When you think of laser vision correction, LASIK may be the first – and perhaps the only – technique that comes to mind. However, custom Advanced Surface Ablation (ASA), sometimes referred to as PRK, is another method that may be a superior choice for some patients. Dr. Steven J. Dell, our award-winning ophthalmologist, performs a comprehensive range of vision enhancement options at our practice, including both custom ASA and LASIK. During your initial consultation, he can help you determine which approach will be best for your needs and goals.
Custom ASA is also known as “flap-less” laser vision correction. As with LASIK, custom ASA reshapes the cornea with an excimer laser to achieve clearer vision. Both techniques can address nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and astigmatism. The main difference between the two procedures is that LASIK involves creating a thin flap on the cornea to access the treatment area. Custom ASA, in contrast, requires removing the very fine outer layer of the cornea, called the epithelial layer, to perform the operation. This layer will then regenerate during the healing process. There is no blade used during this surgery.
If you have thin corneas, custom ASA is generally recommended over LASIK. This is because flap-based techniques like LASIK require a certain level of corneal thickness to successfully complete. Additionally, if you’ve previously had LASIK surgery, your cornea may now be too thin to undergo a second operation. Recovery following custom ASA typically will be slower than with LASIK, although the end results should be comparable. You may experience hazy vision for a few days, and your final outcome may take a few weeks to a few months to achieve.
Many patients choose custom ASA, and this method may be the best option for your vision care needs. Dr. Dell will be happy to discuss your goals during your initial consultation. Contact us today for more information or to schedule a complimentary screening.