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  • Navy Reports Custom Lasik Benefits
Jul 2004
FAIRFAX, Va., July 16 -- The US Navy says it has demonstrated that custom Lasik (also known as wavefront-guided Lasik) produces better results than traditional Lasik procedures, according to the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS).

Lasik, which stands for laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis, is a surgical procedure intended to reduce a person's dependency on glasses or contact lenses. The procedure involves using an excimer laser to permanently change the shape of the cornea.

"We're finding that wavefront-guided Lasik yields sharper, higher-quality vision, along with better patient satisfaction compared to conventional Lasik," said Capt. Steven C. Schallhorn, MD, director of cornea and refractive surgery at the US Navy Medical Center in San Diego, Calif. "Custom Lasik is giving many patients the ability to see better than they could with glasses or contacts before the procedure."

Schallhorn is part of a US Navy program that provides wavefront-guided Lasik to Navy and Marine personnel. The procedure plays a vital role in the military by reducing dependence on glasses and contact lenses in active duty personnel in the field, the ASCRS said.

Schallhorn conducted a study comparing results observed in patients who underwent conventional Lasik versus custom Lasik at the Navy's refractive surgery center. Preliminary results showed that three months after the procedure, 94 percent of 78 patients treated with wavefront-guided Lasik had uncorrected vision of 20/20 or better. Using conventional Lasik, only 86 percent of 178 matched patients achieved those results.

The custom-Lasik patients in the study did not report experiencing night driving "halos," or glare, whereas 30 percent of the conventional Lasik patients reported an increase in night driving halos, although most of those patients reported a satisfactory resolution after three months.

"While conventional Lasik is good, we're finding that wavefront-guided Lasik is giving us better results -- better overall quality of vision and higher patient satisfaction," said Schallhorn.

Wavefront technology was originally developed for use in high-powered telescopes to reduce distortions when viewing distant objects in space. The technology has now been applied to laser vision correction to measure imperfections in the eye. Wavefront-guided digital technology identifies and measures imperfections in an individual's eye 25 times more precisely than standard methods, the ASCRS said. Physicians use this information to treat individuals during the custom Lasik procedure.

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