New Hartford Eyecare is an affiliate of The TLC Laser Center (tlcvision.com) in Albany. We have selected The TLC Laser Center, Dr. Michael Belin and Dr. Robert Schultze because of their experience and dedication to individualized patient care. Drs. Ohlbaum, Waterman, and Van Slyke have partipated in numerous continuing education classes in pre and post-operative refractive surgery care.
If you are interested in vision correction surgery, our doctors will explain wich if any refractive surgery is suitable or recommended for your prescription. They will also be able to provide complete pre and post-operative care including corneal topography and pachymetry (corneal thickness measurement).
LASIK is the most commonly performed vision correction surgery in the United States and worldwide. In this procedure, a thin flap is made with a microkeratome blade, the excimer laser is applied to change the shape of the cornea, and then the flap is replaced. A newer type of LASIK called IntraLase uses a laser rather than a blade to create the flap. The laser creates a smoother, thinner, and more consistently uniform flap compared with the microkeratome blade resulting in fewer flap complications and sharper vision. PRK uses the same type of laser, but does not require a corneal flap to be made. For most patients, LASIK and PRK will provide equivalent results, but patients with higher prescriptions and hyperopes (farsighted individuals) tend to do better with LASIK. LASIK is much more popular because it allows quicker healing, quicker recovery of vision, and less post-operative pain. There are certain conditions, however, that will make PRK a better choice for some patients.
While LASIK and PRK are generally considered to be safe procedures, as with any surgery there are always risks of complications. LASIK has some risks of complications related to the flap, but PRK has risks of corneal haze and infection. Overall, the risk of complications is low, about 3-5%. Some complications can be corrected, some resolve over time on their own, and some can result in permanent damage such as less clear vision than prior to surgery (with eyeglasses).
Common expected side effects include dry eyes and glare problems, both of which typically resolve after 3-6 months, although it is possible that they can persist longer.
Moderate to highly myopic (nearsighted) patients (-2 to –8) with mild to moderate astigmatism (<3 dioptors) tend to be the best candidates for refractive surgery. Hyperopes (farsighted) patients tend to have less accurate results. Patients with very strong prescriptions of any type will not have as accurate results. Keep in mind that that the laser will be programmed to correct your distance prescription, not your reading prescription. Therefore, if you are over 40 you will probably need reading glasses after refractive surgery.
It is important to realize that each patient's eyes heal differently, and therefore it is common for patients to end up still slightly nearsighted or farsighted after surgery. In other words, while you can certainly expect to see much better than you did before surgery (without your eyeglasses), there is no guarantee of 20/20 vision. Some patients that can see 20/20 after surgery still complain that their vision is not quite as sharp as with their glasses prior to surgery. Most patients will be able to see well enough to do most daily activities without eyeglasses after surgery, but it is possible that you may still need to wear eyeglasses (with a milder prescription) for certain critical vision tasks such as driving or driving at night.
While the vast majority of patients are very happy with the results of their refractive surgery, if you approach this with unrealistic expectations of "perfect vision" you could be disappointed.
If you are interested in refractive surgery, please call our office or fill out the on-line form to schedule an appointment. At the conclusion of your appointment the doctor will be able to tell you which if any procedure is appropriate for your prescription and visual needs. If you decide to proceed, all of your exam information can be forwarded to TLC Laser Center.