Dr. Steven J. Dell of Dell Laser Consultants discusses what to expect after undergoing custom advanced surface abrasion treatment to reduce dependence on glasses and contacts.
Austin, TX — Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK), also called Advanced Surface Ablation (ASA), was the predecessor of LASIK eye surgery. This common laser vision correction method can address myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism. Dr. Steven J. Dell, an ophthalmologist in Austin, explains that, while there are many similarities between ASA and LASIK, there are a few notable differences as well. Recovery experience, he says, is one important example. To help patients researching laser eye surgery, he provided an informative resource on ASA.
Dr. Dell says that in simplified terms, ASA—including custom ASA, which utilizes a diagnostic optical mapping technology to customize treatment—is essentially a two-step process. He indicates that the first step will be removing the thin outer layer of epithelial cells on the cornea, and the second step will be utilizing the excimer laser to reshape the cornea to enhance visual acuity and clarity. This technique is often called “flap-less” since no corneal flap is made, whereas LASIK requires the creation of a corneal flap. While this approach appeals to many patients for numerous reasons, Dr. Dell says it is important to note that ASA requires a longer recovery than LASIK due to the fact that the epithelial layer takes time to regenerate following the operation.
LASIK recovery, Dr. Dell states, usually takes several hours to a few days, and many patients experience improved vision almost immediately. By contrast, he notes, final results from ASA can take a few weeks for eyesight to improve and up to three to six months for vision to become stable and completely clear. However, Dr. Dell says, if an individual has corneas that are too thin or other factors that may preclude them from LASIK candidacy, ASA may be an option.
Another consideration for many patients, Dr. Dell indicates, will be the cost of laser vision correction. He says that, ultimately, both LASIK and ASA will have similar prices. LASIK typically will have higher upfront fees, as two lasers are utilized rather than one; however, Dr. Dell explains that ASA requires more follow-up appointments, which will likely negate any savings from using fewer lasers. To help pay for the cost of treatment, he says many practices offer a range of financing options that can help to make laser eye surgery more affordable.
Dr. Dell believes that each laser vision correction technique has benefits and drawbacks, and the right one will depend on the individual’s unique needs and goals. He recommends patients interested in ASA speak with a board certified ophthalmologist who offers a comprehensive range of vision enhancement options to determine the best method for them.
About Steven J. Dell, MD
The Medical Director of Dell Laser Consultants, Dr. Dell is a board certified ophthalmologist practicing in Austin, Texas. In addition to being a Fellow of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, he is also a member of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery. Dr. Dell has been named a “Super Doctor” by Texas Monthly Magazine for five consecutive years. He has also invented several devices, including the Dell Astigmatism Marker™, the Dell Fixation Ring™, and the Dell PlumeSafe Ophthalmic Evacuation System™. Dr. Dell is available for interview upon request.
For more information about Dr. Dell and his practice, please visit dellvision.com and facebook.com/pages/Dell-Laser-Consultants/54727638417.
Dell Laser Consultants
901 Mopac Expressway South
Barton Oaks Plaza IV, Ste. 350
Austin, Texas 78746