Vision Correction Options
Until recently, glasses and contacts were the only options available to correct refractive conditions (described in Understanding Your Vision). With the latest advances in Excimer Lasers and surgical procedures there are several other options available to correct vision problems.
The Excimer Laser is a computer-controlled laser used by the surgeon to delicately sculpt the cornea for better focusing. The Excimer Laser is ideal for eye surgery because it uses a “cold” or non-thermal light beam, thereby virtually eliminating the possibility of thermal damage to the surrounding tissue. The two most common procedures that are performed with the Excimer Laser are LASIK and PRK.
VISX excimer laser system
Laser Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK) is a procedure that reshapes the internal part of the cornea. This procedure uses an instrument called a microkeratome, or a special laser (IntraLase™), to lift up a thin layer of the cornea, called a “flap,” followed by the sculpting of the internal cornea underneath the flap using the Excimer Laser. After the tissue has been reshaped, the flap is replaced in the original position. LASIK is a very short outpatient procedure and can be used to treat low, moderate, and high levels of nearsightedness and astigmatism, as well as low to moderate levels of farsightedness, with our without astigmatism.
PRK: Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK) utilizes the precision and accuracy of the Excimer Laser to sculpt microscopic layers of tissue from the surface of the cornea, changing its shape and allowing light rays to focus more precisely on the retina. For many treatments, the amount of tissue removed from the corneal surface is less than the thickness of a human hair. PRK is a very short outpatient procedure and can be used to treat nearsightedness, farsightedness, plus any astigmatism that may be present.
Lasers at UCSF – UCSF surgeons have available to them multiple laser techniques and platforms that allow them maximum flexibility in selecting the very best treatment for a given patient:
VISX STAR-S4 – ActiveTrak™ WaveScan System
VISX STAR-S4 – ActiveTrak™
The VISX STAR-S4 is approved by the FDA to treat a wide range of prescriptions, and is used to treat hyperopia, astigmatism, and high myopia up to 14 diopters. We currently perform custom, wavefront-guided LASIK and PRK to treat myopia, hyperopia and mixed astigmatism on the VISX STAR-S4 Excimer Laser System.
Wavelight (TM) Alcon EX500: The Wavelight EX500 is approved by the FDA to treat a wide range of prescriptions, and is used to treat hyperopia, astigmatism, and high myopia up to 9 diopters. We currently perform wavefront-optimised LASIK and PRK to treat myopia, hyperopia and mixed astigmatism on the Wavelight EX500 Excimer Laser System.
FS200 Femtosecond Laser: The FS200™ femtosecond laser allows our surgeons to peform “blade-free” all-laser LASIK. The femtosecond laser uses small, high-frequency pulses of laser energy to create the corneal flap. This allows the surgeon to create the corneal flaps with extreme precision. Click here to learn more about FS200™ “blade-free” vs. traditional Microkeratome Procedures to create the LASIK flap.