermore Optometry Group know during your comprehensive eye exam. Our doctors co-manage with your surgeon and offer pre- and post-operative care for refractive surgery.

Ph: 925-447-3883 | Fax: 925-447-2957


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Livermore Optometry Group

1800 Fourth Street,

Livermore, CA 94550

Phone. 925-447-3883

Fax. 925-447-2957