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Refractive surgery is more common today than ever. With over one million procedures performed to date, this number only stands to increase in the years to come. There are more options than ever available to patients who desire corrective eye surgery. Corrective eye surgery can be divided into two major categories: Flap Procedures and Photoablation Procedures.

In a flap procedure, tissues underneath the cornea are accessed via a flap cut in the cornea itself. The following is a list of types of flap procedures which may be performed, depending upon patient needs:
  • Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK)
  • Laser Epithelial Keratomileusis (LASEK)
  • Epi-LASIK
  • Automated Lamellar Keratoplasty (ALK)
"LASIK stands for Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis and is a procedure that permanently changes the shape of the cornea, the clear covering of the front of the eye, using an excimer laser. A knife, called a microkeratome, is used to cut a flap in the cornea. A hinge is left at one end of this flap. The flap is folded back revealing the stroma, the middlesection of the cornea. Pulses from a computer-controlled laser vaporize a portion of the stroma and the flap is replaced. There are other techniques and many new terms related to LASIK that you may hear about." - Official FDA definition

LASIK is the single most commonly performed corrective surgery. It differs from all other corrective vision procedures in that patients return to a state of good vision almost immediately, most of the time at least within a 24 hour period.
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