Many patients who have a lazy eye, also known as amblyopia, wonder if LASIK eye surgery is a safe option for them. To answer that question, a person must first understand how LASIK works. LASIK eye surgery is a safe and effective treatment for patients who are myopic, hyperopic, and have an astigmatism. During surgery, a microscopic amount of tissue is removed from a patient’s cornea. By removing tissue, the light that enters and passes through the eye can focus correctly on the retina. When someone is amblyopic, their brain is having difficulty perceiving images. Removing tissue from the cornea will not improve how the brain perceives images.
Amblyopia, also known as a lazy eye, is a condition which can develop early in a person’s life. When a patient is amblyopic, typically one eye is under-stimulated and as a result, the eye starts moving inward or outward. The brain starts to favor the more stimulated eye and as a result, the vision in the amblyopic eye doesn’t develop to its full potential.
LASIK surgery is a safe procedure which removes a microscopic amount of tissue from the cornea. By removing tissue from very specific parts of the cornea, it allows the light that passes through the eye to focus correctly on the retina. LASIK surgery will not allow someone who has amblyopia to see better than what their vision is pre-operatively. If treated early enough as a child, many patients who are amblyopic can still be corrected to 20/20. Being amblyopic does not immediately disqualify someone from being a LASIK candidate, but a patient must understand that surgery will not necessarily give them better vision than they have in glasses or contact lenses.
A LASIK procedure for someone who has amblyopia is no different than a regular LASIK procedure. In LASIK surgery, Dr. Kraff will first use a LASER to create a thin flap on the surface of the cornea. Once created, Dr. Kraff will lift the flap and use another LASER to remove a small amount of tissue from the cornea. Upon completion, Dr. Kraff will realign the flap over the surface of the cornea and the flap will start to heal into place. What is important for someone who is amblyopic to know is that surgery will not give them better vision than what they are correctable to pre-operatively.
Dr. Kraff was a part of the initial 1991 FDA clinical study which looked at the safety and effectiveness of LASIK surgery. Dr. Kraff has performed over 70,000 procedures and is considered a pioneer within the refractive surgery community.
Dr. Kraff has been at the forefront of LASER eye surgery since its inception. With having performed over 70,000 procedures, Dr. Kraff is the most skilled and knowledgeable surgeon performing LASIK surgery today.
Strabismus surgery to correct for a lazy eye is not performed at the Kraff Eye Institute. Dr. Kraff can refer you to a specialist who performs this procedure and their office can give you a better idea as to what the cost would be.
LASIK surgery is where a doctor removes tissue from the cornea to improve a patient’s vision. LASIK will not affect how the brain interprets the images once the light focuses on the retina.
The most successful way of treating amblyopia are through treatments done when a patient is still a child. Treatments include glasses, contacts, vision therapy, and patching the eye. The older the patient gets, the less likely it is that their vision will improve with therapy and treatments.