Advanced Surface Ablation
Advanced Surface Ablation uses laser treatment on the surface of the cornea after removing the surface cells (called the epithelium) which then regrow. For the painless procedure of advanced surface laser ablation, a drop of anesthetic is placed upon the eye followed by removal of the surface epithelium (cells) using the laser, alcohol, or scraping gently (or a combination of techniques). The “cold” laser called an Excimer laser then adjusts the focus of the eye to correct vision by changing the front curve on the cornea to be flatter for nearsightedness and steeper for farsightedness. To correct astigmatism, the laser changes the curves on the cornea to make light focus simultaneously on the retina of the back of the eye. This is bloodless with no cutting. The laser pulses correct curvature with an accuracy of one-millionth of an inch. Best uncorrected vision may improve more slowly with advanced surface ablation and there may be more discomfort for the first 48-72 hours than with LASIK. However, most of our patients have no discomfort because diluted topical anesthetic drops are used until the epithelial cells have healed under a bandage soft contact lens which is placed on the cornea at the end of the laser treatment. Usually, the contact lens is removed in the office and the anesthetic drops stopped about 72 hours after treatment.