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LASIK or Laser Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis is a surgical procedure that corrects myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism. LASIK is performed using a laser to gently reshape the cornea under a protective flap of tissue. Piedmont Better Vision uses only FDA approved laser technology for this procedure, including the Alcon Wavelight femtosecond and excimer laser systems.

The LASIK correction utilizes two proven surgical procedures to correct vision errors - the creation of the corneal flap and the use of the computer controlled excimer laser. The creation of the corneal flap was first introduced more than 30 years ago and has been successfully performed and perfected by surgeons worldwide. Using a femptosecond laser, a protective flap of corneal tissue is created which covers the area to be reshaped by the laser. This protective flap facilitates the rapid recovery of vision and reduces discomfort after surgery.

The second technique uses a computer-controlled excimer laser with a cold, ultraviolet beam to gently sculpt the cornea, removing microscopic amounts of tissue to change the shape and allow the eye to focus more clearly. The shape or curvature of the cornea affects the eyes focusing ability. In nearsighted patients, the laser will flatten the curvature of the cornea. In farsighted patients, the laser steepens the cornea. For patients with astigmatism, the laser will contour or make the cornea more spherical in shape.

During the LASIK procedure, the surgeon uses the femtosecond laser to create the protective flap. The flap is folded back to expose the middle layer of corneal tissue. The cold laser beam is then used to remove tissue to reshape your cornea based on your desired correction. The flap is then replaced in its original position. In most cases, stitches are not required. In some cases, the surgeon may elect to place a soft, thin contact lens on the cornea following surgery to protect the surface of the flap for the first day.



TECHNOLOGY

The Food and Drug Administration approves lasers and devices for a range treatment. Not all lasers and not all treatments are approved by the FDA as safe and effective. At Piedmont Better Vision, we provide an FDA approved laser with a full range of treatment capabilities, including wavefront optimized and customized wavefront correction. The customized correction allows the laser to program a treatment pattern directly matched to the optical aberrations in each individual eye. The goal of wavefront optimized or customized treatment is to provide a better quality of vision, to improve clarity and contrast sensitivity, and to reduce common LASIK side effects; namely glare, halo and reduced night vision

Not all 20/20 is the same. While 20/20 measures the quantity of vision, or how many lines of the Snellen chart can be read, it does not define the QUALITY of vision. The quality of vision is defined by crispness, clarity and contrast sensitivity. A wavefront aberrometer captures the distorted waves as they exit and compares them to a perfectly flat light wave indicative of a perfect optical system. This distortion is represented in a 3D map illustrating both lower order (myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism) and higher order (coma and spherical) aberrations. The wavefront device maps the unique distortions of a patient's optical system differently for each individual. These distortions are output as a 3D map, which becomes a guide for the laser, telling it where to reshape your cornea and correct your vision. Treatment with a wavefront optimized or customized laser pattern can result in a reduction of common LASIK side effects including degradation of night vision, glare, and halo and an overall improved quality of vision.

The excimer laser tracks eye movements during treatment. The tracker is fast enough to track even involuntary eye movements. Since activities as subtle as breathing can result in involuntary eye movements, the tracker provides patients with the confidence that comes with accurate placement of the laser beam. The laser system uses a very small and variable laser beam to reshape the cornea. The computer controls the beam's motion in an overlapping pattern that literally paints the treatment on the cornea like a fine brush.

Piedmont Better Vision surgeons utilize the Alcon FS200 femptosecond laser. This instrument is used to create the corneal flap in the LASIK procedure.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

On the day of surgery, your doctor will measure and dilate your eyes for the procedure. There are no needles or IVs. Your eyes will be anesthetized with numbing eye drops. You will be comfortably positioned on a bed beneath the laser. A small device called a lid speculum is used to keep your eyelids open and exposed to the doctor. A temporary shield will cover the eye that is not having surgery. Your doctor and the technicians will perform a pilot-style checklist with each patient to ensure the equipment is working properly and programmed correctly with the intended correction.

