What is Refractive Surgery?
Refractive Surgery is a form of laser vision correction that reshapes the front surface of your cornea to improve the natural focus of the eye and eliminating the need for glasses or contact lenses. There are two common procedure done to achieve this outcome, LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) and PRK (photorefractive keratectomy). We use the latest technology to get you the best possible vision, including the Alcon Wavelight Ex 500 Excimer Laser which operates at 500Hz. This means that it checks the position of the eye 500 times a second, making it the most accurate and efficient device on the market for eye surgery.
Dr. Santora has performed over 20,000 refractive surgery procedures. He is one of the few US surgeons to hold an international post-doctoral refractive surgery fellowship under Dr. Roberto Zaldivar, an international authority on refractive surgery. In addition to his refractive surgery fellowship training under Dr. Zaldivar, he has completed courses under the world-renowned Lasik surgeons Charles Casebeer, Steven Wilson, Steven Slade, and Jean L’Esperance. He has traveled across the country teaching certification courses, and is a member of the International Society of Refractive Surgeons
Am I a candidate for Refractive Surgery
Consultations for refractive surgery are performed free of charge with no obligation to proceed with surgery. You must be at least 18, with a stable eyeglass prescription, in generally good systemic health with no history of eye diseases. During the consultation, you will receive a comprehensive eye health evaluation where we will determine if your eyes are healthy enough to proceed with surgery. Several measurements will be taken of your cornea including topography and thickness measurements to ensure we can achieve the optimal results. Refractive surgery is not for everyone. Your doctor will complete a thorough examination to determine if you are a good candidate and will go over the best option for you.
If you are a contact lens wearer, please remove your lenses 1 week prior to the consultation for soft lenses, 2 weeks for toric/multifocal lenses and 3 weeks for RGP lenses.
LASIK vs PRK
LASIK is the most popular form of refractive surgery and one of the most commonly performed procedures in the United States. It is an extremely effective outpatient procedure that can correct myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism. Over 96% of people are happy with their vision after LASIK. During LASIK the surgeon numbs the eye with drops and creates a thin flap of tissue on your cornea using a laser (femtosecond laser). The flap is lifted and a second laser (excimer laser) is utilized to ablate or reshape the inner layers of the cornea. The cornea flap is placed back into position where it will heal. LASIK is associated with very little pain and visual improvement is usually immediate or by the next day.
PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) is another type of refractive surgery, similar to LASIK, which can correct myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism by reshaping the cornea using a laser. During PRK the surgeon numbs the eye with drops and then removes the surface layer of your cornea. Although PRK is the predecessor to the more popular LASIK procedure, it is still commonly performed and offers advantages over LASIK for some patients. Recovery from PRK recovery usually takes a bit longer than recovery from LASIK eye surgery, and often times you will have a bandage contact lens in place while your eye heals.
The main difference between PRK and LASIK is that in LASIK surgery, a thin flap is created on the cornea to access the treatment area; whereas in PRK, the cornea’s surface layer is removed to expose the area and no flap is created. Both PRK and LASIK, use the excimer laser to reshape the deeper layers of the cornea which focuses light on the retina to allow for clear vision. Both procedures offer similar outcomes. Your doctor will go over which procedure is the best for you.
Potential Side Effects of Refractive Surgery
Some patients experience mild discomfort in the first 24 to 48 hours after surgery as well as some dryness which will improve with time. Refractive surgery may make pre-existing dry eye worse as well. Other side effects may include mild halos or glare around lights, especially at night. Other less common risks include infection, inflammation, or loss of best corrected vision.
Over or under correction is also rare but possible and may require the need for glasses or contact lenses. No one can guarantee you will be completely free from glasses or contacts after surgery even though most patients achieve this outcome. Even after successful surgery, your eyes may change over time which would require glasses, contacts, or additional surgery. Most patients over the age of 40 will require reading glasses.
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