Laser vision correction is over 15 years old. There are millions of people who have had it done with a very small number of serious complications. The founding principles on which laser vision correction was built are nearly 50 years old.
Experience is important. However, once a physician has passed the learning curve (400-500 cases), what becomes of greater is the quality of the surgeon. In other words, individualized, personal care by a meticulous surgeon is extremely important. Laser vision correction is surgery and should be viewed as such, just as you would any other surgery.
Both LASIK and ASA have certain benefits, making neither superior to the other. The right type of vision correction surgery is different for everyone, and should be discussed and determined by you and your physician. For more information, see our Vision Correction Surgery Section.
All LASIK procedures involve making an incision that creates a corneal flap. Flaps made using an Intralase laser or newer fourth generation microkeratomes have a very good safety profile in general. However, making a flap introduces a degree of risk not seen with other surgical procedures. In addition, the Intralase may infrequently cause a poorly understood syndrome of severe light sensitivity termed GAPS. While GAPS is uncommon it can persist for up to months.
Each laser used in laser vision correction has its own strengths. Certain lasers, as well as other equipment, offer significant advantages over others. This is one of the reasons costs of treatment can vary.
Once your eyes are treated they can still change although they rarely revert back to where they started. We generally look for a stable vision prescription prior to performing any laser procedure to ensure there will be little change in the years to come.
A “mono-vision” treatment can reduce the dependency on reading glasses if you are an appropriate candidate. However, most patients after age 40 use reading glasses regardless if they have Laser procedure or not.
While the FDA approves a certain range of laser vision correction, for some patients treatment would not be safe. You and your eye surgeon should discuss your particular situation to decide what can be done safely.
The reality is more than 99% of all laser vision correction technologies are available worldwide. What sets the United States apart is clinical trials that are reliable and help objectively define what is good or bad practice. The whole world looks to our trials for guidance.
Dry eyes are common after most laser procedures, and are mild for most patients. ASA/PRK, however, causes significantly less dryness in comparison to other procedures, such as LASIK. Severe dry eyes are a contraindication to having laser vision correction, and should be addressed prior to the procedure