Lasik & Phakic Iol | Refractory Surgery

For more than 25 years, eye surgeons have been correcting vision by altering the shape of the cornea, the outermost “window” of the eye, and thereby adjusting the focus of light rays that pass through resulting in clearer visual images. More recently, a laser originally designed for etching computer chips has been used to reshape the cornea by removing tiny amounts of corneal tissue.

The computer-controlled laser vaporizes tissue with each pulse achieving accuracy to within 0.25 microns or 0.0004 inches. The most technologically advanced, FDA-approved lasers available are in use through the Refractive Surgery Center.

How It Works

The cornea is about 550 microns thick - about the thickness of a credit card. After receiving a small amount of Valium to aid relaxation, the patient receives numbing eye drops. Our cornea specialists then use an instrument called a microkeratome that works much like a carpenter's plane to create a hinged protective flap. The Intralase® laser is a new blade-free technology that is also used to make the corneal flap. This flap is gently positioned out of the way so that the laser can be applied to the surface beneath.

A cool laser beam then gently and precisely removes a tiny amount of corneal tissue.

  • To treat nearsightedness, the cornea must be made flatter. This is accomplished by removing tissue from the center of the cornea.
  • To treat farsightedness, the central cornea must be made steeper. This is accomplished by directing the laser beam to remove tissue from around this area.
  • To treat astigmatism, the cornea must be made more spherical. By changing the pattern of the beam, tissue is removed in one direction more than the other.

The flap is then gently placed into position. The flap acts like its own bandage and begins to re-adhere immediately.

Creation of the flap is critical to the procedure and is where caution, care, training and experience count.

For more information on refractive surgery in the St. Louis area through Washington University Physicians or to make an appointment, please call 314-996-3300

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