Advanced Surface Ablation
Advanced surface ablation, also known as ASA, is a blade-free laser procedure that effectively corrects refractive errors including nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. For patients who are not candidates for LASIK, this procedure can be performed using several different techniques while providing comparable vision correction results.
Candidates for Advanced Surface Ablation
Similar to LASIK, there are certain requirements that patients must meet in order to undergo the ASA procedure. They include:
- Being at least 18 years old
- Having a stable eye prescription for at least one year
- Having no major health issues
- Seeking to improve nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism
- Having wide pupils
Many patients choose to undergo ASA because they do not qualify for LASIK. Conditions that make a patient ineligible for LASIK may include:
- Corneas that are too thin
- Problems with eye pressure
- Corneal dystrophy
- Scarring of the cornea
- Previous radial keratotomy procedure
Benefits of Advanced Surface Ablation
Advanced surface ablation offers patients many benefits over LASIK, including an elimination of flap complications and reduced risk of dry eye after surgery. Cutting a flap with a blade also weakens the cornea and leaves it thinner than it was originally. A corneal flap created with a laser eliminates the risk of higher order aberrations and allows for a more precise treatment.
The Advanced Surface Ablation Procedure
ASA takes minutes to perform and is done on an outpatient basis using only anesthetic eye drops. During the procedure, the surgeon will gently remove the surface layer of the eye, known as the epithelium. This is done with either a laser that precisely lifts up part of the surface layer, or with a solution of diluted alcohol that gently loosens the epithelium so that it can be lifted to the side.
Once the epithelium has been moved aside, the cornea is carefully reshaped with a laser to correct vision. The advanced laser used during this procedure customizes vision correction for each individual patient to ensure successful results. A contact lens bandage is placed over the eye, after the procedure, to protect the eye and promote healing.
Recovery from Advanced Surface Ablation
After the ASA procedure, patients will be able to return home after a few hours, with someone to drive the patient home. The bandage contact lens will be worn for three to four days depending on the surgeon’s instructions. Eye drops may be prescribed to prevent infection and keep the eyes moisturized. In most cases, patients can return to work within the next few days, although strenuous exercise should be avoided for at least a week.
Patients will notice an improvement in vision within the first few days after surgery, with full results gradually developing over the course of six months. Glasses may need to be worn during an initial period after surgery as vision adjusts.
The Results of Advanced Surface Ablation
The results of ASA are comparable to LASIK and other laser vision correction procedures, producing results of 20/40 or better in most cases. Some patients may still require glasses or contact lenses after treatment, but their prescription will be significantly reduced. It is important to note that ASA does not correct presbyopia, the natural change in the eyes that occurs after the age of 40, so older patients will still need reading glasses after surgery.
Risks of Advanced Surface Ablation
As with any surgical procedure, there are certain risks associated with ASA. They include infection, reaction to anesthesia, undercorrection or overcorrection and a sensitivity to light.