Kaiser Permanente Laser Vision Correction
Laser Vision Correction
Choosing laser vision correction is a big step, and deciding which provider to trust with your refractive procedure is just as important. It can be difficult to sort through all the marketing and promotions to find the most qualified laser vision correction providers. When you choose Kaiser Permanente for LASIK or other laser eye surgery in Sacramento, San Francisco, Walnut Creek, or one of our other Northern California locations, you can feel confident knowing that you’ll be treated by an experienced, board-certified refractive surgeon familiar with your medical history and your unique needs. Your providers will be with you from the initial consultation and will remain involved with your care even after your procedure. You can be sure that you’ll be cared for by an excellent team of healthcare professionals dedicated to giving you a high-quality outcome.
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How Laser Vision Correction Works
Also known as refractive surgery, laser vision correction refers to elective eye operations that use a laser to reshape the cornea and change the way light is focused or “refracted” by the eye. The goal is simple: to reduce your dependence on glasses or contacts. If you are nearsighted, farsighted, or have astigmatism and feel that glasses or contacts limit your life, laser vision correction may be the right choice for you.
The most common laser vision correction procedures are done with an excimer laser. The excimer laser is a computer-guided tool that corrects vision by reshaping the cornea to improve the way light is focused (refracted) by the eye. Two major procedure types are available for treating low or moderate levels of nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism:
- Laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK)
- Surface ablation, including photorefractive keratectomy (PRK), epi-LASIK or LASEK (the latter 2 are variations on PRK)
In each of these procedures, the laser sculpts the cornea in about 30 to 60 seconds and the entire procedure takes approximately 15 minutes from start to finish.
In Their Own Words...
One month out of LASIK – and things are AMAZING! I can’t believe how well I can see.”— Michelle, LASIK patient in San Francisco Read More Patient Testimonials
The Excimer Laser
The excimer laser has been FDA approved for use in both surface ablation and LASIK. Because we contract with outside laser centers in Northern California, we have access to different lasers. This allows us to choose the laser best suited to treating your refractive error. Our lasers also employ an eye-tracking device, which provides an additional level of precision. This device allows the laser to continuously detect and compensate for eye movements while guiding the laser beam to keep it centered over the treatment area.
Laser Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK)
After your provider numbs your eyes with anesthetic drops, a femtosecond laser is used to create a flap without a blade. The surgeon carefully lifts the flap, and in 30 to 60 seconds, high-energy ultraviolet pulses from the excimer laser reshape the internal corneal layers. By adjusting the pattern of the laser beam, the surgeon can treat high levels of nearsightedness, moderate amounts of farsightedness and/or astigmatism.
After the cornea has been reshaped, the flap is gently replaced in its original position. Because of the cornea’s natural bonding qualities, healing is rapid and does not require stitches. Most people report moderate postoperative discomfort for the first 6 hours. Many people see a dramatic improvement in their vision within a day. For others, vision may fluctuate and continue to improve for several weeks.
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Monovision describes a situation where 1 eye is slightly myopic (nearsighted) and the dominant eye is fully corrected to provide good distance vision. For many people, the brain naturally adjusts to use the better eye for the appropriate visual task. The brain tends to become comfortable with monovision within 6 weeks. The nearsighted eye focuses well on objects at arm’s length and can be used for computer use, casual tasks in the kitchen and similar activities. The corrected, distance-sighted eye provides vision for driving, sports, or other activities that require distance vision.
For someone who has presbyopia, monovision reduces your dependence on distance glasses and near glasses. While you may be able to read a dinner menu, labels, and price tags, you may still need reading glasses for fine print and prolonged reading. Sometimes distance glasses may be required for daytime driving and distance glasses are best when night driving. People who have successfully simulated monovision through contact lenses may want to consider the option of monovision for laser refractive surgery.
Laser Vision Correction & Presbyopia
Once in our mid-40s and beyond, most of us need reading glasses or bifocals to read smaller print. This condition is called presbyopia, and it’s caused by changes that occur in the lens inside the eye. Refractive surgery cannot correct presbyopia because refractive procedures alter the shape of the cornea without changing the lens inside the eye. Symptoms of presbyopia can often be reduced with monovision.
There’s more to learn about LASIK. Browse the following pages for a deeper understanding of the technology we use as well as what to expect during your own experience.
LASIK is available at the following Kaiser Permanente locations:
- Redwood City
- Sacramento/ Roseville
- San Francisco
- San Rafael
- Santa Clara
- Santa Rosa
- Walnut Creek