Laser Vision Correction

A number of our ophthalmologists are highly experienced in helping patients to eliminate or reduce their need for the contacts and eyeglasses they use for nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism. We have done thousands of these procedures.

Our Minneapolis surgeons utilize the most advanced laser vision correction and refractive surgery techniques. In less than 15 minutes, they can alter the shape of the cornea to improve uncorrected vision. Laser vision correction procedures are highly effective. After their Minneapolis laser vision correction procedures, most patients no longer need contacts or eye glasses for distance vision.

The Eye Care Associates ophthalmologists perform most of their laser vision correction and LASIK surgeries at the renowned Phillips Eye Institute, which is an outstanding hospital dedicated to ophthalmic treatment and surgery located nearby at 24th and Park Avenue.

After surgery, the doctors and their staff personally attend and administer all postoperative care. At Eye Care Associates we strongly believe that surgeons provide the best postoperative care, which is why we make sure that they are present for this important stage of vision improvement and do not delegate this to outside co-managing doctors unless there is a geographic necessity.

PRK/Advanced Surface Ablation

PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) is a form of laser eye surgery used to precisely alter the shape of the cornea by removing a small amount of cells from the outer layer using an excimer laser. PRK surgery is extremely effective and can greatly improve your vision without cutting a corneal flap as is done with the LASIK procedure.

PRK Benefits – Our ophthalmologists have performed many thousands of laser vision correction procedures (PRK and LASIK) and they prefer wavefront guided PRK surgery (advanced surface ablation).

We believe it is the safest and best method of laser vision correction available today. PRK has the following advantages over LASIK:

  • Equal or slightly better visual outcomes than LASIK
  • Absence of corneal cutting, flap creation and weakening the cornea
  • The low incidence of complications related to creating a LASIK flap is avoided because there is no flap
  • Extremely low chance of serious complications; PRK has lower chance of serious complications than long term contact lens wear
  • Lack of dry eye symptoms induced by procedure
  • Over twenty years of follow up on earliest cases of PRK

Minneapolis Laser Vision Correction: LASIK

LASIK utilizes the excimer cool-beam laser to vaporize a small amount of corneal tissue beneath the surface of the cornea to reshape the cornea. LASIK is an acronym for Laser-Assisted in-Situ Keratomileusis. To perform LASIK, the surgeon uses an instrument called a microkeratome to create and fold back a thin layer of cornea. The creation of this flap takes about 30 seconds and the only sensation the patient feels is pressure and an occasional pinching of the eyelid.

A newer flap making method utilizes the femtosecond laser (Intralase) to create a flap. The laser can create a flap in less than a minute at a precise depth. However, it is still a procedure that as it involves creating a flap, it has a similar profile of risks and benefits as LASIK. As with the PRK procedure, advanced computer technology, including wavefront technology is used to adjust the laser for your particular prescription. You will be asked to look at a red blinking target light for a short time while the doctor watches your eye through a microscope The same excimer laser which is used with the PRK procedure, the VISX S4 laser, is equipped with a special tracking device that helps to center the laser on the proper position over your eye and follows your eye even if it moves.

The laser light pulses will then painlessly remove the tissue. You'll hear a steady clicking sound as the laser is operating. The higher your prescription, the more time the surgery will take. The surgeon has full control of the laser and can turn it off at any time.

The thin flap of corneal tissue is folded back into its original position where it bonds after several minutes of drying. There are no stitches required. The entire procedure takes 10 or 15 minutes and the only anesthetic required is a numbing anesthetic eye drop. Since only the edge around the thin layer of corneal tissue is needed to heal, the visual recovery is rapid and patients report very little post-operative discomfort or pain. This discomfort usually dissipates in a few hours. The return of vision is rapid, and 80 to 90% of the visual recovery may be present by the next day. Antibiotic and cortisone eye drops are used for about a week. Most patients return to work the next day.

As with any surgical procedure, there are risks and complications. In LASIK, the most serious risks relate to the creation of the thin flap of cornea. Most of these problems can be managed but loss of significant vision is possible.

While LASIK is associated with a number of intraoperative and postoperative complications it's important to note that, according to most studies, the incidence of severe, vision-threatening complications is less than 1%. Other less serious complications can occur in up to 5% of people who receive LASIK. Almost all LASIK complications, including the serious ones, can be treated and usually resolve within several months of surgery. Rarely, LASIK can cause permanent problems.

The assessment found that serious complications that result in permanent visual loss occur rarely with LASIK, but side effects such as dry eyes, nighttime starbursts and reduced contrast sensitivity occur more frequently.

For a detailed discussion of PRK and LASIK, please click here.

The ophthalmologists at Eye Care Associates would like to help as many people as possible enjoy good eyesight. Laser vision correction allows them to offer that opportunity to you.