Traditional vs. Custom LASIK: Understand Your Options

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In the past several decades, LASIK surgery, or laser in-situ keratomileusis, has revolutionized vision correction. This procedure has been the most widely performed elective surgery for over ten years. Millions of people have undergone LASIK to reduce their dependence on glasses and contact lenses, improving both their eyesight and their quality of life. Dr. Jerry Maida has been involved in the evolution of LASIK surgery since the very beginning; he was one of the first doctors in Florida to use the Summit Excimer Laser to perform PRK (the predecessor to LASIK) and LASIK. Today, he improves thousands of patients’ eyesight every year using some of the most sophisticated techniques: individualized wavefront LASIK. In the following blog post, we explain the particulars of traditional vs. custom LASIK and how our Jacksonville ophthalmological practice can help you enjoy clearer eyesight.

The Traditional LASIK Procedure

LASIK improves your vision by modifying your corneal shape so that light can enter your eye at a more ideal angle. This procedure corrects the most common refractive errors, including myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism (distorted vision due to irregular corneal shape). During this surgery, Dr. Maida will use a laser to create an incision in your cornea, lift it as a flap, and use a different laser to reshape your underlying tissue.

Adjusting your corneal anatomy requires great precision. We calibrate our lasers according to your particular needs and refractive errors. Traditional LASIK uses the data collected from a typical optometric exam, which involves reading a Snellen chart and using special instruments to assess corneal shape. While this information is technically sufficient to perform LASIK, using more advanced diagnostic methods can provide superior outcomes.

Our Sophisticated Planning Technology

Dr. Maida performs custom LASIK, which involves using innovative tools to more accurately map your corneal structure. To plan your personalized procedure, we utilize:

  • OrbScan. This computerized device beams a special lighted pattern onto your eyes and measures their refraction to map their topography. OrbScan is the only tool of its kind that can measure the posterior (back) regions of your cornea.
  • EyeSys. This piece of equipment functions similarly to the OrbScan machine. It creates a model of your cornea by evaluating how your eyes refract rings of concentric circles.
  • Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT). This technique involves passing specific light wavelengths through the eye to create a cross section of your cornea one to two millimeters beneath its surface.
  • LADARvision Wavefront Technology. This is an aberrometer, named because it can capture information about tiny irregularities in your corneal tissue. LADARvision transmits flat waves of light to your eye and measures how they bounce back from your cornea. A healthy cornea would refract flat waves back, while abnormal tissue creates distortions. Dr. Maida can then use the wavelengths to construct a precise corneal map for your custom LASIK.

After performing these tests, Dr. Maida will use his enhanced understanding of your unique corneas to design an individualized corneal modification plan. These assessments allow us to identify not just common refractive errors (myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism), but what are called “higher-order aberrations,” which are more nuanced defects that can also affect your ability to see. We will input this information into our LADARvision laser so that it can more successfully modify your tissue during the second half of your surgery.

Benefits of Custom LASIK

Using state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment planning technology to provide custom LASIK offers distinctive advantages over the traditional procedure. Custom LASIK can:

  • Reduce your risk for complications such as light sensitivity
  • Enhance your ability to see contrast
  • Improve your chances for enjoying 20/20 eyesight or better
  • Limit your risk for losing your “best-corrected vision,” which refers to the sharpest eyesight you can achieve with visual aids prior to surgery
  • Help patients who have dealt with unsatisfactory results from previous refractive error surgery

Simply put, custom LASIK is the next advance in laser refractive surgery. Dr. Maida and our team can further detail the potential benefits of custom LASIK for your case at your initial consultation.

Contact Maida Custom Vision Today

If you want to enhance your vision or suffer from higher-order aberrations you’d like to correct, contact our ophthalmology practice today to find out more or schedule a consultation.