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Dr. Weiss Explains -Why I consider LASIK a cosmetic procedure
Refractive surgery, which began years ago with radial keratotomy, has advanced to the point where precise and predictable lasers perform every aspect of the procedure.
And with the new Z-LASIK procedure, it’s safer and more patient friendly than ever before. Years ago I was invited to present my thoughts on the timing of the procedures in patients desiring both LASIK and blepharoplasty. I gave a great deal of thought about the similarities between these two elective procedures. Thinking back on my unique experience of being an expert in both LASIK and blepharoplasty, my LASIK patients seemed to be as thrilled about their cosmetic improvement without glasses as they were about their new clear vision! I also remembered that many LASIK patients, having thrown away their glasses, desired cosmetic eyelid surgery to improve areas that were previously hidden by spectacles.
Even now, a fair amount of my blepharoplasty patients want to ‘show-off’ their eyes by eliminating the need for glasses! So, because of the extreme safety and accuracy of LASIK in recent years, I consider laser vision correction to have a significant cosmetic component.
In a short time, laser vision correction has become one of the most patient-pleasing and effective procedures in all of medicine. It is certainly one of the most fulfilling and gratifying procedures to be able to perform from a surgeon’s perspective, because the results are so uniformly good, and the procedure is so quick and painless. In fact, at Weiss Cosmetic & Laser Procedures the results have become so routinely predictable that we consider LASIK to be another type of cosmetic procedure – with added benefits!
Why trust Dr. Weiss to perform your LASIK eye surgery?
Weiss Cosmetic & Laser Procedures offers the safest, most accurate techniques and instrumentation available in this rapidly advancing field. Our patients also benefit from the years of experience and training of Richard Weiss, M.D., our Medical Director:
- One of the first surgeons to offer the Ziemer femtosecond laser – currently the most advanced form of “all-laser” LASIK
- Has been performing vision correction surgery since 1996
- Conducted original laser vision correction studies at the Beckman Laser Institute (University of California, Irvine) that led to U.S.FDA approval of advanced more accurate method
- Has educated other surgeons through presentations at national and international meetings
- Has invented and developed devices that are being used to make these procedures more accurate
Making the decision to have LASIK eye surgery
In most cases, laser vision correction will completely eliminate your dependence on glasses and contact lenses which many patients say gives them a wonderful feeling of freedom. When performed by an experienced LASIK surgeon, like Dr. Weiss, the risks are minimal and the rewards high.
LASIK eye surgery is not, however, a decision to be made lightly. This website is designed to answer most of your questions (check out our FAQ section) and help you understand more about the procedure and the conditions it corrects. It is not intended to take the place of a personal consultation. To find out if you are indeed a good candidate for laser vision correction, please schedule a consultation with Dr. Weiss.
How the eye works
The eye is like a camera and the inside back surface of the eye – the thin membrane of the photoreceptive retina -is like the film. The following common conditions can cause the image to focus in front of or behind the retina.
In farsightedness (or hyperopia), the shape of the cornea is flatter than normal. The flatness causes light to be focused behind the retina. This, in turn, causes near (and occasionally far) images to appear blurry.
With astigmatism, the front of the eye is oval-shaped, like a football. This causes light to be focused at multiple points instead of one point on the retina. This results in a certain degree of visual distortion or blurriness at distance and near. Many times, astigmatism makes it difficult or impossible for people to wear contact lenses.
How Does Laser Vision Correction Improve Nearsightedness, Farsightedness, And Astigmatism?
To put it simply, a cool beam of light from the laser gently reshapes the surface of the cornea, making it more like a normal eye. Light can then come into sharp focus at the back of the eye, on the retina, making images clear. First approved by the FDA was photo-refractive keratectomy (PRK), in which the laser acts on the surface of the eye. More recently, LASIK has become popular, where the same laser reshapes the cornea from under a protective corneal flap.
The LASIK (Laser In-Situ Keratomileusis) Procedure
Click to view a video of Dr. Weiss describing the latest in laser vision correction
Since the laser treatment is performed within the cornea and not on the surface, the visual recovery is extremely fast (in most cases literally overnight) and there is minimal discomfort. Most people can return to work and even safely drive themselves to the doctor’s office for a routine check-up the very next day.
- LASIK eye surgery can treat near-sightedness, far-sightedness and astigmatism
- The results are more predictable for lower and moderate amounts of refractive error
- In cases of occasional over- or under-correction, a subsequent enhancement procedure may be performed at which time the flap is folded back again and the laser treatment ‘fine tunes’ the cornea, typically taking less than ten seconds
- Substantial visual recovery occurs overnight
Dr. Weiss Explains -How did I become a noted expert in LASIK?
Because of my interest in lasers and improving vision I began performing RK in anticipation of FDA approval of laser vision correction in 1996.
About this time I was invited to perform a delicate ophthalmic plastic surgery procedure on then-President Nelson Mandela. I’m delighted to say that it was successful. Here’s where the chance comes in. The surgeon who invited me to South Africa was at the forefront of laser vision correction (which was already being performed in South Africa but not in the U.S.) and was working on an invention to make the procedure safer and more accurate.
Thus began our partnership in developing this device for commercial use and FDA approval. I performed the animal studies at Beckman Laser Institute at UCI that were submitted to the FDA prior U.S. approval. It was such an advance in safety that for a period of time, the use of this device was mandated by the FDA for all laser vision procedures performed in the U.S. with the VISX laser. It was an exciting time during which I was invited to make many presentations at international meetings.
This also led me to invent a device of my own, the Weiss Vertexometer, which was commercialized and for a time was needed to get the most accurate visual results. Thus, my training and experience in oculoplastic surgery indirectly led to my expertise in laser vision correction.
With advances in refractive surgery, the need for both devices has dramatically declined, but my interest in improving vision remains. I am especially excited to be able to offer the most advanced form of all-laser LASIK with the Ziemer femtosecond laser (which is currently – early 2012 – only available at about a dozen locations in all of North America.)
Future treatment options
Continual progress is being made in the field of refractive vision correction. If you should read anything of interest in a newspaper or magazine, or see something on this subject on television, we invite you to call us with any questions. It is desire and commitment to stay informed on any new developments that will improve our ability to help you care for your eyes or improve your vision.
If you would like to find out if you are a candidate for LASIK or learn more about laser vision correction, please contact us to schedule a private complimentary consultation.