Laser Refractive Surgery
Our laser refractive surgeons are all fellowship-trained corneal specialists. The Refractive service offers patients the most advanced, premiere eximer laser technology including LASIK and PRK procedures. The Alcon WaveLight EX500 excimer laser is known for its unparalleled outcomes and variety of treatments available for individual patients, while the VisuMax Femtosecond Laser allows for precise flap creation and has eliminated the need for any blade use during the LASIK procedure. It is essential to determine whether you are a good candidate for laser refractive surgery. To ensure that you benefit from safe refractive surgery, we will take the time to assess your risk and proper candidacy. Our surgeons also provide specialized care to patients referred to us who have experienced complications resulting from previous laser refractive surgery.
LASIK (laser in situ keratomileusis) is the most popular refractive procedure due to its outstanding outcomes and rapid, pain free visual recovery. PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) or advanced surface ablation is a similar laser procedure that is also a great choice, especially for patients who are not ideal LASIK candidates. Both procedures are performed using the latest excimer laser technology to precisely reshape the cornea. Both procedures are also customized to provide each individual patient the best outcome.
The USC Roski Eye Institute offers innovative and laser corneal and lens-based refractive surgery for the correction of refractive errors in the eye. Conditions treated include:
- Hyperopia (farsightedness)
- Myopa (near-sightedness)
LASIK stands for Laser Assisted in-Situ Keratomileusis. This breakthrough procedure uses advanced laser technology to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. Through the use of this technology, we can now correct problems with both distance and reading vision, and thereby reduce or eliminate one’s dependence on glasses and contact lenses. In LASIK, the surgeon uses two separate lasers: the femtosecond laser to create a precise flap and the excimer laser to reshape the cornea beneath the flap. Once complete, the flap is put back into position without sutures and heals in place. Visual recovery is rapid and there is minimal discomfort. The vast majority of patients can return to their daily activities the day following surgery.
In PRK (also called advanced surface ablation), the surgeon uses the excimer laser for corneal reshaping, but treatment is performed on the surface of the eye instead of underneath a corneal flap. The surgeon removes the corneal surface cell layer (epithelium). This cell layer regrows over the first few days. A contact lens is typically applied to aid with comfort and healing over the first few days, and the eyes may be light sensitive and have a burning sensation during this time.
Imagine reading without glasses!
Choosing Between LASIK and PRK
Long-term results are identical between LASIK and PRK for good candidates, but LASIK heals quicker and with less early discomfort than PRK. Most patients who are good candidates for either procedure opt for LASIK due to these comfort advantages. However, some patients are better candidates for PRK, especially those with thinner corneas or for individuals who have had previous corneal surgery.
Zeiss VisuMax Femtosecond Laser
The USC Roski Eye Institute Difference – Custom Refractive Treatments
All laser vision corrections performed at USC are customized for each patient. A variety of specific treatments are available, including wavefront-optimized (specifically designed to minimize glare and halos), wavefront-guided (best for patients with significant corneal aberrations) and topography-guided (for less regular corneas). The best procedure for each patient is determined through an exhaustive evaluation and detailed discussion with the surgeon.
At the USC Roski Eye Institute, we pride ourselves on providing the foremost treatments proven to provide the best vision outcomes with the least risk of complications for all of our patients. We do not perform “basic” or conventional treatments at USC, as these have proven to be less effective at providing the best vision for our patients. Similarly, we no longer use mechanical microkeratomes; all LASIK procedures are blade free and all laser surgeries use a femtosecond laser for flap creation.
Frequently Asked LASIK Questions