Zion Eye Institute offers summer-long special on custom LASIK procedure

Doctors and staff at Zion Eye Institute perform a custom LASIK procedure on a patient in ther surgical center in St. George, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Zion Eye Institute, St. George News

FEATURE — In the hopes that people with poor vision don’t have to miss seeing another important moment, Zion Eye Institute is offering a summer-long special on custom LASIK procedures.

From Memorial Day to Labor Day (May 28 to Sept. 3), patients can have custom LASIK surgery for $1,495 per eye. The custom procedure is usually $2,000 per eye. Having the surgery done during the promotion will save a patient up to $1,000 if both eyes are done.

Zion Eye Institute custom Lasik promotion flyer | Flyer courtesy of Zion Eye Institute, St. George News

Conventional LASIK vs. Custom LASIK

In simple terms, LASIK – laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis – is an eye surgery that uses a laser to reshape the inner cornea in order to improve vision and eliminate or reduce the need for corrective glasses or contact lenses for people with nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism.

However, there are differences between conventional and custom LASIK procedures that patients should consider before proceeding.

Conventional

In a conventional LASIK procedure, the surgeon uses the laser to reshape the anterior part of the cornea, said Dr. Jayson Edwards, a cornea specialist at Zion Eye Institute.

Doctors cut and lift a small flap on the front of the eye, and then the preprogrammed laser reshapes the cornea to refocus the eye. After the procedure, the flap is repositioned on the eye and begins to heal.

The procedure is minimally invasive and heals fast, Edwards said, and results are noticeable quite quickly.

“Everybody likes LASIK because it’s quick in terms of recovery,” he said. “(Patients) come out the next day seeing really, really well.”

Following a conventional LASIK treatment, a patient should be able to see as well as they did with their prescription glasses previous to the procedure.

Custom

Custom LASIK is a more personalized version of the LASIK procedure. With custom LASIK, doctors map out the person’s individual cornea in order to perform a procedure tailored to the patient.

Doctors and staff at Zion Eye Institute perform a custom LASIK procedure on a patient in ther surgical center in St. George, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Zion Eye Institute, St. George News

“We are actually mapping out the eye itself to try to achieve the best vision we possibly can,” Edwards said.

Prior to a custom LASIK surgery, specialists take a deeper look into the patient’s eyes to really understand the shape of the cornea, specific to the individual. This process gives the doctor a better understanding of the person’s vision needs, Edwards said, as well as the ability to correct things that prescription glasses would not be able to take into account.

The intention of a custom procedure is to get even better results than they would with a conventional LASIK surgery.

But does it work?

As mentioned earlier, the primary goal of LASIK surgery is to eliminate or reduce the need for presciption glasses or contact lenses. But does it really work?

Edwards can personally attest to the life-changing affect of LASIK surgery.

Edwards was a mild to moderately nearsighted patient. He started needing vision correction when he was in his early teens, he said, and wore both glasses and contact lenses at one point or another.

He got to a point where he lamented getting up in the morning and not being able to see his alarm clock, which was only 18 inches away from him – a problem that is a common complaint among his patients.

Edwards stopped wearing contact lenses when he learned about all the potential complications, including eye infections, and relied solely on glasses for his vision needs.

However, the biggest problem with this decision was being so dependent on glasses, for everything from watching television to driving a car.

“When I had (the surgery) done, I didn’t need to use glasses anymore, and it was really nice,” he said, adding that he wished he had done it sooner in his life.

But Edwards said the best result from the surgery was something he thought many Southern Utahns could relate to: looking out the window and being able to see the scenery so well.

Who can get LASIK and custom LASIK?

Individuals wishing to have either a conventional LASIK or custom LASIK procedure must first undergo an initial consultation to determine their candidacy. Conventional LASIK  and custom LASIK surgeries are not right for everyone.

The first appointment will take into account the person’s eye health, vision correction prescription, cornea shape and thickness, age and overall health to determine if LASIK is right for them and if they would benefit even further from custom LASIK.

An ideal candidate for custom LASIK is typically someone in their 20s-30s who is in good overall health and who has mild to moderate nearsightedness, Edwards said. But he said that doesn’t mean others will not be eligible.

For those patients who don’t qualify for LASIK surgeries, another similar vision correction procedure known as PRK – photorefractive keratectomy – also utilizes a laser but has a longer healing time and takes longer to notice the results. Patients who have thinner corneas or some active patients who are prone to injury are better candidates for this procedure, Edwards said.

Patients not eligible for LASIK or PRK still have options, and Edwards encouraged anyone to come in and be evaluated to find out their options.

For more information or to schedule a free initial consultation call 435-656-2020 or visit Zion Eye Institute’s website.

Written by HOLLIE REINA, St. George News

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