The doctor uses the femptosecond laser to create the protective flap. During the flap creation your vision will get very dim and you may feel some tightness around your eye. The flap is folded back to expose the middle layer of corneal tissue. The cold laser beam is then used to remove tissue to reshape your cornea based on your desired correction. During the treatment, you will hear a clicking sound of the laser pulses. You will be asked to look towards a blinking fixation light; however, the tracking system will follow any eye movement and allow the laser to accurately place the treatment. The use of the laser is generally about one minute. The flap is then replaced in its original position. In most cases, stitches are not required. In some cases, the surgeon may elect to place a soft, thin contact lens on the cornea following surgery to protect the surface of the flap for the first day. Overall, the surgery takes about 10 minutes.

You may be sensitive to light and have a feeling that something is in your eyes. Sunglasses may make you more comfortable. You may experience some discomfort. Your doctor will prescribe pain medication, although many patients prefer to take Tylenol, Ibuprofen or Aspirin. Antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, and lubricating drops should be used in the first 7 days.

Some patients experience small fluctuations or blurriness in their vision in the first week to a few months after surgery. Some patients experience their best-corrected vision in the first week after the surgery, while others may improve over time. This may depend on your original refractive error and the individual healing of your eye. You may resume your normal activities without restriction, as you feel comfortable.

Your doctor will discuss your expectations and the chances of success for your individual case during the preoperative consultation. The technology selected by the surgeons at Piedmont Better Vision was chosen to improve the safety, predictability and visual results for patients. We expect to not only improve your visual acuity (eye chart) but to reduce most of the aberrations in your vision, including aberrations caused by the LASIK procedure itself. For you this means a better quality of vision, improved clarity and contrast sensitivity, and a reduction or elimination of the glare and halos that can be seen following LASIK.

For prospective patients primarily concerned with the lowest possible cost of a procedure, remember that laser vision correction is performed on the cornea, and at Piedmont Better Vision, CORNEA specialists perform this CORNEAL procedure.  While numerous discount centers exist, if quality of outcome is most important for the only two eyes you have, we believe that Piedmont Better Vision is the better choice for your vision miracle due to our added expertise.

The cost of LASIK at Piedmont Better Vision includes laser flap creation, wavefront optimized or customized based treatment, and the professional services of a highly experienced corneal fellowship trained surgeon. Your surgeon is totally free to choose any of these high technology options based upon what is best for your outcome; all of these options are included in our comprehensive LASIK fee.

For prospective patients primarily concerned with the lowest possible cost of a procedure, we direct you to the advertising section of the Sunday Atlanta Journal Constitution where numerous discount centers can be easily located. On the other hand, if quality of outcome is most important, we believe that Piedmont Better Vision is your first choice.

A full pre-operative evaluation is a two hour process and includes a full dilated medical eye examination, corneal topography, three different determinations of your refractive state, wavefront measurements, and a consultation with your surgeon. You will receive an evlaution fee credit if, like nearly all suitable candidates, you decide to have LASIK at Piedmont Better Vision. There is also the option of no-cost technician screenings and attending our monthly seminars for potential LASIK candidates who are not yet at the full evaluation level of commitment to a vision correction procedure.

When comparing fees for LASIK among centers, always remember to compare apples to apples. Make sure to ask whether a quoted fee includes an experienced, peer-respected, fellowship-trained surgeon, the availability of femtosecond and wavefront optimized/customized all-laser treatment, and a center with the reputation and stability of Piedmont Better Vision. When all factors are considered, Piedmont Better Vision is not only your best choice for outcome but also an incredibly good value for the services provided.

Piedmont Better Vision surgeons have the honor of providing postgraduate training in Corneal Transplant and Refractive surgery to an outstanding, fully-trained ophthalmic surgeon every year. Part of this training includes LASIK surgery. For this purpose we offer a very limited number of surgeries to qualified patients that are willing to be included among the doctor's first year of refractive surgeries. These highly subsidized procedures are always supervised by one of our experienced LASIK surgeons. Again, the number of training procedures is extremely limited and reserved for patients with special circumstances.


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